Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® Review
When American Airlines completed its acquisition of US Airways, the United States market was narrowed down to just three of the so-called legacy carries, including Delta and United. The other remaining domestic airlines are much newer and provide limited international service.
As a result of this merger, former US Airways customers at major hubs such as Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Phoenix who had remained loyal are now flying on American Airlines and earning miles in their AAdvantage® frequent flyer program, which was actually the first loyalty program offered by a major airline. Citi and American Airlines offer the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, a Credit Cards House advertiser, that offers both frequent flyer miles and benefits when flying American Airlines.
How This Card Works
For each dollar spent on this card, you earn 1 mile in the American Airlines AAdvantage® frequent flyer program, and double miles for all purchases from American. This card also features double miles on gas station and restaurant purchases. In addition, new cardholders earn 50,000 bonus frequent flyer miles after using their card to spend $2,500 within their first three months of card membership.
Miles can be redeemed for flights on American as well as their 14 different OneWorld airline partners, including British Airways, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas. In addition, American is also partners with several other airlines such as Alaska and Hawaiian. Another cardholder benefit is access to reduced mileage awards for up to 7,500 fewer miles than the standard award chart.
This card also offers customers a range of benefits when flying on American Airlines, including preferred boarding, a 25% savings on in-flight food and beverages and one free checked bag for the cardholder and up to four others traveling on the same reservation.
Citi also includes several travel insurance and purchase protection policies that are available to cardholders. Trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage can reimburse you for expenses caused by missed and delayed flights. Lost baggage protection will cover you if your checked or carry-on luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged. This card also includes worldwide car rental insurance, travel accident insurance, and a travel & emergency assistance hotline.
When shopping, you are covered by a damage and theft protection program that covers eligible purchases that are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase (90 days for New York residents). Extended warranty coverage also protects your purchases by adding an additional year to the manufacturer's warranty coverage of eligible items. Finally, Citi offers its Price Rewind program that can reimburse you for the difference in price when a covered item experiences a price drop within 60 days of purchase.
There is a $99 annual fee for this card that's waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.
This card gives new account holders a head start by offering 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 within three months, which is a reasonable minimum spending requirement for most cardholders. This is more than enough miles for two round-trip award flights in economy class to anywhere in the contiguous United State plus Alaska and Canada, assuming you redeem at the MileSAAver rewards tier.
Your miles can be stretched even further by using the reduced mileage awards, which start at 17,500 miles round-trip (normally 25,000 miles). This card also features an impressive array of travel insurance and purchase protection benefits that cardholders will find more valuable than competing cards. For example, Citi is one of the few card issuers that offers worldwide car rental insurance, while most other cards have geographic restrictions that exclude popular tourist destinations such as Australia, Ireland, Italy, Israel, and Jamaica. And Citi's Price Rewind service is more robust than other price protection policies as it will automatically refund the difference on covered items that you register with Citi.
Having this card also takes a lot of the cost and hassle away from flying in today's environment, in which airlines now charge for as many services as possible. Having a free checked bag and receiving a discount on in-flight food can reduce these costs, while access to preferred boarding ensures that you will have a place for your carry-on bag and not be forced to check it. Cardholders can earn a $125 American Airlines flight discount after spending $20,000 or more in purchases during their cardmembership year and renewing the card. Finally, this Citi card is one of the growing number of travel reward cards that does not impose a costly fee on foreign transactions.
Like all rewards credit cards, this card has a higher interest rate than similar cards that do not offer rewards. In this case, the standard interest rate is 15.99% - 24.99% variable APR based on your creditworthiness. Those who regularly carry a balance on their cards would be better off saving money on interest charges by using a card with the lowest available interest rate.
This card also has a $99 annual fee, which is waived the first year. While this amount is competitive with similar cards offered by other airlines, it might be more than some credit card users are willing to spend.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® compares favorably to other cards offered by competing airlines at this price point, and it offers strong value for those who regularly fly American Airlines, even if only occasionally. When you consider both the rewards and perks offered by this card, it can be a valuable addition to a traveler's wallet that is well worth the annual fee.
First published , last updated
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.