American Airlines Credit Union Review: Is It the Right Bank for You?

Find out what American Airlines Credit Union has to offer.

American Airlines Federal Credit Union was founded in 1936 by a group of American Airlines employees who wanted to create a financial institution that would better suit their needs. This credit union is member-owned, with a net worth of more than $689 million and assets over $7 billion. American Airlines Credit Union offers a wide array of products and services to its member-owners, as well as lower loan rates and fees.

This ultimate guide to American Airlines Credit Union will cover:

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Who Is American Airlines Credit Union Best For?

American Airlines Federal Credit Union is completely member-owned and is exclusive to American Airlines employees, retired American Airlines employees, air transportation industry employees/retirees or family members of AA Credit Union members.

American Airlines Credit Union Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
  • Member benefits
  • Educational resources
  • Lower rates on loans than a typical financial institution
  • Exclusive to American Airlines employees, air transportation industry employees, retirees of such or family members
  • Only a select number of states have branch locations

There are considerable discounts for new members, including a bonus dividend. The credit union has given back over $157 million to its members this way. There are also direct deposit, loan loyalty, timely payment and “welcome aboard” discounts for new members. The website provides personal finance tools, resources and educational seminars to guide members toward success.

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Who May Want To Skip American Airlines Credit Union?

If you have no ties to the air transportation industry, you are not eligible to join this credit union. American Airlines Credit Union only has physical branches in a select number of states, many of which are located in the airlines’ home state of Texas. If banking in person is what you prefer, check to see if there is an AA Credit Union location near you. Otherwise, you might be better off finding somewhere else to bank.

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Types of Accounts Available

This credit union offers considerable banking options to its members, with multiple accounts offered in both the checking and savings category. Here’s a look at the bank’s current product lineup.

American Airline Credit Union Bank Accounts
Product APY Minimum Balance Requirements 
Ascend Checking N/A N/A
Flagship Checking 0.50% $750.00 (to earn dividends)
Priority Checking 2.27% $0.01-$5,000.00 (to earn dividends)
uChecking N/A N/A
Jet Checking N/A N/A
Savings Account 1.46% $5.00
Emergency Fund Savings 1.46% No minimum
IRA Savings 1.46% No minimum

Here’s a closer look at each individual product area offered by American Airlines Credit Union.

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Checking

American Airlines Credit Union offers a number of checking account options with rates as high as 2.27% for priority checking. There are no monthly service fees for any checking account with 24/7 account access to view, transfer and earn interest. Here’s a breakdown of the five checking account options:

American Airlines Credit Union Checking Accounts
Checking Account Features
Ascend Checking
  • No monthly service fee with monthly direct deposit of $250 or more
  • Simplified checking account for those who don’t write checks and want to avoid overdraft fees
Flagship Checking
  • Best for those with a higher account balance and looking for value
  • No monthly service fee with $750 minimum balance
Priority Checking
  • Best for those who use their debit card every day and want to earn additional benefits
  • No monthly service fee or minimum balance requirements
uChecking
  • For members 13-25 years old
  • No monthly service fee or minimum balance requirements
Business Checking
  • Primarily for small business owners
  • Checking, secondary checking and savings accounts offered to small business owners

As you can see, there are a plethora of options when opening a checking account through American Airlines Credit Union, as well as some great perks.

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Pros

  • Some checking accounts offer no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Checking accounts geared toward every kind of customer
  • Free bill pay and mobile/online banking

Cons

  • Flagship Checking has higher balance requirements
  • Some checking accounts have monthly fees

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Savings

American Airlines Credit Union offers both short-term and long-term savings options for your financial goals with rates as high as 1.46%. You only need a $5 minimum deposit with a $1 one-time membership fee to receive all the benefits with a savings account here. Members can also receive dividends on every dollar with funds protected by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

There is a savings account specifically geared toward the inevitable emergencies, where the credit union will match up to $25. This account has the same benefits of the regular savings account, in addition to offering no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. Members also have the ability to set up a monthly recurring deposit or make deposits on their own.

Pros

  • High interest rates
  • Dividends earned on every dollar
  • No monthly fees or minimum balance requirements for emergency fund savings

Cons

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  • Early withdrawal penalties for IRA and CD accounts
  • Fixed term lengths

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Money Market

At this time, American Airlines Credit Union does not offer money market accounts.

Share Certificate

Share certificates are similar to certificates of deposit offered at traditional banks. There are two share certificate options at American Airlines Credit Union, with a regular share certificate’s term length varying at 12, 24, 30, 36, 48 or 60 months.

