Editorial Review

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card Review: Worth the Fee for Airline Loyalists

This card earns double miles on American Airlines purchases and at gas stations and restaurants, and it makes flying less of a hassle with a free checked bag benefit and other perks.

Gregory KarpOctober 21, 2019

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

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Our Take

3.9

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: This is a cost-effective pick for travelers who fly American Airlines regularly.

Citibank AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard Credit Card

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

Annual Fee

$99, waived for first 12 months*

Regular APR

17.99% - 25.99%* Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$99, waived for first 12 months*
Annual Fee
$99, waived for first 12 months*
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Free checked bag

  • Preferred boarding

Cons
  • Has annual fee

  • Best for frequent American Airlines flyers only

Alternate Pick: Flexible rewards

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Use rewards to pay for any travel expense

If you spread your flying among multiple airlines, you're probably better off with a general travel card. This card gives you 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles can be redeemed at 1 cent apiece for statement credit against any travel expense. There's a great sign-up bonus, too. Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Citibank AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard Credit Card

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

Annual Fee

$99, waived for first 12 months*

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

17.99% - 25.99%* Variable APR

Regular APR

16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

If you're an American Airlines loyalist, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® can provide benefits to easily offset its annual fee.

The card offers free first checked bags for you and up to four people on your reservation, a benefit that could be worth hundreds of dollars if you use it often. It also comes with a good sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening* (This offer is no longer available on our site). And notably, it gives double the frequent flyer miles on purchases at restaurants and gas stations, making it an easier choice to use as an everyday credit card, instead of one used only occasionally for its airline benefits.

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

Card type: Airline.

Annual fee: $99, waived for first 12 months*

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening* (This offer is no longer available on our site)

Rewards:

  • 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent with American Airlines.

  • 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at restaurants and gas stations.

  • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.

  • AAdvantage miles are worth an average of 1 cent each for domestic travel, according to NerdWallet valuations.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 17.99% - 25.99% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other perks:

  • First checked bag free for you and four companions on your reservation.

  • $125 American Airlines flight discount after $20,000 in purchases within a year and after the card is renewed.

  • Early boarding when flying with American Airlines.

  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights.

  • Access to American’s Reduced Mileage Award program: If you use frequent flyer miles to book certain round-trip domestic MileSAAver award flights, you can get a discount of 7,500 miles on longer flights or 2,000 miles on shorter ones.

Where the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® shines

Free Checked bags

With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you’ll get a first checked bag free for you and four companions on your reservation. That saves you $30 per person each way, or up to $300 on a round-trip flight for you and traveling partners. Assuming you would have otherwise paid to check bags, this could quickly justify the annual fee.

One important note: You must include your frequent flyer number on your reservation to get the checked-bag fee waiver.

Early boarding

If you typically don’t check bags, you might find that the early boarding perk that comes with the card can be beneficial. You're more likely to find space in the overhead bin for your carry-on if you can board the plane earlier, in a lower-number group than you might otherwise be in. Or you might just enjoy the ability to get settled into your seat before the cabin fills. And, like free checked bags, the privilege applies to up to four others on your reservation.

2X rewards on gas and dining

Many travelers might find an airline's card perks more valuable than its frequent flyer miles. As a result, they might hold the card more as a membership card than a credit card to use for daily purchases. But if your goal is to earn free flights or upgrades to a premium cabin — two of the most valuable ways to use AAdvantage miles — racking up rewards from credit card purchases is a good way to do that.

American makes this easier by not only giving double miles on airline purchases but two additional — and useful — categories of spending: restaurants and gas stations.

Sign-up bonus

Bonuses change, but this card generally gives you enough miles to get a domestic award flight, or at least enough to get close to one. That could translate into savings of several hundred dollars.

The current bonus is: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening* (This offer is no longer available on our site).

How it compares with other American Airlines cards

Among American Airlines credit cards, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is the mass-market option. It comes with good airline benefits and charges an annual fee. If you're looking to earn miles with American Airlines but want more premium benefits or want to skip paying an annual fee, consider going with one of the other cards. For more analysis, read NerdWallet's comparison of American Airlines credit cards.

Here's how the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® stacks up with some of its sister cards on key benefits.

Why you should choose a different card

Annual fee

The annual fee on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®$99, waived for first 12 months* — is about typical for this type of airline card. But if it's not worth the cost for you — say, because you rarely check bags on American, or can't earn enough rewards to make up for the fee — go with a different card.

A no-fee alternative: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card. It offers an unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with an annual fee of $0 and no foreign transaction fees.

Lack of flexibility

Usually, the best redemption options for AAdvantage miles are award flights and seat upgrades on American and its Oneworld partners. General travel cards, on the other hand, allow you to apply rewards toward several different kinds of travel expenses, including flights on any airline.

Good picks include the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. If you fly a different airline more frequently, its own co-branded credit card would be a better fit.

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

If you’re a frequent American Airlines flyer, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is worth a look. Its free checked bags, early boarding and double-miles categories can help make up for the annual fee. However, if you shop by price and fly several airlines, you might prefer a cash-back or general travel credit card.

The information related to Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.