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If you're an average American Airlines flyer, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard® is a decent card to consider. The card has a nice bonus for new cardholders who meet certain spending requirements and a great way to save miles through its reduced mileage awards feature. It's not the best card for AAdvantage members who care about status and perks or fly frequently, though.
Features, Benefits, and Rewards
Cardmembers earn one AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on their Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard®. The accumulated miles can be redeemed for things like flights at reduced mileage requirements, cabin upgrades, car rentals, hotels, vacation packages, and American Airlines' Admirals Club membership perks.
International Travel with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard®
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard® does come embedded with chip technology, which can mean seamless credit card purchases in parts of Europe and Asia where it is the credit card standard. It's the norm in places like Copenhagen, Denmark, where consumers can authorize purchases with a simple PIN on their chip card. Merchants and cashiers aren't as familiar with printing signature slips, which can lead to some translation adventures.
Speaking of translations, one consideration of this credit card is that it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. This currency exchange fee negates whatever rewards you earn on spending abroad.
American Airline Perks
The perks you earn with this credit card are basic. The reduced mileage awards are the best perk. The 25% savings on in-flight purchases is a nice feature, but it most likely won't save most users a ton of money. For instance, assume you spend $17 on lunch aboard an American Airlines flight. This would only result in savings of $4.25 - not much to write home about.
Rewards & Miles Redemption
How do I redeem miles with this card? The best redemption value appears to be for miles on an American Airlines flight. Because the value of the flight changes depending on supply and demand, the redemption rate and the return on your spending are going to range depending on route and seasonality. Also keep in mind that there are booking fees (if booked through a reservation agent) on top of the regulatory and agency fees that are typically tacked onto airfare.
Review: Is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard® worth it?
The earnings rate and perks on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard® are not much more beneficial than other travel credit cards. We don't think it's that worthwhile for the average American Airlines passenger compared to other general travel credit cards. Excluding the 25,000 bonus miles cardholders can earn after making $750 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, the best perk of this card is the reduced mileage awards. However, the card lacks even the most basic travel features.
Bottom line: There are a number of other travel credit cards with more flexibility and benefits that can be applied to any airline carrier.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard® vs. the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
While the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® comes with a slightly higher annual fee, it also offers cardholders the ability to earn 2 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants and on eligible American Airlines purchases. Furthermore, the card offers a $100 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card year and renew your card. This means that even with the annual fee, cardholders who spend more than $20,000 would be better off with this card over the Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard® in the short-term.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard® vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is our pick for the best general purpose travel credit card out there. With its 2% rewards return rate, 50,000 bonus miles, and $95 in annual fee (waived year 1), the Venture card has the highest travel rewards rates you can get outside of the specialty travel credit cards.