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The information related to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to Citi credit card offers. See citi.com for more information.
For those looking at American Airlines-branded credit cards to boost mileage earning potential in the AAdvantage loyalty program, Citibank and Barclays offer cards that are worth careful consideration. We’ll put the two cards — the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® — in a head-to-head match-up to show off their pros and cons to see which one may be best to add to your wallet.
For example, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® boasts a generous sign-up bonus that’s easy to get and flight perks that can improve your travel experience. But if you’re looking for a card with flight perks and higher miles per dollar spent in more categories, then consider the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.
Here’s a rundown of each card’s features.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
Best for: This card was named overall best in the airline category CompareCards.com roundup. It’s great for American Airlines AAdvantage® members who want generous sign-up bonus miles without being required to make several thousand dollars in purchases within a specific time frame, receive priority benefits that make travel easier and grab some travel and purchase perks.
What we like
Really simple sign-up bonus. Most travel rewards cards make you spend a chunk of change in exchange for a large pile of bonus miles — but not this card. Earn 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the annual fee in full in the first 90 days.2 Offer ends 10/31/19 So if you buy something as small as a pack of chewing gum and pay the card’s $95 annual fee, then the bonus is yours. Those miles are enough to book a round-trip Mile SAAver coach ticket to Hawaii after Jan. 16, 2019.
Earn miles. Earn 2X miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases.
Airline benefits. The card comes with priority boarding, a free checked bag for you and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation, as well as a 25% discount on food and beverages on American Airlines-operated flights. Earn 10% of your AAdvantage miles back every time you redeem them (up to 10,000 per calendar year).
Travel and purchase protections. The card comes with a concierge, auto rental collision damage waiver and trip cancellation and interruption coverage.
More for your miles. Under the AAdvantage Reduced Mileage Awards program, get a discount of up to 7,500 MileSAAver miles to select destinations round-trip. You also get a MileSAAver discount of 7,500 miles round-trip or 3,750 miles one-way for travel booked that is more than 500 miles in distance. For travel booked less than or equal to 500 miles, the discount is 2,000 miles round-trip or 1,000 miles one-way.
Things to watch out for
Less help with elite status. One benefit of this card was having a way to help you earn elite status on American Airlines. You can still earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) after spending $25,000 on the card every calendar year — but only until Dec. 31, 2018, and if you signed up for the card before Jan. 1, 2018. If you were approved for the card after Jan. 1, 2018, you’ll get one more year to earn those EQDs. After that, there’s no way to earn EQDs with this card, which takes away an option for maintaining your AAdvantage elite status.
Fewer miles. The truth is, there are other airline- and travel-branded credit cards that offer more points and miles for travel, dining, groceries and gas than this one.
No lounging. If you want to get into American Airlines’ Admirals Club airport lounges for free, there’s no way to do it with this card. But you can buy a one-day pass for $59 when space is available.
Check out our AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® review.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
Best for: If you’re looking for some flight perks on American Airlines and better miles per dollar spent with a $99, waived for first 12 months* annual fee, this is your card.
What we like
Good sign-up bonus. New cardmembers Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*. If you complete all the spending required for the bonus miles, you can book a roundtrip Mile SAAver business class flight to the Caribbean.
Better miles per $1 spent. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases*. That’s better than the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® when it comes to spending at restaurants and gas stations.
First bag checked free of charge. You and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation receive this benefit on domestic American Airlines and American Eagle flights.
Stretch your miles. Like the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, this card also gives you access to the AAdvantage Reduced Mileage Awards and MileSAAver programs.
Double discounts. Get a $100 American Airlines flight discount after spending at least $20,000 during your card year and every year you renew the card. Save 25% on in-flight food and beverage purchases when use the card to pay for them.
Things to watch out for
More spending for bonus miles. You must spend much more on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® in order to receive the card’s sign-up bonus miles. The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® requires only a one-time purchase to earn the same number of miles.
Miles per dollar spent. Even with the card’s higher miles per dollar spent for travel, dining, groceries and gas, there are competing cards that offer more.
Limited airline perks. You only get a free checked bag and early boarding. Like the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, you can buy a day pass for Admirals Club access.
No elite status help. This card does not help you earn or maintain elite AAdvantage status on American Airlines.
Few perks. It comes with a free bag, priority boarding and an in-flight discount, but there aren’t any of the travel-related benefits you get with the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®.
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®||AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®|
|Annual fee||$99, waived for first 12 months*||$95|
|Regular purchase APR||17.99% - 25.99%* (Variable)||17.74%, 21.74% or 26.74% variable|
|Rewards||Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases*||Earn 2X miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases.|
|Sign-up bonus||Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*||Earn 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the annual fee in full in the first 90 days.2 Offer ends 10/31/19|
|Foreign transaction fee||0%||None|
The bottom line
These cards are pretty similar, so it really depends on what is more important to you. The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® comes with an easier way to earn a Earn 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the annual fee in full in the first 90 days.2 Offer ends 10/31/19, better flight perks and a way (for now) to earn elite status. But it offers lower miles per dollar spent on popular categories.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®’s annual fee is $99, waived for first 12 months*. Plus, you earn more miles per dollar spent not only on American Airlines, but also for dining and gas. But this card comes with very limited perks — a free checked bag, early boarding and flight discounts.
Check out our article on Which American Airlines Credit Card Is Best for You and our round-up of airline credit cards.