Blue skies and fair winds make for a good day to fly! Choosing your airline can be difficult, since factors like location, time, and destination all go into whether or not you can fly somewhere.
An easy choice for many people is American Airlines, because they’re the largest airline in the world. If you’re an American, you’ve probably flown American Airlines at least once.
Frequent fliers tend to enjoy the treatment they can get, from boarding privileges to free bags to lounge access. There’s many reasons to fly with AA, and if so then getting a Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® could be for you.
Card Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- Annual Fee
- $95 (Fee waived for the first 12 months)
- Rewards Center
- Foreign Transaction FeesNone
- Typical UsersFrequent Travelers, Hobby Travelers, International Travelers, Parents / Families
- Customer Service Number
1- 888-248-4226 (Available 24/7)
- Login Link
- PartnersAmerican Airlines, American Eagle (and its operators), Oneworld Alliance Members including British Airways, Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines
- Interest Rates ?
- 16.49% to 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness.
- Late fees ?
- Up to $35
- 29.99% penalty APR
- Balance Transfers
- 16.49% to 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness.
- $5 or 3% fee of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater)
- Cash Advance APR
- $10 or 5% of the amount (whichever is greater)
- 25.99% APR
The Ideal Cardholder
Sign-Up Bonus, Earning Categories, and Points
Currently, signing up for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® will earn you the sign up bonus listed above in the card summary table.
You also earn AAdvantage miles at a rate of 2x on AA flights and services. While this isn’t the greatest, it is certainly a respectable amount of bonus miles for making flight purchases.
You earn an additional mile (1x) for all other purchases made on the card. The card costs $95 per year, but the fee is waived the first year.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® Benefits: Bags, Boarding, and Discounts
However, what really makes the card great is its fringe benefits. American Airlines likes to operate on the idea of status, and this card gives you just that.
First, you and up to 4 people traveling with you get one checked bag free! You all must be listed on the same reservation though, so make sure you book your travel companions’ tickets through your card (which should be easy enough if they’re your family).
Next, once you’re through security and ready to board, you’ll have boarding privileges above the other non-status passengers.
This means you can get on, get your carry-on bags into the compartments before they fill up, and get comfortably situated before the rest of the plane boards.
Third, you get 25% off all in-flight food and beverage purchases, as well as headsets if you need one.
That discount is enough to make the prices a bit more reasonable (a $7 drink is now only $5.25), and it allows you to enjoy your trip just a little bit more, save time from eating in the airport, and earn double miles for your purchase (rather than 1x).
If you’re going to have a drink and a snack, you may as well do it in style at 30,000 ft in the air!
AAdvantage Miles Rebate and Reduced Mileage Awards
These benefits are perhaps the best reasons to have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: every time you redeem miles, you get 10% of those miles back.
That means a 10,000-mile reward really only costs 9,000 miles, since you get 1,000 of those miles back. This makes your 2x earnings equate to 2.2x, assuming you’re using the miles to redeem flights on AA! (See Card Math for details)
To make that deal even sweeter, the card qualifies you for reduced mileage awards flights. This makes a round-trip 7,500 miles cheaper (or 3,750 if you’re just going one-way).
However, these rewards are only available every other month, and must be booked by phone or by ticket agent at the airport.
Booking these also costs an extra $35 compared to the normal taxes, but when you think of the cost of the trip, you’re still getting a much better value.
More Partners Than You Can Handle
One last thing that AA does to help you earn miles is partner with over 1,000 vendors. When you do business with them, you’ll get more miles in your account!
As you know, AA is a Oneworld alliance partner, which allows you to share miles and status with other alliance members.
But did you know there are actually more airlines outside of Oneworld that are still partners? In addition, there are the hotel partners, car rentals, vacation packages, cruises, and any other bonus offers they have going.
With this option, however, keep in mind that earning AA miles may conflict with earning miles in those partners’ own loyalty programs. So, it’s really good to have an overall strategy to know where your earning priorities lie!
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® Drawbacks
Are there disadvantages? Sure. One is the annual fee of $95, although that is waived the first year. This isn’t too bad considering it’s the same price you’d pay for the majority of other points cards out there.
Another is the fact that the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has no intro APR or other offerings, and it carries a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Of course, when traveling overseas we always recommend a card with no foreign transaction fees to get much more value.
This card’s points-earning potential at 2x is a bit low, especially when considering it’s restricted to just airline purchases. Users of the card need to be frequent and heavy travelers in order to get any value out of it.
Also, the fact that some of the benefits have fine print means you’ll need to check before you want to use the card for that purpose.
