(Offer Ending) What I’d Do With 70,000 American Airlines Miles – Maximizing the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card

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Maximizing the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card - Burning 70,000 American Airlines Miles

Maximizing the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card – Burning 70,000 American Airlines Miles

CitiBusiness / Citibank recently launched an upgraded welcome offer on the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard.  Like I did with the new United Business card, I want to show you how I would go about maximizing the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card. We’ll look at how to earn the miles from the card’s welcome offer, the key perks of the card itself, and then what I would do if those miles were in my account.

Update 5/27/20: This increased offer will be ending within the next week.

CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card Benefits

The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card retains its benefits while offering an increased amount of miles in the welcome offer. Here are the important details of the welcome offer:

  • Type of card: business
  • Card issuer: CitiBusiness / Citibank
  • Application rules to follow: 1 business card every 90 days and unwritten “6 inquiries in last 6 months” rule; 24 months same card family rule should not apply from personal card to business card (see more here)
  • Spending requirements: $4,000 in 4 months
  • Welcome offer: 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles
  • Annual fee: $99 (waived for the first year)
  • Learn More

CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard Card Benefits

  • 2X Miles on American Airlines purchases (flights, bags, upgrades, etc.)
  • 2X Miles at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations. Works on PPDG purchases, too.
  • 1X Miles on everything else.
  • Earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate for domestic main cabin travel after you spend $30,000 or more in purchases annually and then pay the annual fee to keep the card.
  • 25% discount on Wi-Fi, food and beverages when using the card.

Other Benefits

  • Free first checked bag
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding for you and up to 4 companions on the same reservation
  • No blackout dates
  • Additional cards at no additional cost
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Learn More

What I Would Do With 70,000 AAdvantage Miles

So…what would I do with 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage Miles? Technically, you’re going to have more than that. After spending $4,000 on the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card, you’re going to have a minimum of 74,000 miles in your account. I’m going to use 75,000 miles for trip planning. Since American Airlines is part of the oneworld alliance, we’ll be able to use any of those airlines for our flights.

American Airlines has a published award chart, meaning you should know what to expect for mileage requirements. Yes, there are high seasons and low seasons in some markets (mostly Euro. There is demand (only so many people can book at the bargain price) to account for. However, we know what we’re getting into. Let’s take a look at options for economy, business, and first class.

Economy – 2 Countries in South America…And More!

American Airlines defines South America 1 as a region and South America 2 as a region. The zone for South America 2 is what we’re looking at, which includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil (except Manuas), Chile (excluding Easter Island), Paraguay, and Uruguay. The AAdvantage award chart tells us that a flight from the U.S. / Canada region (excludes Hawaii) to South America 2 costs 30,000 miles in economy. Since we’ll have 74,000 miles, let’s go exploring.

Maximizing the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card & 70k AA miles
30,000 AA miles in economy, direct between Miami and Rio de Janeiro / Buenos Aires

First, we’ve got direct flights from Miami to Rio de Janeiro. With my “direct flights only” filter set, there’s still good availability on that and the return flight home from Buenos Aires.

Within South America, we’ll need 10k AAdvantage miles for a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, that needs LATAM, which AA’s online search can never find (more on that here). However, British Airways confirms this flight is available, so you know it’s possible to book via phone with American Airlines.

LATAM flight from Rio to Buenos Aires

But wait…there’s more!

I’ve now spent 40,000 miles, but I had 74,000. What can I do? Go to Hawaii!

AA web special to Hawaii
15,000 AA miles round-trip between Miami and Honolulu via economy web special.

We just burned another 30,000 miles for a round-trip from Miami to Honolulu. For this price, you’re taking 2 amazing trips and still won’t completely empty out your 74,000 miles you earned from maximizing the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card.

Business Class On QSuites to South Africa

I wrote about this one in my article on my favorite AAdvantage award sweet spots. New York JFK to Johannesburg JNB in South Africa is 75,000 miles per person in business class. If you can bump yourself up just 1,000 extra miles, you’ve got this trip. You can fly the “best business class in the world” via Doha, Qatar. Add a day to explore Doha, Qatar en route. This also breaks up a long trip, which is nice. With AA’s award chart, JFK-DOH (Doha, Qatar – home base of Qatar Airways) is 70,000 per person in business class. Insanely, you can jump from there down to South Africa for just 5,000 more miles. It just has to be booked as one ticket.

