|Rewards Rating:||4.1 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||2.4|
|Issuer Customer Experience||3.3|
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.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
Citi Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: 25% savings on in-flight purchases, first checked bag free, preferred boarding privileges, no foreign transaction fee, damage and theft purchase protection, Apple Pay
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is a popular airline credit card that lets you earn miles you can use with American Airlines as well as partners in the oneworld® alliance. Because this frequent flyer program is so broad in scope, you can redeem rewards earned in the American AAdvantage program to book flights to over 1,000 destinations in more than 150 countries worldwide.
If you’re thinking about signing up, keep reading to learn about this card’s main benefits.
The AAdvantage Platinum Select card gives you 50,000 miles after you sign up and spend $2,500 on your card within three months of account opening. That’s less than $1,000 per month in spending for three months in a row to reach the threshold, which seems attainable if you can use your card for groceries, bills and ongoing expenses. AAdvantage miles are especially valuable — worth around 1.9 cents per mile by our current estimates. When used the right way, this bonus can score you around $950 in airfare with American Airlines.
Once you have the AAdvantage Platinum Select card, you can use it for all your regular purchases to rack up miles over time. Not only will you rack up 2 miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, restaurant purchases, and gas purchases, but you’ll also earn 1 mile per $1 on everything else you buy.
This 2:1 earning structure is pretty standard among co-branded airline credit cards, but you could still maximize your earnings by using your card for as many purchases as you can throughout the year.
What are American AAdvantage miles worth?
One factor that’s difficult to gauge is how much American AAdvantage miles are worth. This is partly due to the fact miles can be worth different amounts depending on the specific redemptions you make, but it’s also because the American AAdvantage program may soon transition away from fixed award charts and toward a dynamic award pricing model.
Still, our valuations suggest that each dollar you spend with this card gives you 2.53 cents in return. That’s better than you’ll get with most other airline and travel credit cards, although valuations are never guaranteed since they fluctuate wildly based on how you redeem your miles.
American’s flight network really gives it an edge over some other airline loyalty programs. While you can redeem your miles for flights with American Airlines, keep in mind that they also partner with 23 other airlines you can utilize to maximize your miles. Some of their most popular partners include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, LATAM and Alaska Airlines.
Now comes the tricky part. Rumor has it that American Airlines is transitioning toward dynamic award pricing. This means they may eventually price awards like Delta, Air France/Flying Blue and others, where award prices can vary dramatically depending on travel dates and anticipated demand.
Currently, however, American is still publishing an award chart, and the sweeping changes are pure speculation. As such, it’s important to note that — at least for now — there are a few ways to stretch your miles further.
MileSAAver awards, for example, offer the best value for consumers who can be flexible with their travel dates and times. These redemptions start at just 7,500 miles one-way within the United States, although the lowest rates are for economy fares.
The downside of MileSAAver awards is the fact that they aren’t always readily available — particularly if you’re hoping to book a specific flight on a set date.
AAnytime awards are a more expensive alternative to MileSAAver awards, although they are offered at greater frequency and are much easier to secure. If a seat is available on a flight, you should be able to book it with miles using an AAnytime award. The chart below shows the approximate value you’ll get when you redeem miles for various awards with the American AAdvantage program.
|Value (in cents)|
There are several rules to be aware of when it comes to using your miles for flights with the American program. For example:
- American Airlines doesn’t tack on fuel surcharges to their flights, but their partners often do.
- You can hold reservations more than 14 days away for up to five days at no cost. If a flight is one to 14 days away, you can hold it for up to one day.
- There is no online booking fee for flights made at least 21 days in advance. After that, it’s $75 unless you have Gold elite status or higher.
- There’s a $150 ticket change fee if you change the origin or destination on a MileSAAver award.
- Cancellation fees for awards are charged in the amount of $150 for the first cancellation and $25 for each individual ticket thereafter.
Also note that the American AAdvantage program lets you redeem miles for more than just flights. The following chart shows approximately how much value you should expect to receive with their various redemption options.
|Mile value (in cents)|
|Admirals Club membership||0.7|
|Magazine and newspaper subscriptions||2.5|
|LifeLock identity theft protection||2.4|
Reduced mileage awards
If you have an American Airlines credit card, you can also qualify for their reduced mileage awards. These award fares can help you save up to 7,500 miles on flights over 500 miles within the U.S. and up to 2,000 miles on domestic flights of less than 500 miles.