Finally, as with all the other partnered cards, the AAdvantage miles you earn through purchases do not go towards your elite status, so you’ll have to earn that in other ways.
If you earn Executive Platinum on American Airlines, you’ll get a host of benefits, and it excludes you from having to pay the $35 booking fee when purchasing your reduced MileSAAver rewards.
There is value to be had here, and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® works well on its own or in combination with some of the other cards out there if you’re a heavier spender.
For someone who is a frequent flyer and enjoys American Airlines, this card will certainly provide you with plenty of value for your money.
Great Card If
- You’re a frequent traveler on American Airlines and their subsidiaries
- You already have a bunch of AA miles and status
- You’d like to earn enough miles quickly to get a free round-trip
- You like to travel in style and will enjoy the host of benefits available to you through the card
Don't Get If
- You won’t fly American (or any Oneworld partner) frequently or you’re not a traveler in general
- You’re not a big spender in general (see Card Math for more details)
U.P. Pro Tips
Sign up for AA Dining and get extra points for dining out at some of your favorite restaurants. Simply register a credit card, use it to pay for the meal, and earn up to 5x AAdvantage miles!
If you register the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you will earn 1x points from the card plus up to 5x from the dining program, for a total of 6x points!
How to Use Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: The Upgraded Way
Best Way To Maximize Points
To maximize points using the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® you will need to put most of your spending on your card, but there are also other ways to earn lots of miles:
Tip #1: Purchase all flights directly with the airline, and make in-flight purchases with the card as well.
Tip #2: If you book rental cars, use your AA account with Avis, Budget, and any of its other partners to earn 250-1,250 miles per rental. Plus, earn 1x miles if you book it with your card.
Tip #3: Sign up with the AA dining program and dine at designated restaurants using your registered card. Use the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® to rack up even more points.
At first, you receive 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar, but after dining with the restaurant 12 times you get 5x miles! That could end up as 6x miles total when using your Citi AAdvantage card.
With SPG, you can transfer hotel points to your AA account and earn a 25% bonus when you transfer 20,000 at a time!
Tip #5: If you’re checking bags past the free ones offered, pay with your AAdvantage credit card to earn 2x points for the baggage fee.
Being cognizant of American’s baggage fee rules is important to make sure you’re not spending more than you need.
Tip #6: Earning Elite Status helps you rack up points much more quickly: 25% for Gold, 100% for Platinum (this used to only be 50%), and 100% for Executive Platinum.
If you aren’t even close, there’s a quicker way to do it: an Elite Status Challenge. Check around for current deals, since sometimes it’s not even offered (although FoundersCard has offered it in the past).
The challenge is sometimes free, but other times you’ll have to pay a copay ($100-$200), but you’ll typically end up with Platinum after flying 10,000 miles within a 3 month period.
Once you complete it, you will be on your way to 100% bonus earning for only 10,000 miles, as opposed to the 30,000 normally needed!
Tip #7: You can earn additional miles through other partners (see partner details below), such as through the eShopping Mall or certain wine clubs. If these seem valuable to you, then use them to earn additional miles.
Bonus Tip: Check out our article on earning 100k AA miles in 90 days!
Best Way To Redeem Points
We always encourage you to maximize the value of your redemptions. Be sure to check around for the best deals and do your homework so you can squeeze the best value out of your points!
Tip #1: When redeeming miles on AA, the best value will always be for international trips. At 30,000 miles one-way, you can get to pretty much anywhere in the world.
Tip #2: If you want to use rewards domestically, make sure to take advantage of the reduced mileage offer by calling in to book your ticket. You can get a discount of 7,500 miles on a round-trip by waiting for the specials that come out every other month.
Tip #3: When you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you get 10% of every redemption back in miles.
The AAdvantage card gets you access to American Airlines and all its partners, which is probably the most extensive list available in any program. Being the largest airline in the world, anyone would be happy to sign up with them to promote their businesses!
