Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard review: Best for casual American Airlines flyers
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Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® Overview
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® (see rates and fees) is a solid mid-level credit card for anyone who wants to earn American Airlines miles and enjoy elite-status-like benefits. Although this card won’t help you with Admirals Club access, fans of American Airlines can still get value out of the card. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Not all airline credit cards are created equal. Several have annual fees of roughly $100 a year, so you need to be sure a card fits your travel goals and delivers maximum miles and travel benefits.
The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard makes the life of an American Airlines flyer easier and gives non-AA flyers an avenue to diversify the miles in their award portfolio — all for an annual fee of only $99 (waived the first 12 months).
Today, let's look at the benefits of this American Airlines credit card and who it is best suited to.
Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select welcome offer
The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select is offering 50,000 American AAdvantage miles after you spend $2,500 in the first three months of account opening. The offer on this card is worth $885, according to TPG’s valuations.
Remember that you won’t be eligible for this bonus if you’ve earned a sign-up bonus from a Citi Platinum Select card in the past 48 months.
The AAdvantage program has moved toward dynamic award pricing, following similar shifts by Delta and United Airlines. Web Specials have essentially been rebranded as Flight Awards, and MileSAAver and AAnytime fares have been retired. However, we don't see much material effect impacting frequent flyers.
The card has a $99 annual fee (waived for the first 12 months), but that cost can easily be offset by taking advantage of certain card perks.
Related: Best uses of American Airlines AAdvantage miles
Earning miles with the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select
With the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select, you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases and at restaurants and gas stations. All other spending earns 1 mile per dollar spent. There’s no cap on how many miles you can earn in a year.
Earning 2 miles per dollar puts you at a 3.5% return on bonus category spending (based on TPG’s valuations). That’s not significant, and you can certainly do better with cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve when you book airfare, which earn a 10% and 6% return, respectively. Once you hit the sign-up bonus or welcome offer on the card, you’ll likely want to use a different card for most purchases.
Related: The best airline credit cards
Redeeming miles with the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select
The most valuable redemptions of AAdvantage miles are for premium-cabin partner bookings. For domestic flights, I’d turn to programs like Southwest and JetBlue before using American miles. I’d much rather save AA miles for business or first class on Qatar, Etihad, Finnair, Iberia and other carriers with highly regarded international long-haul service.
You can also fly in American Airlines economy class within the contiguous 48 U.S. states and to Canada starting at 7,500 miles one-way; business and first class start at double that.
Related: Maximizing redemptions with American Airlines
Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select benefits
The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select isn’t a luxury travel card, but it does offer a few perks for those who fly on American Airlines. You’ll have access to preferred boarding, no foreign transaction fees, a free checked bag on domestic itineraries and a $125 flight discount when you spend $20,000 or more on your card during your membership year and renew the card.
Since some of these perks are also offered to AAdvantage elite members, they may not get much added value from this card. However, those who haven’t earned status yet can enjoy some elite-like benefits with this card.
And for status qualification, you’ll earn one Loyalty Point per every eligible AAdvantage mile earned, though the sign-up bonus is excluded from Loyalty Points-earning.
Related: Credit cards that can help you earn airline elite status
Unfortunately, Citi stripped many valuable travel and purchase protection benefits from the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select a few years ago. This isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but it’s something to keep in mind before applying for this card.
Which cards compete with the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select?
American Airlines flyers have plenty of viable credit cards to choose from:
- If you want more perks: Try the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. With perks like Admirals Club membership, frequent AA travelers will likely get more out of this premium card. You just need to decide whether the $450 annual fee is worth it. The one area where the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard outdoes the Executive is in bonus earning. You’re getting the same 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases across both cards, but the Platinum also offers 2 miles at restaurants and gas stations. The Executive only earns bonus miles (and at an unimpressive rate) on eligible AA expenses. For more information, read our full review of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.
- If you want an easy sign-up bonus: From the Barclays lineup of cobranded cards, there’s the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. The card offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after making your first purchase and paying the annual fee within the first 90 days. It provides similar travel benefits as the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select. The big benefit is that you only have to buy something as cheap as a can of soda to earn the sign-up bonus. It has unique benefits like an annual statement credit for inflight Wi-Fi and the possibility of earning a companion certificate through spending but doesn’t allow cardholders to rack up miles faster on everyday purchases. The card only earns 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. For more information, read our full review of the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard
For additional options, check out our full list of the best premium travel cards.
The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related: Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select vs. AAdvantage Aviator Red
Is the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select worth it?
The travel benefits on the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard are nice, but certainly not at the same tier as the more premium Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. That’s to be expected since the annual fee on the Executive card is much higher at $450, but this card might still be the best choice for you if you want benefits on a budget.
If you need Admirals Club lounge access, this card won’t help you. But if you’re a casual American Airlines traveler who wants a few elite-like benefits when you fly with the airline, this is a card you should consider adding to your wallet.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Senitra Horbrook and Stella Shon.