American Airlines Federal Credit Union Review: Members-Only Discounts and Other Perks

GOBankingRates Score

4.8
Our take: American Airlines Federal Credit Union is completely member-owned and offers considerable perks to its members, such as lower monthly payments for first-time borrowers and rate discounts on loans and home equity lines of credit. The credit union has given back to members almost $170 million through the annual bonus dividend program. Members with a savings account, select checking accounts and share certificates are eligible to earn dividends.
  • Rates
    5.0
  • Customer Service
    5.0
  • Fees
    5.0
  • Opening Deposit Requirements
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

    Pros

    • Members-only personal finance tools and educational products
    • Most accounts have no monthly service fees
    • Above-average annual percentage yield on savings accounts and share certificates

    Cons

    • Limited number of physical branches
    • Membership restricted to those with connections to the air transportation industry

    About American Airlines Federal Credit Union

    American Airlines Federal Credit Union was founded in 1936 by a group of American Airlines employees. Today it’s still member-owned and boasts a net worth of more than $761 million and assets above $8.5 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 than you’ll find at many other financial institutions. GOBankingRates has ranked American Airlines Credit Union as one of the Best Credit Unions of 2021.

    Sponsors of

    American Airlines Credit Union Products

    Members get considerable banking options and financial services at American Airlines Federal Credit Union, including multiple checking and savings accounts. Here’s a quick overview:

    Product Features
    Checking accounts
    • Four personal checking accounts available
    • No liability for unauthorized debit card transactions
    • Interest-bearing accounts available
    Savings accounts
    • APY of up to 0.40%
    • Dividends on every dollar
    • No monthly service fees
    Share certificates
    • Terms from 12 months to 60 months
    • APY: 0.50% to 0.80%
    • $1,000 minimum opening deposit
    • Dream Plan Share Certificate option for beginning savers
    Individual retirement accounts
    • Traditional and Roth IRAs available
    • Coverdell Education Savings plans
    • APY of up to 0.40%
    Credit cards
    • Five credit card options, including business card
    • Earn Connection Points on purchases
    • Annual percentage rates as low as 7.00%
    Loans
    • Auto, home, personal and student loans available
    • Home equity lines of credit
    Financial planning
    • Services available through Flagship Financial Group
    • Education and retirement planning services
    • Long-term care and insurance planning

    American Airlines Credit Union Checking Accounts

    American Airlines Credit Union offers four checking accounts: Priority, Ascend, Flagship and UChecking, for younger customers ages 13 to 25. Interest-bearing options are available, with an APY as high as 0.65% for Priority checking, making it comparable with the best checking accounts. All accounts come with access to the mobile app and digital wallet options for use with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

    Sponsors of

    Features

    • Direct deposit discount on loans
    • Overdraft protection available for Priority, Flagship and UChecking accounts
    • Monthly maintenance fees of $0 to $5.75, but can be waived by signing up for direct deposit or maintaining a minimum balance
    • Low or no foreign transaction fees

    Pros

    • Range of accounts geared toward every kind of customer
    • Easy to waive monthly fees for most accounts
    • APY higher than national average for checking accounts

    Cons

    • Overdraft protection not available for Ascend Checking
    • Must meet qualifications to waive foreign transaction fees
    • $750 minimum daily balance to avoid Flagship Checking monthly service fee

    American Airlines Credit Union Savings Accounts

    American Airlines Credit Union offers a primary savings account and an Emergency Fund Savings account that lets you set up recurring deposits to build your rainy-day savings. You can also add a secondary savings account.

    The APY on savings is as high as 0.40%, which puts it not too far below that of the best savings accounts. Members also receive dividends on every dollar with funds protected by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

    Features

    • APY of up to 0.40%
    • $1 membership fee
    • $5 minimum opening deposit for primary savings account
    • No minimum balance requirement for Emergency Fund Savings
    • No monthly maintenance fees
    Sponsors of

    Pros

    • APY higher than national average
    • Deposit match up to $25
    • Earn dividends on every dollar

    Cons

    • $5-per-month inactive membership fee charged for accounts with a balance lower than $250 and no transactions during the last year
    • Limit of four fee-free ATM withdrawals; additional withdrawals have a fee of $2 each

    American Airlines Credit Union Share Certificate 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 — the regular certificate and the Dream Plan certificate. The Dream Plan option is designed for customers who are just starting out saving money.

