Review: The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers valuable American Airlines perks and a 50,000-mile intro bonusOctober 21, 2020
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- The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers some valuable benefits for American Airlines flyers.
- It's currently offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $2,500 in the first three months.
- Cardholders get a free checked bag on domestic American Airlines itineraries, and you'll earn 2x miles at gas stations and restaurants, as well as on eligible American Airlines purchases.
- If you spend $20,000 or more on purchases each cardmember year and renew the card, you can also earn a $125 American Airlines flight discount.
- See Business Insider's list of the best cards for American Airlines flyers.
Most airlines and hotels have what they call "co-branded" credit cards, which have both the brand of the airline or hotel in question as well as the issuing bank. Citi and American Airlines teamed up to offer the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. Frequent flyers on American Airlines will likely find a great deal of benefits from this card. Even those who are only occasional American flyers will still find value from the welcome offer as well as some of the ancillary and ongoing benefits.
In our full review of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, we'll take a look at the card's benefits,, examine the welcome offer, and give some thought to who this card is best suited for.
We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
$99, waived for first 12 months
15.99% – 24.99% variable
50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
- Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% – 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
- Bonus categories help you earn miles on everyday purchases
- Fee checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights
- $125 American Airlines flight discount is nice, but you need to spend $20,000 in a cardmember year to earn it
50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles is a pretty substantial welcome bonus, especially given that it comes with a relatively mild spending requirement of $2,500 in the first three months. According to The Points Guy's valuations, 50,000 American Airlines miles are worth about $840.
American Airlines has been moving away from a fixed award chart. What that means is that instead of flights between certain regions always costing the same amount of AAdvantage miles, the cost in miles now depends on many factors including the cities, dates, routes, and whatever else American Airlines decides to factor in.
While this does mean that it can be harder to get outsized value from your American miles, if you're able to be flexible with your dates, routing, and your travel plans in general, you can find some pretty good deals. American now has what Economy Web Special awards. You can find one-way flights within the US to many cities for as low as 5,000 American miles.
Note that according to the terms of this offer, you will not be eligible for the bonus American AAdvantage miles if you've received a new account bonus for a Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® account in the past 48 months.
The earning structure on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is fairly basic, and angled toward a frequent traveler who often flies with American Airlines. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® earns:
- 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on purchases at restaurants (including cafes, bars, lounges, and fast food restaurants)
- 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at gas stations
- 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
This earning structure is similar to other airline credit cards at this annual fee level — the trend has been to add bonus categories that reward cardholders for everyday purchases, not just for spending with the airline. For example, the United℠ Explorer Card earns 2 miles per dollar at hotels and restaurants, as well as on United purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. And the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card earns 2x miles at restaurants worldwide, US supermarkets, and on eligible Delta purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® card benefits
The primary benefit that will be useful for most travelers is the free checked bag that you get on domestic travel with American Airlines. With this benefit covering the cardholder and up to four people on the same itinerary, and checked bag fees at $30 per person each way, this benefit could potentially save you $300 per round-trip flight.
In order to take advantage of this benefit, the cardholder's AAdvantage number must be on the reservation, but unlike with other airlines such as United, you don't have to pay for the reservation with your Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.
If you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you'll also get Group 5 / Preferred Boarding, which can be helpful if you have a carry-on and are looking to make sure you have room to stow it and not have it gate-checked.
Another benefit of the card is a $125 flight discount if you spend at least $20,000 in purchases on the card throughout the year and renew the card. This can be a way to more than pay for the $99 annual fee.
Other cards to consider
If you're looking for cards that earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles, here are a few other options to consider:
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® ($99 annual fee, waived the first year) — currently offering a welcome bonus of 65,000 miles after you spend $4,000 in the first four months
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® ($450 annual fee, includes Admirals Club membership) — currently offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 within the first three months of account opening.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® ($99 annual fee) — currently offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 miles after you make your first purchase in the first 90 days and pay the $99 annual fee
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® ($95 annual fee) — currently offering a welcome bonus of 65,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days, and an additional 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card
Also keep in mind that while the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® could be worth having for its welcome bonus and ancillary benefits, other cards that have better earnings on everyday purchases, even in the areas where the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card has bonuses.
Consider something like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which gets 2 points per dollar on all travel purchases, including both travel on American Airlines as well as all other kinds of travel and has a $95 annual fee. There's also the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, also with a $95 (waived the first year if you apply by 12/10/2020) annual fee (See rates), which earns 3% cash back on transit and 6% cash back on up to $6,000 that you spend each year at US supermarkets (then 1% back).
Is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® right for you?
If you travel on American Airlines at all, it's hard to deny the benefits you'd get from having the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.
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