5 ways to maximize the benefits of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Young couple taking a selfie on vacation after learning how to maximize the benefits of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®Image: Young couple taking a selfie on vacation after learning how to maximize the benefits of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

In a Nutshell

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® can turn travel into big-time rewards for American Airlines customers.

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Before we get into the high-flying features of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, let’s talk about the sign-up bonus.

You will earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening your account.

Whether you’re a frequent business traveler or someone who travels a few times a year for pleasure, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® brings to the table a long list of benefits and features.

Chief among these is the ability to rack up rewards miles with American Airlines’ frequent-flyer program, AAdvantage®.

With this card in your wallet, you’ll earn two AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, at restaurants and at gas stations.

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Although this card carries an annual fee of $0 intro, then $99 after first year, it’s important to understand that the value of the benefits may outweigh the cost of the annual fee. Maximizing these benefits can help you get the most out of your travel and leave more money in your wallet when you get back home.


5 ways to maximize the benefits of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

  1. Make sure you qualify for the sign-up bonus
  2. Redeem your MileSAAver® award miles
  3. Take advantage of reduced mileage awards for certain destinations
  4. Fly with a checked bag — they’re free for you and up to four companions
  5. Skip the airport lines and buy your food and drinks onboard

1. Make sure you qualify for the sign-up bonus

This card offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend at least $2,500 in purchases within 3 months of opening your account. That could be enough to cover at least one domestic flight.

Keep in mind, you shouldn’t stretch your expenses and end up spending more just to get this bonus. Carrying a balance can quickly become costly and take away any potential value from this card. If you don’t think you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend requirement, you may want to consider another card.

2. Redeem your miles for MileSAAver® award space

When you go to redeem your miles for an award ticket, you’ll be offered several tiers of service. The cheapest seats are at the MileSAAver® award level.

If you’re flying to certain regions like Hawaii, Mexico and Central America and have flexible travel plans, you might even be able to benefit from MileSAAver Off Peak awards, which offer further savings.

Generally speaking, the more flexible you are, the more you can save.

Brad Barrett, CPA and co-founder of personal finance website RichmondSavers.com, offers this tip: “If you have specific dates that allow for no flexibility, then you might be frustrated. But by building in flexibility, you will … be able to redeem these miles for maximum value.”

3. Take advantage of reduced mileage awards for certain destinations

Flexibility can also help you take advantage of reduced mileage awards for several destinations.

As Barrett puts it, “you’re eligible for reduced-mileage awards on certain routes as a cardholder, and AA updates these awards options (several) times per year.” American Airlines updates the reduced-mileage airports monthly, so be sure to check often to make sure your destination is available.

If you fly to a U.S. destination, you’ll pay $5.60 in taxes and fees per one way award ticket.

4. Fly with a checked bag — they’re free for you and up to four companions

This is another way to potentially save a lot of money when you travel. This benefit stands out because not only will your first checked bag be free, but it also covers up to four travel companions traveling with you on the same reservation.

At $30 a bag each way, this benefit can save a family of five up to $300 on a round-trip flight. So don’t worry about having to cram everything into a carry-on, and rest easy knowing that you’ve got plenty of room to bring everything with you at no added cost.

5. Skip the airport lines and buy your food and drinks onboard

When you’re flying with American Airlines and you use your card, you’ll get a 25% discount on eligible in-flight food and beverage purchases. So if turbulence hits and you need an in-flight cocktail, go ahead and use your card for that discount.

At a glance: Other airline rewards cards to consider

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card For frequent Delta Air Lines® travelers
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card For frequent Southwest Airlines travelers
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® For high-end perks with American Airlines

Bottom line

You can save a lot of money when traveling with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®. And you can access a lot of perks just by being an account holder.

Make sure you maximize the card’s value by using all of the benefits offered to you, from planning your trip to redeeming miles on flights with American Airlines or any of its oneworld® and partner airlines.


About the author: Brian Spychalski is a former Credit Karma freelance contributor now based in San Francisco. He has a background in corporate finance and a deep knowledge of the consumer credit market. W… Read more.