Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® review
A strong airline card with equally strong competition.
finder.com’s rating: 4.1 / 5
- Get this card if you want a midtier airline card with American Airlines perks.
- Pick something else if you rarely fly with American Airlines.
- Apply with an excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
All information about this card has been collected independently by Finder.
Miles as welcome offer
Up to 2x
for the first year ($99 thereafter)
15.99% to 24.99%
Purchase APR (variable)
|Annual fee||$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)|
|Welcome Offer||50,000 miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months|
|Rewards||2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, at gas stations and restaurants and 1x miles on all other purchases|
|Purchase APR||15.99% to 24.99% variable|
|Balance transfer APR||15.99% to 24.99% variable|
|Recommended minimum credit score||670|
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
These perks are among the best reasons to get the card. The checked-baggage benefit, in particular, can offset the card’s annual fee after two round-trip flights. On top of that, you’ll find solid rewards in a few bonus categories. Seeing as American Airlines miles are often worth 1.5 cents apiece according to our current valuations, it’s possible to get significant value from the card through spending alone.
The card isn’t perfect, of course. While it offers a Flight Discount certificate, you have to meet a very high spending requirement to qualify for this benefit. And the card’s competitor, the United℠ Explorer Card, offers a few unique perks that make American Airlines seem behind the curve. If you’re not set on American Airlines, consider other cobranded airline cards that can be more-than-worthy alternatives.
How to apply for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
- Go to the Citi website, highlight “Credit cards” at the top menu bar and click on “View all credit cards.”
- Scroll down to find the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and click “Learn More & Apply.”
- On the new page, click “Apply Now.” Complete the application with information like your full name, Social Security number, date of birth, address, contact information, total annual income and monthly mortgage or rent payment.
- Review your information and submit your application.
What credit score do I need?
For airline cards, you’ll typically have better chances if you apply with an excellent credit score of 670 or higher. Consider applying for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® with this credit score range.
Pros and cons
- Strong signup bonus
- Annual fee waived for the first year, then $99
- Helpful American Airlines perks
- Good rewards considering the redemption rate on flights
- Flight Discount certificate upon reaching spend requirement
- No foreign transaction fees when you use the card abroad or with foreign online merchants
- Checked-bag benefit applies only to eligible domestic itineraries
- Relatively high spend requirement for the Flight Discount certificate
- No lounge access or Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- Penalty APR
Major benefits: Why you should consider this card
The 670 is a good choice if you want airline perks but don’t want to pay exorbitantly for the privileges. While it’s best for frequent American Airlines passengers, it can still be worth picking up for occasional flyers due to its non-airline bonus rewards and checked-bag benefit.
- Signup bonus: 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after you make $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
- Annual fee: Waived for the first 12 months, then $99 starting the second card year.
- American Airlines benefits: Free first checked bag, preferred boarding, in-flight savings on food and beverages.
- Rewards: 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, and at restaurants and gas stations. 1x miles on other eligible purchases.
- American Airlines Flight Discount: Get a $125 discount after you spend at least $20,000 in purchases during your card year and renew your card.
Deeper dive: Intro annual fee for your first year
The card’s annual fee is normally $99, but this is waived for the first 12 months. It’s always nice to pay no annual fee for the first year, and it’ll help you get more value from the card.
Keep in mind that a waived first-year annual fee is standard among this card’s biggest competitors. Both the United℠ Explorer Card and Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offer $0 intro annual fees. The former has a $95 ongoing annual fee, and the latter has a $99 ongoing annual fee (Terms apply, see rates & fees).
Deeper dive: The signup bonus is even better than it seems
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers a signup bonus of 50,000 American Airlines miles after you make $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.
According to our current American Airlines mile valuations, these miles are typically worth $750 on American Airlines award flights, which is a great value.
At the same time, this bonus actually isn’t worth as much as the bonuses of similar airline cards:
- The United℠ Explorer Card offers 70,000 bonus miles after you spend on purchases within the first months of account opening. You’ll also earn 60,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months. According to our current United mile valuations, these bonuses are worth up to $840 in award flights through United.
