Remember the good old days when you could call an airline and make an award reservation in much the same way that you could purchase a ticket? It was quick, convenient, and you could save loads of money on travel.
Sadly, those days seem to be long gone at airlines as travelers frequently are informed that there are no award seats at the lowest levels for weeks or even months at at time – unless you have a Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®.
I have the card, and when I looked to redeem my American Airlines reward miles and found multiple seats on multiple flights over several days, I was shocked. The superior value of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program alone makes this a worthwhile card – especially for frequent travelers.
- Sign Up Bonus. American Airlines is currently offering a sign up bonus of 30,000 miles, which is more than enough for a domestic round trip award. To earn this bonus, you must spend $1,000 in the first three months after opening an account.
- Free Checked Bag and Priority Boarding. With this card, your first eligible checked bag is free for you and up to four of your traveling companions. You also enjoy priority boarding.
- Earn Miles. You earn one mile per dollar spent on this card and two miles for any purchase with American Airlines, with no limit on the number of miles you can earn by making purchases. Plus, you earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back – up to 10,000 miles each calendar year.
- $100 Flight Discount Every Year. For every year that you renew the card and spend at least $30,000 on it, you get a $100 American Airlines flight discount. Assuming you’re a frequent traveler and use this card for the majority of your purchases, this can make up for the annual fee.
- 25% Off In-Flight Purchases. You save 25% when purchasing in-flight food and beverages on your card.
- Annual Fee. The $95 annual fee is waived the first 12 months*.
- Miles You Can Actually Use. We all know the feeling of not being able to find award seats for the trip you have been saving miles for. American’s reasonable award availability distinguishes this program from all the others, and you’ll have more opportunities to earn miles using this card.
- Multiple Airlines. As a member of the OneWorld alliance, American miles may also be redeemed on partners such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and LAN airlines of South America. They also have several other non-alliance partners such as Alaskan and Hawaiian Airlines.
- Decent Sign Up Bonus. 30,000 miles is slightly more than most cards, and Citi occasionally offers higher sign-up bonuses. The yearly $100 discount for for AA flights is also a nice touch.
- Foreign Transaction Fees. If you use this card at any merchant outside of the United States, you will be hit with a 3% foreign transaction fee that is just pure profit for the credit card companies. Other travel rewards credit cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards card and the American Express Platinum card do not have this fee.
- Not for People Who Carry a Balance. As with all rewards credit cards, you can expect a higher interest rate than a competitive non-reward card. This card is best for people who always pay their balances in full and on time. Otherwise, you are best off with low-interest rate card.
The Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® is a no-brainer if you are already a customer of American Airlines, or you live in one of their major hub cities like Chicago, Dallas, or Miami. For everyone else, this card is a nice way to earn AAdvantage miles in one of the last great frequent flyer programs remaining. So long as you can justify the annual fee, you will find that your AA miles will take you far with award seats that fit your schedule.