|Highlights||Credit Card Feature|
|Things We Like||Signing bonus of 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles|
|Our Least Favorite||$450 annual fee|
|Our Verdict||Great card to earn Elite Qualifying Miles|
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, a partner card, is a more exclusive AAdvantage® credit card designed for American Airlines flyers looking for high-end benefits. At first glance the annual fee seems extremely high, but with credit cards you often get what you pay for, and this card has a lot to offer. If you are the kind of person who likes a better travel experience and doesn't mind paying something for it, then this benefit-packed American Airlines credit card issued by Citi is a card you should check out. In this review, we go into the pros and cons of Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® in detail, and compare it with similar cards to help you decide if this is the best American Airlines card for you.
Things We Like About Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
It comes with a sweet bonus offer. After charging $5,000 of purchases to this card within your first 3 months from the date of account opening, you earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles. If you already are an AAdvantage® member, you probably know how many flights you would have to make to get that amount of frequent flyer miles. But just using this card to pay your normal expenses can get you this bonus.
You get Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you. Being able to relax in a lounge sure beats balancing on a plastic waiting room seat. Just presenting this card gives you free entry to nearly 50 Admirals Club® lounge locations worldwide. Authorized users (no more then 2) will also benefit from complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access as long as they are accompanied by the primary cardmember and have a same-day boarding pass for an AA flight.
First checked bag free for you and 8 travel companions! This benefit applies to domestic itineraries, which means that when you fly American Airlines you can get first checked bags free for you and up to 8 other people traveling on the same booking. You will have to make the booking and charge the full cost to your Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® to be eligible.
Enjoy an expert concierge service. This service (available 24/7) can save you time (and time is money) because a concierge service representative can take care of making our restaurant reservations and booking flights and hotel rooms for you. The concierge service can also take care of time consuming tasks like finding the best deal on something you want to buy, or purchasing gifts.
Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. If you travel in and out of the U.S. a lot, getting a fast-track immigration service like TSA Pre✓ or Global Entry can save you a lot of time and hassles. If you have this service, you get to skip the cues at the immigration control desk every time you come back to the U.S. If you have Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, you will receive a statement credit of up to $100 every 5 years, to reimburse your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓. Just make sure to pay your application fee with this card so you can be eligible for this statement credit.
You earn elite qualifying miles. After every year (January through December billing statement) in which you spend $40,000 on purchases, you earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles from American Airlines. These elite qualifying miles are not AAdvantage® miles that can be redeemed towards award travel, and do not count towards AAdvantage Million Miler℠ status. Instead, they count towards upgrading you to elite status in the AAdvantage® program. The only other way to earn elite qualifying miles is by booking eligible tickets with American Airlines, American Eagle®, oneworld® member airlines, Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and codeshare flights that have an American Airlines flight number.
You earn miles on all your purchases. Every $1 of purchases you charge to this card earns 1 AAdvantage® mile. A big plus is that there is no limit on the number of miles you can collect.
You earn high miles when you fly American Airlines. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. If you fly American Airlines regularly, you can earn a lot of miles.
You save 25% on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights. When you fly American Airlines, you can enjoy 25% savings on in-flight purchases of beverages, food and headsets. Note that you receive these savings as a statement credit 6-8 weeks after the transaction is posted, so the cost of these in-flight food, beverage and headset purchases will still be included on your credit card bill at the end of the month. Still, that is 25% saved, even if there's a bit of a wait. This perk doesn't apply to in-flight wi-fi and you also won't get these savings on codeshare flights booked with an American Airlines flight number but operated by another airline.
There are 3 different levels of elite membership, each with a different set of benefits. The number of elite qualifying miles you have to earn to achieve each status is also different:
- Get complimentary upgrades (auto-requested) on flights of 500 miles or less.
- Enjoy a 24-hour upgrade window.
- Earn a 25% elite mileage bonus.
- Get 50% off main cabin extra seats (complimentary at check-in).
- Enjoy complimentary preferred seating.
- Get 1 free checked bag.
- Enjoy complimentary auto-requested upgrades on flights which are 500 miles or less.
- Benefit from a 72-hour upgrade window.
- Get a 100% elite mileage bonus!
- Enjoy complimentary main cabin extra seating and preferred seating.
- You get 2 free checked bags.
AAdvantage Executive Platinum
- Enjoy 4 one-way systemwide upgrades, with the option of earning up to 4 more one-way upgrades (for a total of 8 per year).
- Get complimentary auto-requested upgrades.
- Enjoy a 100-hour upgrade window.
- Earn a 100% elite mileage bonus.
- You can enjoy complimentary preferred seating and main cabin extra seats.
- You get 3 free checked bags.
You don't pay a foreign transaction fee on purchases. This card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, which means that when you use this card to pay in a foreign currency outside of the U.S., you don't have to pay the 3% foreign transaction fee that you would have to pay with most other credit cards.
You enjoy priority check-in and early boarding on American Airlines flights. Having this card really makes you a VIP on American Airlines. When you arrive at the airport, you get priority check-in and (where available) you also get priority airport screening. You can also skip the boarding cues at boarding time and settle into your seat sooner.
World Elite™ Mastercard® perks. This is a World Elite™ Mastercard®, which is the most prestigious Mastercard you can get. As a cardholder you get access to a curated portfolio of exclusive travel related experiences through Priceless Cities®. You also enjoy a host of amenities, including complimentary breakfast for two daily, when you use your card to make bookings Luxury Hotels & Resorts portfolio locations. You also get the option of receiving elite status at participating car rental companies, just by holding this card. The World Elite Cruise and Vacations programs let you access carefully selected leisure packages.
Our Least Favorite Things About Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
It has an "exclusive" annual fee. The $450 annual fee that you pay to have this card is comparable to the annual fees charged by many of the most exclusive credit cards on the market. But the benefits you get with this card will only really benefit you if you do a lot of flying on American Airlines.
It doesn't offer a low intro APR period. Many credit cards give you a low introductory APR for a certain amount of time after your account is opened. With this card, you have a 17.49% - 26.49% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers right from the start.
You pay a lot when you use this card to get cash. Using a credit card to get cash is always a temptation, especially when traveling to countries or areas where cards are not widely accepted. But using this card to get cash is not a good idea. If you do use it to get cash, you will pay either 5% of each cash advance; $10 minimum, whichever is greater. On top of that steep cash advance fee, you can count on a 26.74% variable cash advance APR for cash advances. Stick to using this card to pay at credit card terminals and you will be just fine, especially since it has no foreign transaction fees. Use a debit card or a credit card with a low cash advance fee if you need to get cash.
How Other Cards Compare With Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
If you are an American Airlines regular and want to climb its loyalty program ladder quickly while enjoying special American Airlines benefits and solid travel perks, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is the card to get.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is first and foremost an exclusive credit card that targets a niche market. It's the card to get if you fly with American Airlines at least a few times every year and want to enjoy VIP perks. Excellent benefits such as a dedicated concierge service, lounge access and World Elite Mastercard privileges will probably appeal to your sense of prestige, but more importantly you can save a lot of time and get a better experience by taking advantage of these perks.
But if all you want is to earn miles, then we recommend you go with the entry-level Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® instead, as it lets you earn the same rate of miles, plus you earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back, up to a cap of 10,000 AAdvantage® miles per year (January through December billing statement). The much lower annual fee also means that card makes more sense if you want to save money on travel. But if you don't care too much about miles, and are looking for an exclusive lifestyle airline credit card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® has all of that.
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