- The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. According to our current Delta mile valuations, this card’s overall bonus is worth $980 in award flights through Delta. For a limited time, you can also earn a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months. This offer expires 7/28/2021.
Both cards have similar annual fees to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. The United℠ Explorer Card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95. And the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99.
Deeper dive: American Airlines benefits give you a taste of the high life
- First checked bag free.
You and up to four travelers on your reservation can each check one bag free on American Airlines-marketed flights. Typically, your first checked bag costs $30, so you can save $60 on a round-trip flight. By checking your bags on two round-trip flights a year, you’ll save enough to offset the card’s annual fee.
- Preferred boarding.
You and up to four travelers on your reservation can each board in Group 5 on American Airlines-marketed flights. The closest comparison to this perk, priority boarding, typically costs $9 to $74 depending on your itinerary and lets you board in Group 4.
- In-flight savings.
Use your card to purchase eligible food and beverages on American Airlines-marketed flights, and you’ll receive 25% savings. These savings come in the form of statement credits.
Competition-wise, the story is much the same with these set of perks: You’ll find similar benefits with other major airline cards, but they’re still great additions. Plus, they can quickly make the card’s annual fee worth it with just a few flights.
Deeper dive: Good rewards in a few bonus categories — not just for American Airlines flights
These are the rewards you’ll earn with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®:
- 2x miles on eligible Airlines purchases.
- 2x miles at restaurants and gas stations.
- 1x miles on other eligible purchases.
With this, the card offers more bonus categories than you’ll find with the no-annual-fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card and the $450 a year Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. Here are the rewards for these two cards:
|American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®|
As you can see, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card can be effective as an everyday card, but it doesn’t give you bonus rewards on dining and gas. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® does.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® also draws a contrast with competing midtier airline cards, which offer a different blend of rewards.
|United℠ Explorer Card|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card|
These cards are all decent choices if you like dining out. But the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is the lone card that’s solid for gas purchases. Meanwhile, the United℠ Explorer Card is best for hotels and the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is best for groceries.
Deeper dive: The Flight Discount certificate has a high spend requirement, but it can be valuable
If you can spend $20,000 in a card year, you’ll qualify for a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount certificate that more than offsets the cost of your card. This certificate is good for eligible American Airlines-marketed flights. And it’s valid on any Oneworld carrier, and on American Airlines codeshare flights.
If you think you’ll have trouble reaching the spend for this certificate, consider Delta’s card: The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers a $50 Delta Flight Credit each calendar year you spend or more on purchases. The United℠ Explorer Card, meanwhile, doesn’t offer a United flight discount, but it does come with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and two complimentary United Club one-time passes each card year. And you don’t have to meet any spend requirements to get them.
Why the card might not be the right fit
The good news is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a strong card overall. But no card comes without weaknesses, and this product is no exception. These downsides might make you think twice:
- $99 annual fee starting the second year
- Penalty APR
- No lounge access or Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
Deeper dive: Unfortunately, all these perks can’t stay free forever
A $99 ongoing annual fee places the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® in the midtier-travel-card category, with cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Is that worth paying? That depends on what you think you can get out of the card. As mentioned earlier, checking your bags on two round-trip flights can cover the card’s cost. So can the American Airlines Flight Discount, though you’ll have to spend enough to earn it.
It’s possible to offset the annual fee by earning enough miles. According to our current valuations, you’ll need 6,600 miles to do so assuming you get a redemption value of 1.5 cents per mile. Here’s how much you’d need to spend in one or the other rewards tier to earn these miles:
|Rewards tier||Required spend at this rewards tier|
If you don’t want the pressure of making the card’s annual fee worth paying, there are plenty of other no-annual-fee travel cards to consider. American Airlines offers its $0-annual-fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, and United and Delta offer similar products.
Deeper dive: The penalty APR can hurt
Many consumers feel penalty APRs are unnecessarily punishing, and they’re right. With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, the APRs for all of your balances could increase to up to 29.99% variable if you make a late or returned payment. This is a big drag on an otherwise strong card.
