I have 1300 gold leftover in my account from a promotion involving the World of Warplanes beta. I'm not likely to get more anytime soon. So what's a good strategy for spending this gold to maximize XP and credits in the long term? Should I use it to buy consumables, a premium account, premium tanks, or some combination of the above, and why?
For making credits and XP in the long run I would usually answer get a premium tank. In general premium tanks give you more credits than normal tanks, crew can be easily trained and moved to tanks of the same nation and every battle gives you free XP.
However, the limit of 1300 gold makes this question a lot harder to answer as you can see on the average net income statistics for tanks the premium tanks costing less than 1300 gold are actually outperformed by some of the regular tanks.
When it comes to making credits in the long run, the answer would then be spend your gold on a premium account and constantly play the game until you get the French BDR1 (non premium tank with best credit making stats).
Too maximize your premium account time wait until Wargaming runs a premium account promo, which temporary lowers the price for a premium account.
If you know you can only play a few rounds of WOT a day then spending your gold on a premium account makes less sense, in that case a better option would be to spend it on premium ammo which will only be used when you play. However, if you're a terrible shot then premium ammo won't help you at all, in which case consumables might help you survive on the battle field longer.
When it comes to XP and a limit of 1300 gold this question becomes almost impossible to answer, a cheap premium tank will still get you some free XP. A cheap premium tank can also be used to train crews for tanks of the same nation, but if you're not interested in that than go for a premium account again to temporarily boost your XP gain.
For a short term boost to your game a Premium account is very worthwhile. This effectively doubles your income (see below) and heavily decreases the time it takes to 'level up' to the next tank tier. Unfortunately 1300 points is not enough for a months premium account.
The benefits of a premium account are manyfold so it's not worth listing them here, go to the WoT forums to find out more information.
A premium account increase XP and silver earned by 50%. However, because repair costs remain at the same level this has the effect of doubling your income. e.g. 10k reward for battle, less 5k repairs is 5k profit on a f2p account. 15k reward less 5k repairs is 10k profit on a premium account.
For a long term plan, and if you don't plan on reinvesting in gold again, save it for demounting complex equipment. 10 gold quickly saves you 250.000 credits when upgrading tanks and not having to sell those coated optics and buying them again.
You can also save the gold for upgrading your barracks/getting extra garage slots during a promotion. XP/Credits isn't the only valuable progression stats. Saving a good money making tanks because you have extra garage slots vs. having to throw it out for a tier 8+ that doesn't make profits.