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I have close to a dozen rewards credit cards, many of them offering high-end benefits like lounge access, travel credits and elite benefits. So when I tell people I’ve had a Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® for several years, I sometimes get a puzzled look. It’s a standard airline rewards card, and people want to know what makes it “special” enough for me to keep long-term. To answer that question, here are five reasons why I love my Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®:
Generous welcome bonus
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® consistently offers welcome bonuses in excess of 50,000 miles. I’ve periodically received targeted offers of 75,000 miles in the mail. At the moment, you can earn enough miles from the welcome bonus to cover at least two round-trip economy class tickets within the U.S.: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
A generous credit card welcome bonus is a great incentive to apply for a credit card, but ultimately it’s the recurring benefits that help justify paying the $0 intro for the first year, then $99 annual fee.
Free checked bags
The free checked bag benefit on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is another reason why I love this card. Whether it’s a weekend hop or two-week trip to Europe, I only ever travel with a single carry-on bag everywhere I go.
That being said, I don’t like hauling my bag into the overhead bin or boarding late and having to store my bag several rows behind me. If I’m on a lengthy trip with several stopovers, dragging my bag around for long periods of time can get tiring. So I often check my carry-on bag, and the free checked bag benefit helps me avoid baggage fees on American Airlines.
I get at least a few hundred dollars in savings from this benefit every year. When I’m traveling with family, it’s even more useful since up to four additional passengers on the same reservation also get their first checked bag free.
$125 flight discount
Cardholders who spend at least $20,000 per cardmember year receive a $125 flight discount. This benefit is very attainable at roughly $1,667 per month and I’ve had no issues earning it every year.
Not only does the $125 flight discount offset the card’s $0 intro for the first year, then $99 annual fee completely, it helps me come out ahead. This is a huge reason why I get so much value out of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®.
25% in-flight discount on food and beverages
In-flight food on domestic American Airlines flight isn’t exactly gourmet (or, some would argue, food), but it’s nice to grab a snack pack on a long flight when I’m not able to eat something more substantial at the airport. With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, those inflated prices for in-flight snacks are easier to stomach, thanks to a 25% discount.
Wide-ranging redemption options
Hands down, my favorite feature of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is that it earns me valuable AAdvantage miles. I do a lot of credit card spending through side hustles and am able to earn hundreds of thousands of AAdvantage miles with this card every year. Most recently, I covered a business class flight to the Maldives on Etihad Airways with these miles.
With a vast partner network, including airlines like Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Japan Airlines, AAdvantage miles offer lots of great redemption options worldwide. The usefulness of AAdvantage miles and my ability to earn them quickly with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is why I love this card and keep it long-term.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card