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Andrew W: Ever since I got into the miles and points hobby, I developed a completely new appreciation for the Big Travel I can get just based on a card’s welcome bonus! In fact, it’s the first thing that comes to my mind whenever I see an improved bonus offer on a credit card.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is one of those cards that currently has a higher than normal intro bonus. You’ll earn 60,000 American Airlines miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
And you can get some seriously big travel worth over $1,000+ with the bonus! So even though I do not typically fly American Airlines, I have strongly considered adding the card to my credit card portfolio because of where I could travel with those miles!
Increased Offer on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® currently comes with a welcome bonus of 60,000 American Airlines miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. I think this card is a no-brainer if you fly American Airlines. And even if you don’t, it’s a card you should consider given how valuable the welcome bonus is!
And you’ll get these other great benefits and ongoing rewards for your everyday purchases:
- 2 American Airlines miles per $1 spent with American Airlines
- 2 American Airlines miles per $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
- $100 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during the year and renew your card
- Free first checked bag for you and up to 4 travel companions on the same reservation (domestic flights only)
- Preferred boarding for you and up to 4 travel companions on the same reservation
- 25% off eligible in-flight purchases
- Receive 10% of your redeemed miles back, up to 10,000 miles per calendar year
- Reduced Mileage Awards– get discounts up to 7,500 miles round-trip on award flights to certain airports
- NO foreign transaction fees
The card has an annual fee of $99, but it’s waived for the first year! And if you can make the most of perks like the free first checked bag, you can easily offset the annual fee!
Get Big Value From Your Welcome Bonus
American Airlines has a region-based award chart. I love these types of charts because it makes it very easy to see how many miles are needed to book an award flight. All you need to know is the region of your departing flight, and the region of your destination airport.
You’ll notice that off-peak rates are by far the cheapest type of fare. These rates are only available on certain dates, and are not available for every region. But if you are flexible with your travel dates, booking an off-peak rate is a great way to make the most of your welcome bonus miles!
And if you’re wondering what you could do with 60,000 American Airlines miles, here are just a few examples of the Big Travel that’s possible!
Round-Trip Ticket to Europe in Coach
A low-level, one-way award ticket between the US and Europe costs 30,000 American Airlines miles in coach. So after earning the welcome bonus of 60,000 American Airlines miles, you’ll have enough for a round-trip flight from the US to Europe in coach!
And if you’re able to book off-peak dates, that round-trip ticket would only cost you 45,000 American Airlines miles (22,500 miles one-way off-peak rate x 2). This would leave you with 15,000 American Airlines miles you could use for future trips! And if you look at the American Airlines award chart, you’ll see that you can book short-haul flights within the US that are 500 miles or less for 7,500 American Airlines miles one-way. So you could use these leftover miles for a quick weekend getaway trip!
To get an idea of how much money these miles could save you, I found that paying cash, a sample flight from Los Angeles to Madrid would cost ~$1,000!
Or you could book the same flight for a total of 60,000 American Airlines miles round-trip.
Etihad First Class Between Europe and the Middle East
Many people consider Etihad to be the king of First Class service, but it can be incredibly pricey to book with cash! Fortunately, you can use your American Airlines miles to book flights on Etihad.
In this case, you’ll need to look at American Airlines’ partner award chart to determine how many miles you’ll need. Flights between Europe and the Middle East cost 62,500 American Airlines miles one-way in First Class. So after earning the welcome bonus, you’ll have enough miles to book this flight (60,000 mile welcome bonus + at least 3,000 miles from the $3,000 spending requirement).
For instance, I was able to find a sample flight from London to Abu Dhabi in First Class that would cost ~$4,800 if booked with cash. You could book the same flight with just 62,500 American Airlines miles!
3. Multiple Flights Within the US
If you’re looking to travel with others, you’ll be happy to know the American Airlines award chart has some sweet spots that allow you to get great value out of the welcome bonus of 60,000 American Airlines miles. One of those sweet spots is travel within the contiguous 48 US states.
If you’re flying on American Airlines, you can book low-level, one-way tickets in coach for as few as 12,500 American Airlines miles per person. This means that you’ll be able to book 2 round-trip tickets for you and one other person in coach!
If you want to stretch those miles even further, you can book short-haul coach flights within the US 500 miles or less for as few as 7,500 American Airlines miles one-way. So if you’re traveling with a family, you’d be able book a total of 4 tickets round-trip in coach for the cost of 60,000 American Airlines miles!
For example, a sample flight from Los Angeles to Tucson in coach would cost ~$200 per person. For 4 people, that would come out to ~$800 round-trip.
And I was able to find low-level award seats for those same dates for just 15,000 American Airlines miles per person round-trip.
Round-Trip Ticket From the US to Colombia
There are plenty of great tourist attractions in South America, like the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira and the Tayrona National Park in Colombia. And if you take advantage of American Airlines’ off-peak pricing, you’ll almost have enough miles to book 2 round-trip tickets to visit these places!
Looking at the American Airlines award chart, a round-trip ticket in coach for 1 person would cost 35,000 American Airlines miles (17,500 miles off-peak rate one-way X 2). So for 2 tickets, you would need 70,000 American Airlines miles.
If you include the miles you’ll earn for meeting the card’s minimum spending requirement, you’ll have at least 63,000 American Airlines miles (60,000 mile welcome bonus + at least 3,000 miles from $3,000 minimum spending requirement). This would leave you needing just 7,000 more American Airlines miles for 2 round-trip coach tickets to Colombia!
I pulled up a sample itinerary and found that booking with cash costs $566 per ticket. So booking with miles for 2 tickets would save $1,132!
One-Way Ticket From the US to Japan in Business Class
Earning the welcome bonus of 60,000 American Airlines miles will also give you enough miles to fly one-way in Business Class to Japan!
American Airlines charges 60,000 American Airlines miles to fly between the US and Asia Region 1 (which includes Japan) in Business Class. If you booked the same flight with cash, it would cost ~$2,100! That’s huge savings!
Earn More American Airlines Miles
Earning the intro bonus on a new credit card is one of the quickest ways to earn miles for your next trip. And there are 2 additional Citi cards that you can consider – the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
If you qualify for a business card, you might consider the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®. This is considered a separate product from the personal American Airlines cards, so if you’ve had the personal version, you’ll still be eligible for the business version (or vice versa). And you’ll earn 70,000 American Airlines miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 4 months of opening the account.
Folks who fly American Airlines often or through airports with American Airlines Admirals Club lounges could make their travel experiences much more comfortable with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. You’ll earn 75,000 American Airlines miles when you’re approved for the Citi AAdvantage Executive card and spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.
And although the $450 annual fee is NOT waived the first year, you’ll get complimentary Admirals Club membership, and even your authorized users get access (free to add!).
If you prefer cards without a minimum spending requirement, consider:
Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard® – Earn 50,000 American Airlines miles after your first purchase and payment of the annual fee within 90 days of account opening
Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® – Earn 50,000 American Airlines miles after making your first purchase in the first 90 days of account opening
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is currently offering an increased welcome bonus of 60,000 American Airlines miles after meeting minimum spending requirements. And you can easily get over $1,000+ worth of airfare from those miles, whether you decide to travel within the US or overseas.
In some cases, you can get much more value than $1,000 in airfare. For instance, you can book a First Class flight on Etihad with 62,500 American Airlines miles that would have otherwise cost ~$4,800 if booked with cash. Or you could book a one-way flight to Japan in Business Class for 60,000 American Airlines miles. This flight could cost more than $2,000!
How would you use your welcome bonus? Let us know in the comments below!