CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® Review

AT A GLANCE

Rating: 4.2

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

Published or updated: August 17, 2016

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®  is a business travel rewards credit card with a $95 annual fee (waived during the first year) and a solid rewards program that benefits frequent American Airlines travelers. Thanks to American Airlines’ participation in the global oneworld airline alliance, miles earned with this card can be redeemed with numerous partner airlines that collectively travel to thousands of destinations worldwide.

This card competes with a number of other business credit cards tied to travel rewards programs. These include branded airline and hotel rewards credit cards, such as Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards business credit cards and the Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Cards from American Express, as well as general purpose travel cards such as Capital One Spark Miles and Spark Miles Select. Most competitors have annual fees ranging from $50 to $200 (and, in a few cases, more). However, a handful – such as Spark Miles Select – are annual-fee-free.

Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus: When you spend at least $1,000 within 3 months of opening your account, you get 30,000 bonus AAdvantage miles. That’s enough for up to 2 round-trip, short-haul (less than 500 miles) economy flights, or one round-trip, economy flight longer than 500 miles anywhere in the U.S.
  • Earning AAdvantage Miles: This card earns an unlimited 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on American Airlines purchases, as well as purchases in a trio of business spending categories: telecommunications (including cell phones and plans), gas stations, and car rentals. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 mile per $1 spent.
  • Redeeming AAdvantage Miles: Accumulated AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for airfare purchases and upgrades with American Airlines and more than a dozen oneworld carrier partners, including British Airways and LAN. Redemption minimums usually start at 7,500 AAdvantage miles for American Airlines one-way flights under 500 actual miles in the contiguous U.S. and Canada, and 12,500 AAdvantage miles for those same flights longer than 500 actual miles. However, these lower-priced flights, which are known as “MileSAAver” flights, often have blackout dates and seat restrictions, which makes them less than ideal for flexible travel. If you wish to avoid blackout dates, you can choose AAnytime flights, which cost more: 20,000 AAdvantage miles, regardless of flight distance, for all contiguous U.S. and Canada one-ways. North American airfare redemptions reliably value AAdvantage miles between $0.01 and $0.015 apiece, and sometimes more, depending on the underlying cost of the flights for which they’re redeemed. International airfare redemptions (especially with oneworld partners that specialize in long-haul, trans-ocean flights) can result in much higher point values – upwards of $0.03 per mile, and sometimes even more. That said, partner redemptions usually require more AAdvantage miles overall, with the exact amounts dependent on flight distance, date, destination, and other factors. AAdvantage miles expire on a rolling basis after 18 months of account inactivity, defined as no earnings or redemptions during the period.
  • Reduced Mileage Redemptions on Flights to Select Locations: The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard entitles you to reduced mileage redemptions on select round-trip MilesSAAver flights in the U.S. and Canada. Redemption mileage is reduced by 2,000 AAdvantage miles on short-haul (less than 500 distance miles between destinations) flights, reducing the total round-trip requirement from 15,000 AAdvantage miles to 13,000. Mileage is reduced by 7,500 AAdvantage miles on all other U.S./Canada MilesSAAver flights, bringing the total round-trip requirement down from 25,000 to 17,500 AAdvantage miles for contiguous U.S. flights, and from 30,000 down to 22,500 AAdvantage miles for Canada and Alaska flights. Eligible destinations change monthly, and are often on the small side – for instance, Kalamazoo, Michigan is eligible, but not Detroit or Chicago. Check with American Airlines for up-to-date destination eligibility.
  • American Airlines Companion Certificate: When you spend at least $30,000 in a calendar year, you receive a companion airfare certificate. This certificate is good for one $99 (plus applicable taxes and fees) one-way domestic American Airlines economy fare for a traveler accompanied by the primary cardholder. The certificate is good for any domestic flight, so it pays to redeem it on longer, more expensive routes.
  • American Airlines Benefits: In addition to the rewards program and companion certificate, this card has some great benefits for American Airlines travelers. Notable perks include Group 1 boarding on all American Airlines flights, free first checked bag for the primary cardholder and up to four traveling companions (up to $250 value per trip), and a 25% discount on in-flight purchases.
  • Additional Travel Benefits: This card’s general travel benefits include 24/7 concierge service for help with event and travel booking, lost baggage protection worth up to $3,000 per trip, and complimentary loss and damage insurance on car rentals charged in full to your CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Card.
  • Non-travel Benefits: This card has a number of benefits not directly related to travel. These include Citi Price Rewind, which provides a refund of up to $300 per item when a lower-priced item appears within 60 days; complimentary extended warranties on items with original warranties of 5 years or less; and purchase protection on items lost or stolen within 120 days of purchase, up to $1,000 per item.
  • Important Fees: There is a $95 annual fee, waived in the first year. There is no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers and cash advances both cost the greater of $5 or 3%, while late payments cost $39.
  • Regular APR: The regular purchase and balance transfer APR is 15.49%, variable with prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is 21.99% and the penalty APR is 29.99%.
  • Credit Required: This card requires excellent credit. Any notable credit blemishes are likely to disqualify your application.

