American Airlines planes at the gate at Chicago O'Hare International Airport

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Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard has long been a popular credit card for frequent American Airlines flyers, with a low annual fee, a handful of perks and a solid welcome bonus.

Right now, the card is offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 within three months of account opening. The card is also waiving its $99 annual fee for the first year, giving you time to decide if it’s worth keeping long term.

That said, American Airlines recently announced its AAdvantage program would adopt a more dynamic award pricing model. American is still publishing an award chart that shows the number of miles needed for a flight, but this new chart is a bit more vague, with only “starting” prices posted for flights to each region.

The good news is that the these award chart changes only apply to American Airlines flights. Award tickets operated by partners like Japan Airlines, Iberia and Qatar Airways continue to be available at the old rates, making the card’s welcome bonus more useful.

Here’s everything you need to know about the AAdvantage Platinum Select card and how you can put its welcome bonus.

AAdvantage Platinum Select card benefits

The AAdvantage Platinum Select card gives card holders free checked bags and other in-flight perks.

The AAdvantage Platinum Select card is an excellent card for both frequent and infrequent American Airlines flyers. Cardmembers start off with a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after $2,500 spent within three months. Plus, card also earns 2 miles per dollar at restaurants, gas stations and eligible American Airlines purchases, while all other spending earns 1 mile per dollar spent.

Even better, every dollar spent on this card earns 1 Loyalty Point, which counts towards your AAdvantage elite status goals. Depending on your spending habits, you could earn top-tier AAdvantage Executive Platinum status from credit card spending alone.

The card continues to reward members with exceptional ongoing benefits like a free checked bag for the cardholder and up to four companions. In-flight meals and drinks are discounted by 25% and you’ll pay no foreign transaction fees on purchases originating abroad.

Lastly, the card’s $99 annual fee is largely offset if you spend $20,000 per membership year and renew your card. At that rate, you’ll be rewarded with a $125 flight discount valid on American Airlines tickets. It’s a great incentive given you’ll also earn 2 miles per dollar on common expenses.

Pros of the AAdvantage Platinum Select card

  • Solid welcome bonus.
  • The $99 annual fee is waived the first year.
  • The card earns 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent towards elite status.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Generous category bonuses.
  • Earn a $125 flight discount after spending $20,000 per membership year.
  • First checked bag free + priority boarding for up to four companions.
  • 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage.

Cons of the AAdvantage Platinum Select card

  • You won’t qualify for this bonus if you’ve received a welcome bonus for this card in the last 48 months.
  • In light of the recent award chart changes, AAdvantage miles could be worth less for American Airlines flights.

What can you do with 50,000 AAdvantage miles?

A side view of an Air Tahiti Nui Boeing 787-9 on the runway in Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

While 50,000 miles sounds like a lot, it’s important to consider whether it will assist you in meeting your travel goals.

Even if you don’t plan on flying American any time soon, you might find value in the card. The airline is part of the Oneworld alliance, so you can use the miles to travel virtually anywhere, thanks to a vast partner airline network which includes airlines like British Airways and Japan Airlines. Plus, American has a non-alliance partnership with Etihad Airways.

Here are three interesting ways to redeem the AAdvantage Platinum Select card’s bonus.

Up to 6 one-way domestic flights

Domestic economy class awards start at just 7,500 AAdvantage miles each way. That means you can book up to six one-way flights with the 50,000-mile AAdvantage Platinum Select welcome bonus. If you want to splurge on first class, those seats start at just 15,000 miles each way.

A screenshot showing American Airlines award flights from Newark to Chicago

A one-way flight to French Polynesia

American Airlines has a partnership with Air Tahiti Nui, which operates flights from Los Angeles (LAX) and Seattle (SEA) to Tahiti (PPT). But if you’re not based in these cities, you can still book this flight for just 40,000 miles one-way even if you’re connecting in another city. The AAdvantage Platinum Select’s current bonus would give you more than enough points to book this ticket.

A screenshot showing an award ticket from Las Vegas to Tahiti in French Polynesia operated by Air Tahiti Nui

Off-peak bargain flights to Europe

American Airlines has several European partners, including Iberia, British Airways and Finnair. Thanks to American’s off-peak partner awards, economy class tickets to Europe start at just 22,500 miles each way. With the AAdvantage Platinum Select card’s welcome bonus, you can cover up to two one-way flights. Not bad, considering you’re not even paying the card’s $99 annual fee during the first year.

A screenshot showing American Airlines award flights from New York to Madrid

Related: 7 great ways to spend American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

Bottom line

The 50,000-mile welcome bonus on the AAdvantage Platinum Select card is a deal worth considering if you need some AAdvantage miles. Granted, the airline has made some undesirable changes to its loyalty program, but the program continues to provide exceptional value – especially if you book partner airline flights.

Between the lack of an annual fee during the first year and recurring benefits, this could be an excellent addition to your wallet. The only major downside is if you’ve received a welcome bonus on this card in the past 48 months, you won’t be eligible for this offer. For all others, this is a deal worth considering if you’re looking for a new airline credit card.

Learn more and apply for the AAdvantage Platinum Select card.

Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as its best travel credit cards currently available.

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