Your savings depends on which co-branded American Airlines credit card you have. With the AAdvantage Platinum Select card, you can qualify for the largest discounts available through this program.
|Tip: Availability changes monthly for reduced mileage awards, so be sure to check in frequently to see if your chosen destination is available for the time you want to book.|
Free checked bag
One of the most important benefits of this card is the fact you qualify for a free checked bag for you and up to four companions traveling on your itinerary on domestic American Airlines flights. That’s a savings of for a family of four, which makes this card even more valuable if you fly with American often.
In addition to a free checked bag, this card comes with other valuable benefits that make keeping it worthwhile. Those include:
- Preferred boarding: Board your plane and get settled in your seat early with this perk.
- In-flight savings: Receive 25 percent off in-flight purchases when you pay with your credit card.
- No foreign transaction fees: Make purchases with this card anywhere in the world without paying extra for the privilege.
- EMV chip technology: This technology makes your transactions safer at chip-enabled terminals around the globe.
The AAdvantage Platinum Select card is offered by Citi. This means you’ll become a Citi customer and receive customer service help from Citi representatives.
While Citi isn’t the lowest performing credit card issuer, the bank only snagged the sixth spot in J.D. Power’s 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. This puts Citi in the middle of the pack, but behind powerhouse card issuers like Discover, American Express and Chase.
Fortunately, Citi doesn’t shy away from customer service. They offer 24/7 phone customer service as well as online chat and secure messaging.
To be approved for the AAdvantage Platinum Select card, you’ll need good to excellent credit (a credit score of 670-850). If your credit isn’t up to par, it’s smart to look for easy ways to boost your FICO score. For example, you should make sure all your bills are paid early or on time, pay down your debts to lower your credit utilization and refrain from opening or closing too many accounts.
How does the AAdvantage Platinum Select card compare to other cards?
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
UnitedSM Explorer Card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
|Sign-up bonus||Introductory bonus|
$95, $0 first year
$99, $0 first year
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
If you want to earn points that are good for more than one airline, consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This card awards you with 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. Plus, you’ll earn 3 points per $1 on travel and dining and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
On the redemption side, you can cash in your points for gift cards, statement credits, merchandise or travel. If you redeem points for travel through the Chase portal, you’ll even get 50 percent more travel for free. Better yet, you can transfer your points 1:1 to popular partners like United MileagePlus, Southwest, British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.
There’s a $550 annual fee, but you get lucrative benefits like a $300 annual travel credit, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and a Priority Pass Select membership.
The United Explorer Card starts off by offering you 40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 on your card within three months of account opening, plus an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first six months. As you use your card for everyday purchases, you’ll also earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United Airlines purchases, hotel stays, and restaurant purchases and 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else. Other perks you’ll receive include up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit and a free checked bag for you and a companion when you fly with United. There’s a $95 annual fee, but you don’t have to pay it for the first 12 months.
For a limited time, the Delta SkyMiles Gold card lets you earn 70,000 bonus miles after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within your first 3 months (offer expires 4/28/21). Cardholder perks you’ll receive include a free checked bag on Delta flights, priority boarding and more.
Who should get the AAdvantage Platinum Select card?
- Frequent flyers who love to book flights with American and their partner airlines.
- American Airlines enthusiasts who want to get a free checked bag, priority boarding and other perks.
- Anyone who wants to earn airline miles for each dollar they spend.
- Someone who wants to earn airline miles instead of flexible travel points.
How to use the AAdvantage Platinum Select card
- Use your card for all your regular purchases, but particularly for eligible flights with the airline, gas and restaurant purchases since you earn 2 miles for each dollar you spend.
- Use your credit card when you shop through the American AAdvantage shopping portal in order to double dip on rewards.
- Use your credit card in conjunction with the American AAdvantage dining program in order to earn even more miles when you dine out at participating restaurants.
- Check in frequently on reduced mileage award options in order to stretch your miles as far as they can go.
Is the AAdvantage Platinum Select card worth it?
If you fly with American Airlines, it makes sense to pick up the AAdvantage Platinum Select card. Not only can you earn a big initial sign-up bonus, but you can also earn miles for each dollar you spend on the card.
Still, it can make sense to compare this card to other airline credit cards as well as travel credit cards that let you redeem your points or miles in more than one way. You may find you’re better off with a different travel credit card altogether, or you may wind up pairing the AAdvantage Platinum Select card with a different card that features its own unique set of benefits.
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