Earn 60,000 Miles and More With the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select Card

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While it lacks some of the pizazz we've seen in similarly positioned travel rewards credit cards, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a solid addition to any American Airlines loyalist's wallet, if they don't want to splurge on the $450/year Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.

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The Basics

The Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select card is priced similarly to other entry-level airline rewards credit cards, with a $99 annual fee. But new cardholders can also get a 60,000 mile welcome bonus by spending $2,500 on purchases in the first three months, a bonus worth an astonishing $840, according to The Points Guy's 1.4 cent valuation for AA miles.

Beyond the initial bonus though, you'll also earn 2 miles per dollar spent at gas stations, restaurants, and eligible American Airlines purchases. Yes, you could earn better returns on many of those same purchases with transferrable travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the American Express® Gold Card, but none of those cards can transfer miles directly to your AAdvantage account. If you're an American Airlines loyalist, your only real choice to rack up miles from everyday spending is with an American-branded credit card.

The Points

American Airlines Domestic flights start at 7,500 miles each way, though availability at the cheapest level can be pretty hit or miss. American still publishes a comprehensive award chart to give you an idea of the minimum number of miles you'll need for a flight, but just remember that rates can go up considerably from there. On average though, you should expect your miles to be worth about 1.4 cents each, according to The Points Guy, which is better than both Delta SkyMiles (1.2 cents) and United MileagePlus miles (1.3 cents).

AAdvantage miles are subject to expiration if you go 18 months without any account activity, but with an AA-branded card like this one, generating account activity is as easy as buying something--anything--with the card.

The Perks

While the $450/year Executive card comes with perks like Admirals Club access and a TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit of up to $100, the Platinum Select card isn't quite as generous.

$125 Flight Discount

Every year, cardmembers who spend $20,000 on purchases with the card and renew for another year will receive a $125 Flight Discount certificate good for any AA-operated or OneWorld codeshare flight. If you're planning to use the card for $20,000 worth or purchases regardless, this is a nice bonus. If you aren't, it's a fairly meager benefit given the minimum spending requirement.

Free Checked Bags

You and up to four companions on the same reservation will be able to check a bag for free on American flights. And unlike some other airline cards like the United Explorer card, this benefit is tied to your AAdvantage account rather than the card itself, so you can take advantage no matter how you pay for your flights.

Priority Boarding

Cardholders and up to four companions on the same reservation will get to board in Group 5 on all American Airlines flights, which doesn't seem that exciting until you remember that American has a whopping nine boarding groups overall. This benefit applies even if you booked a basic economy fare, giving you a much better chance at finding overhead bin space.

25% Off In-Flight Purchases

When you use the card to pay for in-flight drinks and food, you'll get 25% back as a statement credit. Unfortunately, this benefit doesn't apply to Wi-Fi or entertainment purchases onboard.

Reduced Mileage Awards

Every quarter, American Airlines releases a list of destinations that are eligible for  redemption discounts of up to 7,500 miles if MileSAAver space is available for the flight you're trying to book. An eligible city has to be either your origin or destination, and has to be active during the month you're attempting to fly.

These discounts are only available to American Airlines cardholders, and you'll have to book over the phone or in person at a ticket office to take advantage of them, but the savings can be significant.

Why Apply?

The Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select Card is a fairly run-of-the-mill airline credit card, but with two key differentiators:

1) An incredibly valuable 60,000 mile welcome offer with a fairly low $2,500 minimum spending requirement.

2) The fact that AAdvantage miles are hard to accumulate without an American-branded credit card like this one.

Plus, if you're loyal to American, the card's perks will make all of your flights a little bit more pleasant, and if you go through the trouble of booking reduced mileage awards with the card, all those points will take you even further.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Photo: CaseyMartin/ShutterStock

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