Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
This is a good card for those who can fly with American Airlines at least a few times each year to use the card’s benefits to recoup the annual fee cost. If you dine out or fill up at the pump often, you may appreciate that this card rewards those more routine expenses with extra miles, too.
You don’t need to be a big spender to get value from this card, but you do need to book flights through American Airlines to earn double miles, so make sure your primary airport supports that before applying.
If you want the flexibility to fly with any airline and still earn rewards, this card isn’t for you. Open a general travel rewards card instead. Those seeking luxury travel perks and travel insurance benefits should also look elsewhere, as this card doesn’t offer airport lounge access and Citi doesn’t offer many extra travel benefits on this card.
Double miles on gas and restaurant purchases
Very valuable miles
Generous bonus for new cardholders
Free checked bag
Few additional benefits
- Double miles on gas and restaurant purchases: This is great, because few airline cards award extra miles for non-travel purchases. It’s a solid daily use card for infrequent travelers who have a long commute to work (or a gas-guzzling car) and/or dine out often.
- Very valuable miles: AAdvantage miles have a very high redemption value, according to The Balance’s research. We found they are worth an average of 2.32 cents each, more than the frequent flyer miles offered on any other major U.S. airline.
- Generous bonus for new cardholders: You only have to spend $834 each month after opening this card to earn the 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles, and they’re worth well over $1,000, by our calculations. That may be enough to book one round-trip economy flight in the U.S or half of a round-trip first-class ticket.
- Free checked bag: American Airlines normally charges $30 for your first checked bag each way, so you can recoup the cost of this card’s annual fee within two round trips—even quicker if you travel with someone, since up to four travel companions on the same reservation can use this perk.
- Few additional benefits: This isn’t a premium travel card, so we expect fewer benefits. However, unlike some comparable airline-branded cards, this card doesn’t offer any form of airport lounge access or travel insurance coverage. Even the American Airlines card issued by Barclays that charges a similar annual fee has a more robust benefit line-up.
Bonus for New Cardholders
Spend $2,500 within three months of opening your account to receive 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles. It’s a great deal, as you can spend less than $1,000 each month to meet the spending requirement.
Even better, this bonus is worth $1,160, based on our calculations. That makes it one of the more valuable domestic airline credit card bonuses on the market right now.
You aren’t eligible for the sign-up bonus if you have received a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select bonus for another account within the past 48 months.
Earning Points & Rewards
With the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, you’ll earn 2 miles per $1 spent on American Airlines, restaurant, and gas station purchases. Outside of those categories, you’ll earn 1 mile per $1 spent. Double miles on airline brand purchases is a solid earning rate and typical for branded travel cards.
You can also earn miles on flights on 21 partner airlines, which include Hawaiian Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas, as long as they're booked through American. Watch the American Airlines website for ways to earn extra miles on vacation, dining, and online shopping purchases, too.
This card offers unlimited earning potential, and AAdvantage miles don’t expire as long as you earn or redeem miles at least once every 18 months.
Our valuation research found that AAdvantage miles are best used for flights booked through with American Airlines (including on partner airlines). The average value per mile when you redeem that way is 2.32 cents—better than any other major U.S. airline, including United Airlines (2.28 cents) and Delta Air Lines (1.54 cents).
Seats for award travel are limited and may not be available on all flights, according to AAdvantage program terms. Planning flexibility will be key when using this card.
These are some of the other items you can redeem miles for:
- Rental cars and hotel stays
- Vacation packages
- Gift cards
- Ticket upgrades
AAdvantage Miles can’t be redeemed for cash, statement credits, checks, or direct deposit.
How To Get The Most Out Of This Card
Spend $2,500 in three months to earn the big bonus. To ensure you’re earning extra miles on an ongoing basis, use this card for all restaurant and gas purchases, and of course travel booked through American Airlines. Also, take advantage of the free checked bag benefit on at least two round-trip flights per year to make up for the annual fee.
To learn more about American Airlines rewards, check out our AAdvantage program guide that covers all the ins and outs of this frequent flyer loyalty program.
Besides the free checked bag, the card gives you these other benefits, which our editors deem superior to typical travel rewards card benefits:
- $125 American Airlines flight credit: Spend $20,000 or more on purchases in a year to earn this offer. The credit will be good for a full year.
- Preferred boarding: Board flights after Priority boarding and before economy passengers. This benefit applies to you and up to four travel companions on the same reservation, and gives you a better chance of getting space in the overhead bin for your carry-ons.
You may have other (and easier) ways to earn/use this benefit right now, in light of recent travel disruptions. Read “Credit Card Deals Help You Earn and Use Travel Benefits During COVID-19” for more information.
- 25% discount on in-flight purchases issued as statement credits
- Sports, music, and event ticket presales through Citi Entertainment
Citibank ranks No. 6 for customer satisfaction among 11 major card-issuing banks, according to J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. It scored 799 points out of 1,000, falling below the industry average of 806.
That said, one nice customer benefit is that Citi provides a free FICO credit score, which you can access online and in the app.
Citi’s Fraud Early Warning system will notify you of suspicious account activity. For additional protection, Citi can generate a virtual, temporary card number to use instead of your real one while shopping online.
If your card is lost or stolen, use the mobile app to instantly lock it to prevent fraud. This feature conveniently allows recurring transactions to proceed uninterrupted until the matter is resolved. If your identity is compromised, Citi Identity Theft Solutions can help you deal with compromised accounts and file police reports.
This card charges an annual fee, which is really the only fee you need to watch for. Fortunately, that cost is easily recouped thanks to the free checked bag benefit and hefty bonus offer. Other than that, international travelers will like that they can use this card outside the U.S. without being charged foreign transaction fees.