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Since Citibank and Barclaycard 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 Barclaycard Aviator Red and the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select, 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…
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 Barclaycard, American Airlines decided to offer a very similar credit card through Barclaycard 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 card 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, which unlocks that feature, and gives you a way to get the Aviator Silver for even more elite qualifying opportunities. You might also get the Red if you already have the Citi AAdvantage so you can snag a quick signon 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 Barclay or vice versa. In other cases, you might want to consider what bank you have a better chance of getting approved with.
The final consideration that we would recommend is whether or not you will want to keep the card. You often have an option to upgrade or downgrade a credit card within a bank’s credit card offerings. For example, you could upgrade your Aviator Red (Barclaycard) to an Aviator Silver (Barclaycard), but you could not upgrade an AAdvantage Platinum (Citibank) to an Aviator Silver (Barclaycard). Likewise, it may be possible to downgrade credit cards later on.
Especially in cases like the Aviator Silver, where you cannot apply directly, it is worthwhile to lean in favor of one credit card over the other if you would like to product change later on.
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