Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard®
The Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard is an entry-level rewards credit card for American Airlines flyers. The card comes with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 AAdvantage miles and earns one mile per dollar spent for all purchases. Unfortunately, the card’s easy earning structure is also its drawback—there are no bonus categories, even on spending with American Airlines.
The American Airlines card’s relatively low annual fee of $50 (first year waived) also means fewer airline perks than those offered by cards that charge more. The benefits might be enticing for an average AA passenger, but a frequent flyer might want to choose a card with a higher fee and more perks.
Overall, the Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard is a middle-of-the-road co-branded airline rewards card with a decent welcome offer.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard® offers and the value of the Citi AAdvantage® miles you earn.
The Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard offers a 25,000 miles sign-up bonus. You can earn the bonus by spending $750 within the first three months of card membership, which is on the low end as far as spending thresholds go. The miles can be redeemed for one round-trip domestic flight or one round-trip flight to the Caribbean or Central America on off-peak dates.
Additionally, cardholders can save up to 5,000 AAdvantage miles when booking Reduced Mileage Awards to select destinations. Availability changes monthly, but there are always plenty of destinations included in the promo.
What You Get
- Earn 25,000 miles after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months
- Access to Reduced Mileage Awards that offer up to 5,000 miles in savings
AAdvantage miles do not expire as long as the card is active and not in default. The airline extends mileage expiration by 18 months from the most recent earning date. As long as there’s at least one qualifying activity on the account within 18 months, the miles do not expire. Flying on the airline or its partners, booking award flights, shopping at the AAdvantage eShopping mall, eating out with AAdvantage Dining and, of course, earning miles with any co-branded AA credit card will keep your miles safe.
What is the value of the AAdvantage® Miles?
The Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite card earns miles in American Airlines’ frequent-flyer program, AAdvantage. Miles can be redeemed through the AAdvantage program for flights on American and other oneworld alliance members, as well as with non-alliance airline partners.
American utilizes a zone-based award chart. The best redemptions are at the MileSAAver level, if you can find them. The program is notorious for releasing few low-level awards, so it’s best to book those seats as far in advance as possible. I recommend avoiding AAnytime awards because they are quite pricey and therefore don’t yield that much value for your miles.
What is CPM and How Is It Calculated?
Cents Per Mile (CPM) is a way to measure the value of miles. It tells you how many cents you get for each mile you redeem by dividing the cash price of the airline ticket (minus taxes and fees charged for an award ticket) by the number of miles the award flight costs. This is a somewhat subjective calculation because the price of the flight in both cash and miles fluctuates by season and availability.
How we calculate CPM:
The Best Ways to Redeem AAdvantage Miles
There are four award types you can book with AAdvantage miles: Off Peak, MileSAAver, AAnytime Level 1 and AAnytime Level 2. Off-peak awards can present fantastic value if you can be flexible with your travel dates. For example, 25,000 miles can fly you roundtrip in economy between the U.S. and Costa Rica or a Caribbean island when booked on off-peak dates, which is a steal. Peak travel dates require 30,000 AAdvantage miles, which is still a good deal. Most programs charge at least 35,000 miles for a ound-trip award flight in economy class.
Seattle–HonoluluEconomy classMiles price40,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$888
New York–PittsburgEconomy classMiles price7,500miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$241
Oakland–Los AngelesEconomy classMiles price7,500miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$445
San Francisco–Hong KongEconomy classMiles price35,000miles+$80.6 feeDollars price$1,108
New York–ParisEconomy classMiles price30,000miles+$80.6 feeDollars price$1,098
Boston–MexicoEconomy classMiles price15,000miles+$80.6 feeDollars price$531
Chicago–MiamiBusiness classMiles price25,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$761
San Francisco–MauiBusiness classMiles price67,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$1,591
Denver–ClevelandBusiness classMiles price45,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$981
Fort Lauderdale–SydneyBusiness classMiles price175,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$821
Miami–LimaBusiness classMiles price35,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$3,495
Boston–DublinBusiness classMiles price57,500miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$6,291
Other ways you can redeem miles
Hotel Stays30 partners30 part.
AAdvantage members can redeem their miles for hotel reservations at more than 150,000 properties worldwide. It’s possible to use miles or a combination of cash and miles to pay for a stay.
Car Rental13 partners13 part.
It’s possible to redeem miles earned with the AAdvantage credit card for car rentals, but the value isn’t as high as redeeming them for flights.
Gift Cardspartners part.
An option to redeem AAdvantage miles for merchant gift cards exists and is available to Gold, Platinum or Executive Platinum elite members, or for anyone with a minimum balance of 25,000 miles.
The Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard earns just one mile per dollar for all purchases. There’s no cap on how many miles you can earn with the AAdvantage Citi card, and earning miles at least once a month extends their expiration date for as long as the account is open.
Unfortunately, there’s no bonus earning on American Airlines purchases or anything else, which makes this card less lucrative than its sibling, the Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard. Even if you put all your spending on this card, it could take a while before you earn enough miles for a free flight.
