Worth a Look for Frequent American Airlines Fliers
Are you loyal to American Airlines? If so, it’s worth taking a close look at the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. For just $2,500 in spending in your first three months with an account you’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles. That’s enough for at least two roundtrip domestic flights.
The regular rewards rate on the card is competitive, too. You’ll earn two miles for every dollar you spend on eligible American Airlines purchases and one mile per dollar spent on other purchases. Plus, when you redeem your miles you’ll get 10% of them back, up to 10,000 miles per calendar year.
You’ll also get a 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card. Plus, you’ll get preferred boarding on American Airlines domestic flights and your first checked bag will be free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four traveling companions who are on the same reservation.
However, the card has a couple of drawbacks. There’s an annual fee of $95 after the first year. There’s also a variable penalty APR of up to 29.99%.
50,000 bonus miles – When you spend at least $2,500 on purchases within your first three months as an accountholder, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles.
2x AAdvantage® miles – For every dollar you spend on eligible American Airlines purchases you’ll earn double miles.
1x AAdvantage® miles – For all purchases you make that aren’t from American Airlines you’ll earn rewards at a rate of one mile per dollar.
No foreign transaction fee – You won’t have to worry about a transaction fee when you swipe your card abroad.
Preferred Boarding – When you use your card to book domestic flights on American Airlines you’ll enjoy preferred boarding on those flights.
First checked bag free – When you fly on a domestic American Airlines flight you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation will get a first checked bag free.
Who It Benefits
Customers who make frequent domestic trips on American Airlines have the most to gain from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. They’ll get that 2x rate on eligible American Airlines purchases, enjoy preferred boarding and get their first checked bag free, a perk worth up to $25 per flight per person. American Airlines loyalists who tend to take more international flights will still get the 2x rewards, but without the priority boarding or free checked bags.
Consumers who just want a general travel rewards cards and have no particular loyalty to American Airlines can probably do better than this card. They can opt for a card that offers more flexible travel rewards not tied to a single airline.
How It Works
Every time you swipe your Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® you’ll earn miles. Eligible American Airlines purchases will earn you two miles per dollar. All other purchases will earn you one mile per dollar you spend. If you spend $2,500 on purchases in your first three months as an accountholder, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles. To redeem your miles you can log in to your AAdvantage account. There, you can redeem for flights on American Airlines, American Eagle and other airline partners in the oneworld alliance. You can also rent cars, book hotels and more.
Your APR on your Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® will be a variable APR between 17.49% and 25.49%, depending on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers will also be subject to a variable APR in the same range and must be completed within two months from the date your account is opened.
Cash advances are subject to a 26.74% variable APR. And if you miss a payment, you’ll pay a variable penalty APR of up to 29.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
What’s the Catch
If you don’t spend enough to earn the 50,000 bonus miles and you don’t travel frequently on American Airlines, you won’t be able to make the most of this card. The $95 annual fee that kicks in after the first 12 months is only worth it if you’re getting enough value out of flights purchased with miles, free checked bags and intangible benefits like preferred boarding.
If you’ve fallen behind on your credit card payments in the past, the penalty APR of up to 29.99% variable on the card is a catch, too. And if you have a balance to transfer, the lack of a 0% APR will be a catch.
Just the Math Please
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® earns you 2x miles when you make an eligible purchase with American Airlines and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. If you spend $2,500 in your first three months you’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles.
The APR on any balances you transfer within your first two months as an accountholder will be subject to a APR of 17.49%-25.49% Variable . There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of each balance transferred, whichever is greater.
Rates and Fees
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases
Your purchase APR will be a rate of 17.49%-25.49% Variable , depending on your creditworthiness.
APR for Balance Transfers
Any balances you transfer within two months from the date your account is opened will be subject to a APR of 17.49%-25.49% Variable .
APR for Cash Advances
The APR for cash advances is a variable 26.74%.
Penalty APR and When It Applies
The penalty APR is up to 29.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. The penalty APR is a variable rate and will apply if you make a late payment or make a payment that is returned.
How to Avoid Paying Interest on Purchases Your due date is at least 23 days after the close of each billing period. If you pay your entire balance by each month’s due date, you will not accrue interest charges.
$95, waived for the first 12 months
- Balance Transfer $5 or 3% of your transferred balance(s), whichever is greater.
- Cash Advance Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
- Foreign Purchase Transaction None
- Late Payment Up to $35
- Returned Payment Up to $35
How It Stacks Up
How does the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® compare to other cards on the market? The card is a step up from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard®, which has a lower annual fee ($50). The Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard®, may have a lower annual fee but it doesn’t come with a free checked bag or preferred boarding, so if those perks are important to you, you’re better off with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. The bonus on the Gold card is lower, too.
If you’re not willing to commit to a single-airline card, you can opt for a utility player like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which will give you 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. You can redeem your points for travel with most airlines via Chase’s platform, or transfer your points to mile and rewards programs. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with the same $95 fee as the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, also waived for the first 12 months.
If you travel frequently on American Airlines and you value perks like preferred boarding, free checked bags and discounts on in-flight purchases you’ll like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. The more you spend on American Airlines flights, the more you stand to gain.