- American Airlines (and American Eagle)
- AA Dining Restaurant Network (over 11,000)
- Other Retail Partners: AAdvantage eShopping Mall, Points.com, FTD, Teleflora, 1-800-FLOWERS.com, Vinesse Wine, Audience Rewards, Next Issue
Travel Partners: Airlines, Hotels, Rental Cars, and Cruises
Oneworld Partners: Airberlin, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian Airlines, S7 Airlines, SriLankan Airlines
Additional Airline Partners: Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, Cape Air, EL AL, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, Gulf Air, Hawaiian Airlines, Jet Airways, Seaborne Airlines, WestJet (more info on airline partners)
Hotel Partners: Hilton Portfolio, Starwood Hotels, Marriott Hotels, InterContinental Hotels, Choice Hotels, Wyndham Hotel Group, Best Western, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Fiesta Americana Hotels and Resorts, Hotel JAL City, Hyatt, Langham Hospitality Group, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Melia Hotels International, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, New Otani Hotels, Nikko Hotels International, Park Inn, Park Plaza, PointsHound, Preferred Hotel Group, Quorvus Collection, Radisson, Radisson Blu, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Rocketmiles, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Swissotel Hotels & Resorts, WORLDHOTELS (more info on hotel partners)
Rental Car Partners: Avis, Budget, Alamo, National, Dollar, Hertz, Thrifty, Carmel, Europcar, Sixt, GroundLink, SuperShuttle (more info on car partners)
AA Vacations: Total trip packages
Cruise Lines: Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Oceania Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Ponant, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea Cruises, Uniworld River Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises, Viking River Cruises, Windstar Cruises (more info on cruises)
So how do these miles really stack up? Is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® worth it overall? Let’s put it to the test with some numbers.
A Quick Recap: Card at a Glance
With an annual fee of $95 and a good sign-up bonus, this card looks like it has some good promise for rewards.
|Annual Fee||Points Earned on Flights on AA||Points Earned Everywhere Else|
|$0 first year, then $95/yr||2x||1x|
Unfortunately, your AAdvantage bonus miles and card-earned miles will not go toward elite status, but you’ll still be able to make use of the extra points you earn.
An Example Traveler: Using Our Model Families
For the average work traveler, hitting 25,000 elite qualifying miles to get Gold Status in a year isn’t that hard. Let’s use The Kennedys for this example.
Here is their yearly spend:
|Other (Rent, Extra, etc.)||$22,700|
We’ll have to make some assumptions for the math. Let’s say that Mr. Kennedy’s work flies him in full-fare main cabin class. This means he’ll earn 1.5 EQM’s for each mile flown.
He’ll also earn 5 award miles/dollar (award miles are the miles we earn, EQM’s are only for status), and when he reaches Gold he’ll earn 7 miles/dollar.
If we assume he takes 10 trips (20 one-ways), each flight is an average of 2,500 AAdvantage miles round-trip, and each costs $400, then we can make some calculations.
The new system is a bit more complex, but it actually works out in your favor if you’re purchasing above the discount fare. You’ll earn Elite status much more quickly, but you may not earn as many award miles.
In this case, Mr. Kennedy earns Gold status after his sixth trip. This means that for the seventh through tenth trips he’ll earn the 7 award miles/dollar.
From these trips, he’ll earn 23,200 award miles based on our assumptions. Further assuming he waits until he earns Gold to book his personal flights, he’ll earn 7 miles/dollar and get 16,800 pts.
Adding in the 20,200 points from the “other” category, he will total 60,200 miles.
Redeeming the Miles
For this amount of award miles, Mr. Kennedy can easily redeem domestic travel at the typical MilesAAver rate of 25,000 points round-trip (~$0.012 per mile for a $300 round-trip flight).
He can also get a reduced-mileage fare for as little as 17,500 points (goes up to ~$0.015 for the same flight, taking into account the extra $35 fee).
If he is traveling less than 500 miles in the U.S. and Canada, he can get a round-trip for 15,000 points!
Or, he can extend the value of his points if he decides to fly internationally, since a typical one-way flight to Europe costs 30,000 points for economy class.
This is enough points for one round-trip flight, and makes the value of the mile go up to ~$0.02 per mile if he uses a standard $1,200 price for an economy round trip international flight.
Valuation of International Flights
If Mr. Kennedy wants to book business or first class, he can do so for 57,500 and 85,000 book a one-way business or first ticket, respectively.
We’ll assume that a round-trip business ticket costs ~$8,000 and a first costs ~$12,000.
This makes the value of the points around ~$0.07 each. Certainly, these are much higher values than their economy class counterparts.
Adding in the Fringe Benefits
Let’s look at some fringe benefits. If you’re going to be traveling domestically, you may have to check a bag, which costs $25 for the first and $35 for the second.
Internationally, you get one free checked bag while the second is $100. If you’re a Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® member, you get your first bag free.
Note that if you have Gold status or above, you get a free first bag as well, while Platinum and Executive Platinum get 2 bags free.
Mr. Kennedy’s Savings: Bags and Beverages
Mr. Kennedy could save $50-$120 round-trip depending on if he has 1 or 2 bags, which is pretty great! Flying with his family, he could save even more.
