Airline credit cards are among the most popular co-brand 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. In this post I wanted to look at one of the most popular cards of the world’s largest airline.
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card Basics For November 2021
American Airlines has credit cards 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 a popular personal credit card.
This card has a nice welcome bonus, an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, and offers some useful perks if you frequently fly American. Who should be considering applying for this card? Let’s break it down, point by point.
Earn 50,000 AAdvantage Miles With Welcome Bonus
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 ~1.5 cents each, so to me those 50,000 miles are worth about $750.
Keep in mind the general restrictions on being approved for Citi cards, which include that you can apply for at most one Citi card every eight days, and at most two Citi cards every 65 days. Furthermore, 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 received a bonus on a different American Airlines credit card).
$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.
Rewards Structure For Earning AAdvantage Miles
When it comes to actually spending money on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum 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 (the best credit cards for airfare)
- 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 Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card has no foreign transaction fees, so this can be a good option for purchases you make abroad. That’s especially true if you’re spending in a category that’s eligible for bonus miles.
Earn AAdvantage Elite Status With Spending
There are major changes coming to the American AAdvantage program in 2022, as elite status qualification will start to be based on earning Loyalty Points.
Spending money on AAdvantage credit cards will earn you Loyalty Points, as you’ll earn one Loyalty Point per dollar spent. Some people might find it worthwhile to put spending on American Airlines credit cards in order to earn status, as you could even earn Executive Platinum status exclusively through credit card spending.
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card Benefits
In addition to the 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 let’s talk about the perks you should be aware of with 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 Airlines charges $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 in and of itself, since I think there are better credit cards on which to spend $20,000. However, with the card soon earning Loyalty Points, I imagine many people will feel differently.
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. With spending on the card soon also counting towards elite status, I imagine that will be a reason that many people use this card as well.
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 (review), which has no annual fee and offers some potentially valuable benefits, like 2x miles on supermarket purchases, and 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
Citi Platinum Card Comparison: Business Vs. Personal
How does the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card compare to the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® (review), aside from the obvious distinction that one is a business card and one is a personal card?
- The business version of the card has a significantly better welcome bonus
- The business version of the card offers a companion certificate after spending $30,000, while the personal version offers a $125 American flight discount after spending $20,000
- The business version of the card offers 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants, and gas stations, while the personal version of the card offers 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, gas stations, and restaurants
As you can see, the cards are very similar. Personally, I think the biggest distinction is that the business card often has a better bonus.
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 travel rewards, I think a few of the otherwise most compelling cards include the following:
- The no annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card (review) offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase
- The $95 annual fee Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) offers an incredible welcome bonus, 3x points on dining and online groceries, 2x points on travel, flexible points, and much more
- The $95 annual fee Citi Premier® Card (review) offers a huge welcome bonus, 3x points on dining, groceries, gas, hotels, and airfare, and other valuable perks
- The $395 annual fee Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) offers a massive welcome bonus, 2x miles on all purchases, and all kinds of awesome perks
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. Furthermore, starting in 2022, you’ll be able to earn AAdvantage elite status by spending money on the card.
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.