My first credit card after moving to the US was a Citibank American Advantage card – and I still hold it today. If you live in one of the American Airlines hubs or fly them regularly, you probably have seen their credit card advertisements and it sounds like a good deal! Read my recommendations, whether it makes sense for you to apply or not!
If you are new to this site, please read “how we evaluate credit cards”.
Citibank has a number of different AAdvantage cards and I’m reviewing the Platinum AAdvantage card, which is in the middle of the options with a number of useful perks at a reasonable annual fee – check out the summary below:
- Sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles, worth about $750, after spending $3,000 in three months – that’s a good and regularly offered bonus.
- Earn Points for Spend
You earn 2 points per US$ spent on American Airlines tickets and 1p/$ on everything else – that’s a decent earn rate of 1.5-3ct/$, but there are cards with higher earn rates out there.
- First checked bag free; priority boarding – benefits similar to low-level elite members, good if you don’t have status with American Airlines
- Miles don’t expire – great benefit if you don’t fly AA often anymore (and reason I’m keeping my card!)
- Price Rewind – get refund if item purchased with card is available for less within 60 days
- Basic travel and shopping protection
- $95 annual fee (waived first year), no foreign exchange fee, EMV chip
Late in 2015, Citibank removed the foreign exchange fee from the card to better compete – that fee was the main reason the card remained unused in my safe for years! Any travel card should be without a foreign exchange fee or the fees will outweigh any points earned for foreign spend! There is also an EMV chip for added security!
The sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles (at 1.5cents/mile a $750 value!) will get you two domestic economy ticket or even some international travel and it’s a solid sign-up bonus near the top of the competition!
While the Platinum AAdvantage card doesn’t offer American Airlines status outright, it does offer some of the same elite perks, namely free checked luggage and priority boarding. You can check the first bag for you and up to four travel companions for free on domestic AA itineraries! If you don’t fly enough on American Airlines to earn status, it might make sense to get the card for some basic perks to make an economy class flight a little more enjoyable!
In over 20 years of holding the cards, I have never used the Price Rewind feature. While it sounds great, you do have to pay with the card and register the purchase for tracking to take advantage of it. I think it makes sense for larger electronics purchases, like a smartphone, tablet or camera that tend to drop in price quickly! It’s limited to $300 per item and $1,200 per year – but that more than pays for the annual fee!
If you are living in the US and fly American Airlines a few times a year, this is a good card to apply for. You get basic perks like early boarding and free luggage and, with the generous sign-up bonus, will earn miles for a free trip faster! If you don’t see the value of the benefits relative to the annual fee of $95/year, you can call at the end of your first year and ask to downgrade to the no-fee “Bronze” card – your points still won’t expire.
If you fly more on United, you should check out the Chase United Explorer card instead – it’s very similar in its features. If you fly a lot of different airlines and travel internationally, consider the Citibank Prestige card instead, with better perks and higher earning or the Citi Premier card.