CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard credit card review

May 8, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with a new credit card perk.

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If you’re looking for an American Airlines cobranded credit card for your business, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® is one of two options available. The card comes with a $99 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months, and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. The information for the Citi 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.   

It also has perks that make for a better passenger experience when you’re flying on American, but doesn’t have a way to earn elite status. Let’s take a look at why your business might consider this card if you travel regularly on American Airlines.

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.

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In This Post

Who is this card for?

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® targets businesses who choose American Airlines as their carrier of choice, since it offers a free checked bag and Group 5 preferred boarding for up to four travelers on the same reservation. Thanks to the carrier’s membership in the Oneworld alliance, businesses can use the miles they earn on the card to fly on AA partner airlines, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways.

Sign-up bonus

Currently, the sign-up bonus on the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® allows new cardmembers to earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after they make $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening. TPG’s valuations peg AAdvantage miles at 1.4 cents each, making this welcome offer worth $910.

American is one of the few airlines that still maintains an award chart, although the carrier is moving toward dynamic pricing like Delta and United.

Citi is among the credit card issuers who have made changes to help cardholders maximize benefits that have been devalued thanks to altered spending habits during the coronavirus pandemic. New cardholders who applied or will apply for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® between Dec. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, will get an additional three months to complete the spending requirement. That means you’ll get a total of seven months to hit your bonus if you applied (or will apply) between those dates.

Related reading: The risk in changing rewards: Can loyalty thrive in the dynamic era?

Main benefits and perks

American Airlines passenger jets parked at their gates on a rainy morning at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.)

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® comes with a number of benefits that will be of use to AA business travelers, including:

  • 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 two passengers on a single round-trip flight more than covers the card’s $99 annual fee after the first year.
  • Preferred boarding: 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 you spend at least $30,000 on the card during your membership year and each time the card is renewed (the account must remain open at least 45 days after anniversary date). 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.

How to earn Miles

With the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, businesses earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines 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.

Although the card offers more miles per dollar spent in those popular business-spending categories, purchases like hotels, shipping and office supplies aren’t included and earn only 1 mile per dollar spent. You can give employees their own cards, allowing you to earn miles on their spending as well as your own. However, 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.

How to redeem Miles

American is the largest airline in the world, based on passengers carried. That provides lots of redemption opportunities, especially when you factor in its Oneworld partners. You can get even more value for your miles by redeeming them for off-peak or MileSAAver awards, along with the airline’s Economy Web Specials and reduced-mileage awards.

The AAdvantage program has several sweet spot awards that can help you get the most out of your miles via premium redemptions.

You won't get very good value for your AAdvantage miles by redeeming them for an Admirals Club membership. (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)

You won’t get good value for your AAdvantage miles by redeeming them for an Admirals Club membership. (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

Which cards compete with the CitiBusiness AAdvantage?

For businesses with a lot of travel on American, the main competitor to the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® is the Aviator AAdvantage Business Mastercard issued by Barclays. That card has a lower $95 annual fee, but unlike the CitiBusiness version, that fee is not waived the first year. The Aviator version also gives you a free checked bag, preferred boarding, 25% inflight savings, a companion certificate after spending $30,000 in a cardmember year, 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 2x miles on each dollar spent at office supply, telecom and car rental merchants.

The information for the Aviator AAdvantage Business 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 Aviator AAdvantage has two advantages over the CitiBusiness AAdvantage. First, the Aviator currently allows new cardmembers to earn up to 75,000 miles — 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days and another 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card. Second, the Aviator earns 3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after you spend $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 points and miles, there are many business credit cards beyond the two AAdvantage business cards. The American Express® Business Gold Card, with its $295 annual fee (see rates and fees), is significantly more expensive than the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum, but offers higher earnings in key business categories, more ways to redeem them and better business, travel and purchase protections.

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 airline and three hotel loyalty program partners.(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

If $295 a year is too steep, take a look at the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card from Chase, which allows new cardholders to earn 100,000 bonus points after they spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. You earn 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 each account anniversary year. Earning points on the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card gives you access to Chase Ultimate Rewards and its associated airline and hotel transfer partners — plus it only costs $95 per year, although that fee isn’t waived during the first year.

      

Bottom line

You must be an American Airlines frequent flyer to get the most out of the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® 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 Credit Card and Amex Business Gold.

If you’re looking for an everyday spending card for your business, there are better options than the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card. However, if you fly American Airlines regularly, can utilize the free checked bag and preferred boarding and want to redeem your miles on American or its Oneworld partners, then there could be a place for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card in your wallet.

For rates and fees of Amex Business Gold Card, please click here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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