American Airlines Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

American Airlines Credit Union’s checking account options

Priority Checking

This account offers a good interest rate and ATM fee refunds, but you’ll need to meet a list of criteria each month in order to earn them.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.75%
$0.01-$5,000
0.05%
Over $5,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2 for each out-of-network ATM withdrawal, plus a 1% foreign transaction fee for purchases or ATM withdrawals made outside the U.S.
  • ATM fee refund: $20/month in ATM surcharge fee refunds if you meet four qualifications each month:
    • Complete 15 debit card transactions
    • Have at least one direct deposit of $250 or more
    • Be signed up for online statements
    • Have a valid email address on file
  • Overdraft fee: $25 per item for bounced checks and ACH transfers. $35 per item for bounced Bill Pay transfer. If you try using your ATM or debit card to make a transaction you don’t have the funds for, you’ll pay $0.01 if the overdrawn amount results in a balance of -$10 or less at the end of the day. If your balance is more than -$10 at the end of the day, you’ll instead pay $25 per item.

If you want to earn more with the money sitting around in your checking account, this is a good one to choose if you can meet this account’s monthly requirements. You’ll need to have at least one direct deposit (minimum $250) and make 15 debit card transactions per month, be signed up for online statements and have a valid email address on file.

If you can meet those requirements every month, you’ll earn a very good interest rate on the first $5,000 in your account, and up to $20 in ATM surcharge fee reimbursements if you use out-of-network ATMs.

What if you don’t meet those requirements for a given month? No worries — you’ll just earn the base interest rate (the one offered on all money above $5,000) for that month and there’ll be no ATM fee refunds. There also won’t be any monthly fees or charges to worry about, as long as you make at least one transaction every three months (if it’s been longer than that since you’ve made a transaction, you’ll pay a $5 monthly fee).

How to get American Airlines Credit Union’s Priority Checking account

You can apply online, by visiting a branch, or by mailing in an application. There’s a one-time fee of $1 to join, and you’ll also need to deposit at least $5 in a Savings/Share account to establish your membership. You may need to provide American Airlines Credit Union with your photo ID to be eligible to open this account.

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uChecking

This student checking account doesn’t earn any interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2 for each out-of-network ATM withdrawal, plus a 1% foreign transaction fee for purchases or ATM withdrawals made outside the U.S.
  • ATM fee refund: Up to $15 in ATM surcharge fees per month, as long as you make at least 15 debit card transactions per month, are signed up for online statements and have a valid email address on file.
  • Overdraft fee: $25 for each check or ACH transfer that bounces. $35 for each Bill Pay transfer that bounces. If you bounce a payment or withdrawal from an ATM or debit card transaction, you’ll pay $0.01 per item if your balance at the end of the day is less than -$10, or $25 per item if your balance at the end of the day is more than -$10.

This account is open to people between the ages of 13 and 25. It doesn’t offer any interest, but if you frequently use domestic ATMs to get cash, this could be a good account for you. If you make at least 15 debit card transactions each month, are signed up for online statements and have a valid email address on file, American Airlines Credit Union will reimburse up to $15 per month in out-of-network ATM surcharge fees.

If you use this card overseas to make purchases or get cash from an ATM, you’ll pay a 1% foreign transaction fee, so we suggest that students working or studying abroad avoid this account. If you’re just traveling abroad for a trip, it might be a better idea to bring along a credit card with no foreign transaction fee.

Make sure you keep this account active. If it’s been more than three months without a transaction, American Airlines Credit Union will charge you a $5 monthly “inactive checking” fee.

How to get American Airlines Credit Union’s uChecking account

You’ll need to apply to be a member before you can open this account. To do that, you’ll need to provide some details about yourself, such as your name, address, etc., and provide a photo ID. You’ll also need to pay a $1 membership fee and deposit at least $5 in a Savings/Share account in order to establish membership. Once you’re a member, you can apply for this account.

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Flagship Checking

The Flagship Checking account is American Airlines Credit Union’s basic-level checking account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.40%
$750
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5.75 if your account balance drops below $750
  • ATM fee: $2 for each out-of-network ATM withdrawal, plus a 1% foreign transaction fee for purchases or ATM withdrawals made outside the U.S.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: For Bill Pay overdrafts, you’ll pay $35. For ACH transfer and check overdrafts, you’ll pay $25. For debit card/ATM overdrafts, you’ll pay either:
    • $0.01, if your account balance at the end of the day is less than -$10, or
    • $25, if your account balance at the end of the day is more than -$10

If you can’t meet the monthly requirements of the higher interest-rate Priority Checking account, this may be a better account for you — the only requirement to earn interest and avoid the monthly fee is to keep a balance of at least $750 in the account.