In that case, he can get up to 4 additional travelers’ bags for free (as long as he paid for everything on his card). This could save upwards of $600 if everyone has 2 checked bags!
If he likes to purchase things in-flight, then the 25% off deal will save him money as well. Buying 2 drinks at $7 each over 4 flights, he’d spend $56.
With the 25% off, it only costs $42, saving him $14. Every little bit helps, and things like this go toward making the $95 annual fee a little more palatable.
Mileage Rebate Savings
Finally, let’s not forget that Mr. Kennedy will get mileage rebates when he redeems. At a healthy 10%, for every 10,000 AAdvantage miles spent he will get 1,000 back.
This means for that 60,000-mile round trip international flight, he will get 6,000 miles back to use again.
If you calculate the value of the miles for that trip (54,000 miles net), a $1,200 economy ticket equivalent makes the miles worth $0.022 a piece, which isn’t bad at all!
Spending 100,000 miles gets the maximum amount back per year: 10,000 miles. This is worth at least a one-way domestic flight (~$150).
Summing it Up: The Value of the Citi AAdvantage Card
Let’s add up all the potential savings and value that we discussed over the course of the math section.
Total Miles: ~60,000
Total Flights: ~1 one-way in business class or up to multiple round-trip domestic flights
Value of Flights : ~$1,200 to $4,000
Value of Fringe Benefits: ~$150 to $600+ depending on usage and elite status
Value of Rebates: ~$150
If you travel in a similar fashion to Mr. Kennedy, you can easily pay for the annual fee and then some using this card!
The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know
The card is pretty straightforward, although it has a lot of different perks that can be difficult to keep straight. We’ll list them all here so you have a complete idea of what the card offers.
Note that, like most cards, it may take 8-10 weeks for your sign-up bonus to post to your account after you’ve met the minimum spend.
Other Unique Features
One thing to note is that to take advantage of these offers, you have to have had the account open for more than 7 days. So if you’re trying to quickly open and book a flight, make sure you leave yourself at least a week of slack.
First checked bag free – You must have purchased the flight with the card and used your AAdvantage number. Get up to 5 free checked bags for travel companions booked on the same flight (yourself and 4 others).
This benefit is available on AA flights, but not flights that are codeshared (AA miles are earned but operated by another airline).
Boarding privileges – Group 1 boarding privileges applies to AA flights and ensures you get on the plane first amongst non-status members. The advantage is finding overhead bag space so you don’t have to check them.
Double miles – To get the double miles for purchases through the airlines, you must book directly with the airlines or through any of their own portals.
Double points are not granted for hotel reservations, car rentals, vacation packages, purchased status boosts (or purchasing to maintain one), AA Cargo services, and duty free shops.
10% miles back – Your card account must be open and in good standing. You will get the 10% back within 6-8 weeks of the redemption, but you can only get 10,000 miles back each year, regardless of your redemptions.
So if you’re redeeming more than 100,000 miles in a year (which is really not that many if you consider an international one-way redemption can cost 30,000), be sure to calculate the value of the miles. If you have reached 100k, you may want to consider using another airline if you can find better value.
25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases – For the purchase of food, beverages, and headsets only. Unfortunately, you cannot get 25% off WiFi or DutyFree shopping, which is a bit disappointing.
Also, this is not an immediate discount; instead, you will be credited back within 6-8 weeks on your card.
Reduced mileage awards – Every other month, you can call into the AA help desk or simply walk up to an agent desk at the airport and book a reduced mile award flight.
It’s best when used for a round-trip (at 7,500 miles), although you can use it for one-way at half the value.
However, instead of the usual taxes of around $5-10, you will pay a $20 fee if you booked through a Travel Center, or $35 if you book through a gate agent. This fee is waived if you are Executive Platinum.
The rest of the benefits are general benefits available to most Citi credit card customers.
Apple Pay – The tap-to-pay service that is now widely-accepted around the country (and perhaps the world). Use your Apple device as an electronic wallet so you don’t have to carry your card if you don’t want to.
Extended warranty – Up to an extra year of warranty for warranties that total 5 years or less, or double the warranty for anything under a year. You can get $10,000 of repair, replacement, or refund.
The benefit is only available if the manufacturer has not paid you, and there are many exceptions to items you can get warranties for (high dollar items like cars and boats, extended warranties, etc.).
It can be difficult to track warranties, but if you have an item it may be worth using this benefit for, be sure to keep all the purchase and warranty information for when you need to make a claim.
Citi Price Rewind – You can register a product on their Price Rewind site, and the credit card issuer will track pricing changes on the item for the next 60 days. If a lower price is found, you have to go in and request the money to be sent to your card.
