Update: These offers for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.
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As I wrote about yesterday, Citi is offering increased welcome bonuses on their co-branded AAdvantage credit cards for a limited time. For the personal version of the card we’re seeing the return of the best ever welcome bonus, for the business version of the card we’re seeing a new bonus that’s higher than ever before. Here are the details of the offers:
- The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 AAdvantage miles after making $3,000 of purchases within the first three months; $99 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months
- The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is offering a sign-up bonus of 70,000 AAdvantage miles after making $4,000 of purchases within the first four months; $95 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months
I value American miles at ~1.3 cents each, so earning a sign-up bonus I value at ~$780-$910 for a card with no annual fee the first year and a reasonable minimum spend represents an exceptional value, in my opinion. However, there’s another Citi AAdvantage card to be aware of — the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® — so I figured I’d talk a bit about who should be considering which version of the card.
Comparing sign-up bonuses
These cards all offer the same 50,000 mile sign-up bonus upon completing minimum spend, though the amount of spend required varies:
- The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® requires $3,000 of spend within three months
- The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® requires $4,000 of spend within four months
- The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card requires $5,000 of spend within three months
So the Platinum versions of the card require less spend, though the difference isn’t huge.
Comparing annual fees
- The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has a $99 annual fee, though it’s waived the first year
- The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® has a $95 annual fee, though it’s waived the first year
- The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card has a $450 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year
Comparing benefits & return on spend
This is where the two cards differ significantly. They have some things in common, like that they all offer a first checked bag free on domestic flights and priority boarding, but there are also some significant differences in terms of the benefits.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers a 10% refund on redeemed miles, up to 10,000 miles per year. In other words, on the first 100,000 miles you redeem annually you get a 10% refund. Since I spend more miles than that every year with American, I consider that to in and of itself more than justify the card’s annual fee, and it’s a reason I hold onto the card long term. It’s the equivalent of picking up American miles for less than a penny each.
However, the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card comes with one killer perk, which is arguably the most generous lounge benefit offer by any co-branded airline credit card. The card comes with an Admirals Club membership, meaning you can access the Admirals Club with your immediate family or two guests in conjunction with a same day ticket (even if it’s on another airline).
That’s a fairly standard perk for many premium co-branded credit card, but what sets this card apart is that authorized users on the card also get Admirals Club access. You can add up to 10 additional users on the card at no extra cost, so this is a great way to get you and many of your friends/family members Admirals Club access.
Furthermore, some will value that you can earn 10,000 elite qualifying miles annually when you spend $40,000 on the card.
Comparing card eligibility
First it’s worth understanding Citi’s general rules on new card applications:
- You can only apply for one Citi card every eight days
- You can apply for no more than two Citi cards every 65 days
On top of that, the eligibility requirements on these cards are as follows:
- You can only get the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® or Citi AAdvantage Executive Card if you haven’t opened or closed a personal Citi AAdvantage card in the past 24 months
- You can only get the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® if you haven’t opened or closed a business Citi AAdvantage card in the past 24 months
If you have none of the above cards, that means you could potentially pick up the Platinum Personal and Platinum Business, or the Executive Personal and the Platinum Business. However, you couldn’t get the bonus on both the Platinum Personal and the Executive Personal.
The 50,000 mile sign-up bonuses on all of these cards are worthy of consideration, especially in conjunction with the long term perks offered by these cards:
- The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers a refund of up to 10,000 miles per year when you redeem miles, which more than justifies the annual fee for many
- The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card offers an Admirals Club membership, and best of all you can also get Admirals Club access for up to 10 authorized users, making this an incredible benefit
- While getting the bonus on the above two cards is mutually exclusive, you can sign-up for one of them in addition to the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, given that it’s a business card
So to simplify it further, the Platinum Card is worth considering if you’re not an especially frequent flyer with American, while I think the Executive Card offers outsized value if you’re a frequent American flyer who would benefit from Admirals Club access.
Getting Admirals Club access through the Executive Card is a better value than outright buying an Admirals Club membership. When you remember that you can get up to 10 other people Admirals Club access, that’s potentially like paying an average of just ~$40 per person for Admirals Club access annually.