American Airlines is the only major U.S. airline that is not a transfer partner with any major bank rewards programs. However, that doesn’t make it impossible to earn miles in the AAdvantage program with credit cards. American offers co-branded cards through both Barclays and Citi.
After canceling our AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard, I was looking for a new American Airlines card to keep some benefits like free checked bags and priority boarding.
I ended up signing up for the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard. We have a long credit history with Citi and hold several personal cards but this would be our first business application.
I logged into our account to apply and was instantly approved. Here are the details of the card.
CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard
$99 per year, waived for the first 12 months.
Sign Up Benefits
Citi has strict rules about getting signup bonuses for their credit cards. The co-brand AAdvantage cards have a 48-month restriction to be eligible for the signup bonus.
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
The only restriction is that you haven’t received the signup bonus for this card in the past 48 months. You can receive a bonus for both a personal and business card as long as they’re different cards.
The current offer for this card has a 65,000-mile bonus once spend $4,000 in the first four months of being a cardholder. You can sign up for the card at this link.
Spending Bonus Categories
You’ll earn 2x American AAdvantage miles in the following categories.
- Eligible American Airlines Purchases
- Cable and Satelite Providers
- Gas Stations
- Select Telecommunications Merchants
- Car Rentals
The card earns one mile per dollar for all other types of spending.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
As a card that you can use on American flights worldwide, the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.
Free First Checked Bag
The primary cardmember and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation may each check one bag free of charge when traveling on domestic itineraries marketed and operated by American Airlines or its affiliates. This is not available for travel on codeshare flights booked with an American Airlines flight number but operated by another airline.
The card account must be open 7 days before air travel and include the primary cardmember’s AAdvantage account number 7 days before air travel.
This means you’d be able to get the free checked bag benefit while still paying for the ticket with a card like the Sapphire Reserve to take advantage of the better trip delay and lost baggage insurance this card offers.
This benefit cannot be combined with any existing AAdvantage Program elite program benefits or Premium cabin benefits, including any waiver of baggage charges. So you don’t get two free bags if you already get a free checked bag due to status.
The first checked bag benefit does not apply to overweight or oversized bags.
Now that your first checked bag on American costs $35, this benefit alone can save more than the cost of the annual fee on a single round trip for 2 people.
The primary cardholder and up to four companions traveling with and listed in the same reservation as the primary cardmember are eligible to board at the same time as the primary cardmember. Eligible cardmembers will board after Priority boarding is complete but before the rest of economy boarding. The boarding benefit will display on your American Airlines boarding pass as Group 5 (Here’s a full list of the boarding order for all U.S. airlines).
The same restrictions apply as with the free checked bag where the card account must be open 7 days prior to air travel, and include the primary cardmember’s AAdvantage account number 7 days prior to air travel.
25% In-Flight Savings On Food & Beverages
Primary cardmembers save 25% on eligible inflight food and beverage purchases when purchased using the Card Account.
25% Savings On In-Flight Wi-Fi Purchases
Cardmembers receive a 25% savings when they use the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select credit card to purchase inflight Wi-Fi service from American Airline’s Wi-Fi merchants Gogo, Viasat, or Panasonic, and on American Airlines’ Wi-Fi Subscription Plan.
Anniversary Companion Certificate
You can earn a companion certificate good for 1 guest at $99 (plus taxes and fees) after spending $30,000 on your card in an anniversary year. The certificate is good for a domestic Main Cabin round trip itinerary within the 48 contiguous United States and is good for one year from the issue date.
Use of Miles on Partner Airlines
While you can use your miles to book flights on American, you can also use miles to book award travel on One World and other partner airlines. We’re currently set to fly to Japan with JAL using American AAdvantage miles.
I guess it needs to be said that since this is a business card, it means you need to have a business to get one. We didn’t have any problems getting a business card but we’re established Citi customers with a long credit history and verifiable business income. I’m not sure how easy or difficult it may be for others to be approved for a card. The process was much easier than getting a business card from Chase, who wanted proof that my business existed by supplying tax forms and utility bills.
This card currently has the best signup bonus of any of the American AAdvantage co-brand cards. Those miles can go a long way if you can find saver space on American flights. If you’re able to book flights on one of American’s partners like Cathay Pacific, JAL, Qatar or Etihad, those miles can go much further. Having the annual fee waived for the first year is a bigger bonus.
For the long term, the free first checked bag, priority boarding and 25% off onboard purchases and Wi-Fi can add up to much more savings than the $99 annual fee of the card. It may be worth keeping the card for that reason unless I can get a signup bonus for a different American co-brand card in 2022.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary