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.

Advertiser Disclosure: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertising partners.

The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard has been recently updated.

This card 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 the update, the card offers a lot more to frequent fliers.

Road warriors may seek the more robust rewards program offered by the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, while someone who flies less frequently may enjoy the reduced annual fee available from the Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite Mastercard.

If you fall somewhere in the middle, read on.

Review

If you’re able to do most of your flying on American Airlines, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard should be in your wallet for its awards and perks. Frequent fliers and those who aspire to be can get great deals with reduced mileage fares and double rewards on paid flights. But if you value travel flexibility over free checked luggage, get a travel rewards card that gives you rewards to use any way you’d like.

You’ll earn 2 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and at restaurants, you also earn 2x AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. 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.

Extra goodies include one free checked bag with domestic flights, priority boarding, and all the Citibank card benefits like price and travel protections and presale access to live events.  There’s also a nice 10% rebate of redeemed miles, up to 10,000 miles a year that can help you hang onto more of your earnings. You can also earn a $100 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your year as a cardholder and renew your card.

New cardholders can now earn 40,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. That’s a slightly reduced initial bonus but you can earn a further 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 12 months.

The smaller annual fee ($99, waived for the first 12 months) in comparison to the Executive World Elite card ($450) means you’ll sacrifice perks like an Admirals Club membership, Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement and priority check-in, airport screening and boarding.

Who should get this card

If you’re an American Airlines enthusiast, but don’t fly constantly for work or play, this happy-medium card should suit you well. For those who regularly fly this airline, the card offers some valuable perks and redemption options including double rewards on AA flights and reduced mileage awards throughout the year. The sign-up bonus is worth enough to get you a free round-trip domestic ticket to many locations.

Advantages
  • Earn 40,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Earn a further 10,000 miles after spending $6,000 in the first 12 months.
  • This card gives you access to reduced mileage award flights, which are discounted by 7,500 miles.
  • Get 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back, up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles per the calendar year.
  • Automatically get preferred boarding on domestic flights.
  • 25% discount on in-flight purchases.
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.

Fees and APR

  • There’s a variable APR of 17.99% to 25.99%.
  • There’s an annual fee of $99, waived the first year.
  • There are no transaction fees for purchases made outside the U.S.
  • The balance transfer fee is 3% or $5, whichever is greater.
  • There’s a penalty APR of up to 29.99% variable that may apply if you make a late payment.

Extras, perks and using points

The first checked bag is free on domestic flights for you and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation. With this card, you also get preferred boarding on domestic flights and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight food and beverage purchases.

The card comes with cool Citi perks like the price protection feature and presale access to live events like concerts or sporting events.

To redeem miles, go to the American Airlines website, log into your AAdvantage account and book your travel.  Citi AAdvantage cardholders also are eligible to redeem their accrued miles for reduced mileage awards when available. These mile-saver flights can only be booked by phone. You can also redeem your miles on the site for gift cards, magazine and newspaper subscriptions or donate them to charity.

How this card compares

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®
  • Limited Time Offer: Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
Credit Needed

Good/Excellent

Regular APR

17.99%, 21.99% or 24.99% variable based on your creditworthiness

Annual Fee

$89 (waived first year)

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% intro for first 12 billing cycles following each BT that posts within 45 days of account opening

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard will likely appeal to those who want the most flexible redemption options for their miles.  You can use your earnings to book travel, get a statement credit for travel purchases, or for gift cards and select merchandise.  This may be of greater value to you depending on your spending habits.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Credit Needed

Excellent, Good

Regular APR

14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s unlimited 2X miles per $1 spent on all purchases makes it less cumbersome to track than cards with different bonus categories. Depending on your spending habits this could work out better or worse for you in terms of mileage earning potential. One of the best attributes of this card is you can book your travel any way you like, on any site, and then redeem your miles as a statement credit towards that purchase. This makes it a more flexible choice than other cards that require you to use their travel portals for maximum value.  

JetBlue Plus Card
  • Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days
  • Earn 6 points per $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • No blackout dates on JetBlue-operated flights & redeem for any seat, any time on JetBlue-operated flights. Points required for an Award Flight will vary based on the published base fare at the time of booking
  • Points awarded in your TrueBlue account don't expire
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases like cocktails and food & the primary cardmember's first checked bag is free on JetBlue-operated flights
  • Enjoy TrueBlue Mosaic benefits for one year after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card
  • Enjoy a $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our airline category page.

Credit Needed

Regular APR

12.99%, 20.99% or 25.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$99

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)

For $99 a year, the JetBlue Plus Card pays 6X points on all JetBlue purchases and the same 2X points on restaurants and groceries and one percent on all other spending. If you spend more than $1,650 a year on JetBlue flights, you’ll earn back the $99 annual fee and get some additional perks like a $100 statement credit when booking a JetBlue vacation package and a 30,000 point sign-up bonus. Unlike many other travel credit cards, the JetBlue Plus card doesn’t come with any travel or auto protections so you’d have to take that into consideration.

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.