CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® review: A great pick for small businesses devoted to American Airlines
The ideal option for small businesses that regularly use American Airlines for their flight bookings.
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CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® Overview
For the devoted American Airlines flier, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® is worth considering, as it offers a nice set of benefits, a modest rewards rate and a decent welcome bonus offer for the reasonable annual fee of $99, which is waived for the first year.
Though the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® can provide significant savings towards future flights with American Airlines, its overall value depends solely on how often your business would utilize its travel perks — especially to justify the annual fee.
What are the pros and cons?
- There’s no 0 percent introductory APR offer on purchases or balance transfers, so you don’t have the opportunity to pay your balance without any interest charges
- Since you can’t redeem miles for cash or a statement credit, your redemption options are limited.
- If you don’t have a good to excellent credit score, it might be difficult to qualify for this card — which limits potential applicants greatly
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and gas stations and 1X AAdvantage mile per dollar on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening
- Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $99
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 15.99 percent to 24.99 percent (variable)
Current welcome offer
It’s obvious that this card’s most attractive benefits are primarily designed for business travelers who are frequent flyers. Cardholders kick things off by earning 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first four months of account opening. Bankrate’s recent valuations estimate that AAdvantage miles are 1 cent each, making this sign-up bonus worth $650.
Cardholders earn 2 miles per dollar on certain business-related categories, including telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and gas stations, as well as eligible purchases made through American Airlines. All other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar.
How you earn
Giving employees their own cards allows you to earn from their purchases in addition to your own. Your rewards towards future airline flights could accumulate quickly if you frequently use internet, telephone, cable and satellite services as well as car rental and gas station services for on-the-road travel. This card, however, does not allow you to receive Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward American Airlines elite status, unlike the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, for example.
Cardholders should also be aware that hotels, shipping, and office supplies are excluded from the rewards program and earn just 1 mile per dollar spent, so if these are your primary spending categories, you might want to pair this card with a more general business rewards card, such as the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card, which allows cardholders to earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase with no limits or category restrictions.
How to redeem rewards
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.
How much are the rewards worth?
If you spend $700 a month within the 2X category and $300 a month on everything else, you’ll earn 20,400 miles. When you include the welcome bonus you’ll obtain from spending $4,000 within your first 4 months of card ownership, you could have enough miles to get you seven one-way flights across the U.S. and Canada.
Other cardholder perks
The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Card comes with some noteworthy perks that are comparable to high-value business travel rewards cards. Cardholders get one free checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights, which goes a long way toward reducing travel costs and boosting your bottom line. Combine all that with preferred boarding and 25 percent off in-flight Wi-Fi, food and beverages and you might stand to earn a decent bundle in the first year.
However, it lacks some of the more luxurious travel features found on other small business rewards cards, such as airport lounge access, credits toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® and hotel stay incentives. If you enjoy Hilton hotels, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card might be a good addition to this card to compensate for the missing hotel and airport lounge travel benefits.
Loyalty Points toward elite status
The new American Airlines loyalty point scheme makes it possible to earn AAdvantage elite status without ever boarding an airplane. Flying earns one Loyalty Point for each eligible American Airlines Mile (1 AAdvantage mile earned = 1 Loyalty Point), but you can also earn one by shopping through the American Airlines Shopping Portal, shopping through program partners and shopping with other American Airlines credit cards as well.
With this Citi business credit card, you’ll receive a $99 companion certificate every year when you spend $30,000. To take advantage of this benefit, you will need to renew your card membership – and pay the annual fee.
You will be permitted to board the plane early if you have the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. That allows you the extra time to settle down before departure and ensures that your carry-on luggage will have a spotin the overhead bin.
How the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select card compares to other business travel reward cards
Though the CitiBusiness has some fantastic features for American Airlines frequent business travelers, if you don’t want to be locked into the AAdvantage program and want to explore more flexible rewards on business expenses, it would be a good idea to consider how other business travel rewards cards, such as the The Business Platinum Credit Card® from American Express and the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, could benefit you more in the long run.
CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select card vs. Chase Ink Business Preferred Card
For small businesses that are not devoted to traveling with American Airlines may benefit more from a general travel rewards credit card such as the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card, which offers some of the most lucrative and flexible travel benefits and has a similar $95 annual fee.
Ink Business Preferred cardholders will earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® rather than American Airlines AAdvantage miles, so there is a little more redemption flexibility with reward earnings. There are more than a dozen airlines and hotels you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to. In addition, you can redeem them for a fixed value of $0.0125 per point in Chase’s travel portal.
Each account anniversary year, Ink Business Preferred earns 3X points for every dollar spent on travel and select business categories as well as 1X point for every dollar spent elsewhere, resulting in a higher earning rate and bonus categories extended to a wider range of purchases than the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card. Although, the disadvantage of choosing the Ink Business Preferred is that you will not receive American Airlines-specific benefits such as 25 percent savings on in-flight purchases, preferred boarding and a free checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights.
CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select card vs. American Express Business Platinum Card
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express may come with a steep $695 annual fee, but those who can benefit from all its perks may find the price well worth it. You’ll get a plethora of airport benefits with the card, including the most extensive lounge access of any business card as well as a credit toward CLEAR membership and TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fees (which the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Card lacks).
Although it doesn’t offer the free checked bag perk like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, it comes with up to a $200 airline fee credit for extra expenses such as seat upgrades. Overall, the Amex Business Platinum Card is an excellent option for those looking to make their airport experience for business travel more comfortable.
Bankrate’s Take: Is the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard worth it?
Business owners who use American Airlines regularly will certainly get the most value out of this card, especially if you tend to check bags and make purchases on the plane. Since the annual fee is waived for the first year ($99 thereafter), there’s no reason for frequent flyers not to give it a try. You have to have excellent credit to qualify for this card, so be sure to check your credit score before you apply.
If you were hoping for a more pampered airport experience, you might want to check out the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, which comes with luxury perks like the Admirals Club Membership or VIP airport experience. Of course, you will also have to pay the luxury annual fee on that one which is $450.