Full Review of CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard
Excellent one-time offer
Useful travel extras on American Airlines
No foreign transaction fees
Annual fee applies after the first 12 months
Limited travel benefits
- Excellent One-Time Offer: This card allows you to earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles if you spend at least $4,000 on qualifying purchases within the first four months of opening an account. While that’s a higher "spend" than is required for many such bonuses, you also get longer to reach it—that is, four months rather than the customary three. And the value of the bonus is exceptional. Each AAdvantage mile is worth 2.26 cents each, according to Investopedia's valuation, which makes those 65,000 bonus miles worth a whopping $1,508 when used for flights. That’s one of the most lucrative bonuses you can receive, and delivers a nearly 38% return on your required spending.
- Useful Travel Extras on American Airlines: When you fly on American Airlines and book your fare with your CitiBusiness card, you’ll get some useful benefits that can enhance your travel experience. Those pluses include a free first checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights for you and up to four companions, preferred boarding on American Airlines flights, 25% savings on in-flight wi-fi on American Airlines flights, and 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee: If you travel outside of the United States for your business or work with international vendors, it’s important to pay attention to foreign transaction fees. Some cards, such as the Chase Ink Business cash card, will charge a percentage (typically 3%) to each transaction, adding to your total costs. The CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard has no foreign transaction fees, helping you save money.
- Annual Fee: While the annual fee on this card is waived for the first 12 months, you'll have to pay $99 per year after that to keep using the card—a commitment you may prefer to avoid. That said, the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard makes it fairly easy to justify that cost in American Airlines tickets, given the card's generous rewards and the relatively high value of the carrier's miles. Annual spending of $2,500 would suffice, since that would earn you 5,000 miles, which we estimate to be worth more than $100 when used for flights.
- Limited Travel Benefits: If you travel often for work, you likely want a travel credit card that provides extra benefits. Unfortunately, the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard is short on travel features, especially for a card with an annual fee. You won’t get airport lounge access with this card, for example, nor will you get the travel insurance, rental car coverage, or travel and emergency assistance services offered by many comparable travel cards.
This Card is Best For
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
Flies often for business or leisure
Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
The CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard is best suited to small business owners who travel at least occasionally on American Airlines. Even if you fly American only once or twice a year, you’ll likely spend enough for your business on other expenses that qualify for this card’s best rewards rate, such as those for telecom expenses, to earn back the card’s $99 annual fee. (Further, that fee only kicks in after the first year, with its generous bonus.) For instance, charging $200 a month for business internet service to this card would earn you 4,800 miles, which would alone could justify the annual fee, provided you used the miles to buy American flights.
CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard Bonus
If you spend at least $4,000 within the first four months of opening an account, you'll earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles. If you redeem your miles for flights on American Airlines, those bonus miles are worth 2.26 cents each, in our estimation, which gives you a total value of just over $1,500.
Compared to other business cards with a similar annual fee, that bonus is an excellent perk, and one most businesses should find easy to earn—since it requires only $1,000 per month in spending for four months.
Keep in mind, though, that not all transactions will count toward the $4,000 minimum spend. Balance transfers, cash advances, interest fees, traveler’s checks and purchases of foreign currency do not qualify as purchases.
Your bonus miles will typically show up on your account eight to 10 weeks after you meet the purchase requirements. The miles will be posted to the primary cardholder's account.
You can only receive the 65,000-mile bonus if you haven't received a bonus for another CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select account in the past 48 months.
Rewards Earning Details
With the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard, you'll earn:
- 2 miles per dollar spent on:
Cable and satellite providers
- Phone providers
- Eligible American Airlines purchases
- Car rentals
- 2 miles per dollar spent on:
- 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
If you spend a lot of money on business travel, this card can be a good option for you. You'll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Since the miles are valued at 2.26 cents each, you could justify the $99 annual fee by spending $2,190 per year on qualifying travel.
