Executive Summary -
A great card for American Airlines frequent fliers. Given the merger between AA and US Airways and the fact that the combined entity has chosen Citi to be their card issuer, this will be the de facto card for US Air and AA.
Citi has two versions of the "platinum select" AAdvantage cards, both a MasterCard verion (which we review here) and also a Visa version. They are essentially identical in terms of the perks and rewards. The key difference lies in the fact that MasterCard and Visa both offer slightly different benefits in terms of travel, auto insurance etc. Another way these two versions differ is occasionally in their sign up bonus. The good news is that you can get both versions of the card. So if you have the Visa version, you can also get the MasterCard version if you wish to. But first, let us recap the key features of the card.
Double Miles - The standard feature for the majority of airline affinity cards is that you can earn double miles on airline ticket purchases with AA and this card is no exception. But it is the other features that make this card attractive.
First bag flies free - With the consolidation of the domestic airline industry, the search for increased revenue has led to unbundling of services and separate fees. This had led to the charging of baggage fees (whereas in the past, you get to check in for free and you only pay if you carry over a certain weight. When you travel with a family, the cost of baggage fees can add up. Many affinity cards help to offset this by waiving this fee for card holders. But this card goes even better. The main cardholder and 4 additional companions get their first baggage fee waived. So if you have a family of five traveling on a vacation, this can add up to quite a lot of savings. This benefit is also not valid on code share flights so this is something you have to be aware of if you have multiple stops.
Priority Boarding with Group 1 Privileges* - Card members also get priority boarding*, though not on code-share flights operated by another airline.
$100 American Airlines Flight Discount (Anniversary Bonus) - Many airline affinity cards have a companion ticket certificate feature as an anniversary bonus. Well, AA does it slightly differently. Rather than giving a companion ticket certificate, they give you a $100 discount instead. There is a couple of criteria to meet to get this perk. The first is that you have to spend $30,000 every year on the card (within your anniversary period) and remain a card member for 45 days after the anniversary date. If you meet these two hurdles, you will be issued with a $100 AA flight discount that you can use for up to one year after the date of issuance. As long as your flight discount by a flight that is operated by AA (code share flights are allowed), you should be good to go. Another fine print is that the departure has to be in the US, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.
Earn 10% of Redeemed Miles Back - Another unique benefit of this card is that you can earn back 10% of miles which is redeemed each month up to 10,000 miles in one calendar year*. Effectively, you are only using 90% of required miles if you have this card.
25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases - Another one of the nice perks of this card is that you can get a 25% discounts on in flight services like food, beverages, and headsets. This is useful for folks who do not buy their food on board before hand (you know who you are). However, things like wireless internet access, SkyMallTM and DutyFree do not get you the 25% discount.
Key AAdvantage® Highlights - Here are a few key features of the AAdvantage® program.
1. AAdvantage® members face no blackout dates for AAdvantage® award travel on American Airlines, American Eagle & AmericanConnection carriers
2. American Airlines partners with over 25 of the world’s top airlines, major car rental companies and hundreds of luxurious hotels worldwide
3. Platinum Select Card members enjoy Reduced Mileage Awards 7,500 fewer AAdvantage® miles to select destinations
4. Small business related articles and advice and even personal business assistant.
AAdvantage World MasterCard vs Gold
Since the World MasterCard is the upper tier version of AA's card, we should see how it fares versus the Gold Version.
Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard vs the Gold Version - The Platinum Select version has a higher annual fee at $95 than the Gold version at $50. So what extra perks does one get over the Gold version? Well firstly, you get more bonus miles. With regards to the "reduced mileage program', the Platinum version allows you to use 7,500 less miles for airline ticket redemption vs 5,000 for the Gold version. And you also get to earn double miles for AA ticket purchases whereas the the gold version goes not allow you to earn double miles.
Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard - Great Sign Up Bonus For Now
Verdict - Citi has got a few AAdvantage credit cards, the gold version, the Amex versions and even an elite version. The real issue for the AAdvantage flier is that American Airlines in now in chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is in the process of reorganizing it's cost structure. In all likelihood, it is still a viable entity and service will continue as normal. One should expect perhaps rumblings of some closure of hubs to "be more efficient". There will be some of you elite members who have lots of miles. I would suggest that you use them asap just to be safe.
For those of you who still fly AA frequently and want to get some miles quickly, this would be a good opportunity if you can meet the spending requirements (which is pretty reasonable by today's standard). If this describes you, then you might just want to get the Citi® Platinum Select®/AAdvantage® World MasterCard® for the sign up bonus.