Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

Best for Frequent American Airlines Fliers

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Pros
  • A large signup bonus that will cover the cost of almost any flight, with minimal spending required
  • Get VIP treatment with a free checked bag and priority boarding on domestic flights
  • Travel internationally with no foreign transaction fees
Cons

Rewards redemption is limited to American Airlines. If you don't purchase a lot of flights through them, you won't rack up a lot of rewards. Additionally, this credit card comes with high APR and penalties.

Highlights
  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
Details

Application Process: Online—there's a version for consumers and business credit card use.

Annual Fee: An annual fee of $95, which is waived for the first year.

APR: A variable rate between 17.24% to 25.24%. For late payments, there's a penalty APR up to 29.99%. If you require cash advances, they're levied at a rate up to 26.49%.

Rewards: Rewards are very similar to those offered by United's credit card and include perks like:

  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on American Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 spent
  • Priority boarding on domestic flights
  • Free first checked bag - MileCards says that if you check a bag on 2 trips per year, this card essentially pays for itself

Bonus Offers: People are excited about the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard's signup bonus, which equates to 30,000 miles when you spend at least $1,000 within the first 3 months of opening the account.

Card attributes
  • Variable APR
    17.24% - 25.24%*
  • Cash Advance APR
    26.49%
  • Bonus Offers
    Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $2,500 in the first 3 months.
  • Rewards Rate
    2 miles per dollar Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1 mile per dollar on other qualifying purchases
  • Annual Fee
    $0 intro, $95 after first year
  • Intro APR
    n/a
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Faveable Review

If you’re loyal to American Airlines, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® is a must-have. The card not only offers AAdvantage miles for everyday purchases, but you’ll also get extra perks every time you fly.

As with most of the best travel credit cards, however, the card charges an annual fee. So, you may need to do some math to make sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® review: Card highlights

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® offers a 30,000-mile sign-up bonus after you spend just $1,000 in the first three months. So, this is a great card for small and big spenders alike.

You’ll also get double miles on all American Airlines purchases, making it easier to rack up rewards when you travel.

You’ll also get some great perks when you fly with American, including free checked bags, priority boarding, and discounts on some in-flight purchases.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® rewards and perks

American Airlines flights typically start at 12,500 miles one way, so you’ll get at least one round-trip flight out of the card’s sign-up bonus. And if you’re not in a hurry, you could even wait for a limited-time offer — sometimes the sign-up bonus can get up to 60,000 points.

According to NerdWallet, AAdvantage miles are worth 1 cent per point on average, but you could get up to 1.6 cents per point in value. So, 30,000 miles could be worth up to $480 if you redeem them right.

Also, American Airlines flights can be cheap if you use the Reduced Mileage Awards program. Cardholders can get a 7,500-mile discount on round-trip MileSAAver bookings or a 3,750-mile discount on one-way flights.

The big drawback here, though, is that the card only offers bonus rewards on American Airlines purchases. If you don’t fly often, you’re stuck earning just 1 mile per dollar on almost every time you swipe your card.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® benefits

Like other top airline credit cards, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® offers cardholders special benefits when they fly with their airline. Here’s a quick summary of these perks:

  • You’ll get one checked bag free for you and up to four other people flying on your itinerary. That’s a savings worth up to $250 on a round-trip flight.
  • You and up to four others on your itinerary can board in Group 5. That’s after the priority boarding groups — typically first class and elite status passengers — but before the rest of economy.
  • You’ll get a 25% discount on in-flight food and drink purchases.

Keep in mind, though, that these perks can come with restrictions. For example, the free checked bag benefit only applies to domestic flights. And you may not get priority boarding or in-flight discounts if the flight is operated by one of American Airlines’ partner airlines.

That said, because American Airlines is part of the oneworld Alliance, you have more options when flying in the U.S. and overseas.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® costs and fees

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® charges a $95 annual fee, but the card issuer waives the fee the first year, giving you more time to rack up rewards without worrying about whether you’re breaking even.

The card charges no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a good travel companion if you have plans to travel abroad. The typical foreign transaction fee is 3% of each purchase.

But as with other travel credit cards, the card charges a high variable APR of 17.24% to 25.24% based on your creditworthiness. For reference, the average credit card interest rate as of November 2017 was 14.99%, according to the Federal Reserve. So, make sure to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.

Does the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® make sense for me?

As with any co-branded credit card, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® only makes sense if you tend to fly on American Airlines. If you fly just twice per year by yourself and check a bag, you get enough back to make up for the card’s annual fee.

But if you’re looking for a more general travel card that offers you more flexibility, take a look at cards like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® Elite World Mastercard® and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

These cards not only offer bigger sign-up bonuses on an ongoing basis, but they also offer high rewards rates on all your purchases. And most importantly, you can use your rewards on American Airlines or any other airlines. The only caveat is that you don’t get airline-specific perks like free checked bags and priority boarding.

So, take a minute and think about your preferences and spending habits, and choose the card that fits your needs best.

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