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American Airlines and Citi team up to bring you four of the best travel rewards credit cards for frequent American Airlines fliers. American Airlines actually has five credit card offerings, plus two AAdvantage cards for business travelers. The fifth American Airlines card is the airline equivalent of a store credit card, with no frequent flier rewards and a high APR. We’ll explore all five offerings in this article, although we do not recommend the AmericanAirlines credit card because of its restrictions and high APR.
First, let’s look at the similarities in the four travel rewards credit cards: The American Airlines rewards program is called AAdvantage, and the Citi American Airlines’ cards carry this name. All four Citi AAdvantage cards give you one AAdvantage mile for every $1 spent, with no black out dates and no expiration dates on your rewards. You can redeem your miles for travel on American Airlines, American Eagle and AmericanConnection carriers.
All four cards offer a host of benefits, including:
- Discounts on Hertz rental cars
- Citi’s personal concierge service (through Citi)
- $0 liability on unauthorized charges
- Travel and emergency assistance
- Travel accident insurance and lost baggage coverage
- Car rental coverage
- Extended warranty
- Retail purchase protection
- Price protection
The Citi® Gold/AAdvantage® World MasterCard card offers the same benefits as its Platinum Select brother, but you can trade off some rewards points for a lower annual fee of $50, waived the first year. You’ll earn 20,000 bonus miles (instead of 30,000) after your first $750 in purchases, and can earn savings of up to 5,000 AAdvantage miles with Reduced Mileage Awards.
The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Visa® combines the generous rewards Citi is known for with the benefits of high-end perks of the AAdvantage program.
This card offers 30,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after the first $750 in purchases within the first four months, which Citi says will be more than enough for a round-trip domestic ticket. You can also visit select cities with Reduced Mileage Awards, earning a savings of up to 7,500 AAdvantage miles on a round trip ticket.
The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Visa® carries an annual fee of $75, waived the first year. One nice feature is that the card has no pre-set spending limit, as long as you pay the portion of your balance that exceeds your credit limit in full by your statement due date. With this card you earn 1 American Airlines AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on purchases.
This card is nearly identical to the Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage World MasterCard, without the benefit of having no pre-set spending limit. This is a regular credit card, not an American Express charge card.
This card is identical to the Citi Gold AAdvantage World MasterCard, but carries the American Express name instead. As an American Express card, this credit card may not be as widely accepted across the world as the World MasterCard.
The American Airlines credit card is valid on purchases from American Airlines in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is not valid on in-flight purchases.
There are three benefits to this card:
1. No interest on purchases if you pay in full within 6 months.
2. You can receive an account number within seconds if you apply online and are accepted to receive this card.
3. As an official “airlines” card, it is relatively easy to get, even if you have average credit or no credit history
The APR can be up to 25.99%. If you are planning a vacation on American Airlines and want to buy your tickets with no payments for six months and don’t have a strong credit history, you may want this card. Otherwise, look at more robust options issued by Citi.
Our Top Choice Is…
After researching all the cards carefully, we’d have to rate the Citi® Gold/AAdvantage® World MasterCard® as the best value for world travelers. The pre-set spending limit and the fact that MasterCard is more readily accepted than American Express worldwide puts this card at the top of our list.
The advantages of the Citi Platinum Select, with the higher annual fee, don’t really pay after the first year when you earn 10,000 extra bonus miles. But if you frequently fly to cities in the American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards program, it might pay to upgrade to the Platinum Select and receive savings of up to 7,500 miles. Any of Citi’s AAdvantage cards represent an excellent value for frequent American Airlines’ fliers.