Citi is an advertising partner of OMAAT
Airline credit cards are among the most popular types of credit cards out there. Many people may be loyal to an airline because of where they live or their travel patterns, and picking up a co-branded airline credit card seems like the most logical way to extend that relationship.
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card basics for March 2020
American Airlines credit cards are issued by both Citi and Barclays, and in this post, I wanted to look at the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, which is one of American’s most popular credit cards.
This card has a big welcome bonus, an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, and offers some useful perks if you frequently fly American. So, who should be considering applying for this card? Let’s break it down, point by point.
Earn 50,000 Miles
The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card is offering a bonus of 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months. That’s a pretty reasonable spending requirement.
I value American miles at ~1.4 cents each, so to me those 50,000 miles are worth about $700.
Note that the bonus miles aren’t available to those who have received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 48 months (however, you are eligible if you’ve had a different American Airlines credit card).
Then there are the typical rules for Citi credit card applications, which includes that you can apply for at most one card with them every eight days, and at most two cards every 65 days.
Redeem American miles for Etihad’s 787 business class
$99 Annual Fee, Waived The First 12 Months
The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card has a $99 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first 12 months. This is a great way to try the card before you have to really pay for it.
You can also add authorized users to the card at no extra cost.
When it comes to actually spending money on the card, the card does have a few bonus categories:
- Earn 2x AAdvantage miles at gas stations (the best credit cards for gas stations)
- Earn 2x AAdvantage miles at restaurants (the best credit cards for restaurants)
- Earn 2x AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
- Earn 1x AAdvantage miles on all other purchases (the best credit cards for everyday spending)
There are no limits to how many miles you can earn with this card.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
The card has no foreign transaction fees, so this can be a good option for purchases you make abroad.
Use this card for purchases abroad and pay no foreign transaction fees
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card Benefits
In addition to the great welcome bonus, there are some other reasons to get the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card, which could cover the annual fee over and over. Unfortunately, I don’t consider the benefits to be quite as strong as some other airline cards.
So here’s what you need to know about all the perks offered by this card:
First Checked Bag Free
Receive a first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation. There’s no need to actually pay for the ticket with your card, you just have to make sure it’s linked to your AAdvantage account.
American ordinarily charge $30 for the first checked bag, so that’s a $60 value per person roundtrip (and if you had four companions all checking a bag, that would be a value of $300).
$125 American Airlines Flight Discount
You can receive a $125 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 or more on purchases during your anniversary year and renew your card. Personally, I don’t think this is worth it, since I think there are better credit cards on which to spend $20,000.
World Elite Mastercard Perks
This is a World Elite Mastercard, meaning that it comes with quite a few benefits you may not be familiar with. For example, Mastercard World Elite cardholders receive:
- A $10 Lyft credit after every five rides taken in a calendar month
- $5 off every Postmates order of $25 or more
Is The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card Worth It?
The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card offers a good welcome bonus with the annual fee waived for the first year. Furthermore, the first checked bag free benefit could more than justify the annual fee after the first year for many.
However, this isn’t a credit card I’d be using for my everyday spending, as there are so many more rewarding options out there. So let’s take a closer look at a few things — how does this card compare to American’s no annual fee card, which cards should you be using for your everyday spending, etc.?
What About The No Annual Fee AAdvantage MileUp Card?
There’s also the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, which has no annual fee and offers some potentially valuable benefits, like 2x miles on supermarket purchases, and a 25% savings on inflight food & beverage purchases.
However, I’d still highly recommend applying for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card. Why?
- The card’s $99 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months
- The card has a much larger welcome bonus
- If after a year you decide the card isn’t right for you, you should be able to downgrade to the MileUp Card, so you can get a no annual fee option long term
What Cards Should You Be Spending Money On?
In general, I don’t think the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card is a great option for everyday spending. So depending on whether you want to earn cash back or rewards, I think a few of the otherwise most compelling cards include the following:
- The no annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase; read a full review here
- The $95 annual fee Chase Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers an incredible welcome bonus, 2x points on dining and travel, flexible points, and much more; read a full review here
- The $95 annual fee (waived the first year) Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers 2x Venture miles per dollar spent, which can either be redeemed for a cent each towards travel purchases, or can be transferred to airline partners; read a full review here
AAdvantage Platinum Card Summary
The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card offers a good welcome bonus with an annual fee that’s waived for the first year. The card also offers some potentially valuable perks, like a first checked bag free on American itineraries, which can quickly cover the annual fee.
However, long term this isn’t a card that I would be spending much money on, as there are better options out there.
You can always get this card and then after a year decide if you want to keep it, or downgrade to the no annual fee AAdvantage MileUp Card.