Deeper dive: No lounge access or Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
While the big three airlines’ midtier travel cards largely offer similar perks, the United℠ Explorer Card does have a few advantages. Namely, it offers a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit that renews every four years, as well as two United Club one-time passes after each card anniversary.
These are good perks. And though the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is already a good card, it would be better if it offered these benefits and went toe-to-toe with United’s product.
Can I get prequalified for this card?
It’s possible to get prequalified for Citi cards such as the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. The main advantage is you’ll have a better idea of your approval odds before you risk a hard pull as a result of an application.
First, visit the Citi prequalification page. Then enter details like your full name, address and last four digits of your Social Security number.
After you submit your information, Citi will show you cards you might have the right credit profile for. If you see the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, that’s good news. It means you have a better chance than most of being approved. Keep in mind that approval is never guaranteed no matter your credit, and Citi will review your personal details before making a decision.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® reviews and complaints
Even though Citi has been in business for more than 200 years, it was never accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). As of October 2020, more than 200 customer complaints on the BBB site give the bank a score of 1 out of 5. And because Citi failed to resolve customer complaints on the site, BBB has rated the bank with the lowest F rating.
Citi is rated slightly higher at 1.8 out of 5 on Trustpilot where customers mostly complain about poor customer service.
As for the card itself, the biggest buzz from customers typically revolves around the waived checked baggage fees. That makes sense: These fees can be some of the annoying costs of flying, and it’s much clearer to see how to get value from the card through this perk.
Some customers have complained about the loss of many Citi benefits as of September 22, 2019. For example, there’s no Citi car rental insurance with most cards, and price protection is gone. If you’ve been looking at the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® for its purchase or travel benefits, you may be disappointed.
Authorized users or cosigners
You can add an authorized user to your Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® account by logging in to your account or calling the support number on the back of your card. There’s no minimum age for authorized users. However, they don’t receive checked-bag or boarding perks.
While you can add authorized users to your account, Citi doesn’t allow cosigners at this time. If this is important to you, check out other issuers that allow cosigners.
When authorized users use your card, their spending will earn miles for your account.
How does the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® compare to other similar cards?
Because the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a midtier travel card, we’ll compare it to other similar airline cards. Also, we’ll put it up against another popular travel card with a similar annual fee — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
|Card||Intro annual fee?||Ongoing annual fee|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®||Yes; waived for the first 12 months||$99|
|United℠ Explorer Card||Yes; $0 intro annual fee for the first year||$95|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||Yes; $0 intro annual fee for the first year||$99|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||No||$95|
Welcome offer value
|Card||Estimated welcome offer value|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®||$750|
|United℠ Explorer Card||$840|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||$980|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||$1,000|
|Card||Bonus rewards||Base rewards|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®||2x miles:||1x miles on other eligible purchases|
|United℠ Explorer Card||2x miles:||1.5x miles on all other purchases|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||2x miles:||1x miles on other eligible purchases|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||2x miles:||1x points on all other purchases|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®||$125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend at least $20,000 in purchases during your card year and renew your card|
|United℠ Explorer Card|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||200 Delta Flight Credit each calendar year you spend at least $10,000 in purchases|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card|
Other cards to consider
If you typically fly on different airlines, consider other cobranded airline cards. But if you want to stay in the world of American Airlines, the company offers other products to consider:
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
If you don’t want to pay an annual fee, this might be the right pick. While you won’t get complimentary checked bags or preferred boarding, you’ll score 25% savings on in-flight food and beverages. You’ll also earn 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and at grocery stores, and 1x miles on all other purchases.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
If you want the premium option, consider this $450-a-year card. In return for the hefty annual fee, you’ll receive a complimentary Admirals Club membership, as well as enhanced airport perks such as priority check-in, priority airport screening upon availability and priority boarding. Of course, you’ll also get your first checked bag free on eligible domestic flights marketed by American Airlines.
You’ll earn rather uninspiring rewards for the card’s price: 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1x miles on other eligible purchases. The card’s Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, meanwhile, is matched by the much cheaper United℠ Explorer Card.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card isn’t a cobranded airline credit card. However, it offers 2x points on travel, which includes flights and other purchases such as hotels, car rentals and cruises. You’ll also earn 2x points on dining at restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases.