- Car Rental
- AAdvantage Purchases
- All Other Purchases
American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles typically will appear as a bonus in your AAdvantage® account 8-10 weeks after you have met the purchase requirements. Miles may be earned on purchases made by primary cardmembers and authorized users. Miles earned will be posted to the primary cardmember's AAdvantage® account. American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles not available if you have had any Citi® / AAdvantage® card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.
In Flight Savings
Receive a 25% discount for in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your AAdvantage card on American Airlines flights.
Reduced Mileage Awards
Save between 1,000 and 5,000 miles when booking one-way and round-trip flights on select routes.
Save time when searching for travel, dining options, entertainment tickets or shopping ideas by enlisting help of the Citi Concierge service.
Foreign Transaction Fee
You’ll be charged a 3% for every transaction made outside of the U.S.
Fees: the cost of Having the Card
The Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard waives the annual fee of $50 during the introductory year. If you value AAdvantage miles at 1.56 cents each, you’d have to spend $3,206 on this American Airlines Citi card annually to justify paying the annual fee, which is not a lot of spending.
- Annual Fee
- $0 first year, then $50
- Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee
- 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
- Late Payment Fee
- Up to $35
See What It Takes to Cover an Annual Fee:
We strongly recommend to spend not less than $1,069 per months to cover the annual fee in three months.
We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings you’ll get with the Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard. Is the card worth getting, and should you keep it after you get the sign-up bonus? Let’s find out.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Top 5 Benefits of the Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard
Although the Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard doesn’t come with many airline benefits, it does offer some perks.
- Sign-Up Bonus: The card has a 25,000 miles bonus. That’s enough to book one round-trip flight within the U.S. or to the Caribbean.
- Low Spending Requirement: Speaking of, the minimum spending requirement for the sign-up bonus is only $750, which is low for an airline card.
- Reduced Mileage Awards: Cardholders can save anywhere between 1,000 and 5,000 miles per ticket when they redeem for flights to select destinations that vary month to month.
- Low Annual Fee: Most airline cards charge $95 to be a card member, but this card charges just $50. And the fee is waived for the first year.
- 25% In-Flight Savings: Passengers who use their card on any American Airlines-operated flight get 25% off in-flight meals, beverages and headsets.
Should You Get the Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard?
If you occasionally fly on American Airlines and are looking for an entry-level airline card with a low annual fee, then the Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard might be for you. However, keep in mind that the card does not offer all of the benefits you might expect from a co-branded airline card, such as free bags, priority boarding or waived foreign transaction fees.
Aside from the sign-up bonus, the best benefit of this card is access to Reduced Mileage Awards that let you save miles when booking saver-level flights to select destinations. If you fly with AA at least two or three times per year and are OK with paying a higher annual fee of $95, then the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard might be better option because it offers free checked bags, priority boarding and redemption rebates.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
One-way and round-trip MileSAAver awards are eligible for the discount. To book a Reduced Mileage Award, find your card and mileage discount first. AAdvantage Gold cardholders qualify for a 5,000-mile discount for round-trip flights that are 500 miles or longer and a 2,500-mile discount for one-way flights. Round-trip flights that are shorter than 500 miles in distance qualify for a 1,000-mile discount, and one-way flights receive a 500-mile discount. Pick your class of service and the destination. Please note that destinations change monthly, and not all routes are available.
If you want, you can call the reservations desk at 1-800-882-8880. It’s important to note that American Airlines charges $35 per ticket for travel in the U.S. and $45 for international travel booked over the phone, and these fees are not waived for Reduced Mileage Awards, except for Executive Platinum elite members.
Citibank allows you to earn multiple bonuses on the same card, but the issuer implements a cooling period of 24 months between opening or closing accounts. For example, if you opened a Citi AAdvantage card, received the welcome offer and closed it a year later, you cannot qualify for another welcome offer within 24 months of closing the account. If you received the miles but kept the card open, it’s possible to qualify for another bonus on the same card 24 months after opening the original account.
Additionally, the 24-month rule includes a whole family of cards, which means all cards in the AAdvantage family fall under the same rule. Card members who opened or closed the AAdvantage Gold, the AAdvantage Platinum or the AAdvantage Executive cards in the last 24 months are not eligible for the bonus.
Foreign transaction fees can vary between one and three percent per transaction, depending on the card issuer and the card network. Unfortunately, this American Airlines card adds a three percent fee for each purchase transaction made outside of the United States.
Foreign transaction fees might not be a big deal for someone who prefers domestic travel and doesn’t go overseas often. However, if you travel internationally for business or for personal reasons, the fees can add up quickly and this card might not be the best option for you. The card’s big brother, the AAdvantage Platinum Select, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and has better benefits overall, including free checked bags and higher earning on spending with American Airlines.
