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Aviator Red vs Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select – Which is better for AA miles?

Aviator Red vs Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select – Which is better for AA miles?

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This article was last updated Jan 06, 2017, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

Since Citibank and Barclays both issue credit cards that earn American Airlines miles, and both banks offer multiple flavors of cards, there are plenty of options available.

Here we’re going to look at the Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®* and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, the most popular AAdvantage® card issued by each bank, and help you see the differences and similarities in benefits and determine the best fit based on your needs.

We’re going to into more detail below, but the short answer is:

Here’s a rundown of the major features of each card. They’re pretty similar, so we’ve listed benefits that both cards offer, as well as benefits only available with just one of the cards…

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

  • Earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®*

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year
  • $1,500 Trip Cancellation coverage – in case an illness or other covered reason forces you to cancel your flight or trip purchased with the card
  • Chip + PIN – this card can be assigned a PIN so you can use it at kiosks like train ticket machines when you’re traveling abroad
  • $95 annual fee

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®*

Pros

  • There’s no minimum purchase requirement to earn the intro bonus – just make one purchase in the first 90 days of any size and you’ve earned it (you must pay the annual fee)
  • You can earn the intro bonus even if you already have or had the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® card before. Citi won’t let you earn the bonus twice in less than two years.
  • You get the opportunity to earn Elite Qualifying Dollars toward elite status
  • Like all cards from Barclays, it has full Chip + PIN functionality, so you can assign a PIN and use it to make purchases at kiosks, toll booths, and other places that don’t accept cards without a PIN.

Cons

  • There annual fee isn’t waived the first year, so you have to pay $95 on your first statement.
  • The travel protection isn’t as good as with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, which offers trip delay coverage and higher trip cancellation coverage.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Pros

  • Earn Earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening* .
  • Better travel protection, with $5,000 in trip cancellation coverage vs $1,500 for the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®*, and $500 in trip delay coverage, vs none for the Aviator Red
  • The annual fee is $99, waived for first 12 months*

Cons

  • No ability to earn Elite Qualifying Dollars
  • Chip-only for international travel, no full PIN capability so you might not be able to use the card at unmanned kiosks

Which Should You Get?

These cards are both pretty similar on the surface. When American Airlines and US Airways merged, American Airlines decided to continue having their credit cards issued through Citibank and since US Airways cards were previously issued through Barclays, American Airlines decided to offer a very similar credit card through Barclays as well.

In short, it probably doesn’t make a big difference what card you get.  You’ll probably better off getting the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® if you don’t have one already, because the annual fee is waived the first year and the travel protection benefits are stronger.

But if you’re interested in earning Elite Qualifying Dollars to help you toward AAdvantage® elite status, get the Aviator Red. You might also get the Red if you already have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® so you can snag a quick sign on bonus to boost your AAdvantage® miles.

Another thing you might want to consider is what bank you prefer. Some people prefer to work with Citi over Barclays or vice versa. In other cases, you might want to consider what bank you have a better chance of getting approved with.

*The information related to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.


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