Frequent flyers on American Airlines will appreciate the rewards-earning opportunities of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and enjoy the added perks that go along with being a cardholder (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser).
Notice that the introductory bonus lets you add up the miles quickly. You earn up to 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles -- 40,000 AAdvantage® miles after making $2,000 in purchases in the first three months and 10,000 after making a total of $6,000 in purchases in the first 12 months of account opening*. That's a low spending threshold to earn a significant amount of miles for your domestic flights (one-way tickets start at just 7,500 miles for cardholders). This is higher-than-the-typical 30,000 bonus miles offer, so it's a great time to apply if you're in the market.
As you would expect with airline miles, you can redeem them for free flights with American Airlines and American Eagle as well as with OneWorld partners such as British Airways, Japan Airlines, Qantas and airberlin and several others, or you can upgrade your ticket to the next cabin. But you have other redemption options, too. AAdvantage® miles can also be redeemed for hotel rooms, rental cars, or book a vacation through American Airlines Vacations.
And, if none of those redemption options interest you, the card also allows you to use your miles for magazines, newspapers, gift cards and identify theft protection. Or you can even donate your miles to a charity.
Basically, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is an airline rewards credit card with a lot more to offer than airline rewards.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers many benefits that will interest American Airlines fliers, of course. Your first checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation. The card also offers you preferred boarding on flights (hello, overhead bin space!) and 25 percent savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*.
Let's face it, those perks alone may interest frequent flyers even more than the rewards program.
The rewards program is healthy as well, but you should pay attention here. You can earn up to 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles: 40,000 AAdvantage® miles after making $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and 10,000 after making a total of $6,000 in purchases in the first 12 months of account opening*, which means you can rack up a lot of miles. Then, if this card is your regular credit card used for everyday purchases, you'll notice that you can earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants and on eligible American Airlines purchases* which can quickly multiply into free flights or at least some upgrades here and there.
Plus, the other options for redeeming your miles can help defray some of the additional costs of your vacation or business trip. Redeem miles for hotel rooms, car rentals, vacation packages or even donate them to charity.
Offsetting some of those annoying fees associated with travel, such as check-bag fees, also make the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® an attractive option for the frequent American Airlines guest. Consider this, put that "free first checked bag" benefit to use just four times each year and you more than offset the $99 annual fee that kicks in after your first 12 months as a card member.
Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees, so you can travel internationally without worrying about the added fee on your purchases.
There is a $99 annual fee (waived the first 12 months), so you'll want to be sure you are reaping enough benefits with the card to offset the fee. Since it's waived for your first 12 months, you'll have some time to enjoy the card without the added expense.
Additionally, the mile rewards program isn't as generous as some other airline rewards cards that offer three or even more miles per $1 spent with their respective airlines. That said, if you always fly American Airlines, this card's perks will likely be worth not getting as many miles from other airlines cards. Plus, you do earn extra rewards on your everyday gas station and restaurant purchases, which is a bit of a rarity in the airline rewards card world.
Lastly, there is a 3 percent balance transfer fee (with a $5 minimum) and no introductory no-interest period with this card, so if you need to transfer a balance from another card or make a big purchase with some time to pay it off, this card might not be right for your situation.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® vs. The JetBlue Card® (This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
The JetBlue Card offers more points for JetBlue charges than the American Airlines card – three points per $1 spent with JetBlue compared to two miles per $1 spent with American Airlines. The JetBlue Card also rewards you with two points for every $1 spent on restaurant and grocery store purchases and one point for all other purchases.
Neither card charges foreign transaction fees, so you can shop internationally without worries either way.
The JetBlue Card doesn't have an annual fee, while the American Airlines card charges $99 annually after your first 12 months.
All this said, the JetBlue Card only offers 10,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in the first three months, which is obviously less than the American Airlines card's bonus miles structure.
A key consideration between these two cards, is the airline affiliation and access. JetBlue serves a limited number of airports currently (though it is expanding), while American Airlines or one of its OneWorld partners can likely help you get just about anywhere in the world.
Additionally, you can only redeem JetBlue Card points for JetBlue flights or donate them to charity.
If you fly JetBlue often, the JetBlue Card® is the better option. If you only fly American Airlines, it's best to go with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® vs. Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
The two cards are nearly identical in terms of what they offer on an ongoing basis; the difference is the airline and the bonuses.
Currently, the Delta card features a welcome offer of 30,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first three months as well as a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the same time frame (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser).
They both offer two miles for every $1 spent with the affiliated airlines, though it's limited to "eligible" purchases on American Airlines. You also get two miles per $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants with the American Airlines card. Neither card charges foreign transaction fees on international purchases.
You can redeem your SkyMiles® for Delta flights or trips with affiliated airlines, much like you can do with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express also includes the "first-bag-free" perk on Delta trips for up to four people. The American Airlines card actually covers up to five people per trip on domestic American Airlines itineraries with this perk, as long as they travel with you on the same reservation.
All this considered, these cards are so similar that which one is better for you will likely depend on which airline you fly.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is an excellent choice if you want a travel rewards credit card without restrictions and don't care so much about a particular airline.
The card offers you two miles per $1 spent on every purchase, with no caps or expiration dates.
You can redeem your Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card miles for any travel-related purchase, including hotel rooms, flights, rental cars and more.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has a similar annual fee at $95, which the card waives for the first year, and you get a 50,000-mile bonus, worth $500 in travel, if you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
However, you don't get American Airlines-specific (or any airline specific) perks with this card, so that means you're paying all your luggage fees and paying full price for in-flight purchases, too.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is likely your better bet if you usually fly American Airlines and will really put the airline-specific perks to use. Otherwise, if you're just looking for a general travel rewards card, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is probably a better fit.
Like any airline-specific card, whether the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is right for you depends on whether you frequently fly the affiliated airline, in this case American Airlines or one of its partners.
You only benefit from extra miles if you book American Airlines flights, so you should only choose this card if you fly the airline regularly.
The card does have a pretty extensive redemption list including car rentals, hotel rooms and other options, in addition to American Airlines flights. That allows you flexibility to use the miles for what works for you at any given time. So, you may save up your miles for a trip one time, but a few months later you may want to redeem the miles to try out a new magazine subscription.
There is an annual fee after the first 12 months, but if you fly American Airlines, this card gives you miles and perks that would easily offset that fee.