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No matter where you plan to travel — or when — having the right airline credit card can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. You can cash in your airline miles to pay for the cost of airfare altogether (outside of government-mandated taxes and fees), and you might even be able to use your miles for upgrades or on-board perks like meals or internet access. Some airline credit cards even offer valuable perks like free checked bags and priority boarding, and these benefits can save you money and make the travel experience more enjoyable.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a popular option among airline credit cards for a few reasons. Not only can you earn a big signup bonus with this card, but you can redeem your miles for flights around the globe. You also get a free checked bag for you and up to four traveling companions and a discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: Why You Should Get It
Unless you’re a frequent flyer who tries to earn status with a specific airline, one of the best strategies you can use to rack up miles involves signing up for new credit cards in order to score a signup bonus. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a good choice among airline credit cards since it gives you 60,000 American AAdvantage miles after you spend $3,000 within three months of account opening. This card does have a $99 annual fee, but it’s waived the first 12 months.
Once you sign up, you’ll have the opportunity to earn the signup bonus as well as rewards on your regular spending. You’ll earn 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and restaurant spending as well as 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
If you’re wondering how you can use these miles, keep in mind that you can cash them in for flights with American or partners like British Airways and Iberia. Domestic flights start at just 12,500 miles one-way in most cases, and American AAdvantage offers valuable off-peak awards to Europe starting at just 22,500 miles one-way. You can even fly from the continental U.S. to the South Pacific for just 40,000 miles one-way, or to Asia for just 35,000 miles.
Where It Falls Flat
While the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a card that could work for nearly anyone, you may want to play around at AA.com to check flight options and whether they will work for you. American Airlines flies all over the world, but some of their redemptions aren’t the greatest — and many routes come with pricey airline taxes and fees.
And that underscores the main downside of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. This card does offer a lot of value if you fly American Airlines or its partners, but it won’t be of much help if you don’t find the award availability you are looking for or you wish to fly with an airline in another alliance.
Other Airline Credit Cards to Consider
You may want to consider a flexible card that lets you earn points with more than one program, too. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
, for example, lets you earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening ($95 annual fee applies). That's $1,250 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. You also earn 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Another card option that works well for domestic travel and trips to the Caribbean is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. With this card, earn 65,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, and you also earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. This card’s perks can be especially beneficial since Southwest uses a fare-based rewards program that lets you book flights cheaply with points when prices go down.
Finally, don’t forget about cards that offer flexible travel credit instead of points or miles. For example, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard lets you earn 2x miles on all purchases and 70,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on your card within three months of account opening. When it comes time to redeem, you can cash in your miles for any type of travel, including airfare with any airline, at a rate of one cent per point.
The Bottom Line
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is definitely an airline credit card you should consider, particularly if you already know you can fly American Airlines or its partner airlines this year. Many of their redemption options are a good deal, and some routes feature plenty of award availability — particularly for those who fly economy class.
With that being said, we think the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is best for:
- Frequent American Airlines flyers who can benefit from free checked baggage and priority boarding
- Anyone who has some flexibility in their travel plans and wants to earn 60,000 miles within three months
- Consumers who aren’t loyal to a specific airline or want to begin building loyalty with the American AAdvantage program
If you’re unsure whether the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is the right card for your needs and travel goals, make sure you take the time to compare all rewards credit cards you might qualify for. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® does make it earn American AAdvantage miles, but it’s worthless for other types of travel. Decide what your needs are then compare different rewards credit cards in terms of their benefits and perks before you decide.
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