How to Get Free Checked Bags and Priority Boarding Bliss with American Airlines

American Airlines 777Are you not having fun anymore when you fly? Often the hassles begin when you’re charged an extra fee to check your bag, and then you have to scramble to find remaining room for your carry-on when you board. And even when you earn miles for your flights, it can still be very hard to redeem them for an award trip.

Thankfully, Citi offers two versions of its American Airlines AAdvantage credit card that address these problems and some of the other hassles of flying:

1. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
This card offers new applicants 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening. This is enough for two roundtrip domestic tickets at the lowest mileage rates. You also receive a free checked bag for yourself and up to four others traveling on the same ticket. You earn double miles for eligible American Airlines purchases and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere.

And you won’t have to worry about finding room for your carry-on bag as you and your traveling companions will always receive Group 1 priority boarding on all American Airlines domestic flights. Once onboard, you’ll also receive a 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases including food, beverages and entertainment (when you use your card to purchase them). Other cardholder benefits include extended warranty coverage, lost baggage protection and trip cancellation/interruption protection.

This card also takes the sting out of booking award flights in two ways. First, you earn a 10% rebate on your redeemed miles each year, up to 10,000 miles per year. In addition, this card offers reduced mileage awards that are 7,500 miles fewer miles than standard: 17,500 miles roundtrip for economy class, or 42,500 miles for first class. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year and no foreign transaction fees.

2. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive MasterCard®
Another option is to step up to American’s the top of the line Executive card, which includes all of the features of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card plus even more benefits. Avoid chaos on the concourse by hiding out in the Admiral’s Club airport lounge, as membership is included for both the primary cardholder and all authorized cardholders, each of which can include all immediate family members or two guests. And in addition to priority boarding, you also receive priority check-in and airport screening, making your trips that much more comfortable. This card also offers a $100 credit toward the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees. Also, the first bag fee waiver applies to the cardholder plus up to eight others traveling together. You’ll earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles if you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. Finally, when you spend $40,000 on this card within a year, you receive 10,000 elite qualifying miles, which can help you to reach the next level of elite status and be eligible for first class upgrades. There is a $450 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees


Regardless of which card you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy a less expensive and less stressful experience on your next flight.

Jason Steele

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About the Author

Jason Steele
Jason Steele is a credit expert with CompareCards.com and a freelance journalist with a passion for credit cards and travel. As an expert in using credit cards to earn reward travel, he and his family love to explore the world using their points and miles, and helping others to do so.As a freelance journalist, Jason has been contributing to many of the top personal finance sites on the subjects of credit cards and travel. After covering the credit card industry daily for over five years, he has become one of the nation's premier credit card industry experts. Yet as a freelance journalist, he still has the time to attend all of his favorite travel, aviation and personal finance conferences and to continue to use his points and miles for plenty of leisure travel.

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