Barclaycard American Airlines vs Citi American Airlines

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Barclay American Airlines vs Citi American Airlines

American Airlines has no shortage of ways to rack up major AAdvantage miles. From dining programs to online retail opportunities and more, AAdvantage miles are fun and easy to accrue. One of the best and also the fastest ways to build up your American Airlines miles is through one of the co-branded credit cards, because you don’t just get miles from these cards, but loads of goodies come along for the ride too.

Two of my favorite AAdvantage cards are the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard and the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. They’ve both got hot signup bonuses, great rewards, and oodles of extras. So, which one should you get? Check out this comparison of the two to find out!

American Express Everyday CardBank of America Americard
Signup Bonus60,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months50,000 bonus miles when you spend
Rewards Program2x miles for every dollar spent on AA purchases, restaurants, and gas station purchases
1x miles for every dollar spent on everything else
2x miles for every dollar spent on AA purchases
1x miles for every dollar spent on anything else
Additional Benefits$100 flight discount after spending $20,000 in a year10% redeemed miles earned back
Annual Fee$99, waived for the first year$95

By the way, American Airlines partners with several other airlines, so even if AA doesn’t fly to your destination, chances are one of its partners does.

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

What I love...

  • 60,000 bonus miles when you sign up and spend $3,000
  • Preferred boarding for domestic flights
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Great rewards program:
    • 2x miles for each dollar spent on American Airlines purchases
    • 2x miles for each dollar spent on restaurants and gas station purchases
    • 1x for each dollar spent on everything else
  • $100 flight discount when you reach spend threshold
  • First bag checked free (plus four buddies)
  • 25% discount on in-flight snacks
  • 7,500 mile reduced spend rate (for cheaper flights)

What I don’t...

  • No Elite Status potential

Who it’s best for...

  • Casual travelers who will earn big rewards and enjoy the occasional FREE trip via miles

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why I love this card. I mean, c’mon. Just look at that list of benefits! The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard has a pros list longer than your average gang member’s rap sheet and it’s no less impressive. To start off with, you are looking at a dizzying 60,000 miles when you sign up and spend $3,000 in the first three months. Depending on how you make your calculations, that’s close to $850! You won’t find a bonus like that anywhere else.

I also love the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard's rewards program. It's not quite a flat rate earn structure, but it's almost there. You earn 2x miles per each dollar spent on American Airline purchases, gas station purchases, and restaurants. Every other purchase earns you 1 mile per dollar. So, it gives you the simplicity of a flat rate program with the higher earn rate on the categories that matter. Win-win!

Then there are the extra treats like preferred boarding, first bag checked for free (yours and up to four co-passengers), fabulous travel protection (trip cancellation coverage, delay coverage, etc.), and 25% discount on in-flight food and beverages. One of the most impressive perks you get with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is the miles reduction rate. You can take advantage of a free flight for as much as 7,500 miles FEWER than you would do with other redemption partners. That's practically an entire flight depending on where you’re going!

By the way, that signup bonus is enough to pay for flights like:

  • A roundtrip business class ticket to Hawaii
  • Two trips to Mexico
  • Major parts of Asia or Europe
  • Several main cabin trips to the Caribbean, Central America, or South America

And a lot more. So, you can go to loads of places for FREE, and that’s before you even start racking up miles!

The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard even comes with state of the art chip technology for your security and Apple Pay for your convenience. Thanks, Citi! One final benefit that I'd be ridiculous not to mention is the $100 American Airlines flight discount you earn after spending $20,000 on regular purchases throughout the year. That’s less than $2,000 per month, and you earn the credit automatically (which more than cancels out the annual fee, by the way).

Barclay’s AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

What I love...

  • 50,000 bonus miles when you sign up and make your first purchase
  • Easy rewards program:
    • 2x miles for each dollar spent on American Airlines purchases
    • 1x mile for each dollar spent on everything else
  • Get 10% of your redeemed miles back
  • Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars when you reach the $25,000 spend threshold each year
  • 0% APR for 15 months
  • First checked bag free (and four friends)
  • Preferred boarding (buddies too!)
  • 25% in-flight food and beverage discount
  • World Elite Travel Services
  • Travel and shopping perks

What I don’t...

  • No first-year annual fee waiver
  • Who it’s best for...

    • Serious travelers who want to maximize their points earnings and go for the Gold (status)

    Of course, Barclay’s AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard is nothing to sneeze at either. This is a serious card for serious travelers, but the best part? It comes with a mid-range annual fee! For just $95, you get a boatload of travel benefits, discounts, and bonuses that you would normally have to pay considerably more for. To start with, you get 50,000 bonus miles for signing up and making any purchase. That’s right, there’s no spend requirement. Buy a pack of gum, earn 50,000. Nice! Oh, and FYI, 50,000 miles is roughly $500, more than enough miles for a ticket to Hawaii!

    Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard also comes with a super simple rewards program. You earn 2x miles for every American Airlines purchase and 1x mile for everything else. K-I-S-S! Once you have figured out the rewards program, you can turn your attention to the airline bonuses. Get things like free first bag checking (for you and four friends), priority boarding (friends come along for that too), World Elite Travel services, and a 25% in-flight refreshments discount. But, what is really attractive for most serious flyers, is the ability to earn EQDs...

    Elite Qualifying Dollars

    Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard gives you $3,000 EQDs, which is enough to get you into the AAdvantage Gold Status when you make $25,000 worth of purchases in a year.

    Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard also has travel perks like:

    • Auto rental collision insurance
    • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage
    • Personal concierge
    • $0 fraud liability
    • No foreign transaction fees
    And shopping benefits like:
    • Extended warranty
    • Purchase insurance
    • Price protection
    • Return protection

    Oh, I almost forgot about the introductory APR offer! You’ll get 0% APR for balance transfers made within the first 45 days of opening your account. That’s interest-free payments for 15 months! What an offer.

    Should You Fly With Citi or Barclay?

    A tough question, so you know what I say? Get them both! You can start out with the Citi card since that waives the annual fee for the first year. Then you can go for the Barclay Aviator card. This way you earn 110,000 bonus miles (can you see me drooling on my keyboard!?), tons of benefits, and all the best perks you could ask for. Boy, do I love America(n Airlines)!

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