There are also no ATM surcharge fee refunds, although they do throw you a bit of a bone: you can make up to eight free withdrawals per month at any Plus or Pulse ATMs (in addition to American Airlines Credit Union’s own ATM network), which may be convenient if there’s one closer to you.

American Airlines Credit Union also offers “exclusive rate discounts on approved loans” if you sign up for direct deposit into this account. If you need a loan, it might be worthwhile to check with the credit union first to see if you qualify for any of these special rates.

How to get American Airlines Credit Union’s Flagship Checking account

To sign up for an account, you’ll need to pay a $1 membership fee and deposit at least $5 in a Savings/Share account to establish your membership first. You can apply for membership in a local branch, online, or by mailing in an application. Once approved, you can open this account.

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Ascend Checking

This second-chance checking account offers people with a checkered financial history an opportunity to rebuild their checking account chops.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $9.75 per month if you have direct deposit; $12.75 per month if you don’t have direct deposit.
  • ATM fee: $2 for each out-of-network ATM withdrawal, plus a 1% foreign transaction fee for purchases or ATM withdrawals made outside the U.S.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $25

If you’ve had a tough time in the past managing your checking account, chances are it’ll be more difficult — or impossible — for you to open a checking account at another bank or credit union today. American Airlines Credit Union offers a solution with this account: it’s open to anyone who wants it, but there are several catches.

First, it comes with a sky-high monthly fee: $9.75 per month if you have direct deposit, or $12.75 per month if you don’t. You can’t write checks from the account. There are also some odd rules regarding overdraft fees. Normally, if you overdraft your account banks will allow that charge to go through, and they’ll charge you an overdraft fee while allowing your balance to go negative in the process.

But with this account, American Airlines Credit Union will instead decline to pay that charge, meaning that you’ll still be slapped with an NSF fee ($25 either way, whether it’s paid or unpaid), and the charge will be denied. This is similar to what happens if your credit card is declined — the charge won’t go through, and your balance stays the same. One way to get around this is by linking up a backup overdraft account or line of credit. That way, the charge will still go through, and you’ll only have to pay a $5 transfer fee instead.

Because the monthly fees are so high with this account, we recommend switching over to a regular checking account as soon as your account history is sufficient. You can talk with the credit union to see how long this may take for your situation.

How to get American Airlines Credit Union’s Ascend Checking account

You’ll need to apply for membership first, either by visiting a local branch, applying online, or sending in a mail application. It costs $1 to join, and you’ll also need to make at least a $5 deposit into a Savings/Share account. From there, you can apply for this account.

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How American Airlines Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

We really like American Airlines Credit Union’s checking accounts. There are a range of different accounts to choose from — everything from an uber-high-interest checking account for people with big balances to a rehabilitation checking account to help those who need to rebuild their checking account competency.

Still, we have a few concerns. The overdraft policies are needlessly complicated, with different charges for different types and amounts of transactions. Some of these accounts also come with pesky “inactive checking” account fees, or other burdensome stipulations (like needing to have direct deposits) that some folks won’t be able to meet.

If you’re interested in seeing American Airlines Credit Union’s competitors, these top checking accounts offer similar rates with less hassle.

American Airlines Credit Union’s savings account options

Savings/Share Account

You’ll need to open this account first before you can open any other American Airlines Credit Union accounts.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.50%
$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2 for all ATM transactions except those made at ATMs owned directly by American Airlines Credit Union
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35 if you overdraft on a Bill Pay transaction. $25 for other overdrafts.

This might be a required account, but don’t let that fool you — this is still a worthwhile option to have in its own right, thanks to its high interest rate.

Dividends on this account will be tallied up and deposited into the account once per month. You can also open secondary savings accounts for specific savings goals, like a new car, a house down payment, or that Maui vacation you’ve been eyeing all winter. The secondary savings accounts pay the same interest rate, but there is no minimum deposit requirement associated with them.

There are a few limitations with this account, however. If you need to make an ATM withdrawal, you can only do so for free at American Airlines Credit Union-owned machines. Even if it’s an “in-network” ATM, you’ll pay a $2 fee, unless it’s owned by the credit union itself. You can also only make six certain withdrawals per month out of the account, as per Federal Reserve Regulation D. ATM withdrawals and in-person withdrawals don’t count towards this limit, however.

How to get American Airlines Credit Union’s Savings/Share account

You can apply for this account in-person at a local branch, online, or by mail. You’ll need to provide a few key pieces of info, including your name, address and telephone number, along with your photo ID (or a copy of it).

