The travel-rewards credit card space has become an increasingly competitive one, forcing card issuers and their airline and hotel partners to add perks to lure new customers and ratchet up incentives to keep current cardholders spending.
Compared to Chase and American Express and their respective travel partners, American and its card issuer, Citibank, have been laggards in recent years.
The launch of the Citi Executive/AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard last July was a late entry in the premium card area, a catch-up match of such pricey, perks-rich cards as the American Express Platinum card, the Continental Airlines Presidential Plus card, the Delta Reserve card, and the United Mileage Plus Club Visa card.
Late to the party or not, it was a solid card. It didn't give American any clear advantage over its rivals, but it at least put them into contention.
The same might be said of the new Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage card, released this week.
For a $95 annual fee, waived the first year, the card features the following:
- First checked bag free for cardholders and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation;
- Priority boarding for cardholders and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation;
- A 25 percent discount on in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and headsets charged to the card;
- Cardholders earn a $100 American Airlines flight discount for each year they charge $30,000 and renew their cards;
- Double AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases;
- Ten percent rebate on AAdvantage miles redeemed by cardholders, up to 10,000 miles per calendar year; and
- No annual limit or cap on how many AAdvantage miles cardholders can earn.
The sign-up bonus is a modest (by today's standards) 30,000 AAdvantage miles after $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.
If you're a committed AAdvantage member, this card is an upgrade over previous AAdvantage-linked cards offered at the same price point. In particular, the checked-bag fee waiver and priority boarding emulate some of the benefits of lower-level elite status, for those who haven't earned it the old fashioned way. And the rebate on redeemed miles effectively increases the value of banked AAdvantage miles.
But if you're already AAdvantage elite, this card's signature benefits may be redundant. And if you're not an AAdvantage loyalist, there are cards with roughly comparable benefits available for members of the programs of Delta, United, and US Airways.
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.
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