CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard credit card: Lower cost, nice perks
If you’re looking for an American Airlines-branded credit card for your business, the CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is one of two options available. The card comes with a $99 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months, and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. It also has perks for a better airline passenger experience when you’re flying on American Airlines, but doesn’t have a way to earn elite status on AA. Let’s dive in and take a look at why your business might consider this card if you travel regularly on American.
In This Post Who is this card for?
The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card squarely targets businesses that choose American as their carrier of choice, since it offers a free checked bag and priority Group 5 boarding for up to four travelers on the same reservation. And thanks to the carrier’s membership in the Oneworld alliance, businesses can use the miles they earn on the card to fly on AA partner airlines, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways.
Currently, the sign-up bonus on the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum allows new cardmembers to earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening. TPG’s valuations peg AAdvantage miles at 1.4 cents each, making this welcome offer worth $980.
American is one of the few airlines that still maintains an award chart, although the carrier is moving more toward dynamic pricing like Delta. But until then, those 70,000 bonus miles are enough to get you a MileSAAver round-trip award ticket in economy class from the U.S. to Asia (Regions 1 or 2), which covers Japan, Korea, China and Hong Kong.
Main benefits and perks (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.)
The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum comes with a number of benefits that will be of use to businesspeople who travel on American Airlines, including:
Free checked bag: This perk, valued at $60 per round-trip flight, is good on domestic flights for you and up to four travel companions on the same reservation. Using it for two passengers on a single round-trip flight more than covers the card’s $99 annual fee after the first year.
Priority access: You and four travel companions on the same reservation can board American Airlines flights in Group 5, which comes after elite passengers but before the bulk of economy boarding.
Inflight discount: You’ll get a 25% discount on Wi-Fi, food and beverages when using the card.
Companion certificate: Your business can earn a certificate for domestic main-cabin travel after spending at least $30,000 on the card during your membership year and each time the card is renewed (account must remain open 45 days after account anniversary). Note that redeeming the certificate has a $99 fee, plus between $21.60 to $43.20 in taxes and fees.
Dedicated help: You have access to personal business assistants 24/7 for help with travel, hotel and dining arrangements.
How to earn points
With the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum, businesses earn 2 miles per dollar spent on American purchases, along with telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rentals and gas stations. Your business will earn 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else.
Although the card offers more miles per dollar spent in those popular business-spending categories, other purchases such as hotels, shipping and office supplies aren’t included and earn only 1 mile per dollar spent. However, you can give employees their own cards, allowing you to earn miles on their spending as well as your own. Also, unlike the personal Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, this card doesn’t have a way to help you earn Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status on American Airlines.
How to redeem points
American Airlines is the largest airline in the world, based on passengers carried. Together with its American Eagle subsidiary it operates 6,800 flights a day to nearly 365 destinations in more than 610 countries. When you add its Oneworld partners, that grows to more than 1,100 destinations in more than 180 countries.
That large network gives you plenty of chances to redeem your AAdvantage miles for flights. Plus you can get a bigger bang for your miles by redeeming them for off-peak or MileSAAver awards, along with the airline’s Economy Web Specials and reduced-mileage awards.
You can also use your miles to buy an Admirals Club airport lounge membership, with costs ranging from 65,000 miles a year for an AAdvantage member with no elite status, to as low as 55,000 miles for an Executive Platinum member. But either way, you’re only getting a poor 1 cent per mile when you redeem this way — you’ll do better redeeming your miles for travel.
You won’t get very good value for your AAdvantage miles by redeeming them for an Admirals Club membership. (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG.)Which cards compete with the CitiBusiness AAdvantage?
For businesses with a lot of travel on American, the main competitor to the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum is the Aviator AAdvantage Business Mastercard issued by Barclays. That card has a similar $99 annual fee, but unlike the CitiBusiness version, it is not waived the first year. The Aviator version also gives you a free checked bag, priority boarding, 25% inflight savings, a companion certificate after spending $30,000 in a cardmember year, 2x miles on AA purchases and 2x miles on each dollar spent at office supply, telecom and car rental merchants.
The Aviator AAdvantage has two advantages over the CitiBusiness AAdvantage. First, the Aviator currently allows new cardmembers to earn up to 75,000 miles — 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days and another 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card. Second, the Aviator earns $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year. That may help some business owners who are trying to qualify for AA elite status. Whether that’s worth paying an annual fee for the first year is up to each individual business owner and their travel goals and needs.
If you’re looking to earn a lot of travel points and miles, there are many other credit card options for businesses beyond the two AAdvantage business cards. The American Express® Business Gold Card with its $295 annual fee (see rates & fees) is significantly more expensive than the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum, but features higher points in key business categories, more ways to redeem them and better business, travel and purchase protections. When it comes time to redeem your Membership Rewards points, you’ll have more options than you will with AAdvantage miles, thanks to Amex’s 19 airline and three hotel loyalty program partners.(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
Or if $295 a year is too steep, take a look at the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card from Chase, which allows new cardholders to earn 80,000 points (valued at $1,600, according to TPG valuations) after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. You earn 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines. Earning points on the Ink Business Preferred gives you access to Chase Ultimate Rewards and its associated 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners, plus it only costs $95 per year, although that fee isn’t waived during the first year.
You must be an American Airlines frequent flyer to get the most out of the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard. Even if you are, you’ll have to earn elite AA status the old-fashioned way — by flying on American and its airline partners. For a card that targets business travelers, it’s oddly devoid of the travel and purchase protections that come automatically with many other travel cards, including the Ink Business Preferred and Amex Business Gold.
If you’re looking for an everyday spending card for your business, you have better options than the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card. However, if you fly American Airlines regularly, can utilize the free checked bag and priority boarding and want to redeem your miles on the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier or its Oneworld partners, then there could be a place for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card at your business.
For rates and fees of Amex Business Gold Card, please click here.
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