Compare AAdvantage Cards
Other AAdvantage cards
American Airlines offers a few other co-branded credit cards. They are issued by both Citi and Barclays. Let’s take a look at their differences and similarities.
|AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite MasterCard®||Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®||Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®|
|Sign-up bonus||60,000 miles||25,000 miles||60,000 miles||50,000 miles|
|Annual Fee||$95||$0 first year, then $50||$0 first year, then $95||$450|
|APR On Purchases||16.99% to 25.99% Variable±||17.24% to 25.24% Variable±||17.24% to 25.24% Variable±||16.99% to 24.99% Variable±|
|Second Year Value||$374||$374||$374||$374|
The AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard issued by Barclaycard offers new customers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles after making their first purchase. It has a $95 annual fee. The card earns double miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and offers a 10 percent rebate on redeemed miles (up to 10,000 miles per calendar year). It’s a great card for a frequent American Airlines traveler.
The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard is similar to the Aviator card. It offers free checked bags, earns double miles on AA purchases and you get 10 percent of your redeemed miles back. The card offers a 60,000 miles sign-up bonus. It’s also a great choice for passengers who fly on American Airlines a few times per year.
The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard offers 50,000 bonus miles as a welcome offer and charges the highest annual fee of all the cards — $450. The reason the fee is high is that the card comes with free Admirals Club access for the cardholder and two guests. The card is designed for a frequent traveler who enjoys lounge access.
Compare Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard® to Other Cards
The Citi / AAdvantage cards are just some of the many co-branded airline cards on the market. Let’s take a look at some other airline cards.
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card
50,000 avios offerRead Review
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
30,000 miles offerRead Review
- Virgin America Premium Visa Signature® Card
15,000 points offer
The British Airways Visa Signature card from Chase comes with a welcome offer of 50,000 Avios and earns three Avios per dollar spent directly with British Airways. That’s a great bonus on airfare compared to most co-branded airline cards. It is a good card for those who fly on British Airways or one of the other oneworld members, such as American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Iberia.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card from Bank of America is a great choice for travelers who fly on Alaska Airlines or Virgin America. The card comes with 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 and earns three miles per dollar spent with either airline. Additionally, the Alaska card comes with a Companion Fare which allows primary cardholders to buy a ticket for a friend or a family member on the same flight for just $99 plus taxes.
The Virgin America Premium Visa Signature card is not accepting new applicants. That’s likely a result of the carrier’s recent merger with Alaska Airlines. The card earns 8X points per $1 spent with Virgin America, which might be the highest return on airline purchases out there. The card also earns 15,000 status points every year to help cardholders qualify for status quicker.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the rewards offered by the Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this MasterCard.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 17.24% to 25.24% Variable±
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 23 days
- Extended Warranty Protection:
- Extends the manufacturer’s warranty so you can feel more confident when you make purchases with your Citi card.
- Damage & Theft Purchase Protection:
- Shop with more confidence knowing you’re covered for repairs or a refund if purchases made with your Citi card are damaged or stolen within 120 days.
- Citi Price Rewind
- Citi searches for a lower price on the registered items you pay for with your card at hundreds of online merchants. If the same item is found at a lower price within 60 days, you may receive the difference between the price you paid and the lower price.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 26.49% Variable±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
The Citi / AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard comes with a few security features, including zero liability on unauthorized charges, chip+signature technology and mobile banking, that help protect card members against fraudulent charges and identity theft.
- Account Alerts:
- Set up alerts to be notified when large transactions occur, if there’s an unauthorized withdrawal and when your bill’s due.
- Banking On The Go:
- Track your account with the Citi mobile app.
- EMV Chip Technology:
- Get global acceptance and enhanced security at merchants that use chip enabled terminals.
- Credit Score Reports:
- Monitor your credit history for unusual activity, including recently opened accounts and inquiries made on your history.
The card is compatible with Apple Pay, a mobile wallet service that provides a quick and easy way to make payments at participating merchants. Purchase protection, such as damage and theft, applies every time you use a mobile wallet app to pay.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
Master Card Travel Benefits
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
- Citi provides cardholders with secondary coverage of theft or accidents involving a rental car that’s paid for with the eligible card. The coverage becomes primary outside of the U.S., even if you have an existing insurance policy.
- Baggage Delay Insurance:
- Traveling card members whose baggage is delayed by six hours or more can get reimbursed for essentials, such as toiletries and clothing. Cardholders can get up to $100 per trip, as long as the trip was paid for with their Citi card.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement:
- Get up to $3,000 per passenger for damaged or lost bags. Coverage includes the cardholder and immediate family members on the same travel itinerary.
- Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service:
- Call 866-918-4670 when you need 24/7 roadside assistance sent to your vehicle in any of the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Services include towing, winching, jump-starts, flat-tire changes, lockout service and delivery of up to 2 gallons of fuel.
- Travel Accident Insurance:
- The benefit covers unexpected events, bodily injuries and loss of limbs or life when using a common carrier to travel. To be covered, card members must purchase the entire fare with their Citi card. The plan pays up to $500,000 in compensation for loss of a limb, sight, speech, hearing or life.
- Travel and Emergency Assistance Services:
- Emergencies happen. Citi will cover the cardholder when it comes to emergency travel arrangements, transfers of cash from a family member, friend or business account, visa and immunizations information and monitoring of global threats.