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American Airlines AAdvantage® MasterCard Review

Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® I get a lot of emails asking me about the pros and cons of individual credit cards, so my goal is to add to the perspectives we offer on some of the more popular credit cards out there.

Most of my recommended credit cards are safe picks for everybody. In other words, their rewards programs are structured so that you can earn rewards without needing to fly a particular airline or shop at a certain store.

There may, however, be specific credit cards that can be more rewarding to you than cards with mass appeal. Example: airline loyalty cards.

If you regularly fly a particular airline, having the airline’s branded card can provide conveniences and savings that are well worth the annual fee that usually comes with these cards. And the Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® card is a solid example (affiliate — see footnote).

By itself, the AAdvantage Visa’s reward rate is average: You earn two AAdvantage® miles for every $1 you spend on eligible American Airlines purchases and one AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. (This is the kind of thing that the double-miles paying Captial One Venture card likes to tease in its ads).

The American Airlines credit card is about on par with other major airlines credit cards. I fly mostly Delta, for example, and have the Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card which has similar perks: free checked bags, priority boarding, and a free companion ticket every year you renew. Even if you only fly a few times a year, the checked bag savings can pay for the card’s annual fee; the other perks are gravy.

One caveat about airline credit cards, including the AAdvantage card:

These cards feature higher APRs and are not for carrying balances. Anything you charge to the card should be paid in full each month. In a perfect world, we’d never have to borrow money on a credit card. In the real world, however, sometimes we do use credit cards to float us through tough times. If you do, there are low APR credit cards designed for this that will save you lots of money.

Signing up just for the bonus

I know people who sign up for every credit card sign up bonus they can – rack up the miles, and then cancel the card. Some have even gotten the same credit card numerous times. If you have truly excellent credit, you can probably get away with it. But as a word of warning: all these credit card accounts — open or closed — will stay on your credit report for seven years. If you’re young and may still have mortgage applications or other serious credit needs ahead of you, all those accounts could muddy your credit score, and it may not be wise to jeopardize your credit report for a couple of free plane rides.

Learn more or apply for the Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® now 

What do you think? Are you a fan of the AAdvantage card or another airline card?

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are my own. I may be compensated by credit card issuers for successful applications referred by this site. If you choose to support our free content in this way, thank you!

*Credit Karma users have received approvals with these TransUnion New Account credit scores. These approval metrics are only guidelines and approval is not guaranteed.

Published or updated on May 20, 2013

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and will be published according to our comment policy. Comments are the opinions of their authors; they do not represent the views or opinions of Money Under 30.

  1. Refreshing article. So many people have been slamming the whole idea of credit cards, mostly the aggrieved after gettig inot debt. But, we forget how useful they are if used wisely, and yes: “sometimes we do use credit cards to float us through tough times.” That is the balanced view.

  2. Liz says:

    Thanks for the tips. I, perhaps unlike Jimmy, really enjoy the credit card reviews. Very helpful to someone my age!

  3. Jimmy says:

    David, do you ever get bored of writing all these credit card review posts, especially since you’ve never used them before?

    As a reader, they get really dull.

    • David E. Weliver says:

      Fair enough, Jimmy. As I grow the site I don’t expect every article will interest every reader, and the credit card reviews are obviously a prime example — quite honestly, the advertising pairings for posts like this “pay the bills” and allow me to spend time on more personal posts that, by themselves, might not allow the blog to sustain itself. I try to strike a balance, but your feedback is noted and appreciated.

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