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CitiBusiness AAdvantage review: The best card for frequent American Airlines flyers

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CitiBusiness AAdvantage review: The best card for frequent American Airlines flyers

Joseph HostetlerCitiBusiness AAdvantage review: The best card for frequent American Airlines flyersMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Citi is an MMS advertising partner. 

Looking to boost your American Airlines miles balance to save money on airfare? You should be, despite the temporary travel shutdown. The MMS team has not slowed its accumulation of miles and points — though we’ve got no plans to use them for months. Once mankind has defeated COVID-19, we want to be sitting atop a mountain of rewards and begin traveling for free as soon as possible.

If you’ve got a similar strategy consider the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®. It’s got a sizable welcome bonus and is on our list of best airline credit cards for frequent American Airlines flyers.

With the bigger bonus, you can earn 65,000 American Airlines miles after meeting minimum spending requirements. That’s nearly enough for a one-way, business-class award flight to Paris or eight short-haul flights within the U.S.

Here’s our review of the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select small-business credit card.

Short-haul flights from Chicago or Charlotte to cities like Nashville can be booked for 7,500 miles, stretching the value of the 65,000-mile bonus on the Citi American Airlines small-business card. (Photo by 

Citibusiness AAdvantage review

Current offer

When you sign up for the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select small-business credit card, you’ll earn 65,000 American Airlines miles after making $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening. The card is also packed with benefits that can be worth much more than its $99 annual fee, which is waived for the first 12 months.

It’s easy for Citibusiness American Airlines Platinum Select cardholders to boost and replenish their miles balances because you earn:

  • 2 American Airlines miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 2 American Airlines miles per dollar spent at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and gas stations
  • 1 American Airlines mile per dollar spent on other purchases

The Citi American Airlines Platinum Select business card also offers a special benefit for big spenders. You’ll earn an American Airlines companion certificate after you spend $30,000 or more in purchases within a year from the anniversary of your card year and renew it (account must remain open at least 45 days after anniversary date).

Benefits and perks

First checked bag for free

When you fly domestically on American Airlines, your first checked bag will fly free, along with those of up to four travel companions on the same reservation.

Preferred Group 5 boarding

When you add your American Airlines loyalty number to your flight reservation, you and up to four companions will get Group 5 boarding status. This is the group that boards right after premium-cabin and elite-status members.

Grab a seat early, snag precious overhead bin space and start reading on your Kindle or working a Sudoku puzzle while everyone else boards.

Access to reduced mileage awards

American Airlines releases a monthly list of routes you can book with American Airlines miles and save up to 7,500 miles on round-trip award flights. The Citi American Airlines Platinum Select small-business card gives you access to these awards.

Annual $99 companion certificate

This is a niche benefit for big spenders, but it could be useful for some. When you spend $30,000+ in a cardmember year (and renew the card and account remains open for at least 45 days after account anniversary), you’ll get a certificate for a companion to fly with you for $99, plus taxes and fees (~$22 to ~$43, based on itinerary). The terms and conditions say there are blackout dates which are provided when you receive the certificate.

25% savings for inflight snacks

When you fly American Airlines, you’ll save 25% on inflight purchases of drinks, snacks and Wi-Fi when you pay with your card.

No foreign transaction fees

The Citi American Airlines Platinum Select small-business card is a good option for spending overseas because it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Automatic Mastercard easy savings rebates

With the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select small-business card, you’ll get automatic enrollment in Mastercard Easy Savings, a rebate program on purchases from certain merchants.

Complimentary employee cards

If you want to track purchases and set spending limits per employee, you can add authorized users for free. Many small businesses value this level of detail for expense reports and accounting.

Citi Private Pass for event access

Citi Private Pass gives Citi customers early access to concerts, sports events, theater performances and more. Other times, you’ll get better seats or invitations to special events.

Personal Business Assistant for help with day-to-day planning

You can call the Personal Business Assistant line to help with:

  • Travel plans
  • Vendor sourcing
  • Dining arrangements
  • Entertainment tickets

How to redeem American Airlines miles

The best way to use American Airlines miles depends on your travel goals, but it’s important to note that American Airlines has moved toward dynamic pricing. Some consider this an unfortunate change (and it definitely comes with more uncertainty), but it also opens the doors for amazing deals. For crying out loud, we’ve seen transcontinental flights for 6,000 miles one-way! With the introduction of American Airlines Economy Web Specials, one-way prices start at 5,000 miles to all sorts of destinations.