One benefit that makes the card particularly useful for American Airlines is its ability to transfer your points to partner airlines. You can, for example, transfer your points to British Airways, after which you can often find inexpensive award fares on domestic American Airlines routes.
Cards to pair with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® covers a few categories with its bonus rewards. Not only will you earn accelerated rewards on American Airlines flights, but you’ll also earn solid rewards at gas stations and restaurants. Your rewards rate will be even better considering American Airlines miles are worth more than 1 cent apiece.
Still, one of the card’s biggest weaknesses is a so-so rewards rate on other purchases, and no bonus rewards for groceries. You might want to pick up a card to cover those blind spots. Here are a few options:
Citi® Double Cash Card
This card offers 1% cash back on all purchases and another 1% as you pay them off. These are attractive flat-rate rewards, especially as you’ll pay no annual fee.
Use the card whenever you’re making a purchase outside of American Airlines, gas stations or restaurants. Plus, you have the added benefit of pairing your Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® with a product from the same issuer.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers bonus rewards for a few categories. However, the highlight is the 6% cash back as a statement credit at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 in qualifying purchases each calendar year, then 1%. You’ll also earn 3% cash back on transit such as rideshare and parking, which can complement your earnings with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. Just watch out: You’ll pay a $95 annual fee to use the card after your first year(Terms apply, see rates & fees).
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers accelerated rewards on eligible American Airlines purchases, but it doesn’t pay rewards for other travel purchases. Here, the $550-a-year Chase Sapphire Reserve® can fill in the gaps, as it offers 3x points on travel after you earn your $300 annual travel credit.
Chase’s card also offers perks like Priority Pass Select and a fee credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application, which the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® lacks. And as with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can transfer your points to British Airways, which is an American Airlines partner.
How to redeem miles
After qualifying spending, you’ll find your miles in your American Airlines AAdvantage account in eight to 10 weeks. Through that account, you can redeem your miles for several options, including flights, upgrades, Admirals Club membership and more. Check out our guide to American Airlines mile redemptions to learn more about the best uses for your rewards.
How much are Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® miles worth?
According to our current valuations, you can often get a 1.5-cent-per-mile redemption rate on flights from your Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® rewards. This is similar to the rate you’ll get from Delta or United Airlines miles, according to our current valuations.
How to make the most out of your card
- Qualify for the signup bonus. You must spend $2,500 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening.
- Spend in bonus categories. While the card’s bonus categories pay 2x miles, keep in mind these rewards are worth more than they seem because of the higher redemption values for American Airlines miles. That said, use your card as much as you can for purchases with the airline, as well as at gas stations and restaurants.
- Take advantage of the American Airlines perks. To get your first checked bag free and preferred boarding, add your credit card number to your reservation at least seven days before your flight.
- Qualify for the American Airlines Flight Discount. There’s an advantage to putting as much spend as possible onto your Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: the possibility of earning the American Airlines Flight Discount. While the spend requirement might be steep, the Flight Discount can help the card pay for itself.
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Case study: Jon’s experience
Former CEO, Finder US
While I’d long considered myself a ninja at booking mileage tickets on Delta, mileage tickets on American are priced one-way and super-confusing to me. It’s also been really hard to find a decent price at times or dates that work for us, so we’ve only used our miles a handful of times.
Checking my card balance on the Citi app is often way more painful than the similar experience on Chase or Amex, as the app is often down on my phone. In addition, American just doesn’t have the same number of flights from New York as Delta, so I rarely get to use the free checked bag or preferred boarding perks.
I do love the lack of foreign transaction fees and that this card is accepted literally everywhere in the world that I’ve ever been. And I’ve noticed the mileage piles up a bit faster than it does on my Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. But overall, I think this card would have been a better pick for me if I lived in a major American hub like Dallas.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a strong midtier airline card. Though it lacks a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit and the spend requirement for the American Airlines Flight Discount is rather high, it comes with helpful airline perks and good rewards.
If this card isn’t the right fit, you might like one of the many other airline credit cards on the market.
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