Skip to Main Content

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® review

 /  4 min
Bankrate logo

The Bankrate promise

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for and how we rate our cards. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Snapshot

4.7

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5

Bottom line

American Airlines loyalists will find plenty of ways to fully utilize the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, but if you’re a casual traveler, you might want to look for a more general travel rewards card.

The large annual fee may seem startling at first, but it can easily be justified by using the card’s built-in benefits, such as Admirals Club membership.

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

1X - 4X

Rewards rate

Info

$595

Annual fee

100,000 miles

Intro offer

Info

21.24% - 29.99% (Variable)

Regular APR

Citi is an advertising partner

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® Overview

For a $595 annual fee, American Airlines loyalists can fly in style with perks like Admirals Club membership, priority boarding on flights, credit for TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry and more.

You’ll get 4 AAdvantage® miles per dollar when spending on eligible American Airlines-related purchases, plus even more in other key travel categories. There’s also a generous sign-up bonus when you meet the qualifying spend within the first three months.

What are the pros and cons?

To start, it’s best that you’re already an American Airlines loyalist when applying for the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.

The annual fee is hefty, so unless you’re looking to fully utilize the Admirals Club membership for you and your guests, you might as well go with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, which comes with step down in travel benefits but a drastically lower annual fee ($99, waived for first 12 months). 

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Admirals Club membership is worth more than the cost of the annual fee

  • Checkmark

    The sign-up bonus is enough to cover at least one domestic, round-trip flight

  • Checkmark

    No foreign transaction fees

  • Checkmark

    Free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companion

Cons

  • The card’s benefits are only good for American Airlines loyalists who fly often

  • High annual fee

A deeper look into the current card offer

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® offers 4X miles for eligible American Airlines purchases, 10X miles on eligible car rentals booked through aa.com/cars, 10X miles on eligible hotels booked through aa.com/hotels and 4X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases. You can also boost your rewards rate on American Airlines purchases to 5X miles for the remainder of the year after you spend $150,000 in purchases in a calendar year. All other purchases earn 1X miles.

While the card’s ongoing rewards rate for AA purchases is impressive, It doesn't offer much everyday rewards value since purchases like groceries, dining and gas would only earn 1X miles.

For a  limited time, you’ll also have a chance at a 100,000-mile sign-up bonus, available after you spend $10,000 within the first 3 months of account opening (worth around $1,000 based on Bankrate's latest airline mile valuations, which give AAdvantage miles an average value of 1 cent apiece). This is a 30,000-mile increase from the card's typical bonus, which offered 70,000 miles after a $7,000 spend in the first three months. While a $1,000 bonus is nothing to snub your nose at, it's far from the most impressive offer you can earn on a card with a nearly $600 annual fee.

That said, while the $595 annual fee is costly, the benefits that come with it could justify the fee for frequent travelers. One of the biggest perks of the card is its built-in Admirals Club membership (an American Airlines lounge with locations across the globe), which includes guest access for immediate family or two traveling companions for no extra charge.

You’ll also enjoy up to $100 application fee credit for either Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®, which will get you four years’ worth of access to either perk (but not both), plus one checked bag free for you and up to eight of guests traveling with you on the same reservation.

The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard doesn’t have the best rewards structure compared to more general rewards cards, but it’s one of the best in terms of airline cards — especially if you’re already a frequent American Airlines flyer.

How much are the rewards worth?

The limited time 100,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $10,000 in your first three months of account opening is worth around $1,000, which should be enough to cover at least a couple of domestic round-trip flights with American Airlines.

A family Admirals Club membership is worth up to $850, depending on how many guests will be utilizing the membership, which means the card's lounge access perk could completely cover the cost of the annual fee. The Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application credit adds to the savings, along with a first checked bag free (on domestic American Airlines flights) for you and up to eight guests). That’s a potential additional savings of up to $270 if you take full advantage the benefit.

In addition to the rewards laid out here, the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard grants you eligibility to join the American AAdvantage dining program, where members can earn miles by dining out at some of their favorite bars and restaurants. Our American AAdvantage dining rewards guide gives a deeper look into the program, detailing how to set up your account, where you can earn points, and more.

Other cardholder benefits

One of the biggest perks of the card is the household Admirals Club membership. With access to Admirals Club® lounges around the world and partner lounges, you’ll be able to relax with snacks, business center access, travel assistance and more. To gain entry to a lounge, all you need is your AAdvantage® number or Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and a photo ID.

Make sure to take advantage of the TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry statement credit. You’ll receive the credit eight to 10 weeks after charging one of the application fees to your Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.

For your guests to qualify for the free checked bag feature, they must be listed on the cardholder’s reservation. On American Airlines flights, you’ll also receive a 25 percent discount on eligible in-flight food and beverage purchases.

With this card, you’ll receive priority boarding on American Airlines flights, priority check-in and airport screening (where available) and boarding privileges for not just you, but up to eight guests on the same reservation. The priority boarding benefit will be added to your American Airlines boarding pass and labeled as “Group 4.”

A few Citi-specific perks to look out for include price protection and presale access to live events. Cardholders are also eligible to redeem their accrued miles for reduced mileage awards when available. (Note: Mile-saver flights can only be booked by phone.)

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

Written by
Claire Dickey
Former Editor, Credit Cards

Claire Dickey is a product editor for Bankrate, CreditCards.com and To Her Credit. Before joining Bankrate, Claire worked as a copywriter for brands within the telecommunications industry as well as a hybrid marketing and content writer.

Edited by Writer, Credit Cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.