Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite Mastercard
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If you want to earn American Airlines miles without paying a big annual fee, then the Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite Mastercard will do the job. This isn’t a powerhouse travel card; there are no luxury perks like lounge access or complimentary upgrades — but there are a couple sign-up bonuses that might make this card worth your while.
For the casual domestic traveler, the Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite Mastercard offers a way to earn modest miles on purchases, just 1 mile per dollar, and save some money on in-flight food and beverages.
The annual fee is $50 per year, but it’s waived the first year. In fact, this card’s most attractive features happen in the first year. Along with the waived annual fee, there’s also a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months; after that it’s between 16.99% and 24.99% based on your creditworthiness
New cardholders also are eligible for 25,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $750 within the first three months, which is enough for a round-trip domestic flight. There are no blackout dates on American Airlines and American Eagle carriers, so you can fly anytime.
The downside is that, over the long term, this card doesn’t measure up to other travel cards. The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is a step up, offering benefits the Gold World Elite doesn’t, such as free checked bags and preferred boarding. Additionally, the Platinum Select offers 2x the points on American Airlines purchases.
Another drawback is the point expiration system. If you don’t earn or redeem points through American Airlines, an affiliated carrier, or with an American Airlines AAdvantage participant within 18 months, then you lose them. This can be challenging as it can take time to earn enough to buy a ticket, especially since you’re only getting 1 mile per dollar.
Who should get this card
With the 0% intro APR and balance transfer for the first 15 months, this card is a terrific option for people who want to pay off a loan or finance a big purchase while eschewing interest. After the introductory period, the APR is between 16.99% and 24.99% based on your creditworthiness
For those who want a great travel rewards card, there are certainly better options out there — especially if you’re not tied to one airline. Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve are superior in almost every way, from the rewards system to the annual bonuses.
Fees and APR
- This card charges a $50 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year.
- For the first year, there is a 0% intro APR; after that it’s between 16.99% and 24.99% based on your creditworthiness.
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- You will have to pay a foreign transaction fee of 3% if you use this card outside of the U.S.
- Both the late and returned payment fee is $35.
Extras, perks and using rewards
Cardholders will earn 1 mile per dollar spent.
This card comes with a 25% discount on eligible in-flight food and beverage purchases.
This card also offers Citi Price Rewind, which automatically searches for a lower price on the registered items you pay for with your card at hundreds of online merchants. If Citi finds a cheaper price online within 60 days of purchase, you may receive the difference.
Complimentary travel protection is included with this card, including insurance, emergency assistance and lost baggage protection.
How this card compares
The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard has a $450 annual fee, and gives 50,000 miles if you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. With that hefty price tag also comes membership to the swanky Admirals Club, a $100 Global Entry application fee reimbursement and one free checked bag for you and up to eight of your traveling companions.
The Citi Prestige Card gives air travel rewards at a rate of 3x points to the Amex Platinum’s 5x points. But, it comes with one perk that could make it worth more to you: on hotel stays of four or more nights booked through the Citi concierge, get the fourth night free. For some, this benefit could exceed the cost of card ownership.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard will likely appeal to those who want the most flexible redemption options for their miles. You can use your earnings to book travel, get a statement credit for travel purchases, or for gift cards and select merchandise. This may be of greater value to you depending on your spending habits.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s hefty sign-up bonus, boosted redemption value when using the Chase portal, and a generous rewards program make this card a stand-out among travel rewards cards offering big value for minimal cost. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used for everything from flights to lodging to cruises, this also makes it one of the most flexible redemption programs among travel cards.
Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.