which american airlines aadvantage card to keep

I’ve had the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and the AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red MasterCard® for a while now and I’m debating which American Airlines AAdvantage card to keep?
Let me start by comparing the two cards to express my thought process and how I’ve reached my decision.

which american airlines aadvantage card to keep

Annual Fee

Citi AAdvantage: $95

Barclays AAdvantage: $89

The difference here is $6 over a year, so this is not really a make it or break it factor but it’s definitely something to keep in mind.


Citi AAdvantage:

  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases. Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year.
  • Fly to great destinations on American Airlines operated flights for 7,500 fewer AAdvantage®miles! So you’ll save your AAdvantage® miles for another trip.

Barclays AAdvantage:

  • Earn 2 miles for every $1 you spend when you use your card on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1 mile for every $1 you spend on every other purchase.
  • Get 10% of your redeemed miles back, up to 10,000 miles, each calendar year.
  • Get up to a 7,500 mile discount when you use your miles to book a MileSAAver award.


Citi AAdvantage:

  • 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 Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines domestic flights.
  • Receive a 25% savings on eligible in–flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

Barclays AAdvantage:

  • Free checked bag – first eligible checked bag is free of charge for you and up to 4 traveling companions on your reservation, when traveling on domestic itineraries operated by American Airlines.
  • You and up to four people traveling with you can board with Group 1 on domestic American Airlines flights.
  • You’ll save 25% on in-flight food, beverages and headset purchases on American Airlines operated flights.
  • You won’t pay any foreign transaction fees while traveling abroad.
  • Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount when you spend $30,000 or more in Purchases on your Account during your card membership year and your account remains open for at least 45 days after your anniversary date.

In terms of rewards and benefits, the cards are identical except for the $100 flight discount. However, you earn this discount after spending a substantial amount of money on the credit card. Neither of these cards are worth using on everyday spend even if you’re trying to earn American AAdvantage miles since you only earn 1 mile/$1. However, you can use The Starwood Preferred Guest®Credit Card from American Express which gives you a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 20,000 points transferred to over 30 airlines including American. This means you can essentially earn 1.25 miles/$1 spent when using the SPG card from AMEX


Bottom Line:

I got the AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red MasterCard® from Barclays as a replacement to the U.S Airways Mastercard that doesn’t exist anymore. Also, you can’t apply for the Barclays AAdvantage cards because Citi is the only issuer of AAdvantage cards now. You should also know that banks issue you credit cards based on the total credit line they can extend you, so for me, Citi has many more cards that I’m looking to apply for so it would make sense for me to close my AAdvantage card with them to free up some credit room. In addition to that, unlike Barclays, I can reapply for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® in the future if I want to and I might even be eligible for the sign-up bonus available at that time. With that, I’ve come to the decision that it’d be wise for me to close my AAdvantage card with Citi and keep my AAdvantage with Barclays.


If you have any questions please tweet me @pointspointers or email me at pointspointers@gmail.com