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 KarpAug 9, 2021

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Our Take

4.8

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

on Citibank's application

Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $99

Regular APR

15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free checked bag
  • Early boarding
  • Bonus categories

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Rewards have limited flexibility

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $99

Annual fee

$450

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

If you're an American Airlines loyalist, the 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: . 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.

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Card type: .

Annual fee:

Sign-up bonus:

Rewards:

American miles at each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of economy routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer or more in value from your American miles.

Interest rate: .

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other perks:

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With the , 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.

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.

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.

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: .

Among American Airlines credit cards, the 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

Here's how the stacks up with some of its sister cards on key benefits.

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The annual fee on the — 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.

No-fee alternatives include the  and the . Each offers an unlimited 1.5 points or miles per $1 spent on all purchases.

Usually, the best redemption options for AAdvantage miles are award flights and seat upgrades on American and its Oneworld partners. , 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 and the . If you fly a different airline more frequently, its own co-branded credit card would be a better fit.

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If you’re a frequent American Airlines flyer, the 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.