There is a $1 membership fee to join the credit union, and you’ll need to deposit at least $5 in this account to establish your membership.

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How American Airlines Credit Union’s savings account compares

Most credit unions (and banks for that matter) offer low rates on their savings accounts, but that’s not the case at American Airlines Credit Union. It offers a fantastic rate on its savings account — quite close to the current top-yielding credit union savings account. To see which credit union actually wins, and which banks are offering even higher rates still, check out our list of top online savings accounts.

One thing we don’t like about this account is that you’ll likely pay a fee for making an ATM withdrawal, unless you happen to be near an American Airlines Credit Union-branded machine. Checking accounts are generally better options for cash withdrawals; however, if you do use your savings account frequently for cash, this may be one account to avoid.

American Airlines Credit Union’s CD rates

Regular Share Certificates

These certificates have two tiers of interest levels, depending on how large your opening deposit is.
For certificates opened with at least $1,000
TermAPY
12 months0.95%
24 months1.01%
30 months1.05%
36 months1.11%
48 months1.16%
60 months1.26%
For certificates opened with at least $10,000
TermAPY
12 months0.95%
24 months1.00%
30 months1.06%
36 months1.11%
48 months1.16%
60 months1.26%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 or $10,000, depending on which certificate level you choose to open.
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000 or $10,000, depending on which certificate level you opened.
  • Early withdrawal penalty: This depends on your certificate’s term length:
    • For 12, 24, 30 and 36 month certificates, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of dividends.
    • For 48 and 60 month certificates, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest.

If you won’t need your cash for a while and want to earn higher interest rates than American Airlines Credit Union’s savings account offers, this might be a good alternative. There are six term-length options to choose from, and only two different early withdrawal penalties, depending on your certificate’s term length. These policies are clear, simple and easy to understand — good qualities in a certificate account.

You can withdraw the dividends earned on your deposit at any time without paying a penalty. Heads-up, though: you’ll need to do this in writing for each withdrawal, and you’ll earn less than the stated APY in the chart above (that APY assumes you keep the dividends in the account until it matures).

American Airlines Credit Union will send you a notification letter 30 days before your certificate matures. When it does mature, it’ll automatically roll over into another certificate, but you do get a 10-day penalty-free grace period to withdraw the money or open a different type of certificate if you want.

How to get American Airlines Credit Union’s Regular CDs

If you’re in the airline industry and don’t mind paying the $1 membership fee (plus a $5 deposit to open a savings account), you can open a CD after you become a member. You can apply online, by mail, or by walking into a local American Airlines Credit Union branch.

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Share Certificate Ladder

American Airlines Credit Union offers special rates for an automatic certificate ladder program.
CD ladder option 1: $1,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
30 months1.11%
60 months1.36%
CD ladder option 2: $1,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
12 months1.01%
24 months1.05%
36 months1.16%
CD ladder option 3: $1,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
12 months1.01%
24 months1.05%
36 months1.16%
48 months1.21%
60 months1.36%
CD ladder option 1: $10,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
30 months1.16%
60 months1.46%
CD ladder option 2: $10,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
12 months1.05%
24 months1.11%
36 months1.26%
CD ladder option 3: $10,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
12 months1.05%
24 months1.11%
36 months1.26%
48 months1.31%
60 months1.46%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 or $10,000, depending on which certificate level you choose to open.
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000 or $10,000, depending on which certificate level you opened.
  • Early withdrawal penalty: This depends on your certificate’s term length:
    • For 12, 24, 30 and 36 month certificates, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of dividends.
    • For 48 and 60 month certificates, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest.

Certificate ladders are a great way to maintain semi-regular access to your cash while still earning the top rates that come with long-term certificate options. But be aware: most certificate ladders can sometimes be confusing to set up, and you have to remember when they mature so you can make sure you set your ladder up right.

American Airlines Credit Union’s certificate ladders solve that problem. You can choose from one of three different ladder options, depending on how much money you have (you must split your deposit evenly between two, three, or five certificates) and how frequently you want access to your money (the interval at which the certificates in the ladder mature). Even better, American Airlines Credit Union offers premium rates for these ladder certificates as compared to its Regular Certificate accounts.

Each time a certificate matures, it’ll be automatically renewed for the longest-term option in your ladder choice. You also get a 10-day grace period after one renews so you can choose to withdraw or deposit more money into the account. If you decide to withdraw one of your certificates, either when it matures or by taking the early withdrawal penalty hit, the certificate ladder chain stops. The rest of your certificates, when they mature, will instead renew for the lower Regular Certificate rates instead.