The credit union’s Dream Plan Share Certificate is a unique investment vehicle offered by the credit union. You can start this plan with a $25 initial deposit and contribute as little as $25 a month thereafter. Other features include a premium dividend rate for 60 months and a maximum balance of $50,000. There’s also no penalty for early withdrawal if you choose to use these funds as a down payment for a home through the credit union.

Pros

  • Flexible term lengths
  • Unique Dream Plan allows customers to start small

Cons

  • Regular share certificate accounts require a $1,000 deposit per term
  • Maximum balance of $50,000 in the Dream Plan

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Individual Retirement Account

IRAs are similar to savings accounts. With traditional IRAs, your dividends are considered tax-free until they are withdrawn from the account. This differs from Roth IRAs where you pay taxes upfront, but you can withdraw contributions at any time, tax-free. American Airlines Credit Union offers both a traditional and Roth IRA.

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The credit union also offers a Coverdell Education Savings Account option. This is a tax-deferred plan that helps you save funds for college for you or your child.

Pros

  • Traditional IRAs allow you to make tax-deductible contributions
  • Roth IRAs offer tax-free earnings on contributions, and contributions can be withdrawn without penalty
  • Variety of term lengths
  • Education fund

Cons

  • Penalty for withdrawing early on traditional IRAs
  • Roth IRA contributions are taxed upfront

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Investment (Nonbank) Options

At this time, American Airlines Credit Union does not offer any investment options.

Loans

American Airlines Credit Union offers a wide range of lending services, including auto, home, personal, student lending and small business loans. Here are some of the features of these loans:

American Airlines Credit Union Loans
Loan Type  Key Features
Auto Loans
  • APRs as low as 2.35%-5.24%
  • New/used car, RV, boat and airplane lending options
Personal Loans
  • Consolidation, share certificate, share-secured loan, line of credit and disaster options
  • Unique holiday loan feature
Small Business Loans
  • Up to $2,000 in overdraft protection
  • Line of credit, equipment and auto loan options for small businesses
Home Loans
  • Fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, jumbo and unique loan options
  • Refinancing options
  • APRs as low as 2.785% (15-year fixed), 3.159% (30-year fixed) and 4.346% (5/1 Arm 30-year)
Student Lending
  • Educational line of credit up to $40,000
  • Student loan refinancing options

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How To Bank With American Airlines Credit Union

You can open an account online with American Airlines Credit Union by clicking “Membership” in the top right-hand corner of the homepage and then “Join Now.” You will need a government-issued ID, physical mailing address, Social Security number and date of birth to complete this process. Use the following steps to get started:

  1. Select your eligibility. You must be a current/retired employee of American Airlines, a current/retired member of the air transportation industry or a family member of an American Airlines employee.
  2. If you are a current/retired American Airlines employee, you must enter your employee ID.
  3. If you are a family/household member of a credit union member, you will need their account number, the member’s first and last name and to indicate your relationship to the member.

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Fees

There is no monthly service fee for most accounts offered at this credit union. However, there are several withdrawal and activity fees. The priority and uChecking accounts charge a $5 inactivity fee if you have no monetary transactions for three months. There is a $5.75 monthly fee for falling below the $750 minimum balance for the Flagship Checking account. A few other fees include:

  1. Non-sufficient funds: $35 each
  2. Stop payment: $15-$25 each
  3. Outgoing international funds transfer: $45
  4. Outgoing domestic funds transfer: $20
  5. Expedite fee for card or PIN: $50

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Availability of Funds

This credit union makes funds available on the first business day after the deposit. Electronic direct deposits are available the day of receipt. Please be aware that every day is classified as a business day other than Saturday, Sunday and federal holidays.

Deposits made by check may not be available on the first business day and may take up to five business days. However, the first $200 of the deposit will be readily available on the first business day after the initial deposit. You will be notified if your funds will take more than one day to deposit. Please be aware that significant delays apply depending on the deposit amount and account status.

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Should You Bank With American Airlines Credit Union?

American Airlines Credit Union offers an impressive amount of products and services to its members that are certainly worth considering. Remember, you must be associated with the airline in some capacity to receive the benefits offered at this credit union.

Benefits

  • Competitive interest rates
  • No monthly fees or minimum balance for some account types
  • Wide range of loan and savings options (Dream Plan and student lending)
  • 24/7 online access to accounts

Drawbacks

  • Exclusive to American Airlines’ members and family/airline transportation industry employees
  • Steep minimum balance for some checking accounts
  • ATMs and branch locations only located in a handful of states

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Rates and fees are accurate as of March 5, 2020, and are subject to change. This content is not provided by American Airlines Credit Union. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Airlines Credit Union.

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