Here are a few other examples (representing standard award prices) of what you can do with this card’s welcome bonus:

  • 45,000 American Airlines miles for a round-trip coach award flight to Hawaii
  • 50,000 American Airlines miles for two round-trip coach award flights within the continental U.S.
  • 60,000 American Airlines miles for a one-way business-class award flight to Korea
  • 40,000 American Airlines miles for a round-trip coach award flight to northern South America (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru)

And don’t forget, you can transfer the American Airlines miles you earn to valuable partners like Qatar and Japan Airlines with incredible redemptions.

For example, you can fly in business class between the U.S. and Japan or South Korea on American’s partner Cathay Pacific for 60,000 American Airlines miles one-way — a fantastic use of miles.

Cathay Pacific business class is a real treat. (Photo by Zach Honig)

Is the annual fee worth it?

The card has a $99 annual fee, which is waived for the first 12 months.

If you fly American Airlines semi-regularly and don’t have elite status, the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select small-business card is definitely worth having, particularly if you like earning American Airlines miles.

And the free checked bag and priority boarding are excellent benefits if you’ll use them.

If you spend a lot in the 2x bonus categories, you can rack up American Airlines miles at double speed. And if you want to give cards to your employees or just keep better track of your business spending, having a small-business account is an easy way to keep expenses in one place.

Who is the Citi American Airlines business card for?

The Citi American Airlines business card is one of the best travel credit cards for anyone who flies a lot with American Airlines. You must have a small business to qualify, but you don’t need to own a multi-million dollar corporation. You could qualify for business credit cards with a side gig like freelance writing, photography or renting an Airbnb. You can apply for small-business credit cards with just your Social Security number and use your own name as your business name.

Citi has a rule that if you opened or closed another card within the same brand in the last 48 months, you can’t earn the bonus on other cards in that brand. But if you’ve had a personal version of the Citi American Airlines card, you can still qualify for a bonus on the small-business version because it’s considered a different card product. Getting personal and small-business cards that earn the same type of miles is a great trick for earning lots of rewards.

Insider tips

Besides the lucrative sign-up bonus and ongoing perks, one of the huge advantages of this card is that it will not appear on your personal credit report. Savvy miles-and-points enthusiasts know that limiting the number of cards that appear on your personal credit report avoids hurting your chances of opening new cards with other banks that have strict card limits.

Cards similar to the Citibusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select

If you’re interested in an American Airlines credit card but don’t have a small business, consider the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. It comes with many of the same benefits as the Citibusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select, and it’s got the same $99 annual fee, waived the first 12 months.

There are some key differences, though. You’ll earn a lower 50,000  bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 2 miles per dollar spent at gas stations and restaurants.

50,000 miles is still a great bonus, and smart to earn during this travel hiatus while COVID-19 runs its course. We estimate that 50,000 miles can be worth $800+ in free flights. When travel inevitably picks up again, you can cure your cabin fever with the miles you’ve stockpiled.

Bottom line

With the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select business credit card, you can earn 65,000 American Airlines miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening.

This is a huge sign-up bonus potentially worth more than $1,000 in airfare (based on our estimation of American Airlines miles value). You might consider using the bonus miles to splurge on a luxurious flight, like a business-class award booking to Tokyo or India.

American Airlines miles are useful for flights on partner airlines, like Alaska Airlines and Cathay Pacific. So if you can’t find American Airlines award seats, there’s an opportunity to redeem your miles to save on other flights.

It’s great that the card’s annual fee is waived the first year. This gives you an opportunity to test the card and its perks to decide if it’s worth keeping for years to come. Most folks who fly American Airlines like to keep the card because of the savings on baggage fees.

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

  • Designed for businesses
  • Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations.
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

More Info

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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Is this a recycled blog post?

i was looking at this card and it says you have to wait 48 months to try again for the bonus. do you know that to be accurate? I got rid of the card just over 12 months ago and was hoping to grab the 70k bonus.

Hi Chaz, yes you are reading that correctly. It’s also included in the fine print on Citi’s actual web site for the application. I believe they just made that change earlier this year.

“American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have received a new account bonus for a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® account in the past 48 months.”

Does this card include any insurance for travel?

Thanks for the write up. Would you mind explaining how these points are valuable for Bolivia since AA pulled out of this country and LATAM left OneWorld for Delta?

Any help would be appreciated. This is the second time asking this question.

What’s the point of even having the ability for readers to leave comments if you’re not going to answer their questions?

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