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If you’re looking for an American Airlines-branded credit card for your business, one of two options available to you is the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard. It comes with a $99 annual fee (waived for the first 12 months) and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. It also has perks for a better airline passenger experience when you’re flying on American Airlines, but doesn’t have a way to earn elite status on AA. Let’s dive in and take a look at why your business might consider this card if you travel regularly on American.
Who Is This Card For?
The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card squarely targets businesses that choose American as their carrier of choice, since it offers perks for AA flyers such as a free checked bag and priority boarding. And thanks to the carrier’s membership in the Oneworld alliance, businesses can use the miles they earn on the card to fly on AA’s partner airlines, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways, among others.
For just a short while longer, the sign-up bonus on the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum lets new cardmembers earn 60,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening. TPG’s valuations peg AAdvantage miles at 1.4 cents each, making this welcome offer worth $840.
American is one of the few airlines that still currently maintains an award chart, although the carrier is moving more toward dynamic pricing like Delta. But until then, those 60,000 bonus miles are enough to get you a MileSAAver round-trip award ticket in business class from the US to South America Region 1, which covers Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Manaus, Brazil), and Peru.
With the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum, businesses earn 2 miles per dollar spent on American purchases, along with telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rentals and gas stations. Your business will earn 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else.
While the card offers more miles per dollar spent in those popular business spending categories, other purchases such as hotels, shipping and office supplies aren’t included and earn only 1 mile per dollar spent. However, you can give employees their own cards, allowing you to earn miles on their spending as well as your own. Also, unlike the personal Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, this card doesn’t have a way to help you earn Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status on American Airlines.
American Airlines is the largest airline in the world, based on passengers carried. The carrier and its American Eagle subsidiary operate nearly 6,700 flights a day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. When you add its Oneworld partners, that grows to more than 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to more than 150 countries.
As such, that large network gives you plenty of chances to redeem your AAdvantage miles for flights on American and its partners around the world. Plus you can get a bigger bang for your miles buck by redeeming them via off-peak or MileSAAver awards, along with Economy Web Specials and reduced mileage awards.
You an also use your miles to buy an Admirals Club airport lounge membership, with costs ranging from 65,000 miles a year for an AAdvantage member with no elite status, or as low as 55,000 miles for an Executive Platinum member. But either way, you’re only getting a poor 1 cent per mile when you redeem this way — you’ll do better redeeming your miles for travel.
The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum comes with a number of benefits that will be of use to businessmen and businesswomen who travel on AA…
Free checked bag. This perk, valued at $60 per round-trip flight, is good on domestic flights for you and up to four travel companions on the same reservation. Using it for just two passengers on a single round-trip more than makes up for your $99 annual fee.
Priority access. You and four travel companions on the same reservation can board American Airlines flights in Group 5, which comes after elite passengers but before the bulk of economy boarding.
Inflight discount. You’ll get a 25% discount on Wi-Fi, food and beverages when using the card.
Companion certificate. Your business can earn a certificate for domestic main cabin travel after spending at least $30,000 on the card during your membership year and each time the card is renewed. Note that redeeming the certificate has a $99 fee, plus between $21.60 to $43.20 in taxes and fees.
Dedicated help. You have access to personal business assistants 24/7 for help with travel, hotel and dining arrangements.
Which Cards Compete With the CitiBusiness AAdvantage?
For businesses with a lot of travel on American, the main competitor to the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum is the Aviator AAdvantage Business Mastercard issued by Barclays. That card has a similar $99 annual fee, but unlike the CitiBusiness version, it is not waived the first year. The Aviator version also gives you a free checked bag, priority boarding, 25% inflight savings, a companion certificate after spending $30,000 in a cardmember year, 2x miles on AA purchases and 2x miles on each dollar spent at office supply, telecom and car rental merchants.
The biggest advantage the Aviator AAdvantage has over the CitiBusiness AAdvantage is that the Aviator earns $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year. That may help some business owners who are trying to qualify for AA elite status. Whether that’s worth paying an annual fee for the first year is up to each individual business owner and his or her travel goals and needs.
If you’re looking to earn a lot of travel points and miles, there are many other credit card options for businesses beyond the two AAdvantage business cards. Just as an example, although the American Express® Business Gold Card with its $295 annual fee (see rates & fees) is significantly more expensive than the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum, it features higher points in key business categories, more ways to redeem them, and better business, travel and purchase protections. And when it comes time to redeem your Membership Rewards points, you’ll have more options than you will with AAdvantage miles, thanks to Amex’s 19 airlines and three hotel loyalty program partners.(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
Or if $295 a year is more than you want to pay for a business credit card, you could take a look at the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card from Chase, which earns 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines. Earning points on the Ink Business Preferred gives you access to Chase Ultimate Rewards and its associated 12 airline and hotel transfer partners, and only costs $95 per year.
You must be an American Airlines frequent flyer to get the most out of the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard. Even if you are, you’ll have to earn elite AA status the old-fashioned way — by flying on American and its airline partners. For a card that targets business travelers, it’s oddly devoid of the travel and purchase protections that come automatically with many other travel cards, including the Ink Business Preferred and Amex Business Gold.
If you’re looking for an everyday spending card for your business, you likely have better options than the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card. However, if you fly American Airlines regularly, can utilize the free checked bag and priority boarding and want to redeem your miles on the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier or its Oneworld partners, then there could be a place for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card at your business.
For rates and fees of Amex Business Gold Card, please click here.
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