Best for casual American Airlines flyers: Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard review
Citi is a TPG advertising partner.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® Overview
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® 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.
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, we’ll look at the benefits of this American Airlines credit card and who it is best suited to.
Who is this card for?
You don’t have to be a frequent American Airlines flyer to benefit from the card. The travel benefits of the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select will improve your AA flying experiences. However, frequent travelers who are loyal to other airlines can still take advantage of it. Whether you fly AA often or not, you should diversify your loyalty portfolio.
I keep a stash of every legacy carrier’s miles in order to have the best chance of flying the itinerary I want at the lowest award cost. I also want access to many of American’s partners (in and out of the Oneworld alliance), including Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad and Japan Airlines.
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, which is worth $885, according to TPG’s valuations.
This bonus on the personal card is lower than the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, which offers 65,000 miles after you spend $4,000 in the first four months of account opening. Keep in mind 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 information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The AAdvantage program has moved toward dynamic award pricing, following similar shifts by Delta and United Airlines. However, if you take advantage of AA’s off-peak pricing, you could book a round-trip ticket between the U.S. and Europe for just 45,000 miles (22,500 miles each way) under American’s current award chart. Or, depending on the web specials being offered, you may even be able to score a round-trip ticket to Europe for as low as 18,000 miles.
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.
Main perks and 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.
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.
Earning AAdvantage miles
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 nothing to write home about, and you can certainly do better with cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve when you are booking airfare, which earn a 10% and 6% return, respectively. Once you hit the sign-up bonus on the card, you’ll likely want to use a different card for most purchases.
Related: The best airline credit cards
Redeeming AAdvantage miles
If you have some flexibility in terms of where and when you are traveling, there are some nice AAdvantage sweet spots for redemptions. The lowest round-trip tickets in the U.S. start at 7,500 miles one-way for flight distances under 500 miles. That means the sign-up bonus is enough for as many as 10 one-way economy flights. On expensive regional flights, you can get a lot of value from your AAdvantage miles.
Web specials have become increasingly valuable and previously included domestic cross-country flights for 5,000 miles each way in economy or 15,000 miles each way in first class and flights to South America from 15,000 miles each way.
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.
Which cards compete with the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select?
American Airlines flyers have plenty of credit cards to choose from. One of the biggest competitors to this card is 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 for you.
The one area where the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum 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.
Of course, if you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll likely put most spending on cards that offer big returns across categories while earning transferable rewards currencies. In that case, the fact that the Platinum earns 2 miles per dollar on gas and restaurant spending doesn’t really matter.
If you fly American enough to want those elite-style benefits and Admirals Club lounge access, I would go with the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard over its lower-cost counterpart. This is especially noteworthy because you can add up to nine authorized users to the AAdvantage Executive card, and each one enjoys Admirals Club access when flying American (or a partner airline).
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, and 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.
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.
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.
If you need Admirals Club lounge access, this card won’t help you. But if you’re a casual American Airlines traveler who just wants a few elite-like benefits when you fly with the airline, this is definitely a card you should consider adding to your wallet — especially with the current sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Senitra Horbrook and Stella Shon.