Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

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If you’re an American Airlines loyalist, this card should be at the top of your wallet.

The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is the middle tier of three consumer credit cards offered in partnership between Citi and American Airlines. Its previous rewards structure was modest but thanks to a 2018 update, the card now offers much more to frequent flyers.

As a middle-tier card, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard has a less robust rewards program than its sibling, the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. But its significantly lower annual fee (waived for the first year) and substantial welcome bonus make it a great pick for those who aren’t constantly flying but are looking to diversify their loyalty portfolio.

Here are the details:

If you do most of your flying on American Airlines, the Platinum Select World Elite card should be in your wallet. You’ll get great deals with reduced mileage awards and double rewards on paid flights for being a frequent flyer with the airline. But if you value travel flexibility over free checked luggage, there are travel rewards cards available that can allow you to use rewards any way you like.

With the Platinum Select World Elite card, you’ll earn 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar at gas stations, restaurants and on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. Note: That’s the same rewards level you’ll earn on American Airlines purchases made with the premium Executive World Elite card, but for a fraction of the annual fee. (The Platinum Select World Elite has a $99 annual fee compared to the Executive World Elite’s $450 fee.)

With a variable APR of 18.24% – 26.24%, this card offers a 50,000 AAdvantage mile sign-up bonus when you spend $2,500 in the first three months. Extra perks include a free checked bag with domestic flights, priority boarding and Citibank card benefits like price and travel protections and presale access to live events. You can even get back 10% of your redeemed miles each year and earn a $100 American Airlines flight discount each year after spending $20,000 and renewing your card.

One of the coolest perks of this card is that you’ll receive access to the American Airlines reduced mileage awards program. With the MileSAAver discount, you’ll receive a 7,500-mile, round-trip discount for flights over 500 miles.

Is this card right for you?

If you’re an American Airlines loyalist but don’t fly much, this card should be the perfect happy medium for your lifestyle. The Platinum Select World Elite card offers valuable perks like no foreign transaction fees and redemption options like double rewards on AA flights and reduced mileage awards throughout the year.

Plus, the sign-up bonus (50,000 miles after spending $2,500 in three months) is worth enough to get you a free round-trip domestic ticket.

One thing to be aware of is this card’s lack of flexibility. There are blackout dates on some rewards flights, MileSAAver awards are capacity-controlled and AAnytime awards for flights as low as 20,000 miles each way are quite expensive.

Advantages
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • This card gives you access to reduced mileage award flights, which are discounted by 7,500 miles.
  • Automatically get preferred boarding on domestic flights.
  • 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card.
Disadvantages
  • Bonus miles can take up to 8-10 weeks to post to your account.
  • You can’t redeem miles for cash back or a statement credit.
  • Reduced mileage awards are limited and go quickly.

How much are the rewards worth?

As of January 2019, AAdvantage miles are worth around 1.4 cents, meaning the sign-up bonus is worth around $700 — enough to easily cover two round-trip domestic flights.

The $99 annual fee, waived the first 12 months, can easily be made up by utilizing the free checked bag benefit (which offers one free checked bag per flight) four times. Furthermore, you can earn a $100 flight discount each year you spend $20,000 — also covering your annual fee.

How this card compares

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

If you’re looking for a card with flexible redemption options for miles, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is your match. Use your earnings to book travel, get a statement credit for travel purchases, or for gift cards and select merchandise. The value you receive depends on your spending habits.

Read the full Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard review here.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s unlimited 2X miles per dollar spent on all purchases makes it much easier to track than cards with bonus categories. You can book your travel any way you’d like and on any site. Then, you can redeem your miles as a statement credit toward that travel purchase.

Read the full Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review here.

JetBlue Plus Card

For $99 a year, the JetBlue Plus Card pays 6X points on all JetBlue purchases and the same 2X points on restaurants and grocery stores and one percent on all other purchases. Plus, you’ll get some additional perks like a $100 statement credit when you purchase a vacation package with your card. JetBlue vacation package and 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and payment of annual fee. One thing to take into consideration is that this card doesn’t come with any travel or auto protection.

Read the full JetBlue Plus Card review here.

How to use this card

To get the most out of the card, be sure to fully utilize its 2 miles per dollar on AA purchases, gas stations and restaurants (which is a slightly higher rate than similar cards). In general, it’s pretty easy to use this card — you’re rewarded simply for using it on a regular basis. (Note: Make sure to redeem seats at the lowest MileSAAver level to get the most bang for your buck.)

The bottom line

The Platinum Select World Elite card offers an ample sign-up bonus, no annual fee for the first year and great yearly bonuses that add to your mileage pool. But if you’re looking for a less restrictive and more flexible card, this card may not be your best match.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.