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CitiBusiness/ AAdvantage World MasterCard

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If you’ve spent any time on a plane in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed the growing gap between business travelers and the folks riding in the “back of the plane.” Business owners face a choice: standardize travel on a single airline network, or scour bargain booking websites for cheap fares. Under those conditions, American Airlines and Citibank have doubled down on a strategy win back business travelers. With the CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® World MasterCard®, the partners have combined a revamped rewards program with bonus miles for many business purchases.

How to earn more than you spend with AA’s business rewards card

Because Citibank also offers some compelling business credit cards attached to its ThankYou Rewards network, selecting this card really comes down to your company’s travel plans and spending patterns. Like most airline credit cards, the CitiBusiness/ AAdvantage World MasterCard racks up American Airlines AAdvantage miles for every dollar you spend. You’ll double your American Airlines AAdvantage® miles whenever you pay for an American Airlines itinerary with the card.

You’ll get the biggest return on investment from this account when you use this credit card on featured merchant partners, including certain office supply stores, telecommunications and car rental merchants. Citi and AA will double your American Airlines AAdvantage® miles on each of those eligible purchases, turning your accounts payable process into a travel generator for your company.

How to earn more than you spend with AA’s business rewards card

CitibankWith a $95 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months, this Citi/AA card clocks in on the expensive end of the airline credit card spectrum. However, if you use all your cardholder benefits, the card can pay for itself a few times over:

  • Waived baggage fees. AA normally charges $25 per checked bag each way in the United States. Book your itinerary with this card, and your first eligible checked bag flies free. So will the first eligible checked bags for each of up to 4 travel companions.
  • Annual companion certificate. Renew your cardmembership and spend $30,000 or more in purchases on the card in a calendar year, and you’ll earn a certificate that will let you bring a companion on a domestic economy round-trip flight. Note that when redeeming the companion certificate you will be responsible for ticketing fee, government taxes and fees that apply.

Best of all, the new primary cardholder can earn a signup bonus of 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first 3 months of card membership. Use that toward a domestic round trip ticket under the new MileSAAver program, or toward a one-way coach ticket under the classic fare structure. And when you use your card receive a 25% savings on on in-flight food and beverage purchases.

Maximizing your rewards on AA’s global network

Choosing American Airlines as your company’s preferred airline makes the most sense when you travel often through any of the company’s “cornerstone” cities: Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and New York. Despite AA’s recent financial reorganization, the airline remains part of the “one world” airline alliance, opening up opportunities for reward travel on more than a dozen partner carriers. With AA codeshare flights operating nearly everywhere, it’s not hard for you to rack up AAdvantage miles. While AA can be more expensive than discount airlines, their specialization in business travel means more flexibility for visiting clients and attending conferences.

Industry speculators have suggested that AA may end up merging with another legacy airline, like US Airways. As we learned from Delta and Northwest, and from United and Continental, it can take years for merged airlines to link up their rewards programs and their network partnerships. In the meantime, the CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® World MasterCard® could be right for your business if you’re an AA fan and you’re ready to cash in on some money-saving perks. So take a look at the online application for additional information and terms and conditions.

Photo: Kien Wai
CBS News

Updated August 28, 2013 and originally published May 31, 2012. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Joe Taylor Jr. has covered personal finance and business for over two decades, and has written and researched for personal finance websites for over five years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, Fox Business, and ABC News. Joe also serves as a business sales manager for a Fortune 500 technology company. View all articles by .

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