If you can’t find the space you want for this via Qatar Airways, you can also take Etihad business class for the same pricing. This routing will cost 75,000 AA miles per person, plus $94.30 in taxes. If you take the QR flight options, JFK-DOH is 12:15 of flight time, then DOH-JNB is another 8:55. (Note that the JFK-DOH option is the QSuite, while DOH-JNB will be a ‘traditional’ business class)

American Airlines sweet spot to South Africa

You can also take Doha to Cape Town, South Africa and only pay $15.70 in taxes. You’ll still need the same 75,000 AAdvantage miles for business class.

Free “Stopover” In Qatar

Since American Airlines redemptions don’t permit “stopovers”, the maximum that you can get during your stop is a day visit or an overnight. With this itinerary, you can get a good 12 hours to explore Doha. Uber is everywhere in Doha, and the business / first class passport control area is separate. So is the business / first airport security. You’ll be out of the airport for your city visit pretty fast. We spent our overnight at the St. Regis, Doha. It’s unreal.

First Class In A Flying Apartment To East Asia

This is the sweetest of the sweet spots, in my opinion. This is your best option for

For a paltry 50,000 AA miles and $56.20 in taxes, ride 2 amazing products. Depart Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on the famous Etihad First Class Apartments. It flies direct to Seoul Incheon ICN airport. But what if you aren’t trying to go to Seoul? You can extend this to Japan without any extra points.

It involves changing airports in Seoul, which might turn some people off. Hear me out. Depart Abu Dhabi and get the full experience with Etihad, including the incredible lounge at AUH. Arrive at ICN at 11:35am. Spend the rest of the day and night in Seoul. At 8am the next morning, depart Seoul GMP (the other airport) for Tokyo on Japan Airlines business class.

This flight will run GMP-HND (Tokyo Haneda) on the JAL Sky Suites III, their newest product. You get 11:35am to 8am in Seoul to explore, then continue to Tokyo without adding any extra points. You’ll check out Etihad first and JAL business class. Win! The Etihad flight is 8:35 long, and the JAL flight is 2:10.

Etihad first then JAL business

Since this only requires 50,000 AAdvantage miles, you’ll still have at least 24,000 more. Due to your efforts on maximizing the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card, you’ll be taking an incredible trip and still have enough for some domestic flights within the U.S. during some economy web specials.

Speaking of Taxes

All award tickets will have taxes. That’s a guarantee. While the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard earns 2 miles per $1 on American Airlines purchases, we can do better. As I’ve said before, using the best card for your purchase nets more miles. So does using shopping portals and cash back sites. I wouldn’t use an American Airlines card of any type to pay the taxes for these bookings, to be honest.

I’d use an American Express Platinum Card as my first option. That would give me 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 when paying the taxes. The 2nd option would be Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Gold Card. Either of those will give me 3 points per $1 (Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards).

Final Thoughts On Maximizing the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card

If you’re maximizing the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card and its welcome offer of 70k AA miles, I hope you found some good ideas here. We looked at the perks of the card and the welcome offer. We also looked at ideas for maximizing those 70,000 American Airlines in economy, business, or first class. Here are some other great parting tips.

Maximizing the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card:
  • Remember to check American Airlines web saver sales, which we announce.
  • Watch for Reduced Mileage Awards, which we announce.
  • American Airlines has no “close-in booking fees”, meaning you won’t pay an extra fee for booking an award ticket at the last minute.
  • American Airlines has no lap infant fee on their own flights running domestically. If you’re traveling with a lap infant, booking with AA is a great way to save money.

Let me know how you use your new AAdvantage Miles. I love hearing about people’s redemptions.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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9 COMMENTS

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Ryan, the sign-up bonus T&Cs shows 48 mo. from the last’s; is it determined from acct opening or acct bonus received date? Thx

    • Correct, that was the statement yesterday. However, I don’t expect that to hold. And you can book this routing for after that 🙂

  2. I was under the impression you couldn’t mix carriers other than AA and a partner. In your example, you would fly Etihad and JAL. Have you actually ticketed that routing recently? I know several years (and I mean several years) ago rules were lax on AA but they haven’t been in the last 4 or 5 years.

  3. Ryan, great article, but I have some questions about your figures. You talked about a RT flight from MIA>HNL for only 15k miles, but those screenshots you shared showcase what AA is actually doing, which is pricing the flights at 15k per leg or 30k RT. So where are you getting 15k RT from?

    • I’m an idiot. Thanks for catching this. 🙂 That’s what I get for starting/stopping/starting/stopping this article.

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