Reviews Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard review

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard review

Published: April 24, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Airline Rating:
3.9 rating
3.9 rating
3.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.1
Rewards Flexibility: 3.6
Flight Options: 4.8
Features: 5.0

In a nutshell:

The AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard from Citi is worth getting due to its generous sign-up bonus and numerous perks.

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Rewards Rate

  • 2:1 American Airlines purchases
  • 1:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
30,000 miles if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

Annual Bonus
Earn 10% of your redeemed miles back each year

Annual Fee
$95; $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$520

APR
16.49-24.49% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Good award levels domestically, and to Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America
  • 10% of redeemed miles back, up to 10,000 each calendar year
  • Quarterly 7,500-mile discounts for select destinations
  • Off-peak discounts for some itineraries

Cons

  • Restrictive routing rules impact the ability to redeem awards to faraway destinations
  • High fees for most award changes

Flight Options

  • Airline partners: 25
  • Daily flights: 14,250
  • Destinations: 1,000
  • Countries served: 150

Other Notable Features: 25% savings on in-flight purchases, first checked bag free, preferred boarding privileges, no foreign-transaction fee, Citi Price Rewind, lost-baggage protection, damage and theft purchase protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, travel and emergency assistance, Apple Pay

Rewards Rating:
4 rating
4 rating
4 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.5
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.6
Rewards Flexibility: 3.6
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

This premium airline card offers a generous sign-up bonus in the card’s first year and some modest perks for frequent American Airlines passengers; but unless you’re a heavy traveler, you could have a hard time justifying the card’s annual fee after the first year.

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Rewards Rate

  • 2:1 American Airlines purchases
  • 1:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
30,000 miles if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$95, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$520

APR
16.49-24.49% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Good award levels domestically, and to Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America
  • 10% of redeemed miles back, up to 10,000 each calendar year
  • Quarterly 7,500-mile discounts for select destinations
  • Off-peak discounts for some itineraries

Cons

  • Restrictive routing rules impact the ability to redeem awards to faraway destinations
  • High fees for most award changes

Other Notable Features: 25% savings on in-flight purchases, first checked bag free, preferred boarding privileges, no foreign-transaction fee, Citi Price Rewind, lost-baggage protection, damage and theft purchase protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, travel and emergency assistance, Apple Pay

Travel Rating:
4.2 rating
4.2 rating
4.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.5
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.7
Rewards Flexibility: 4.1
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

Cardholders can go far with the AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard thanks to the high value of AAdvantage miles and a vast flight network, though you’ll have to navigate some restrictive routing rules to book  a rewards flight.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 2:1 American Airlines purchases
  • 1:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
30,000 miles if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$95, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$520

APR
16.49-24.49% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Good award levels domestically, and to Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America
  • 10% of redeemed miles back, up to 10,000 each calendar year
  • Quarterly 7,500-mile discounts for select destinations
  • Off-peak discounts for some itineraries

Cons

  • Restrictive routing rules impact the ability to redeem awards to faraway destinations
  • High fees for most award changes

Other Notable Features: 25% savings on in-flight purchases, first checked bag free, preferred boarding privileges, no foreign-transaction fee, Citi Price Rewind, lost-baggage protection, damage and theft purchase protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, travel and emergency assistance, Apple Pay

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Earning frequent flier miles is getting harder than ever, as airlines are less inclined to offer a free flight when their planes are full of paying customers. When actual flying gets you fewer and fewer miles, alternative means of earning miles can bring you closer to that coveted award ticket. The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard can be a great tool for stocking up on rewards points. With its generous sign-up bonus, no annual fee for the first year, decent earning scheme and variety of valuable perks, your mileage account will get a large boost, and your wallet a well-needed respite from some pesky, annoying fees.

30,000-mile sign-up bonus

The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard offers 30,000 miles just for signing up and meeting the $1,000 spend threshold in the first three months. This is a large sign-up bonus and is enough to earn you a free trip in the first year of membership. You can travel twice across the country or once across the ocean (during off-peak times) with your 30,000 miles.

Lower-than-average rewards rate

You earn 2 AAdvantage miles for every dollar spent on AA purchases and 1 mile on everything else. While this is pretty average for an airline card, many general travel rewards cards offer higher overall rewards rates, as well as greater opportunities for earning extra points by providing more comprehensive bonus categories, such as double points on entertainment, dining and gas purchases. If you are a frequent flier on American Airlines and make many purchases with the airline, this card may make sense for you. However, if you don’t care what airline you use, you can do better with some other cards, at least for regular domestic awards.

Mileage rebate

The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard also entitles you to receive 10 percent of your miles back every calendar year, up to 10,000 miles. By our estimates, this equates to another $200 in value each year just for earning and redeeming rewards. The rebate is automatic for as long as you carry the card.

A higher annual fee might be justified

Compared to most other travel cards, the $95 annual fee might seem a little higher than usual. However, if you fly American regularly, you will likely find the fee justified. Aside from a generous sign-up bonus, you also get up to five free checked bags per flight and other goodies that can land you a little profit despite the fee. Besides, the annual fee is waived for the first year, so you can cancel the card at the end of the card membership year and owe nothing.

Off-peak awards

Most of American Airlines off-peak awards are going to be removed this year, but one will remain: 22,500 miles for a one-way flight from the continental U.S. to Europe. This shaves 15,000 miles off of the regular round-trip rate (60,000 miles) for travel to Europe between Jan. 10 – March 14 and Nov. 1 – Dec. 14.

Reduced-mileage awards

Although destinations are limited, you can find some good deals with American AAdvantage’s reduced-mileage awards. You can save 3,750 miles on a one-way domestic flight (the regular rate is 12,500 miles) or 7,500 miles on a round-trip domestic flight (the regular rate is 25,000 miles).

Less flexible than a general rewards card

Like most frequent flier programs, American AAdvantage comes with a lot of fine print, including some restrictive routing rules, and some quirks with rewards booking that can require patience, time and research to navigate. If you are not committed to flying with American Airlines, you might find better flexibility with other travel credit card programs, where you can redeem miles on any airline you want. While award availability in economy class has generally improved on American Airlines and its partners over the last few years, you will have more options when you can choose any airline to fly to your destination.

More perks

The card does come with some good perks for American Airlines customers. In addition to the 10 percent mileage rebate, baggage waiver and special quarterly 7,500-mile discounts mentioned above, card members also get preferred boarding on domestic flights and a 25 percent discount on in-flight purchases. Note: American Airlines recently downgraded boarding status for its Platinum Select World Elite card members. Cardholders, who were previously in priority boarding groups 1 and 2, have been moved down to boarding group 5.

Why get it:

  • American Airlines is your primary airline, or you’re considering switching to using the airline often.
  • You want to maximize the opportunity to earn AAdvantage miles.
  • You want the savings offered by the card, such as a free checked bag.
  • You like the extra features offered by Mastercard.

How to use it:

  • Always make American Airlines purchases with your Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard to take advantage of the 2 miles per dollar bonus rate.
  • Use the card abroad without racking up extra charges, since there is no foreign-transaction fee.
  • Aim to redeem awards seats at the lowest “saver” level. All other types of awards are overpriced.

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