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Is the Citi AAdvantage Business Credit Card the Best for Travel Rewards?

Anisha Sekar

Anisha Sekar

Credit Card Specialist at Fundera
Anisha Sekar is a personal finance expert who led NerdWallet's credit and debit card business. She has written for U.S. News and Marketwatch, and featured in Time, NPR's Marketplace, CNN, and more. She currently writes about everything from getting out of debt, to saving for retirement, to finding affordable health insurance.
Anisha Sekar
Advertiser Disclosure

If you’re a frequent American Airlines flyer, you might be looking at the Citi AAdvantage business credit card for your business travel needs. And with a cursory look, there’s certainly a lot to recommend with American Airlines’s in-house credit card. There’s that great signup bonus, free checked bags, and bonus rewards.

But is it really the best option for travel rewards, especially if you fly American Airlines the most? And what if you don’t?

Here’s a comprehensive look at the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard that’ll help you decide whether it’s the right business credit card for you and your jetsetting habits—or whether you should look elsewhere.

The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard, Reviewed

For this card, American Airlines partnered with Citibank to create a solid business travel credit card. It’s meant to appeal to loyal, frequent fliers to make flights more pleasant and ease some fees, too. It’s also created to help those business travelers earn more miles in popular spending categories.

Welcome Bonus

When you sign up for the card, you’ll be awarded a signup bonus of 60,000 AAdvantage miles when you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.

One nice thing about this signup bonus, along with all of the mileage that you accrue on the Citi AAdvantage business credit card, is that you’re able to use these miles within the entire OneWorld partner network. So, if you’ve been tempted to take a trip on British Airways, Cathay Pacific, or Qantas, this could be appealing.

Earning Miles, Perks, and Other Discounts

In addition to the signup bonus, you’ll earn double miles per $1 spent on American Airlines purchases, and double miles per $1 on select business categories including gas stations, certain telecommunication providers, and car rental companies. Anything else will earn you one mile per $1 spent. As you can see, this card is definitely focused on business spending based on where it allocates its double-mile bonuses.

You’ll get discounts on the plane itself, with 25% off inflight purchases. (Go on, treat yourself to that extra cocktail.) And Citi AAdvantage business credit cardholders also get a free checked bag and preferred boarding on flights.

Every year you spend more than $30,000, you’ll also get an American Airlines companion pass. It’s important to know that you can’t just cruise right into first class with a one-way ticket to Paris using this companion pass, though. In the fine print, the companion certificate is good for a $99 economy fare, and doesn’t include taxes.

Fees

The card has a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived your first year with the card.

There are also no foreign transaction fees, an important boon for international travelers. You also won’t have to pay to add employee cards to the account.

citi-aadvantage-business-credit-card

Who Should Get the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Business Credit Card?

The Citi AAdvantage business credit card is a great fit for a certain group of frequent business travelers—particularly those who fly often on American Airlines. Apply for this business credit card if you:

  • Check a bag on at least two round-trip American Airlines flights each year (savings on bag fees will outweigh the annual fee)
  • Loyally fly American Airlines for business, and do a lot of traveling on the ground once you land
  • Are certain you’ll spend at least $30,000 annually so you can access the companion pass

There are better business travel credit card options out there, however, if:

  • You don’t often check bags
  • You want the biggest signup bonus out there
  • You fly or incur fees on a variety of airlines, and would prefer general travel reimbursement instead

Simply, if you’re not a creature of habit with business travel and don’t get value out of airline-specific perks but still want to benefit from your trips, there’s likely a better option. You can earn rewards that fit more with your habits from a general travel rewards business credit card.

Alternatives to the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Business Credit Card

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

The Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is considered one of the best credit cards for business travel, and rightly so. It takes home the honors for best signup bonus on the market: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards Points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months.

You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points in a number of ways—gift cards, statement credits, etc.—but they’re most valuable when transferred to one of Chase’s hotel or airline partners for award nights or flights.

Those partners include big names like Hyatt, Marriott, United Airlines, Southwest, and British Airways. (If you want to fly American, you technically still can by converting your Ultimate Rewards Points into British Airways Avios and using those for award travel on American. But you can’t directly convert them into AAdvantage miles, FYI.) You can also use them to book travel through Chase’s Orbitz-powered portal.

Redeemed strategically, your points can actually go further in Chase’s ecosystem, and also be more versatile.

As for ongoing rewards, you’ll earn triple points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent annually on:

  • Travel, including airfare, hotels, rental cars, train tickets, and taxis
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines

You’ll earn one point per $1 spent past the $150,000 threshold and in all other spending categories. Like the Citi AAdvantage business credit card, the Ink Business Preferred has no foreign transaction or employee card fees, and a $95 annual fee (though the Preferred’s annual fee kicks in right away).

With the Ink Business Preferred’s signup bonus and higher rewards rate, this card is a better fit for most travelers.

That said, the Citi AAdvantage business credit card offers better perks if you fly American—the checked bag perk can save you $50 roundtrip, and if you meet the $30,000 annual spending threshold, the companion pass can be valuable, too. For loyal American business travelers, the Citi AAdvantage benefits can deliver specialized rewards.

Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN

The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN is considered the standard in luxury business travel. Serious travelers carry this card for its versatility, options, and status.

The card offers access to the American Express airport lounge network, including Delta Sky Club, Centurion, and Priority Pass Select. Plus, you’ll get free Gogo Inflight WiFi or Boingo internet access, and an application fee reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check. The American Express Business Platinum benefits combine to make this card a way for harried business travelers to make their flights more bearable—and are the kind of perks that add up to major savings.

The card has a hefty signup bonus: 50,000 Membership Rewards Points when you spend $15,000 in the first three months, and 50,000 when you spend $10,000, for a total of up to 100,000 points. You’ll get great ongoing rewards: five points per $1 on flights and hotel stays booked through Amex’s travel portal, a point and a half per $1 for every purchase over $5,000 (up to $2 million spent), and one point per $1 elsewhere.

In addition, you’ll get a $200 airline fee credit to offset checked bag fees, in-flight purchases, and the like, and a 35% points bonus when you redeem for first or business class travel booked through Amex.

These benefits don’t come cheap, though: The card has a $450 annual fee, and its signup bonus and 1.5-point bonus category have high spending thresholds. Amex cardholders have to clear a pretty high bar to get the full benefits, but if they take advantage of them all, the card pays for itself.

Many business cardholders will find the Citi AAdvantage business credit card’s $3,000 spending threshold for 60,000 miles much more attainable than the Amex Platinum’s $20,000 threshold for 75,000 points. If that’s you, there are other cards worth considering.

There’s lots to think about when determining whether a certain business travel credit card is right for your particular type of business travel. It’s important you get the right rewards to maximize your spending. Read up for more on the best business travel credit cards—and then apply away!

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Anisha Sekar

Anisha Sekar

Credit Card Specialist at Fundera
Anisha Sekar is a personal finance expert who led NerdWallet's credit and debit card business. She has written for U.S. News and Marketwatch, and featured in Time, NPR's Marketplace, CNN, and more. She currently writes about everything from getting out of debt, to saving for retirement, to finding affordable health insurance.
Anisha Sekar

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