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Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® review

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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 740 or higher.
The information about Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.

50,000

Miles as welcome offer

Up to 2x

Miles

$0

Annual fee

for the first year ($99 thereafter)

15.99% to 24.99%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Product NameCiti® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
Card typeMastercard
Annual fee$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Purchase APR15.99% to 24.99% variable
Balance transfer APR15.99% to 24.99% variable
Balance transfer fee$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash advance rate25.24% variable
Cash advance fee$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Penalty APRUp to 29.99% variable
Foreign transaction feeNone
Interest free periodUp to 23 days
Late payment feeUp to $40
Returned payment feeUp to $40
Additional cardholder fee$0

Expert review

Kevin Joey Chen

Review by


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.

Expert review

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® — offered by Citi, an advertising partner of finder.com — is a midtier airline card with a $99 annual fee that’s waived for the first 12 months. It offers in-flight savings as well as checked-baggage and preferred-boarding privileges with American Airlines.

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.

How to apply for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

  1. Go to the Citi website, highlight “Credit cards” at the top menu bar and click on “View all credit cards.”
  2. Scroll down to find the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and click “Learn More & Apply.”
  3. 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.
  4. 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 740 or higher. Consider applying for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® with this credit score range.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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 740 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(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. That’s a great deal, on par with the Ultimate-Rewards value of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s 80,000-point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Chase’s points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

At the same time, this bonus actually isn’t worth as much as the bonuses of similar airline cards:

  • The United℠ Explorer Card offers 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. According to our current United mile valuations, this bonus is worth up to $600 in award flights through United.
  • The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers 50,000 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 $600 in award flights through Delta.

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
  • 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 2x miles at grocery stores
  • 1x miles on all other purchases
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
  • 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1x miles on all other purchases

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
  • 2x miles on United purchases
  • 2x miles at restaurants and on hotel stays purchased directly with hotels
  • 1.5x miles on all other purchases
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
  • 2x miles on Delta purchases
  • 2x miles at restaurants and US supermarkets
  • 1x miles on all other eligible purchases

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 $100 Delta Flight Credit each calendar year you spend $10,000 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 tierRequired spend at this rewards tier
2x miles$3,300
1x miles$6,600

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

The biggest buzz about this card 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.

Annual fee

CardIntro annual fee?Ongoing annual fee
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®Yes; waived for the first 12 months$99
United℠ Explorer CardYes; $0 intro annual fee for the first year$95
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardYes; $0 intro annual fee for the first year$99
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardNo$95

Welcome offer value

CardEstimated welcome offer value
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®$750
United℠ Explorer Card$600
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card$600
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card$1,000

Rewards

CardBonus rewardsBase rewards
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®2x miles:
  • Eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Restaurants
  • Gas stations
1x miles on other eligible purchases
United℠ Explorer Card2x miles:
  • United purchases
  • Restaurants
  • Direct-purchased hotels
1.5x miles on all other purchases
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card2x miles:
  • Delta purchases
  • Restaurants
  • US supermarkets
1x miles on other eligible purchases
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card2x miles:
  • Travel
  • Dining at restaurants
1x points on all other purchases

Unique benefits

CardUnique benefits
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
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee statement credit
  • 2 United Club one-time passes each card anniversary
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card$100 Delta Flight Credit each calendar year you spend at least $10,000 in purchases
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • 1:1 point transfers to select travel partners
  • Points worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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 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: the deadline for the 0% intro APR for the first year only lasts through December 10, 2020. After, you’re looking at a $95 annual fee starting the second year.

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.

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Citi Premier® Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, flights and hotels and 1x points on everything else
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after making $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
100,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus earn 25,000 after the first anniversary of card membership (offer expires 1/13/2021)
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
$450
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 or more within your first 3 months, plus earn 25,000 after the first anniversary of card membership (offer expires 1/13/2021). Rates & fees
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Case study: Jon’s experience

profile pic

Jon Brodsky
Finder CEO, USA

I signed up for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® with the idea that I’d earn enough miles to send my family on a trip to Sydney — but so far it hasn’t gone as planned.

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.

Bottom line

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.

Frequently asked questions

Images: Citi.com

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