Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

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Only worth it if you value Admirals Club membership.

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For high-flying frequent travelers who want elite airline perks, the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is calling your name.

For a $450 annual fee, this card comes with Admirals Club membership for you and your authorized guests, a perk that normally would cost nearly $1,000 in the first-year alone. There’s also a fat sign-up bonus of 75,000 miles if you spend $7,500 within the first three months of opening the account. That bonus is worth about $750 towards an American Airlines flight, enough for a free, main cabin round-trip flight from anywhere in the contiguous U.S. to Hawaii.

Review

You’re the kind of person who commutes via airport instead of highway. Or you have a passion for collecting stamps in your passport. If either of these descriptions sounds like you, and your heart goes pitter-patter for American Airlines, then it pays to fork over the $450 annual fee for the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.

For the price of the card, you get your money’s worth in elite airport-based perks.

The card gives you Admirals Club membership — the American Airlines-owned lounge with more than 90 locations worldwide. Out of pocket, a family membership will cost you $925 the first year. For that, you and two guests or your immediate family members can relax in style while waiting for your flight. You’ll also be reimbursed for a Global Entry pass, which is valued at $100, and will receive one checked bag free for you and up to eight of your traveling companions.

The card pays an unexceptional 2 miles per $1 spent on American Airlines and US Airways purchases, and 1 mile per $1 on all other spending. There are other cards with better rewards rates, but if you’re flying on American enough to justify owning this card, you’re probably going to want the miles for even more travel or upgrades.

All these perks are great — if you’re a frequent flier on American. If you’re not both of these things, look for a card that gives you more flexible rewards to use where you please. The only reason to pay this pricey annual fee is if you want the Admirals Club access; otherwise, go for its little sister card — Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, which is much cheaper, but pays out the same rewards level.

Who should own this card

Anyone who wants access to the Admirals Club lounges and to accrue mileage on American Airlines can benefit from this card’s features.

Advantages
  • The included Admirals Club membership is worth more the cost of the card’s annual fee.
  • The sign-up bonus is enough for at least one free flight, and possibly more depending on how to choose to redeem your miles.
  • If you spend more than $40,000 a year on the card, you earn $10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles, which can lead to even greater perks and redemption values.
  • Free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companions.
Disadvantages
  • The card’s benefits are only good for American Airlines loyalists who fly often.
  • The rewards rate is just so-so.
  • The annual fee is steep.

Fees and APR

• This card carries a variable APR of 17.49% to 25.49%on purchases and balance transfers.
• You’ll pay a $450 annual fee.
• Purchases made outside the U.S. carry no foreign transaction fee.
• A penalty APR of up to 29.99% will apply indefinitely if you pay late or miss a payment, plus a late fee of up to $35.

Extras, perks and using points

Enjoy priority check-in, priority boarding and one free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companions.

Get a 25% discount on in-flight purchases including food, beverages and headsets.

The card comes with Citi perks like price protection and presale access to live events like concerts or sporting events.

Citi AAdvantage cardholders are eligible to redeem their accrued miles for reduced mileage awards when available. These mile-saver flights can only be booked by phone.

To redeem miles, go to the American Airline site, log into your AAdvantage account and book your travel. You also can redeem your miles for gift cards, magazine and newspaper subscriptions or donate them to charity.

How this card compares

The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Credit Needed

Excellent/Good

Regular APR

N/A

Annual Fee

$550

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

The Platinum Card from American Express sets the bar high with a steep annual fee and a high rewards rate It also has best-in-class travel perks like extensive airport lounge access-including their exclusive Centurion lounges, a Global Entry fee credit, hotel upgrades and more comprehensive travel and auto protections than most other cards.

Citi Prestige® Card
  • 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1X points on all other purchases

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our excellent credit category page.

Credit Needed

Excellent

Regular APR

17.49% to 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness, for transfers completed within 2 months from date of account opening. These APRs will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

Annual Fee

$450.

Balance Transfers Intro APR

http://www.bankrate.com/credit-cards/reviews/citi-prestige-card/

The Citi Prestige Card gives air travel rewards at a rate of 3X points to the Amex Platinum’s 5X points. But, it comes with one perk that could make it worth more to you: on hotel stays of four or more nights booked through the Citi concierge, get the fourth night free. For some, this benefit could exceed the cost of card ownership.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.