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

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In a Nutshell

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a travel rewards card designed to elevate your AAdvantage® miles earnings.

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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 two AAdvantage® miles for every dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and one AAdvantage® mile for every dollar spent elsewhere.

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.

  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?

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 can earn 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after they make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening an account. As an added bonus, Citi waives the $95 annual fee for the first year.

Nate Buchanan, a full-time traveler and YouTuber, says the sign-up bonus is one of the top perks that drew him to this card.

Even after you’ve collected the bonus, you’ll earn two AAdvantage® miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines purchases — including tickets and in-flight purchases such as food, beverages and headsets — and one mile for every dollar spent on other purchases. 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. Just a heads up: You’ll have to book by phone to avoid a reservation service charge, availability for certain destinations changes monthly and other restrictions may apply.

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. Most flights charge $25 for the first checked bag, so checking a bag on just a few domestic flights per year can make up for the card’s $95 annual fee.
  • A 25 percent discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Each calendar year, you can also earn 10 percent of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 miles. For example, if you redeem 30,000 miles in 2017, you’ll receive 3,000 miles back in your account.

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.

Buchanan says 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 last 24 months. “Citi has three other co-branded cards that earn American Airlines miles, so you need to make sure that this is the best card for you before applying.”

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

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is pretty much a no-brainer 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 dollar spent on American Airlines purchases and one mile for every dollar 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 percent. 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 Credit Card 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

From our partner

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card lets you book travel how and where you want. Rewards redemption isn’t limited to specific airlines or hotels, and there are no blackout dates.

Cardholders earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases with no foreign transaction fees. Your points never expire and can be redeemed as a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees.

The sign-up bonus is also a nice perk: New cardholders earn 20,000 online bonus points (equal to a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases) after they make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

From our partner

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a well-earned reputation as one of the best credit cards for flexible travel redemption. Cardholders earn two points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. There are no blackout dates or travel restrictions, and there are no foreign transaction fees.

The sign-up bonus here is among the best we’ve seen: New cardholders may earn 50,000 bonus points (equal to $625 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®) after they spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

From our partner

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited two miles per dollar on every purchase, and redemption isn’t limited to a specific airline or hotel chain. There are no foreign transaction fees, miles don’t expire for as long as the account is open, and there’s no limit to the number of miles you can earn.

As with most travel cards, this one really brings it with the sign-up bonus: New cardholders receive a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles (equal to $500 in travel) after they spent $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

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.


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