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Two More Reasons to Choose Barclay Aviator Red Over Citi AAdvantage Platinum

Photo credit: Aero Icarus / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: Aero Icarus / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Last month, I expressed my intention to cancel my Citi AAdvantage Platinum card, among a few other cards. I’ve had way too many security issues with Citi and the slightly lower annual fee on the Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Red card makes it a better fit for me. Recently, I’ve become more and more convinced that choosing the new Barclay AAdvantage card over Citi’s AAdvantage Platinum is a good move. 

In an email exchange, reader Brenton pointed something out to me that I’ve completely ignored so far: Citi charges cash advance fees for American Express gift card purchases, while Barclays does not. Thus, using the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card is not an option for that particular manufactured spending activity, while the Barclay AAdvantage Aviator card will allow you to continue buying Amex gift cards without incurring cash advance fees. You can certainly argue that charging Amex gift cards to one of the Starwood American Express cards would be the better option due to the airline transfer bonus. However, for those who either don’t have that card or want to save their SPG points for hotel stays or transfers to other airlines, a co-branded AAdvantage card comes in handy.

Another reason to choose the Barclay AAdvantage over the Citi AAdvantage card? Bonus spend offers. I’m not referring to the quarterly 2,500 bonus miles on select category spending. Several readers, who are US Airways Mastercard holders, have reported receiving targeted spending bonuses as high as 20,000 miles for spending $700 in three months. Another reader was offered 15,000 bonus miles for spending $500 by February. If Barclays keeps this up once the card converts to the AAdvantage Aviator Red card, this gives it yet another advantage (no pun intended) over the Citi issued card. And as Brenton astutely observed, since they can’t acquire new cardholders once the US Airways card converts to AAdvantage, they may continue these bonus promotions to keep existing cardholders happy.

You can certainly keep both cards and I’ve previously made a case for doing so. However, if you’re looking to downsize your credit card collection and don’t know which one to keep, the above mentioned points are worth taking into consideration.

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  1. I’m guessing Citibank will be the official card issuer for the new AAdvantage program after the merger is complete. Because of that, I want to apply for the Dividend Miles card before it gets discontinued. Sometime, do you think Barclays will publish an official date for when they discontinue their US Airways card? If possible, I would like to wait until Feb 22, so that it will be 90 days after my last inquiry.

    • I’m not aware of one, though I’ve heard it will be some time in February. Tonight, members of both programs will be able to link their AAdvantage/Dividend accounts. I’m guessing the end of the US Airways card is near.

  2. Having both cards, the primary benefit to me for retaining the Barclays Card is the benefit of 10,000 AA miles to be awarded annually. However, the Citibank AAdvantage Card is one of my oldest credit cards as well as being one with a high credit balance, both good for my overall credit score. So my question would be, is there another travel related Citibank Card worth getting to which I can ask Citibank to transfer the credit?Since I also have a Chase Sapphire Plus Card, which I use for all foreign currency transactions and a Freedom Card which I use for their quarterly bonus points, I don’t see a Citibank Thank You Card being attractive. Any suggestions?

    • I would definitely keep the Citi AAdvantage card if it’s one of your oldest accounts. If you’re looking for a secondary Citi card, the ThankYou program can actually be useful if you can make good use of Flying Blue promo awards and Singapore Krisflyer miles.

    • Hi Stuart, I would recommend that you consider a product change to the Citi Double Cash Master Card. No annual fee and 2% cashback on all purchases. I recently product changed my Citi Aadvantage card to the Double Cash card. No credit check, kept my credit line and kept my account history.

  3. If you have both, a call to Barclays with request to cancel because you don’t need two AA cards just might get you a year with fee waived plus a few miles

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