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Is the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select worth it?

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Is the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select worth it?

Joseph HostetlerIs the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select worth it?Million Mile Secrets Team

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While we do consider it one of the best airline credit cards, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® lost all sorts of benefits in 2019. Although you’ll still be able to earn American Airlines miles and get perks like free checked bags, given the changes, you might be considering whether or not the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select is worth it.

Here’s what you should consider before deciding to apply for (or keep) the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select. And read our full review of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select for all the details.

Is the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select worth it given upcoming changes to the card? (Photo by NextNewMedia/Shutterstock)

Is the Citi American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Select Card Worth It?

A number of us on the MMS team have, or have had the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card. It’s a solid card if you collect American Airlines miles or fly them frequently enough to make use of the card’s perks. And it’s got a welcome bonus of 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $2,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Read our post on how to use American Airlines miles to understand the massive value you can receive from that bonus.

If you’re new to the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select, it’s still a solid deal. Here are a few reasons why:

  • You’ll earn 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $2,500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening – that’s enough for 2 round-trip domestic coach tickets
  • If you spend a lot on American Airlines or at restaurants and gas stations, you’ll earn 2 American Airlines miles per dollar on these purchases, so your miles will add up quickly
  • The $99 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months, so it’s free to try out the card your first year and decide if the benefits and perks make it worth keeping
  • On domestic American Airlines itineraries, you’ll get a free first checked bag for yourself and up to four companions on the same reservation – worth $60 per person on a round-trip flight
  • You and up to four companions on the same reservation will get preferred boarding (Group 5) which lets you board sooner to settle in and find space for your carry-on bag in the overhead compartment
  • If you spend $20,000+ in an account anniversary year and renew the card, you’ll earn a $125 American Airlines flight discount

We thoroughly cover these in our Citi American Airlines Platinum Select card benefits and perks post.

What about after the first year?

This is where you’ll want to crunch some numbers to figure out if the return you’ll get from the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select is worth more than the the $99 annual fee.

I’ll speak from my own experience – over the past five years, I’ve kept an annual-fee American Airlines card in my wallet because the free checked bag on domestic flights always makes up for the annual fee — and then some.

If you value American Airlines miles (I love redeeming them for American Airlines partner award flights), you’ll also want to consider how you’ll earn more if you don’t have a card that earns American Airlines miles directly. The only major transferable points program that partners with American Airlines is Marriott.

In short, it’s worth keeping the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select long term if you:

  • Like American Airlines miles but don’t have other cards that directly or indirectly earn them (like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® or Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card)
  • Check a bag on American Airlines domestic flights at least a couple of times per year (with two round-trip flights, you’d save $120 in bag fees – more than the annual fee)
  • Value preferred boarding (Group 5) to get on the plane sooner (this is especially handy for families with young kids or those who need a little more time to settle in)
  • Book American Airlines Basic Economy tickets to save money, but still like having benefits like a free first checked bag on domestic itineraries and preferred boarding
  • Will spend $20,000+ in an account anniversary year and renew the card to earn a $125 American Airlines flight discount
  • Don’t need a card that offers travel coverages like baggage delay, trip delay, and trip interruption / cancellation insurance

If you’ve considered all of the above and still don’t feel the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select is worth keeping, don’t rush to cancel it when your annual fee comes due. Instead, ask Citi if you can downgrade it to their no-annual-fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.

You won’t earn the welcome bonus or get perks like a free checked bag or preferred boarding. But it’s a way to keep your credit line and history intact (confirm with Citi that you’ll keep the same card number) and still have a card that earns American Airlines miles (including 2 miles per dollar on groceries) without ponying up an annual fee.

Here’s our review of the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp.

Bottom line

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is worth it for many folks, especially in the first year. It comes with a welcome bonus of 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $2,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening — a nice deal if you like American Airlines miles.

Just note that this card is awful for travel and purchase insurances. If you already have those perks with a different card, other benefits can make this card worth keeping, even with the $99 annual fee (waived the first 12 months), such as:

  • First checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions on the same reservation on domestic itineraries (worth $60 per person round-trip)
  • Preferred boarding (Group 5) so you can get on the airplane sooner
  • A $125 American Airlines flight discount when you spend $20,000+ on the card in an account anniversary year and renew the card

What’s your take on the changes to the card? Is the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select worth it for you?

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

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

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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You can also downgrade to Citi Double Cash, which I just did. Citi is not waiving or offering any retention incentives/bonuses against the AF. Their first offer is the MileUp. I had to ask for additional options. IMO Double Cash is a better downgrade because you won’t lose out on a signup bonus (Double Cash has none), and it’s a nice way to get a 2% cash back card, to improve upon my Capital One Silver for nonbonus spend, without a credit pull. You could then apply for the Mile Up separately and earn the 10,000 miles.