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Citi AAdvantage Credit Card: A Good Choice for Long-Distance Air Travelers

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Citi AAdvantage credit card

When it comes to air carriers, loyalty has its benefits. If you usually fly American Airlines, getting the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® will help accelerate your AAdvantage mile earnings.

Let’s take a look at some of the key features of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® to see if it’s right for you.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: Basics and benefits

With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you’ll earn 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent with American Airlines and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. Take a look at the chart below for other card essentials.

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

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

Apply Now on Citibank's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Signup benefits
    • Free checked baggage
    • Early boarding group
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees

    Cons

    • Has annual fee

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
    • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
    • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases¹
    • Receive 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
    • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
    • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*

Aside from the basics, here are a few features that really make the card shine:

Free checked bags: When you book a flight on American Airlines with your Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you’ll get free checked bags for yourself and up to four people traveling on your reservation. If you check bags on even just a couple of flights each year, this benefit could easily make up for the card’s annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95.

Reduced Mileage Award program: American Airlines grants customers with select versions of its co-branded credit cards access to its Reduced Mileage Award program, which is a terrific benefit that comes with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. By taking advantage of it, you could save 7,500 miles on certain domestic flights, with eligible destinations changing every month. You’ll have to book by phone, but this is a small inconvenience to deal with keeping more miles in the bank.

Citi benefits: Because the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is issued by Citi, you’ll get certain perks that don’t come with other co-branded cards. For example, Citi Price Rewind can help you get a better deal on an item you recently bought if you register it online and its price drops within 60 days of purchase. Citi Private Pass could help you get access to presale tickets to live events, such as concerts or sports games. While these features are by no means the most important ones that come with the card, they definitely sweeten the deal.

No foreign transaction fees: Toward the end of 2015, Citi dropped the foreign transaction fees from this card, making it a great card for overseas use.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: Pitfalls and other possibilities

Although the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers a lot of value to frequent American Airlines customers, it does have some drawbacks. For instance:

Miles can’t be transferred to Star Alliance or SkyTeam partners: American Airlines is in the Oneworld Alliance, which means you can use your AAdvantage miles with its partners. But you won’t be able to transfer them to Star Alliance member programs (including United) or SkyTeam partners (including Delta). This means that if you’re not very dedicated to flying Oneworld, there might be missed opportunities to use credit card rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • A large bonus
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Cool factor - metal card
    • Earn more points on travel and dining at restaurants
    • Premium travel protection benefits

    Cons

    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, after that $95 per year

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 16.99% - 23.99% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
    • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
    • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

For a more flexible travel credit card, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. With it, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining out and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Points can be used to book travel with nearly any airline through Chase’s travel platform, or transferred to a number of participating frequent traveler programs, including Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam partners.

Also, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card provides a hefty signup bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. It charges an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95.

Is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® right for you?

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® provides unique benefits that are hard to come by in other airline credit cards. If you’re an American Airlines diehard (or are planning to become one), this card is a worthwhile pick. Also, check out the other cards American Airlines offers to see if another one fits you better.

Last updated October 5, 2015.

Lindsay Konsko is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: lindsay@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lkonsko.


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