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American AAdvantage credit card review: Is it worth $95?

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This article was last updated Mar 07, 2016, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

The information related to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card From American Express has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Who should get this card?

This card earns 1 AAdvantage® mile per dollar you spend, and 2 AAdvantage® miles per dollar you spend with American Airlines.

You’ll find the annual fee $99, waived for first 12 months* on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® worth it if you….

1. Already have some American miles. Topping off miles you might already have is the most valuable thing you can do with your card spending.

There aren’t many cards that earn real American Airlines AAdvantage® miles, so if you have a balance to work with this is the place to start.

2. Can charge more than $800 a month on the card. We think American miles are worth about 1 to 2 cents each for most people, so if you earn 9,500 miles a year from the card you’ll earn back the annual fee in value. That only requires about $800 a month in charges on the card.

3. Check a bag on 2 trips a year. For domestic flights, the first checked bag costs $25 each way. So if you fly 2 roundtrips on American a year, you’ll save at least $100 in bag fees by holding this card.

How fast will you earn a trip?

With an intro bonus of Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening* on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®,  here’s how fast you’ll earn some awards if you’re starting from scratch, based on your typical monthly spending:

$2,000 / month

  • 2 months: You can earn 2 domestic MileSAAver coach roundtrips, 1 domestic MileSAAver first class roundtrip, or 1 Hawaii MileSAAver coach roundtrip
  • 5 months: You can earn 1 Europe MileSAAver coach roundtrip, 1 Asia MileSAAver coach roundtrip, or 1 Southern South America MileSAAver coach roundtrip
  • 13 months: You can earn 1 Australia MileSAAver coach roundtrip

$1,000 / month

  • 3 months: You can earn 2 domestic MileSAAver coach roundtrips, 1 domestic MileSAAver first class roundtrip, or 1 Hawaii MileSAAver coach roundtrip
  • 10 months: You can earn 1 Europe MileSAAver coach roundtrip, 1 Asia MileSAAver coach roundtrip, or 1 Southern South America MileSAAver coach roundtrip
  • 25 months: You can earn 1 Australia MileSAAver coach roundtrip

Where can you go with the miles?

You can use the miles from this card to fly on American, US Airways, and over a dozen airlines including all of these:

aadvantagepartners

American miles can get you all over the world and the United States (you can see what American charges here), but some of the best values with American miles include:

25,000 miles for domestic flights. These ‘MileSAAver’ awards aren’t available every day or on every flight, but you’ll probably have decent luck finding them available about half the time. You need to be flexible, but if you are you can save hundreds on airfare.

40,000 miles to Europe and other off peak deals. American has ‘off peak’ awards to Europe and other places at special prices, so if you travel within these dates you’ll get a special price on any flight to these regions, even with American’s partners (Note: these dates may have changed since this article was published):

  • Hawaii (17,500 each way / 35,000 round trip): January 12 – March 13, August 22 – December 15
  • The Caribbean and Mexico (12,500 each way / 25,000 round trip): September 7 – November 14
  • Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela (15,000 each way / 30,000 round trip): January 16 – June 14, September 7 – November 14
  • Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay (20,000 each way / 40,000 round trip): March 1 – May 31, August 16 – November 30
  • Europe: October 15 – May 15; Japan and South Korea (25,000 each way / 50,000 round trip): October 1 – April 30

paris

Business class to Asia for 110,000 miles roundtrip or less. You won’t find a better deal than this for the big seat to Asia. American charges less than Delta or United for these flights, and you can fly American, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, or Malaysia Airlines to get you to and through Asia. These seats often sell for $5,000 or more, so it’s a great deal if you save up.

aabizclass

Australia for 75,000 miles roundtrip. Tickets to Australia can set you back $2,000 from the United States, so using just 75,000 miles to fly on Qantas, the airline with the most flights to Australia, is a great deal.

koala

What are the other travel benefits?

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers some helpful travel insurance features, including:

Trip Cancellation Insurance. If you purchase a trip with your card (including airline tickets and cruise ship tickets) and can’t make the trip for some big reasons, you’ll get reimbursed up to $1,500 per person for things that can’t be refunded.

The big reasons include…

  • You getting sick or injured, with medical proof that it’s sever enough to ruin your trip
  • A sick or injured family member who needs your care
  • A death of a family member
  • Getting delayed by severe weather for at least 24 hours

These benefits apply to you, your spouse, and your dependents, or any authorized user of your card, as long as the tickets are paid in full with the card. Unfortunately mileage award tickets don’t qualify for coverage.

$50,000 Car Rental Collision Coverage. Unlike some other cards, you get collision coverage in every country around the world. No exclusions. And it’s good for vehicles worth up to $50,000, so unless you get upgraded to a premium or luxury car you should be covered. Feel free the decline your car rental company’s collision coverage when you reserve and purchase your rental with this card.

But remember, personal liability (for if you harm other people or property) is not covered by this or any other credit card. Check your own auto policy for that coverage.

Are there other cards that earn American AAdvantage® miles?

Yes, there are a few others that earn AAdvantage® miles:

Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard®

This has a lower annual fee of $50, waived for first 12 months*, but doesn’t offer the free checked bag or priority boarding. So if you want to earn American miles and don’t care about those benefits, go for it. But you’ll also lose out with a smaller introductory bonus.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

This has a hefty $450 annual fee, and that’s because it offers access to all American Admirals Clubs worldwide and lets you earn up to 10,000 miles toward earning elite status each year. Terms apply.

It also lets any authorized users you add to the card access Admirals Clubs even when you’re not flying with them. And adding authorized users is free.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card From American Express

 

This card earns hotel points called Starwood® points. What’s cool about them is they can be transferred at full value into your American AAdvantage® account at any time.

You also have the flexibility to transfer them to other airlines like Delta, Alaska, and more.

Even better, every 20,000 points you transfer earns a 5,000 mile bonus, so this card effectively earns 1.25x miles per dollar you spend. And you can use the points to book free hotel nights at Sheraton, Westin, W, Four Points, Le Meridien, St. Regis, and other hotels.


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