    Features

    • Terms from 12 to 60 months
    • $1,000 minimum balance for regular certificate
    • APY: 0.50% to 0.80%

    Pros

    • Certificate ladder available to create a stream of income and maximize returns
    • Low $25 opening deposit for Dream Plan Share Certificate
    • APY higher than national average

    Cons

    • No CDs with terms shorter than 12 months

    Banking Experience

    American Airlines Credit Union aims to meet its members’ needs by offering traditional branch banking as well as online and mobile options. The credit union offers a full lineup of deposit accounts and other products, and it also provides additional member perks you won’t find at many traditional banks, including educational seminars.

    Sponsors of

    Customer Service

    The Member Advocacy Center is available 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 Credit Union has branches available in most major airports across the U.S. Members who cannot find branches nearby also have access to nearly 30,000 ATMs and over 5,600 shared branches through the CO-OP Shared Branch and ATM networks.

    Mobile and Digital Experience

    Online banking at American Airlines Credit Union gives you access to your accounts and lets you handle many of the same transactions you might conduct at a branch or ATM. With the mobile app, members can view balances, transfer funds and manage their debit cards. The app has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Google Play and a rating of 4.6 on the App Store. Fingerprint and facial identification are available as login options, depending on the device.

    Sponsors of

    Convenience and Ease of Use

    American Airlines Credit Union doesn’t have a huge number of its own physical branches, though it is part of a large, nationwide Shared Branch network. Even if you don’t live near a branch, you can still handle most transactions through the mobile app and website.

    How To Open an American Airlines Federal Credit Union Account

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

    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 the air transportation industry
      • American Airlines Credit Union members’ family and household members
    2. Choose from the available products.
    3. Provide identifying information such as a government-issued ID.
    4. Provide your physical and mailing addresses, Social Security number and date of birth.

    Key Information

    Customer service number: 800-533-0035

    Routing number: 311992904

    American Airlines Credit Union Fees

    There is no monthly service fee for most accounts at American Airlines Credit Union. However, there are several withdrawal and activity fees.

    Sponsors of

    Here’s a look at some of the fees that members should be aware of:

    • Monthly maintenance: $0 to $5.75
    • Overdraft fees (automatic transfer from savings): $5 per posting
    • Outgoing domestic wire transfer: $20
    • Outgoing international wire transfer: $45
    • NSF fee: $35 each

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

    American Airlines Credit Union vs. Competitors

    Finish your American Airlines Credit Federal Union review by comparing it to other credit unions. Here’s how it stacks up against certain rivals:

    Bank Best For
    American Airlines Credit Union Dedicated savings accounts to use for specific financial goals
    Navy Federal Credit Union High money market APY
    Alliant Credit Union Large network of fee-free ATMs
    Delta Community Credit Union High CD rates

    American Airlines Credit Union vs. Navy Federal Credit Union

    Navy Federal Credit Union has a money market account with an APY of up to 0.60%, which you won’t find at American Airlines Federal Credit Union. But American Airlines Credit Union has an edge with its Emergency Fund Savings account, which has no fees or minimum balance requirements and boasts an APY of 0.40% — well above Navy Federal’s Share Savings APY of 0.25%

    American Airlines Credit Union vs. Alliant Credit Union

    Alliant charges no fees for its checking accounts, which saves members money over time, and its members have access to over 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs. American Airlines Credit Union has a larger selection of checking account options to meet the diverse banking needs of members.

    American Airlines Credit Union vs. Delta Community Credit Union

    Delta Community Credit Union offers an impressive 1.55% APY on its 60-month CD. American Airlines Credit Union can’t match that, but its Dream Plan Share Certificate lets you start saving with as little as $25 as long as you commit to depositing $25 each month for the duration of the term.

    Final Take

    American Airlines Federal Credit Union offers a strong lineup of products and services. It’s an excellent choice for customers who want to maximize their savings on loans or prefer an interest-earning checking account with a high APY. If you have ties to the airline industry, it’s worth checking your eligibility to see if you can join. But if you or your immediate family members work in a different industry, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

    Editor’s Favorite

    The Dream Plan Share Certificate is a unique investment vehicle for beginning savers who don’t have a lot of money to 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 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?
      • As a credit union, it's 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. You can also join if you are a family member of or live with a current American Airlines Credit Union member.
    • Does American Airlines Credit Union have Zelle?
      • American Airlines Credit Union is not currently a Zelle partner, but 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?

    Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 27, 2021.

    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.

    This article has been updated with additional reporting since its original publication.

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