Citibank Sweepstakes Promotes Debit Card Launch

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Citigroup unit Citibank is expected to began an online sweepstakes today to promote its Citibank AAdvantage Debit Card. The card, introduced this month, lets users accumulate frequent-flier miles on American Airlines each time it is used.

The sweepstakes, which lasts 60 days, offers a grand prize of 1 million AAdvantage frequent-flier miles. It also offers a weekly prize of 10,000 AAdvantage miles. Citibank customers can enter the sweepstakes online at

Citibank spokesman Mark Rodgers said the bank is taking a multichannel approach to promoting the debit card and sweepstakes. Marketing will include print and radio advertising, in-branch signage, direct mail and incentives.

"We're sending out 2 million direct mail pieces to existing Citibank customers and AAdvantage MasterCard credit cardholders," Rodgers said.

Rodgers said Citibank is promoting the debit card and sweepstakes only in areas it has bank branches. He would not reveal the total number of pieces Citibank plans to mail, however, or the size of the bank's database.

The Citibank AAdvantage Debit Card is available in basic and premium versions. Both offer a translucent card, which Citibank said is its first in a debit card. The basic card comes with an annual fee of $25 and earns one frequent-flier mile for every $2 spent. Users may accumulate up to 60,000 miles per year. The premium card carries an annual fee of $65 and earns one AAdvantage mile for each $1 spent. Users can earn up to 100,000 miles per year.

Citibank thinks many customers who already have an AAdvantage MasterCard credit card also will sign up for the debit card, Rodgers said. The bank sees no problem promoting the debit card to existing credit cardholders.

"A lot of people use debit cards instead of writing a check or paying cash," he said.

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