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 is the middle tier of three consumer credit cards offered in partnership between Citi and American Airlines. It offers modest travel perks, a nice sign-up bonus and fairly standard everyday rewards.

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 card that gives you rewards to use any way you’d like.

You’ll earn 2 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. That’s the same rewards level as you’ll earn with the premium Executive World Elite card, but for a fraction of the annual fee.

Extra goodies include one free checked bag with every flight, 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.

For a limited time, new cardholders can earn 30,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.

The smaller annual fee ($95, 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 30,000 bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening your account.
  • 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 calendar year.
Disadvantages
  • There’s no introductory offer on purchases or balance transfers.
  • Bonus miles can take up to two months 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.
  • AAdvantage miles cannot be transferred to other allied partners like with some other airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Fees and APR

  • There’s a variable APR of 17.24% to 25.24%.
  • There’s an annual fee of $95, 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% 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®
  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 17.24%, 21.24% or 24.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.
Credit Needed

Excellent

Regular APR

17.24%, 21.24% or 24.24% Variable

Annual Fee

$89 - Waived first year

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made 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 unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • New! Earn unlimited 10x miles on hotels when you pay with your Venture card at hotels.com/venture
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with 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

14.24% - 24.24% (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.  

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.