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Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard review

Published: October 26, 2018

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Published: October 26, 2018

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Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 5.0
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.3
Rewards Flexibility: 3.6
Features: 3.0

In a Nutshell:

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

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 2 miles per dollar on gas station and restaurant purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar on other purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • 40,000 miles if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
  • 10,000 additional miles if you spend $6,000 total in first 12 months

Annual Bonus

  • Earn 10% of your redeemed miles back each year
  • Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount each year you spend $20,000 and renew your card membership

Annual Fee
$99; $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$736

APR
17.99-25.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Miles don’t expire as long as you earn or redeem miles every 18 months
  • No limit on the number of miles you can earn
  • Free online redemption
  • Wide network of airlines, including American Airlines and other oneworld Alliance airlines, and other partner airlines
  • Stretch your miles further with MileSAAver awards
  • Good award levels domestically, and to Hawaii, Mexico, Central America and northern South America
  • Quarterly 7,500-mile discounts for select destinations
  • Off-peak discounts for some itineraries

Cons

  • Blackout dates on some awards
  • MileSAAver awards are capacity-controlled and can be hard to find in the flight schedule
  • AAnytime awards, which are not capacity-controlled, are very expensive
  • Restrictive routing rules impact the ability to redeem awards to faraway destinations
  • High fees for most award changes
  • Fee for phone award booking
  • Travel on many partner airlines can’t be redeemed online

Flight Options

  • Airline partners: 23
  • 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

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 World Elite 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.

50,000-mile sign-up bonus

The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard currently offers up to 50,000 bonus miles in the first year. You can earn 40,000 miles when you spend $2,000 on your card in the first three months and an additional 10,000 miles if you spend $6,000 total in the first 12 months of card ownership. This is a slightly steeper spending requirement than usual, but at least you have a large amount of time to meet the full requirement, not to to mention the bonus is extremely valuable: 50,000 miles is enough to earn you a free trip (or two) in the first year of membership. You can travel twice across the country or once across the ocean (during off-peak times) with your 50,000 miles.

Excellent earning rate

When it comes to opportunities to earn bonus points, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard has a little more to offer than the average airline card. On top of the 2 miles that you earn on every American Airlines purchase, you get 2 miles per dollar on restaurant and gas purchases – two very lucrative categories – and 1 mile per dollar on the remainder of your purchases. Since AAdvantage miles are very valuable (we estimate around 1.9 cents per mile), you can earn lot of value on your everyday spending by using the AAdvantage Platinum Select card as your go-to card.

Mileage rebate

The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite 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 $190 in value each year just for earning and redeeming rewards. The rebate is automatic for as long as you carry the card.

New: Earn a yearly $100 flight discount

AAdvantage just tacked on an additional incentive to renew your membership with the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard: Each year that you spend $20,000 on the card, you will earn a $100 American Airlines Flight discount. $20,000 is a very steep threshold to meet each year, but if you can muster this level of spending, you will find that it’s a valuable perk. Contrary to what you may infer from the word “flight discount,” the $100 certificate doesn’t apply to incidentals, but rather is a discount off the purchase of airfare with American Airlines or any of its oneworld partners. Basically, you get a $100 more value toward flying on American Airlines each year.

A higher annual fee might be justified

Compared to most other travel cards, the $99 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.

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 the AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard?

  • 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 the AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard:

  • Always make American Airlines purchases with your Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite 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 MileSAAver level. All other types of awards are overpriced.

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