Advantages

  1. Easily Attainable Sign-up Bonus. CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select’s sign-up bonus is easily attainable, even for moderate business spenders. You need to spend just $1,000 in 3 months to earn 30,000 AAdvantage miles – enough to redeem for up to 2 short-haul domestic round trips. Some other popular business travel cards require you to spend $3,000 or even $5,000 within 3 to 4 months of signing up.
  2. 2x Category Covers Common Business Travel Expenses. CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select’s 2x category covers several common business travel spending categories: telecommunications, car rentals, and gas stations. This is more generous than competing cards such as Gold Delta SkyMiles, whose 2x category only covers Delta purchases.
  3. Can Redeem With Many International Partner Airlines. Though American Airlines is a huge airline with lots of international destinations, it doesn’t fly everywhere. However, thanks to its involvement with the oneworld airline alliance, its partner airlines do fly to many destinations. This is a big advantage over business airline credit cards that aren’t tied to global airline alliances such as oneworld and Star Alliance, including Southwest Airlines’ business credit cards.
  4. Reduced Mileage Destinations Reduce Time to Redemption for Select Routes. CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select cardholders are eligible to redeem for MileSAAaver flights to select destinations at reduced mileage rates – as much as 30% less for longer round-trip flights. This is a big deal for cost-conscious business travelers who fly to secondary and tertiary destinations (which are more likely to be included in the reduced mileage program) on a regular basis.
  5. No Foreign Transaction Fee. CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. This is a huge help for business owners who frequently travel abroad, perhaps with American Airlines’ oneworld partners.
  6. Strong Air Travel Benefits. This card has a bunch of in-flight and in-airport benefits, such as a 25% discount on in-flight purchases, Group 1 priority boarding, and free first checked bags for up to 5 travelers (primary cardholder plus four companions). The checked bag benefit can be worth up to $250 per round trip when used to the fullest.

Disadvantages

  1. Has an Annual Fee. This card comes with a $95 annual fee – a big drawback for business owners who don’t travel for work very often or spend very much in the card’s favored categories, and thus probably don’t earn points fast enough to offset the fee. If you prefer a no-annual-fee business travel card, try Spark Miles Select from Capital One.
  2. No Redemption Bonus. Unlike the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select card, its consumer counterpart, CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select doesn’t have a redemption bonus on all redemptions. This bonus noticeably reduces the cost of travel (and increases the value of the card) for Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select holders, kicking back 10% of the miles they redeem – for instance, turning a 20,000-mile redemption into an 18,000-mile redemption. Though the reduced mileage redemption deal is nice for business travelers heading to certain destinations, you can’t bet on it being available for your preferred destinations – especially in light of the fact that most reduced mileage destinations are smaller and out of the way.
  3. No Introductory APR. This card doesn’t come with an introductory APR period, which is a bummer for business owners who wish to make large upfront purchases without worrying about interest accumulating right away. Some competing business travel cards, such as Capital One Spark Miles Select, have intro APRs of 9 months or longer.
  4. No Statement Credit After First Purchase. This card doesn’t offer a statement credit after the first purchase as part of its sign-up bonus deal. By contrast, Gold and Platinum Business Delta SkyMiles (from American Express) offer $50 and $100 statement credits, respectively, simply for signing up and making a purchase within 3 months.

Final Word

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®  is a great business credit card for frequent travelers who live near airports served by American Airlines and its oneworld partners – which, due to the airline’s (and alliance’s) size, is most airports. However, not all airports are served equally. If your home airport is better served by another big airline, such as Delta or United, don’t apply for this card without first checking out their options. After all, great airline rewards are meant to be used.

  • http://yourmoneytalks.com/ Pacific Financial Planners

    I think I need this kind of card. Let’s see if it will really save me money when it comes to traveling.

  • Smokey Joe

    Citibank Business’s website is the worst I’ve ever used for tracking expenses.
    If you are in a business and have multiple charges that you track, you are often times working 4-5 days behind if you are tracking expenses.

    Say you charge $100. The $100 is immediately removed from your avail. credit limit (which is good) but there is no where online on Citibank’s website to see this pending charge. You will only see the charge 4-5 days later when it is “officially” posted to your account.

    This might not be a problem for occasional charges but can be a problem if you are doing multiple charges throughout the day, every day…or are tracking employees charges who you’ve given a credit card to.

    This may not be a big deal for most but I’m dissapointed in Citibank’s website for tracking charges and this is a major disadvantage for me.