How to get American Airlines Credit Union’s Share Certificate Ladders

You’ll need to apply for membership with American Airlines Credit Union (if you’re eligible) before you can open these certificate ladders. You can apply online, in person, or by mail. There’s a $1 one-time membership fee required, as well as a minimum $5 deposit in a Savings/Share account. Once your account is established, you can apply for these accounts.

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Dream Plan Share Certificate

You’ll need to set up a monthly recurring deposit to get these rates, and it’s a good place to start if you dream of a big purchase someday.
TermAPY
60 months1.26%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $25
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 365 days’ worth of dividends

This account is a special type of “add-on” certificate where you can add money to the account throughout its term. It’s not without its own set of rules, however.

Although you’ll only need a mere $25 to open this account, you do have to agree to set up a monthly recurring deposit of at least $25 into the certificate. If your account balance passes the $50,000 mark, you won’t be able to make any more deposits into your account, and any automatic deposits set up will either be returned (if submitted by ACH transfer) or shuttled into your savings account instead (if submitted by payroll deduction).

If your monthly deposit stops for some reason, you have 120 days to restart it or the certificate will be closed and you’ll have to pay the early withdrawal penalty. The certificate will also be closed and penalized if you make an early withdrawal and drop the account balance below $1,000 (even though you only need $25 to get it going). You can withdraw the entire certificate penalty-free, however, if you use it as a down payment on an American Airlines Credit Union mortgage.

Finally, you can’t have more than one Dream Plan Share Certificate per account.

How to get American Airlines Credit Union’s Dream Plan Share Certificate account

You’ll first need to apply for an account with American Airlines Credit Union online, by mail, or by visiting a branch. You’ll need to provide your name, address and your government-issued photo ID (or a copy of it). Once you’re a member, you can easily open this account.

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on American Airlines Credit Union’s secure website

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How American Airlines Credit Union’s CD rates compare

American Airlines Credit Union doesn’t offer bad rates, but they’re far from the best out there. For the highest rates possible, see our article on the current best CD rates.

You can earn even higher rates at American Airlines Credit Union by taking advantage of the premium rates offered with a laddering certificate plan, and indeed, we think these are very useful for people interested in earning money through ladders. It simplifies and automates the process, and you earn better rates to boot.

We also like the Dream Plan Share Certificate and the fact that you can get started with as little as $25 while still earning a decent rate on a long-term certificate. Again, it’s not the best rate out there, but for some folks, the drawbacks are well worth the perks.

American Airlines Credit Union’s IRA options

Regular IRA Certificate rates

These are the same thing as the Regular Certificates, only opened within an IRA.
For certificates opened with at least $1,000
TermAPY
12 months0.95%
24 months1.01%
30 months1.05%
36 months1.11%
48 months1.16%
60 months1.26%
For certificates opened with at least $10,000
TermAPY
12 months0.95%
24 months1.00%
30 months1.06%
36 months1.11%
48 months1.16%
60 months1.26%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 or $10,000, depending on which certificate level you choose to open.
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000 or $10,000, depending on which certificate level you opened.
  • Early withdrawal penalty: This depends on your certificate’s term length:
    • For 12, 24, 30 and 36 month certificates, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of dividends.
    • For 48 and 60 month certificates, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest.

IRA CDs are a good option for people who won’t be needing to access their IRA money very quickly, and who want to avoid the volatility of higher-earning, non-NCUA-insured investments. For those people, American Airlines Credit Union offers the ability to open up its Regular Certificates within a Traditional or Roth IRA.

You’ll get a 30-day notice in the mail before your certificate matures so you can decide what you want to do with it. If you decide to do nothing, it’ll automatically renew for another term. If you change your mind after this happens, do it quickly, because you only get a 10-day grace period to make any changes or withdrawals penalty-free.

Since the IRS mandates that some IRAs have required minimum distributions (RMDs), American Airlines Credit Union will waive the early withdrawal penalty if you need to make a withdrawal as a part of an RMD.

How to get American Airlines Credit Union’s Regular IRA Certificates

You’ll need to establish membership with American Airlines Credit Union, if you’re eligible. To do this, you’ll first need to complete an application online, by mail, or in a branch, pay a $1 one-time membership fee and deposit at least $5 in a savings account. Once these things are done, you can open a Regular IRA Certificate account.