Rewards Redemption Details
This credit card allows you to redeem your rewards in several different ways:
- Air travel
- Flight upgrades
- Car rentals
- Hotel stays
- Admirals Club membership
- Gift cards
To get the most value from your miles, redeem them for air travel. When you do so, your miles are worth 2.26 cents each. By contrast, redeeming your miles for gift cards will give you the lowest value, of just 0.4 cents each.
You can redeem your miles for travel on American Airlines or on the carrier's Oneworld partners. American is both a domestic and international carrier, but Oneworld is a network of 13 airlines that provide service to over 1,000 destinations worldwide, so you can also potentially use your miles to travel to even more international locations.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
To maximize your rewards, use the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard for all of your American Airlines purchases, as well as any telecommunications expenses you incur for your business.
For example, let's say you charge to the card $2,000 per year on business flights and $5,000 on annual phone and internet expenses. You'd earn 2 miles per dollar spent on those purchases, earning you a total of 14,000 miles. With every mile worth about 2.26 cents, by our valuation, those annual rewards should easily justify the card’s $99 annual fee.
The CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard also extends its best 2-miles-per-dollar spent rewards to rental-car expenses. You may, however, want to use another payment option for these, since this one lacks the rental-car insurance coverage that probably comes many other cards in your wallet.
You could, of course, also use the card for all other business expenses. With rewards of a mile per dollar spent, these transactions will earn you a respectable 2% or so when used to buy American Airlines flights.
CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard's Outstanding Benefits
This card offers some excellent bonus features, including:
- American Airlines Companion Certificate: After spending $30,000 or more on qualifying purchases with this card, you will be awarded a domestic economy fare American Airlines Companion Certificate. With the certificate, you can book a round-trip economy flight for your companion for just $99, plus government taxes and fees.
- First checked bag free: When traveling on domestic flights with American Airlines, you may check one bag free of charge. Up to four companions traveling with you can also check one bag each for free.
- Preferred boarding: As a cardholder, you can board after priority boarding is complete, but before the rest of economy boarding.
- 25% savings on in-flight wi-fi: Use your card to buy wi-fi on American Airlines flights and receive a 25% discount.
- 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases: Get a discount when you use your card to buy drinks, meals, or snacks while on the plane.
- Authorized user cards, issued at no charge
- Personal business assistant
According to the J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Citi was ranked sixth out of 11 national card issuers in terms of customer satisfaction. Citi’s ranking was just below the national issuer average.
If you have a question, you can reach customer service via phone 24/7, which is standard in the credit card industry. You can also chat with someone through your online account, which isn’t a feature you’ll get with some other major card issuers. You can manage your account online or through Citi’s mobile app.
The card offers security features that are standard for the industry. The card includes chip technology and digital wallets, allowing you to shop within apps and in stores while protecting your card information.
CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard Fees to Watch Out For
This card has few fees. It lacks a foreign transaction fee, which makes it a smart choice if you travel outside of the United States.
If you’re a small business owner that travels on American Airlines, the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard can be a smart addition to your wallet. For a relatively low annual fee, you’ll earn miles on your travel purchases and telecommunications expenses that can be exchanged, at a favorable value, for flights on American.
This card isn't a bad choice for all other transactions, provided you use its rewards to obtain American Airlines flights—all other redemption options being at best mediocre. If you don’t need or want to earn that many award flights, however, you should consider pairing this card with another business rewards card that has no annual fee and offers healthy cash rewards on all purchases. By using the second card for routine business spending and the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard for airfare and telecommunications expenses, you could get the most value for your money.
For example, the Discover It Business has no annual fee and earns a flat 1.5% cash-back on all purchases—although note that it, like the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard, does not provide insurance coverage for car rentals.
Looking for more benefits than the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard provides? Consider the Spark Miles from Capital One. It has a $95 annual fee after the first year, but you’ll get up to $100 as a fee credit (every four years) for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry applications, car-rental insurance coverage, and travel and emergency assistance.