American Airlines Federal Credit Union Review: Award-Winning Banking Services for Individuals Affiliated with American Airlines

GOBankingRates Score

4.7
Quick Take: American Airlines Federal Credit Union is completely member-owned and is exclusive to American Airlines employees, retired American Airlines employees, air transportation industry employees or a family member of an AA Credit Union member. If you meet the membership qualifications for the award-winning financial institution, this American Airlines Credit Union review will highlight its best features -- as well as its drawbacks.
  • Rates
    4.8
  • Customer Service
    5.0
  • Fees
    4.5
  • Opening Deposit Requirements
    4.3
How did we calculate this?

Start with a quick overview of whether the credit union is a better option than a traditional bank.

Pros

  • Member-only personal finance tools and educational products
  • Many accounts have no monthly service fees or ways to waive the fee
  • Above-average APY on savings accounts and share certificates

Cons

  • Limited number of physical branches
  • No money market accounts available
  • Only available to individuals and families tied to the airline industry, namely American Airlines

Overview of American Airlines Federal Credit Union

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. American Airlines Credit Union offers a wide array of products and services to its member-owners, as well as lower loan rates and fees than you’ll find at many other financial institutions.

GOBankingRates has ranked American Airlines Credit Union as No. 7 in the Best Credit Unions of 2022 and no. 6 in the Top 100 Banks of 2022 study. It’s member-owned, with a net worth of more than $761 million and assets over $8.5 billion.

American Airlines Federal Credit Union Review: Products

Some of the most popular products are the credit union’s deposit accounts. It’s part of the reason the financial institution ranks high when compared to the top credit unions and banks. Here’s a closer look:

American Airlines Federal Credit Union Checking Accounts

The American Airlines credit union offers several checking account options with rates as high as 0.40% for Priority Checking, making it comparable with the best checking accounts available. All accounts come with access to the mobile app and digital wallet options for use with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Accounts don’t come with monthly maintenance fees and if they do, can be waived. For example, Ascend Checking includes a $5.75 per month service fee, but this can be removed with direct deposits of $250 or more per month. Similarly, Flagship removes the $5.75 monthly service fee requirement if you have a daily balance over $750. Jet checking’s fee of $5,75 can be removed with a qualifying direct deposit. Interest rates are higher than the national average for checking accounts. The dividend for Priority or Flagship checking is 0.05,% 0.20% or 0.40% based on your balance. New accounts can receive a deposit match for an amount up to $25 if you spend at least on your debit card on purchases in the first 60 days.

American Airlines Federal Credit Union Savings Accounts

American Airlines Federal Credit Union offers both short-term and long-term savings options with rates of 0.30%. Members can also receive dividends on every dollar with funds protected by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

More details on how this credit union stacks up against the best savings accounts include a small, $5 minimum daily balance for a Primary Savings account, and no minimum balance for Secondary Savings and Emergency Fund Savings accounts and no monthly maintenance fees.

However, AAFCU’s inactive fee for accounts with a balance lower than $250 with no transactions during the last year is $5 per month. Plus, there’s a limit of four fee-free ATM withdrawals before you’re charged $2 for each subsequent withdrawal.

American Airlines Federal Credit Union CD Accounts

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

A minimum deposit of $1,000 is required to qualify for a CD and earn 0.30% to 0.70%, depending on the term length. However, the credit union’s terms aren’t as competitive as other financial institutions, with a one-year CD being the shortest term available.

For a less-traditional option, consider a CD ladder, which can earn as much as 1.16% APY. Or sign up for the Dream Plan, ideal for new savers. You can start with as little as $25. As long as you continue adding at least $25 per month over the term, you’ll earn 0.70% for the next 60 months.

Best Features of American Airlines Credit Union

American Airlines Credit Union ranks in the top 10 in two GOBankingRates studies: Top 100 Banks and Best Credit Unions. The results are based on some of the following high-performing factors:

Rates

The credit union’s rates earned on balances, known as dividends, are competitive. Select checking accounts offer up to 0.40% for balances up to $5,000. Savings accounts earn 0.30% on all balances. And CDs can earn a rate as high as 1.16% APY when you sign up for a CD ladder.

Customer Service

American Airlines Federal Credit Union is member-owned. You’ll have a small stake in the credit union, which earns you dividends on your deposits. If you have any questions or need help with the variety of services available, you have access to Live Chat, a Member Advocacy Center, branches at major U.S. airports, nearly 30,000 ATMs and more than 5,600 shared branches through the CO-OP ATM and Shared Branch networks.

Fees

Credit unions are essentially structured as not-for-profit meaning the typical bank fees you may be charged are cheaper or non-existent. American Airlines Federal Credit Union offers plenty of account options with low-to-no fees to make banking affordable.

Opening Deposit Requirements

Most of the accounts available come with no minimum opening balance requirements and don’t have monthly balance minimums. CDs often come with a high opening balance requirement. However, the Dream Plan Share Certificate can be started with as little as $25 as long as you continue to contribute at least $25 per month over the next 60 months.

Editor’s Favorite

The credit union’s Dream Plan Share Certificate is a unique investment vehicle. It’s an excellent choice for beginning savers who don’t have $1,000 or $500 up front to invest in a certificate of deposit. You can build your savings over time and don’t have to pay an early withdrawal fee as long as you use the funds for a down payment on a home financed through the credit union.

American Airlines Credit Union Review: Banking Experience

American Airlines Federal Credit Union aims to meet its members’ needs. All of your accounts are a few clicks away, and customer service is available to assist you as needed.

Customer Service

American Airlines Federal Credit Union has a Member Advocacy Center open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. Members can call 800-533-0035 to speak to a representative. Live chat service is available Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. CST.

Accessibility and Branch Availability

American Airlines Federal Credit Union has branches available in most major airports across the United States. Members who cannot find branches nearby also have access to nearly 30,000 ATMs and more than 5,600 shared branches through the CO-OP ATM and Shared Branch networks.

Mobile and Digital Experience

With the American Airlines Federal Credit Union mobile app, members can access their accounts from the palms of their hands. They can view balances, transfer funds and manage their debit cards directly in the app. Both fingerprint sign-in and facial recognition are available. Here’s the current ratings from users and where you can download the app.

Convenience and Ease of Use

The limited number of physical branches can make banking a challenge if you don’t live near one. However, you can take care of most transactions through the mobile app and website, so you don’t need a nearby branch.

How To Open an Account

You can open an account with American Airlines Federal Credit Union online. Here’s how.

Step-By-Step Guide To Membership

  1. Become a member of the credit union. Membership is limited to the following groups:
    • Current and retired employees of American Airlines
    • Employees and retirees of Air Transportation Industry
    • AA Credit Union members’ family and household members
  2. Choose a checking account.
  3. Provide identifying information, including a government-issued ID, physical and mailing addresses, Social Security number and date of birth.

Fees

There is no monthly service fee for most accounts offered at this credit union. However, there are several withdrawal and activity fees.

  • Monthly Maintenance Fees: $0 to $5.75
  • Overdraft Fees (automatic transfer from savings): $5
  • Outgoing Domestic Wire Transfer: $20
  • Outgoing International Wire Transfer: $45
  • Bill Payment Non-Sufficient Funds Fee: $35

Customers can avoid paying these fees by not using the services and by keeping enough money in their accounts to cover transactions. To waive the monthly maintenance fee for the Flagship Checking account, for example, customers need to set up and receive direct deposits or maintain a minimum daily balance of $750 in the account.

American Airlines Federal Credit Union vs. Competitors

Finish your American Airlines Credit Federal Union review by comparing it to other credit unions.

Credit Union Best For
American Airlines Federal Credit Union Dedicated savings accounts to use for specific financial goals
Navy Federal Credit Union Generous cash back credit card program
Alliant Credit Union Flexible membership criteria
Delta Community Credit Union Competitive rates on certificates of deposit

American Airlines Federal Credit Union vs. Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union has a money market account with an APY up to 0.50%, an account you won’t find at American Airlines Federal Credit Union. At American Airlines Federal Credit Union, you can set up a dedicated emergency fund with no minimums or fees — and earn 0.30% APY. Navy Federal’s Basic Savings Account has an APY of 0.25%.

American Airlines Federal Credit Union vs. Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union charges no monthly service fees for its checking accounts, which saves members money over time. American Airlines Federal Credit Union has a larger selection of checking account options to meet the diverse banking needs of members.

American Airlines Federal Credit Union vs. Delta Community Credit Union

Delta Community Credit Union offers an impressive 0.95% APY on its 60-month CD. You could beat it if you sign up for an American Airlines Federal Credit Union Certificate Ladder. In addition, American Airlines Federal Credit Union’s Dream Plan Share Certificate lets you start saving with as little as $25 as long as you commit to depositing $25 each month during the term.

Final Take

American Airlines Federal Credit Union offers an impressive amount of products and services to its members. It’s an excellent banking option for people who want to maximize their savings on loans or want an interest-earning checking account with a top APY. If you have ties to the airline industry, it’s worth checking your eligibility to see if you can join. You should look elsewhere if you or your immediate family members work in a different industry.

American Airlines Federal Credit Union FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about American Airlines Federal Credit Union.
  • Is American Airlines Federal Credit Union FDIC insured?
    • American Airlines Credit Union is not insured by the FDIC. Instead, deposits are protected up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.
  • Can anyone join American Airlines Federal Credit Union?
    • To join American Airlines Credit Union, you must be a current or retired American Airlines or Air Transportation Industry employee. If you are a family member of or live with a current American Airlines credit union member, you are also eligible for membership.
  • Does American Airlines Credit Union have Zelle?
    • American Airlines Credit Union is not currently a Zelle partner. You still have the option to use Zelle to pay people.
  • Does American Airlines Federal Credit Union offer free money for signing up for an account?
    • American Airlines Credit Union is not currently offering free money when you open an account. However, it does offer other ways to save or earn money -- high APY for checking and savings products and loan discounts. Over time, these savings can add up to a bigger payout than you might get with a signup bonus. Currently, those who open a new Priority, Flagship, Ascend, UChecking or Business Checking account may be eligible to receive $25 if you spend at least $25 using your debit card within 60 days of opening your account.

Cynthia Bowman contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 3, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Airlines Federal Credit Union. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Airlines Federal Credit Union.

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