Review: Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage Visa Signature Card
By Peter Andrew
To understand my feelings on the Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage Visa Signature Card, you have to know about an incident from my past.
A couple of decades ago, when I was living in London, I was conned over free flights. A global appliance manufacturer offered zero-cost, round-trip flights Stateside to anyone who bought one of its products, even those -- such as entry-level vacuum cleaners -- that cost less than the airline tickets. I knew the promotion was too good to be true, but still fell for it because the brand was a household name in countless countries, and I assumed -- wrongly -- it would stand by its unsustainable offer.
The skepticism that flowed from that experience stood me in good stead. I never signed up for any of those "credit cards with miles promotions" offers, no matter how famous the name behind them. I even felt a certain smugness (yes, I'm a horrible person) when I read about those who did have airline plastic and who found blackout dates and other "gotchas" preventing them from redeeming their rewards. Why should they fly for free when I'd been denied the chance?
But now I've had to change my mind. Flying for free may still be a relative rarity because you often have to chip in a bit for fees and other minor costs, but airline credit cards are much better now than they used to be. So will I be applying for a Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage Visa Signature Card? Well, maybe. It's certainly a serious contender.
Not a free airline credit card -- but a good value
If you're looking for a free airline credit card, this isn't one. It has a $95 annual fee, although that's waived for the first 12 months. But keep reading, because the benefits it offers might still persuade you. That might be especially true of the $100 American Airlines flight discount you get every year that you spend $30,000 and renew your cardmembership. While $30,000 is no small sum, assuming you spend that and fly at least annually with AA, you're already $5 ahead.
And there's much, much more, including, at the time of this writing.
A sign-up bonus of 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles, providing you spend at least $1,000 on the card during the first three months you have it. Priority boarding with Group 1 privileges,* which could well reduce the time you spend in dreary airport lines. Your first eligible checked bag flies free.You get back 10 percent of the AAdvantage miles you redeem each year on up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles each calendar year*. You get 25 percent off eligible in-flight purchases. (*See card terms and conditions on Citi website for additional information.)
Rewards and no pre-set spending limit (er, maybe)
You definitely get rewards: two AAdvantage miles for every dollar you spend on eligible American Airlines purchases, and one for every dollar spent on other purchases.
The card can also free you from pre-set spending limits -- in a sense. I planned to tell you what that means, but have no idea. As best I can tell, it means that you can spend past the limit on your account -- just don't plan to carry that extra amount forward to the next month.
The right credit card for you?
Overall, it looks as though the Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage Visa Signature Card offerings a good deal to frequent fliers who prefer American Airlines. And unlike my long-ago experience with free air travel, there is no need to purchase a low-end vacuum cleaner to take advantage of it.
Peter Andrew has over 25 years of experience writing about marketing, advertising and management. He regularly covers consumer credit card topics for IndexCreditCards.com and other personal finance publications including Fox Business, TheStreet and MSN Money. He also writes frequently about mortgages and auto loans. Peter has spent extended periods living overseas, in the UK, France and Africa. He lives with his partner of 20+ years, and wastes too much of his time on cryptic crosswords.