How to Maximize the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Take advantage of the discounts on award flights to get the most out of the miles earned with this card.

JT GenterNovember 4, 2020
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How to get the most from the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

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The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® comes with more benefits than the $0-annual-fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card while offering a more affordable option than the $450 annual fee of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. For the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you’ll pay $0 intro for the first year, then $99 per year after that.

If you have or are considering the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, here’s how to get the most out of it.

Earn the welcome bonus miles

New cardholders can earn a generous welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That’s a nice haul of points worth several hundred dollars.

Use the free checked bag and in-flight food and drink discount

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® holders can check their first bag for free when flying on domestic American Airlines flights. Up to four companions traveling on the same reservation will also get their first checked bag free. AA’s first checked bag fee is $30 for domestic flights each way. That means you can save up to $150 on a single one-way flight.

Onboard you’ll save 25% on food and beverage purchases charged to your card in the form of a statement credit. That can make opting for a can of beer or a glass of wine onboard a bit more affordable. Unfortunately, the 25% savings doesn’t apply to Wi-Fi purchases. If you’re interested in saving money on American Airlines in-flight Wi-Fi and you’re also a business owner, look at the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, which gives you 25% off in-flight Wi-Fi purchases.

Board your flight sooner

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® customers get preferred boarding when flying on American Airlines. You’ll board before the rest of economy class, so there should still be plenty of overhead bin space for your carry-on bag. Up to four travel companions booked on the same reservation board early with you.

Earn American miles using the card

Cardholders earn 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at gas stations and restaurants and on eligible American Airlines purchases. All other purchases will earn 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent.

As a temporary measure due to the coronavirus, cardholders can also spend their way to AAdvantage Million Miler status. Every $1 in credit card spending that posts to your AAdvantage account through Dec. 31, 2020, will count as 1 mile toward Million Miler status.

Earn an American Airlines flight discount

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® customers who spend $20,000 on the card in a year will earn a $125 American Airlines flight discount. To receive the flight discount, you must renew your account for another year by paying the annual fee.

Look for deals when you redeem AAdvantage miles for flights

To get the most of card membership, learn how to redeem the miles you earn for the best value. Your AAdvantage miles go furthest when you redeem them for flights on American Airlines and its 22 partner airlines.

Save miles with Web Specials

Normally, a cross-country flight on American Airlines starts at 12,500 AAdvantage miles each way. But Web Special awards, which are available for some itineraries, amount to a nice discount. For example, you can find Web Special awards for just 10,000 miles each way from coast to coast.

Or, you may find business class Web Specials for just 20,000 miles each way across the country. The standard rate for these lie-flat business class awards is 32,500 miles each way.

Photo courtesy of JT Genter

Book cardmember-only Reduced Mileage Awards

Even better, you can book domestic award flights for as few as 6,500 miles each way with American Airlines’ Reduced Mileage Awards, which offer special limited-time discounts on the number of miles you need for flights to select destinations. These deals are available only to certain cardholders, and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is eligible for the maximum discount of up to 3,750 miles each way off MileSAAver flights.

To book a Reduced Mileage Award, first check the American Airlines list of destinations offering the discount in the coming months. Then search online to find a MileSAAver award seat you want to book, and call the airline to get the Reduced Mileage Award discount. It’s worth the hassle to get domestic flights for 8,750 miles each way or just 6,500 miles each way for nonstops less than 500 miles in distance.

Use your miles to fly on American’s partner airlines

As part of the Oneworld alliance, American Airlines partners with a dozen airlines — from Cathay Pacific to Qatar Airways — whose flights you can book with AAdvantage miles. Some of these redemptions offer great value. Here’s a look at two of these “sweet spots.”

One of the most luxurious business class experiences in the sky, Qatar Qsuites offer lie-flat beds and lots of privacy, and you can book them with your AAdvantage miles. For example, fly in one of these incredible suites from Los Angeles to Johannesburg for just 75,000 miles and $15.70 out of pocket, if you time your trip right.

Or, you can splurge for Cathay Pacific first class from New York-JFK to Hong Kong — or beyond — for 110,000 miles each way. Considering this flight costs more than $11,700 one-way, you’re getting over 10 cents per mile of value on a once-a-lifetime type of redemption.

The best of the rest

Other perks of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® include:

  • No foreign transaction fees: Avoid fees of up to 3% other credit cards charge when you make overseas purchases.

  • Contactless pay: Use the card to tap to pay, or add your card to your digital wallet to pay without having to swipe or dip the chip.

  • No authorized user fees: Add your spouse or family member as an authorized user. There’s no fee for doing so.

  • Earn credits for Lyft rides: Charge five Lyft rides to your card in a month to earn a $15 Lyft credit.

  • Get cell phone protection: By paying for your cell phone bill with your card, you’ll automatically get cell phone theft and damage protection.

  • Save 10% on Onefinestay rental homes: Use your card to book Onefinestay home and villa rentals to save 10%.

  • Earn 5% rewards from Boxed: Make Boxed purchases with your card to earn 5% Boxed Cash Rewards.

  • Free ShopRunner membership: Get free two-day shipping and free return shipping from over 100 online retailers through a free ShopRunner membership.

The bottom line

To get the most from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, learn about its many benefits, like 2x miles on American flights, gas stations and dining. The free first checked bag, preferred boarding and in-flight savings help you stretch the value even further. Plus, you can spend your way to a $125 flight discount.

And don’t forget about the nontravel benefits. From free shipping with online purchases and savings on Lyft to cell phone protection, there’s no shortage of ways to get value from this card.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

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