Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select card review: A solid welcome bonus and benefits like a free checked bag can save you lots of money

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Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Citi Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

You’ll also earn American Airlines miles for your everyday spending, including 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and at restaurants and gas stations, and 1x miles everywhere else. And when you use your card for eligible American Airlines inflight purchases, you’ll get a 25% discount in the form of a statement credit.

Plus, if you spend $20,000 or more on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® in a cardmember year, you’ll receive a $125 American Airlines flight discount certificate, valid for travel on American Airlines (including codeshares) and oneworld partner flights.

Note that you won’t be eligible for the bonus on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® if you’ve received a new cardholder bonus on the same card in the past 48 months.

Bottom line: The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is an excellent choice for people who like to fly American Airlines and earn miles in the AAdvantage loyalty program. The annual fee is $99, waived for first 12 months, so for the first year it doesn’t cost anything to have the card — but even after that, the value you’ll get from the card’s perks can offset the annual fee many times over.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Comparison: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select vs other Citi American Airlines cards

 Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Annual fee$99, waived for first 12 months$99, waived for first 12 months$450
Rewards rate

2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases

2x miles at eligible restaurants and gas stations 

1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases

2x miles on eligible purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants, and gas stations

1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases

1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

Admirals Club membership

Welcome bonus50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
Foreign transaction feeNoNoNo
 Learn moreLearn moreLearn more

Comparison: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select vs other airline credit cards

 Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®United℠ Explorer CardDelta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Annual fee$99, waived for first 12 months$95, waived first year$99, waived for the first year(See Rates)
Rewards rate

2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases

2x miles at eligible restaurants and gas stations 

1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

2x miles on eligible United purchases

2x miles on restaurant/delivery service purchases, and hotel stays booked directly with the hotel

1 mile per dollar on everything else

2x miles on eligible Delta purchases

2x miles at US supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide

1 mile per dollar on everything else

Welcome bonus50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
Foreign transaction feeNoNoNo
 Learn moreLearn moreLearn more

How to use American Airlines miles from the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card

American Airlines is one of the few US airlines to still publish a region-based award chart. However, the number of miles required for an award ticket will depend on if there are seats available at the MileSAAver rate (the cheapest standard award) or only at more-expensive AAnytime prices, which can be more than double the saver award level. 

You could also score a deeper discount if your route or date is included in American Airlines’ periodic Web Specials, which can sometimes shave thousands of miles off the price of a standard ticket. Holders of certain American Airlines credit cards (including the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®) are eligible for a 7,500-mile discount on round-trip domestic tickets (2,000-mile discount for flights under 500 miles distance) through the carrier’s monthly Reduced Mileage Awards.

Quick tip: Check out our guide to maximizing American Airlines AAdvantage to find out the best ways to earn and redeem AA miles.

Even if you don’t fly American Airlines, there’s a ton of value to be had from AA miles. Because American Airlines is part of the oneworld alliance, you can redeem AAdvantage miles for award tickets on any of these oneworld partners:

  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

Another option is to use American Airlines miles for flights on the carrier’s non-alliance partners, which include Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air (soon to be a oneworld member), Air Tahiti Nui, Cape Air, China Southern Airlines, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, GOL Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines (except for flights between the mainland US and Hawaii), and Seaborne Virgin Islands. 

Other options for redeeming American Airlines miles (most of which aren’t the best value) include car rentals, hotels, vacation packages, seat upgrades, Admirals Club airport lounge memberships, merchandise, gift cards, and charity donations.

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card benefits and features

Along with the solid welcome bonus and earning on everyday spending, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® comes with benefits that can save you money and hassle when you fly American Airlines, and a discount if you spend $20,000 or more on the card each year.

Free first checked bag

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® cardholders get a free first checked bag — for themselves and up to four others traveling on the same reservation — on American Airlines domestic itineraries (US mainland, Hawaii, Canada, US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico). American Airlines normally charges $30 for the first checked bag on these routes, so on a round-trip itinerary, you could save $60 (or much more if you have companions with you).

Unlike some other airline cards, like the United℠ Explorer Card, you don’t have to use the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® to pay for your ticket in order to receive a complimentary first checked bag. As long as your card has been open for at least seven days, and the AAdvantage frequent flyer number associated with your card is attached to your reservation at least seven days before departure, you’re good to go.

Even if you only travel American Airlines occasionally, having the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® can translate into big savings on checked bag fees, especially for couples or families.

Preferred boarding

The struggle to find overhead bin space nowadays is real, and getting on the plane sooner can make the difference between finding a spot for your carry-on or having to put it in the baggage hold. With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, you’ll get preferred (Group 5 boarding), which means you’ll have a better shot at storing your belongings in the cabin.

Group 5 passengers board right after elite flyers, first- and business-class travelers, and those who’ve paid extra for priority boarding or who have the premium Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. You’ll get on the plane at the same time as passengers who’ve paid more for Main Cabin Extra seats, and before the rest of economy class. 

American Airlines $125 flight discount

Each card anniversary year in which you spend $20,000 or more, you’ll earn a $125 American Airlines flight discount certificate. Your discount code will come via email 8-12 weeks after renewing your card, and it’s valid for flights on American Airlines (and flights marketed by American Airlines on regional carriers Compass Airlines, Envoy Air, Republic Airways, SkyWest Airlines, Mesa Airlines, PSA Airlines, and Piedmont Airlines), as well as oneworld partners.

The flight discount certificate is valid for one year from the date it’s issued, but keep in mind it can only be applied to itineraries that originate in the US, Puerto Rico, or US Virgin Islands.

American Airlines 25% inflight discount

When you use your Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® for eligible onboard purchases like food or alcoholic beverages, you’ll get a 25% discount in the form of a statement credit. The discount is valid on American Airlines flights, plus American Airlines-marketed flights on Compass Airlines, Envoy Air, Republic Airways, SkyWest Airlines, Mesa Airlines, PSA Airlines, and Piedmont Airlines.

The credit should appear on your statement 8-10 weeks after your purchase. One important thing to note is that inflight Wi-Fi purchases (which aren’t processed by American Airlines) aren’t eligible for the discount.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Citi Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® annual fee is $99, waived for first 12 months, so you won’t have to worry about an additional cost in the first year of having the card. That said, the ongoing benefits can make the card worth keeping for the long term, as you can get a value that far exceeds the annual fee, especially if you fly American Airlines often.

The card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, which makes it a good choice for international travel. Like other cards, you will pay fees for balance transfers, cash advances, and late or returned payments.

Jasmin Baron is an associate editor at Personal Finance Insider, where she helps readers maximize rewards and find the best credit cards to fit their lifestyles.

Citi Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit CardChase Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.

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