Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® review: Solid rewards for American Airlines travelers

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In a Nutshell

With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you can earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles if you make a total of $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

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As one of the largest airlines in the world, American Airlines offers daily flights to 350 destinations in 50 countries together with its regional carriers. That’s a lot of ways for members of its frequent-flyer program, AAdvantage®, to earn rewards miles.

But one of the best ways to rack up AAdvantage® miles is to use the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. With this co-branded travel rewards card in your wallet, you’ll earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles when you spend $2,500 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account.

You’ll also earn two AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, at gas stations and at restaurants.

What we like Heads up
  • You will earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • $0 intro, $99 after first year annual fee
  • Preferred boarding on American Airlines domestic flights
  • One free checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights for you and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation
  • Miles can only be redeemed on flights or certain travel expenses with American Airlines or its oneworld® partner airlines
  • You aren’t eligible for the sign-up bonus if you’ve opened or closed another Citi® / AAdvantage®-branded card in the previous 24 months

 

That could add up to a lot of miles if you fly with American Airlines on a regular basis. But is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® really versatile enough to be your go-to travel rewards card?

Unless your loyalty lies with American Airlines, perhaps not. Don’t get us wrong: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has some great perks for AAdvantage® members, but other travel rewards cards may offer more flexibility. Read on to see if this is the card for you.

From our partner

    1. The rundown: Everything we like about Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
    2. Heads up: What you should consider before applying
    3. Do the math: How to get the most out of Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
    4. The competition: How Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® stacks up against similar cards
    5. Bottom line: Is Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® right for you?
    6. Reviews roundup: What our members say about Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

The rundown: Everything we like about Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Like most travel rewards cards, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® card offers a pretty generous sign-up bonus. For a limited time, new cardholders will earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. As an added bonus, Citi has a $0 intro, $99 after first year annual fee.

Even after you’ve collected the bonus, you’ll earn two AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases — including tickets and in-flight purchases such as food, beverages and headsets — and two miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants. If you travel a lot — and tend to fly exclusively on American Airlines — you can rack up some serious miles.

If you have a little more flexibility, you can also take advantage of reduced mileage awards for several destinations. Cardholders may qualify for 7,500-mile discounts on certain round trip flights of more than 500 miles, and 2,000-mile discounts on certain round trip flights of 500 miles or fewer.

Cardholders also enjoy certain perks every time they fly, including …

  • Preferred boarding on American Airlines domestic flights.
  • One free checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights for you and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation. Domestic flights can charge $30 for the first checked bag, so checking a bag on just a few domestic flights per year can make up for the card’s ongoing annual fee.
  • A 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Heads up: What you should consider before applying

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® may be a powerful travel rewards card, but it isn’t for everyone.

You can forget this card if you aren’t — or aren’t planning on becoming — a loyal American Airlines flyer. Double miles can only be earned on American Airlines flights, food, beverages and headsets, and miles can only be redeemed on flights with American Airlines or its oneworld® partner airlines. If you want more flexibility, consider a card that offers points redeemable for travel rewards across a wider variety of airlines and hotels.

Another crucial thing to consider before applying is the restriction on earning bonuses with other Citi® / AAdvantage® cards. You aren’t eligible for the sign-up bonus if you’ve opened or closed another Citi® / AAdvantage®-branded card in the previous 24 months.

Do the math: Is Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® right for you?

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® might be appealing for people who fly a lot and fly exclusively with American Airlines. While some travel rewards cards require you to keep track of spending categories, this one keeps it simple: You get two miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases and one mile for every $1 spent elsewhere. That makes it really easy to plan your spending to maximize rewards.

If you fly American Airlines even just a couple of times per year, don’t let the annual fee dissuade you from checking out this card. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® can offer enough perks to offset that fee and then some.

Besides the free checked bag on domestic flights, this card’s lack of foreign transaction fees is a potentially huge perk for international travelers. Many credit cards impose foreign transaction fees on charges processed outside of the U.S., typically around 3%. Those costs can quickly erode any benefits to using that card for international purchases.

The competition: How Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® stacks up against similar cards

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit cardThis card offers a nice mix of rewards opportunities with no annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardIf you’re looking for flexible travel rewards and redemptions, this card could be a solid choice.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit CardThis card includes a straightforward rewards program and some nice perks.

Bottom line: Is Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® right for you?

There are two types of travel rewards cards: those that offer rewards with a single airline or hotel chain, and those that offer points redeemable for travel with any airline or hotel.

To decide which is right for you, take stock of how you travel. Are you loyal to American Airlines? If so, it may be worth it to apply for Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. But if you want more flexibility, a card such as Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may be a better option.