You can get up to $300 for any one item and $1200 per year. It takes a bit of work to track this, but if you have an item that is somewhat expensive, you may be able to get some great value out of this benefit!
Damage & theft purchase protection – With a $50,000 per year maximum, you can get up to $1000 back for any item that is damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase. Be sure to keep all your product information.
Also, this insurance is technically secondary, so if you have any other policies under which you could claim this, then you will not be able to use this insurance.
Travel and emergency assistance – Services are available 24/7 if you need help with emergency travel arrangements, have travel issues, or need medical and legal referrals.
Refer to your policy to see what other types of assistance can be provided. You’ll find this very helpful if you don’t want to go through the hassle of finding someone to help in a foreign location, especially if they no one speaks English!
Worldwide travel accident insurance – This benefit offers up to $500,000 back to pay for any medical bills or other related costs in the case of a severe accident. It applies to travel itself, so the accident must be related to airlines, trains, etc.
Car rental insurance – Get up to $50,000 in coverage for any accidents when you are renting a car with the card. Like any insurance benefit, you must decline the other insurance offers to be eligible.
The coverage has some limitations based on what you rent.
Lost baggage insurance – Coverage for up to $3,000 per person, per trip (but only $2k for NY residents, sorry!) for any bag incidentals such as being lost, stolen, or damaged by the carrier. Make sure you know what’s in your bags!
Trip cancellation & interruption protection – For trips where you have to cancel or get interrupted for a reason outside your control, you can get up to $1,500 per person for any non-refundable travel expenses.
There are limitations such as trip length of 60 days or less, you must attempt to get reimbursed by the carrier, and you must have an accepted reason:
- Personal illness, whether yourself or someone in the family
- A natural disaster hits
- Travel is prevented due to natural disasters or severe weather for 24+ hours
Don’t try to get reimbursed for trips you simply missed a flight for!
Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Executive in Airport: toocanimages/Shutterstock
Friends Enjoying Dinner: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
Receiving Gift: o.drozdenko/Shutterstock
Airport Hotel: PathDoc/Shutterstock
There are definitely advantages to this card (no pun intended!). The card offers decent earning of points for purchases, but it also offers you some good fringe benefits.
Without being an elite status member, you get a free checked bag for yourself and up to 4 others, as well as boarding privileges on flights.
You also save 25% on in-flight food and beverage purchases, which helps save a little time when traveling if you don't want to eat at the airport.
One of the bigger benefits, however, is getting a 10% rebate for all your redeemed miles (up to 100k per year). That means you can potentially save 10k miles per year to use on future rewards.
On top of that, you get access to reduced mileage rewards, which enable you to spend even less when you DO redeem.
You'll also get card benefits such as Apple Pay, extended warranty, Citi Price Rewind, and damage/theft purchase protection, plus insurances for travel, accidents, car rentals, lost baggage, and trip cancellation.
Not bad for a card that costs $95 per year!
The Executive version of the card comes with an Admirals Club membership.
This is a special benefit available to Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® members. Every other month, you will be eligible for a reduced fare flight.
These specials will cost 3,750 AAdvantage miles less each way, or save you 7,500 round-trip. To book them, however, you must either call in or purchase it from the ticket agent at the airport.
The foreign transaction fee on this card is 3%.
With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you get access to a variety of travel insurances.
The first is travel and emergency assistance. This is a 24/7 hotline to be used if you need help with travel arrangements, medical and legal referrals, or other issues in case of emergency while on travel.
Next is worldwide travel accident insurance. This covers you for up to $500,000 in case of a severe accident by a carrier. This can cover medical bills and other related costs.
Third is lost baggage insurance. If your bags are ever lost, you get coverage for up to $3,000 per person each trip.
You'll get trip cancellation and interruption protection as well. If you have to cancel for any reason outside of your control, you can get up to $1,500 back per person for purchases that are non-refundable.
Finally, you get car rental insurance up to to $50,000.
No. At this time there is no 0% APR offer for this card.
As long as you have activity on your account every 18 months, your miles will not expire. This can be spending money on your card (and thus earning miles) or redeeming miles.
According to their card agreement, miles can take 8-10 weeks to post into your account.
The fee is waived the first year, then comes in at $95 per year after.
Your elite status is good from the moment you earn it through the end of that year, then the next full year PLUS through February of the year after. For instance, status earned in March 2016 is good through the rest of 2016, all of 2017, and January-February of 2018.
The only way to earn priority check-in is to earn elite status. The AAdvantage cards will not earn you this privilege.