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Popular, American Airlines formalize alliance

Fabio García, first vice president of Popular’s credit card division. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Earlier this month, Banco Popular announced it had entered into an agreement with American Airlines Inc. to become the exclusive issuer of AAdvantage co-branded credit cards in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. On Tuesday, both companies formalized the new partnership, offering details of the benefits now available to cardholders.

For starters, through the agreement, Banco Popular’s credit card division is launching three new cards: Visa Signature, Visa Infinite and Visa Business, which enable customers to rack up miles with every dollar they spend and charge.

”This alliance with American Airlines allows us to launch three credit cards today that meet the needs of different segments of frequent travelers and make it easier for customers to reach their favorite destinations faster,” said Fabio García, first vice president of Popular’s credit card division.

The co-branded credit card portfolio, which includes the Citi/AAdvantage credit card business, represents approximately $130 million in new balances for Popular, according to the details provided Aug. 8, when the transaction was announced.

With the Popular/AAdvantage Visa Signature card, clients accumulate 1.1 miles for every dollar spent, “which is more than any other miles card available,” García said.

In addition, customers will receive a bonus of 10,000 miles on the first $1,000 in purchases. The $50 annual fee will be waived the first year. The Popular/AAdvantage Visa Infinite offers even greater benefits because the client earns 1.5 miles per dollar, a welcome bonus of up to 50,000 miles, unlimited mileage accrual, banking privileges, higher travel insurance, among others. This card carries an annual fee of $195.

Meanwhile, small business owners will have the opportunity to earn miles on their purchases through the Popular/AAdvantage Visa Business card that allows them to accumulate 1.1 miles per dollar spent. The annual fee on this card is $85.

“This is the first time this type of card is launched in Puerto Rico, and is a perfect complement to the other cards,” García said.

Launched 30 years ago, the AAdvantage program offers members the ability to earn miles when traveling on American Airlines, American Eagle, and oneworld alliance members. It also allows participants to earn miles by using credit cards, hotel stays and use of various services offered by the establishments participating in the AAdvantage program, said Ana María Lebrón, district manager of sales and marketing for American Airlines.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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