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IRA Share Certificate Ladder

CD ladders might not be as useful for IRAs as they are in regular accounts, but the higher interest rates of these certificates sure are welcome.
CD ladder option 1: $1,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
30 months1.11%
60 months1.36%
CD ladder option 2: $1,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
12 months1.01%
24 months1.05%
36 months1.16%
CD ladder option 3: $1,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
12 months1.01%
24 months1.05%
36 months1.16%
48 months1.21%
60 months1.36%
CD ladder option 1: $10,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
30 months1.16%
60 months1.46%
CD ladder option 2: $10,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
12 months1.05%
24 months1.11%
36 months1.26%
CD ladder option 3: $10,000 minimum deposit for each certificate
TermAPY
12 months1.05%
24 months1.11%
36 months1.26%
48 months1.31%
60 months1.46%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 or $10,000, depending on which certificate level you choose to open.
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000 or $10,000, depending on which certificate level you opened.
  • Early withdrawal penalty: This depends on your certificate’s term length:
    • For 12, 24, 30 and 36 month certificates, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of dividends.
    • For 48 and 60 month certificates, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest.

Since IRAs are considered long-term investments, typically you won’t need to worry about maintaining frequent cash flow. That’s one of the main reasons for opening a certificate ladder, so at first glance it would seem that an IRA certificate ladder wouldn’t make sense.

But in this case, because American Airlines Credit Union offers premium rates for its certificate ladders, it’s definitely worth a shot. As an added bonus, you’ll get more options to move your money into a different investment vehicle, if you so choose, because you’ll have more frequent access to your cash.

Here’s how it works: you choose which ladder you want to open, based on how frequently you want potential access to your IRA deposit. You can open a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, and you need to split your deposit evenly between the number of certificates in the ladder you choose (two, three, or five chunks of money).

Each time a certificate matures it’ll renew for the longest-term option in the ladder, and you’ll get a 10-day grace period if you change your mind. Once you remove one certificate from the ladder, however, the rest of them will only renew at the much lower Regular IRA Certificate rate, so keep that in mind when making your decision. If you need to take a required minimum distribution in retirement, you can withdraw that money penalty-free.

How to get American Airlines Credit Union’s IRA Share Certificate Ladders

If you’re a member, you can easily open these accounts in a few minutes. If you’re not yet a member, you’ll first need to establish membership by paying a $1 membership fee and depositing at least $5 into a savings account.

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How American Airlines Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

Many banks and credit unions are offering higher rates for their IRA CDs today compared to their regular, non-IRA versions. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at American Airlines Credit Union.

Still, the rates aren’t horrible. But you can do a lot better with one of these top IRA CDs. One reason why you might still choose these IRA CDs — even with their lower rates — is if you live near a branch and still want the ability to walk in and talk to someone. In that case, this very well may be the highest-earning option near you, and if so, this could be the best credit union for you.

IRA Savings account

This is just a regular Savings/Share account, but opened within a Traditional or Roth IRA.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.50%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $250
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35 if you overdraft on a Bill Pay transaction. $25 for other overdrafts.

American Airlines Credit Union also allows you the option to save for retirement with an IRA Savings account. It plays by the same rules as the regular Share/Savings account. Like the IRA CDs, you can choose to open this account within a Traditional or a Roth IRA. The only difference is that you’ll need a $250 minimum deposit to open the account.

This account doesn’t come with ATM access, since you’ll need to fill out paperwork before each IRA withdrawal. It can be tempting to let your regular contributions into the account slip if life’s little surprises pop up, but you’ll need to remember to make at least one transaction with this account each year, especially if you’ve got a small balance in your account. If more than 12 months pass without any activity and your account balance drops below $250, American Airlines Credit Union will assess a $2 monthly “inactive membership” fee.

How to get American Airlines Credit Union’s IRA Savings account

You’ll need to apply for membership first. If approved, you’ll also need to pay a $1 one-time membership fee and keep at least $5 in a regular Savings/Share account. Once your account is established, you can apply for an IRA Savings account through the online IRA Service Center.

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Overall review of American Airlines Credit Union’s banking products

American Airlines Credit Union is overall a great choice. There are many different options for checking accounts so that no matter what situation you find yourself in, there’s probably an account that will work good for you. In addition, some of its checking accounts offer very attractive interest rates.

We also like the diversity of certificate accounts that American Airlines Credit Union offers. You can get started with as little as $25, or even opt for a ready-built certificate ladder. While the rates aren’t necessarily bad, they’re still better options worth exploring before you commit to a certificate.

There’s only one type of savings account that the credit union offers (not counting the IRA Savings account). This normally would be a strike against a credit union, but because it offers a wide range of other accounts that earn more than a savings account, we’ll let it slide.

Overall, American Airlines Credit Union is a good choice to bank with, although for some products — like its certificates — we still recommend looking elsewhere first to see if you can earn higher rates with terms more favorable to your individual situation.

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