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With credit card issuers working hard to limit eligibility for new welcome bonuses, it’s more important than ever to focus on when you apply for a credit card and not just which card you apply for. That’s because some cards, like the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, are known to regularly offer elevated welcome bonuses at least once or twice throughout the year.
If you’ve been waiting for this offer to come back, you’re in luck. The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is now offering an elevated bonus of 60,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening, while the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard is offering new applicants 70,000 miles after making $4,000 in purchases in the first four months.
You can check out this page for an analysis of the current offers, but if you plan on applying (or better yet, were already approved), here are some of the best ways to redeem your 60,000-mile welcome bonus to jumpstart your next getAAway.
Before diving into the list, it’s worth noting that all of the below redemptions are possible with 60,000 AAdvantage miles. However, remember that by holding the Platinum Select Mastercard, you’ll also receive 10% of your redeemed miles back each year (up to 10,000 miles in total). As a result, the first 100,000 AAdvantage miles you spend in a year will come back to your account, so a 60,000-mile award ticket is technically only 54,000 miles.
Round-Trip Economy to Europe
60,000 AAdvantage miles is exactly enough for a round-trip saver economy ticket to Europe. Depending on where you’re headed, you can fly either on American Airlines or a Oneworld partner, but you’ll be best off avoiding British Airways and the massive carrier surcharges it imposes on award tickets (including those issued through partners). American has continued to expand its route network to Europe, including flights from Philadelphia (PHL) to Dubrovnik (DBV) and Bologna (BLQ) along with Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Athens (ATH).
If you happen to be traveling November 1 through December 14 or January 10 through March 14, these flights actually drop even lower thanks to American’s off-peak pricing. A one-way economy award ticket from anywhere in the US to anywhere in Europe will set you back just 22,500 miles, bringing your round-trip total to just 45,000 miles. When you include the 10% rebate from holding the card, you’re looking at just 40,500 miles for a round-trip award ticket to Europe, which is a terrific deal.
One-Way Business Class to North Asia
If you’re looking to travel in a bit more comfort, your 60,000-mile sign-up bonus could also get you a one-way business class ticket to the “Asia 1” region, which American defines as Japan and Korea. American operates almost all of these routes using their shiny new 787s, which offer a comfortable ride in business class. But if you’re heading to Tokyo, you definitely want to look for a seat on Japan Airlines (JAL) instead. For the same price as a flight on AA metal (except for any small differences in taxes), you can fly in JAL’s spacious Sky Suite on any of their 777-300ER and select 787 aircraft. The window seats in this configuration are incredibly private, almost as good as Qatar’s fully enclosed Qsuite.
Unfortunately, JAL award space doesn’t appear on AA.com, so you’ll need to call to book. I’d recommend first finding award availability on another Oneworld search engine like British Airways or Qantas and then calling to finalize your award ticket.
Two Round-Trip Tickets Within the US
If you’re looking to stay a little closer to home, you can also use your sign-up bonus to book two round-trip tickets anywhere in the contiguous US, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. You can even stack this with AA’s reduced mileage awards to get an even better deal if your award ticket departs from or arrives into an eligible city during your month of travel. Using these discounted awards — which are only available to customers with certain co-branded American credit cards — you’ll pay only 6,500 AAdvantage miles for one-way flights under 500 miles in distance. Longer one-way awards are also a terrific deal, as you’ll save 3,750 miles each way, meaning you can potentially get up to four round-trip tickets out of this bonus and still have miles leftover.
Just be forewarned that trying to find saver level award space, especially for multiple people, is likely to give you a headAAche. American also appears to be following the path blazed by Delta (and most recently United) in shifting to more variable award pricing with its Economy Web Specials. While award charts are still available on AA.com, the carrier has copied moves by its legacy counterparts before, though only time will tell if this happens with the AAdvantage program.
Transcontinental First or Business Class
Airlines compete heavily for a share of the lucrative transcontinental market, but American Airlines has one of the most impressive products on this route (outside of JetBlue’s Mint class). The carrier flies a specially-configured, three-cabin A321T between New York-JFK and both Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO). It also recently launched the same service from Boston (BOS) to Los Angeles. First class consists of 10 reverse herringbone seats in a 1×1 configuration, similar to what you’d find in international business class, while the business class cabin has 20 flat-bed seats in a 2×2 layout. If you’re lucky enough to find saver level space, a one-way business class ticket will cost you 32,500 miles, while a first class seat runs 50,000 miles each way. While that’s a lot to pay for a domestic flight, it sure beats shelling out $1,500+ in cash.
As an added bonus, business class passengers will get access to American’s flagship lounges on the ground in New York and Los Angeles, and first class passengers will even get an invite to American’s exclusive flagship first dining space. This sit-down restaurant hidden inside the flagship lounge is only accessible to passengers traveling in true first class, which would mean international passengers on one of American’s 777-300ER aircraft or transcontinental first class. Elite status won’t get you in, even if you hold AA’s exclusive and mysterious Concierge Key status (though the carrier has sent dining passes to those members in the past).
Round-Trip Economy to Central or South America
Out of the three US legacy carriers, American Airlines has by far the strongest route network to Latin America, and it’s still expanding. In the last year the carrier has commenced service from Miami (MIA) to Pereira, Colombia (PEI) and Córdoba, Argentina (COR) along with a long-haul flight from LAX to Buenos Aires (EZE). The Caribbean, Central America and Northern South America even have off-peak award rates during select times of the year.
There are several ways you could use your miles here:
- Round-trip economy to South America (35,000-60,000 miles, depending on the destination/time of year)
- Two round-trip economy flights to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean on American Airlines metal (25,000-30,000 miles, depending on the time of year)
- One-way business class to Southern South America (57,500 miles)
American AAdvantage miles can be notoriously difficult to redeem, but if you have some flexibility in terms of when you travel and where you go, the 60,000 miles you can currently earn on the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard can take you pretty far. TPG values this sign-up bonus at $840, but you could easily get double that with the right premium cabin redemption.
For additional tips on using your AAdvantage miles, check out the following guides:
- Maximizing Redemptions With American Airlines AAdvantage
- Best Sweet Spots in the American Airlines AAdvantage Program
Featured image courtesy of American Airlines.
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