Credit card issuers have increasingly sought out ways to remain competitive with business credit cards and rewards packages. While some cards focus on rewarding specific business expenses, others choose to focus on travel purchases such as airfare and airline mile redemption.
The CitiBusiness® AAdvantage® World MasterCard® aims to combine business and travel, rewarding both types of expenses with airline miles. Depending on the needs of your business, this combination could be perfect for you.
- Sign-up Bonus. You are awarded 30,000 AAdvantage bonus miles and two Admiral’s Club one-day lounge passes after making $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of cardmembership. This is enough for a round-trip domestic MileSAAver flight, which can be available for as few as 25,000 AAdvantage miles.
- Fees. The annual membership fee is $95, which is waived the first year. There is a foreign transaction fee of 3%, and balance transfers cost 3% or $5, whichever is greater.
- APR. The APR is 15.24% on purchases and balance transfers, and may vary according to the prime rate.
- AAdvantage Miles. You earn two AAdvantage miles for each dollar spent on American Airline purchases, as well as on purchases made at certain office suppliers, telecommunication companies, and car rentals. Plus, you receive one mile for each dollar spent everywhere else. For example, if you made $30,000 in purchases at office supply stores and car rentals, you would receive 60,000 AAdvantage miles, which is enough for a couple of round-trip domestic MileSAAver flights, or at least one round-trip flight to Europe (which start at approximately 40,000 miles). Each year you renew your membership, you also earn a 5% AAdvantage mileage bonus which is based on purchases made during the anniversary year. You can earn unlimited miles, which never expire.
- Flight Privileges. As a cardmember, you receive priority boarding with “group 1″ privileges, which include boarding the plane at the beginning of the boarding process. You also receive your first checked bag free, as well as the first checked bags of up to four of your traveling companions, and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight food and beverage purchases made with your card.
- Companion Certificate. Each year that you spend $30,000 or more in purchases and also renew your cardmembership (by paying your annual fee), you are eligible to receive an American Airlines Companion Certificate. This certificate is valid for travel on flights within the 48 contiguous United States.
- Earn Miles for Business Expenses. You are able to earn bonus AAdvantage miles on American Airlines purchases, as well as on business expenses such as office supplies and car rentals. Generally, business cards reward either business-related expenses or travel purchases, but rarely are both rewarded.
- First Checked Bag Free. As a cardmember, you are eligible to receive your first checked bag free, as well as the first checked bags of four of your travel companions. This could save you up to $250 on a round-trip flight. There are travel rewards cards which offer free first checked bags, but not necessarily for up to four travel companions. For example, the Chase UnitedMileage Plus Explorer Card offers the first bag free to the primary cardholder and only one companion.
- Annual Fee. You are able to compensate for the annual fee of $95 with free checked bags or companion certificates, or with just the sign-up bonus. However, if you don’t travel frequently with American Airlines to earn the extra bonuses, you may find it difficult to pay for the annual fee. Additionally, there are other rewards cards and business credit cards with lower or no annual fees that reward non-travel-related purchases.
- Companion Certificate Expenses. The cost to redeem the companion certificate is between $120.60 and $142.20 which includes a $99 ticketing fee plus $21.60 to $43.20 in government taxes. Although this is less than paying the total cost of the ticket, which on average is around $350, the companion certificate is not entirely free. It also does not apply to flights to Hawaii or Alaska unless you are a resident.
- Foreign Transaction Fees. Travel cards that reward for travel yet charge a 3% foreign transaction fee are not the most beneficial if you travel frequently outside of the United States. Your business may be better suited with a card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee – or, at the very least, one that charges lower than the maximum 3%. There is no foreign transaction fee on the Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card or the Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card.
If you travel frequently on American Airlines, you can earn quite a bit in reward flights with the CitiBusiness AAdvantage World MasterCard. You are also able to earn miles on business purchases which help rack up the airline rewards. However, if you travel outside of the U.S. often, or if you do not fly frequently with American Airlines, you should seek out a business card that offers cash back or points that can be used for other rewards, including an occasional flight, if necessary.
The CitiBusiness® AAdvantage® World MasterCard® is a great card for businesses with travel expenses. It allows you the opportunity to earn significant AAdvantage miles with business purchases, while also offering redemption of miles and many opportunities for earning free flights.
4.2 out of 5 stars: This card provides many opportunities for earning miles and flights to compensate for the annual fee. It’s a great card for business owners who frequently travel domestically. Because of the foreign transaction fee, however, it is not an ideal card if you travel internationally.