Best for business travelers
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
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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.
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The information about the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.
For a $450 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 2 AAdvantage® miles per dollar when spending on eligible American Airlines-related purchases and 1 point for everything else. Plus, there’s a generous sign-up bonus when you meet the qualifying spend within the first three months.
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®, a slight step down in travel benefits for a drastically lower annual fee ($99, waived for first 12 months). The Platinum Select also offers Double Miles (2 AAdvantage Miles per every $1 spent) on eligible American Airlines purchases and at restaurants and gas stations.
Admirals Club membership is worth more than the cost of the annual fee
The sign-up bonus is enough to cover at least one domestic, round-trip flight
No foreign transaction fees
Free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companion
The card’s benefits are only good for American Airlines loyalists who fly often
High annual fee
Typically, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® offers 2X miles for eligible American Airlines purchases and 1X miles per dollar for other purchases. But for a limited time through Dec. 31, 2022, you’ll earn 4X miles eligible American Airlines purchases, giving you a good incentive to book 2023 travel before the end of the year. That said, the card’s ongoing rewards rate isn’t particularly impressive, especially considering some general travel cards not only earn more on flights booked directly with airlines, but also offer more flexible and potentially more valuable points or miles.
You’ll also have a chance at a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus, available after you spend $5,000 within the first three months of opening your account (worth around $500 based on Bankrate’s latest airline mile valuations, which give AAdvantage miles an average value of 1 cent apiece). That’s a 30,000-mile drop from the card’s previous bonus, which offered 80,000 miles for only $500 in additional spending.
The $450 annual fee may seem costly, but the benefits that come with it justify the fee for those who travel enough. 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 5 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.
The 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 in your first three months of account opening is worth around $500, which should be enough to cover at least one domestic round-trip flight with American Airlines.
A family Admirals Club membership is worth $675 to $925 for the first year, depending on how many guests will be utilizing the membership. This completely covers the cost of the card’s annual fee, and for that, you and two guests or your immediate family members can use the space while waiting for your flight.
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 fully extend 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.
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.
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