With All Sorts of Perks Disappearing Soon, Is the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard Worth It?

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The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is losing all sorts of benefits this fall.  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. 

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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

Here’s what you should consider before deciding to apply for (or keep) the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card.

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

Apply Here:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Read our review of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

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 3 months of account opening.

The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select also has an American Airlines flight discount of $125, which you will earn after spending $20,000+ in an account anniversary year.

The Citi American Airlines Platinum Select Could Be a Good Starter Card

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 2X American Airlines miles per $1 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 4 companions on the same reservation – worth $60 per person on a round-trip flight
  • You and up to 4 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, you’ll earn a $125 American Airlines flight discount

After the First Year, Is the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select Card Still Worth It?

This is where you’ll want to crunch some numbers and 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 6+ years, I’ve always had an annual-fee American Airlines card in my wallet (currently the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®) because the free checked bag on domestic flights always makes up for the annual fee and then some.

The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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.

Redeeming American Airlines miles for partner award flights, like Japan Airlines, can be an amazing deal. (Photo by Jasmin Baron/Million Mile Secrets)

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 2 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 folks 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 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 2X per $1 on groceries) without ponying up an annual fee.

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

Bottom Line

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is worth it for many folks, especially in the first year. It comes with an increased welcome bonus of 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $2,500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening – a nice deal if you like American Airlines miles.

But as of September 22, 2019, this card is losing all sorts of perks including:

  • Worldwide car rental insurance
  • Trip cancellation & interruption protection
  • Worldwide travel accident insurance
  • Citi® price rewind
  • Trip delay protection
  • Baggage delay protection
  • Lost baggage protection
  • 90 day return protection
  • Roadside assistance dispatch service
  • Travel & emergency assistance

That’s a lot of coverages to be losing, but if you already have those perks with a different card, other benefits can make it worth keeping, even with the $99 annual fee (waived the first 12 months), like:

  • 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

If you decide the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select is no longer worth it for you after this change, you might consider downgrading it to the no-annual-fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card. That way, you’ll still have a way to earn American Airlines miles while preserving your credit line and history.

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

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Jasmin Baron is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, she covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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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