Is It Better to Sign-Up for the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card or Pay for Admirals Club Membership?

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Update:   The 75,000 mile offer for the Citi AAdvantage Executive card has EXPIRED.

Million Mile Secrets reader, David, commented:

Am I better off paying for American Airlines Admirals Club lounge membership and keeping an existing card like the Capital One Venture?  Or adding another card like the Citi AAdvantage Executive card?

My 2nd question is, if I have the membership and NOT the card can I still access the Admirals Club when I’m not flying American Airlines?

Is It Better To Sign Up For The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card Or Pay For Admirals Club Membership

What’s Better? Paying for Admirals Club Membership or Signing-Up for the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card for Admirals Club Access?

Let’s take a look.

What’s Admirals Club?

Link:   Admirals Club Membership

An Admirals Club membership gives you access to American Airlines Admirals Club airport lounges.  This is a great perk for those long days at the airport because you get:

  • A comfy place to sit
  • Free drinks & snacks at the lounge
  • Free Wi-Fi
Is It Better To Sign Up For The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card Or Pay For Admirals Club Membership

Avoid the Hectic Airport Terminal in the American Airlines Admirals Club Lounges

You can get this benefit by paying for an Admirals Club membership, or by signing-up for the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card.

With both, you can get into Admirals Club airport lounges even when you aren’t flying on American Airlines or US Airways.  And you can bring your immediate family or up to 2 guests with you for free!

You’ll also get access to Admirals Club lounges with the Citi Prestige card, but this is only good when you’re flying American Airlines on the same day (within 12 hours of your visit) through July 23, 2017.

Should You Sign-Up for the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card for Admirals Club Lounge Access?

Link:   Citi AAdvantage Executive Card

Link:   My Review of the Citi AAdvantage Executive

Yes.  The Citi AAdvantage Executive card is the way to go for most folks interested in Admirals Club access.

That’s because you’ll get entry into Admirals Club lounges by paying the $450 annual fee on the Citi AAdvantage Executive card, which is less than the price you’d pay for a new (renewals are also $450) Admirals Club membership though American Airlines.

Is It Better To Sign Up For The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card Or Pay For Admirals Club Membership

A New 1-Year Admirals Club Membership Costs $500, but You Only Have to Pay the $450 Annual Fee on the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card to Get Access to the Lounge and Other Perks!

Plus, you’ll also currently earn an increased sign-up bonus of 75,000 American Airlines miles with the Citi AAdvantage Executive card when you spend $7,500 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  [THIS OFFER HAS EXPIRED]

Is It Better To Sign Up For The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card Or Pay For Admirals Club Membership

With 75,000 American Airlines Miles You Can Fly First Class to Europe and Spend Time Exploring the Colorful Seaside Villages of Cinque Terre, Italy. This Ticket Could Otherwise Cost You ~$8,000!

Other perks you get with the Citi AAdvantage Executive card include:

  • First checked bag free (for you and up to 8 companions traveling on the same reservation) on American Airlines and US Airways domestic flights (US, Hawaii, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands) 
  • 25% discount on in-flight purchases (like food, drink, and headsets) on American Airlines and US Airways flights
  • Priority check-in, security (where available), and boarding
  • 10,000 elite-qualifying miles if you spend $40,000 or more on the card in a calendar year
  • 2 American Airlines miles per $1 you spend on American Airlines and US Airways
  • 1 American Airlines mile per $1 you spend on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees

With all those added perks, it makes sense for Dave to sign-up for the Citi AAdvantage Executive card to gain access to the Admirals Club lounges, instead of paying for a membership.

That said, if David’s spouse or partner is an authorized user on his card, she or he can NOT enter Admirals Club lounges on their own.

If a couple each want Admirals Club membership for their solo travels, it could make more sense to purchase a household membership from American Airlines ($825 new, $775 renewal) instead of having 2 Citi AAdvantage Executive accounts ($450 annual fee X 2 = $900).

Bottom Line

The Citi AAdvantage Executive card is an excellent value for folks who want access to Admirals Club lounges.  That’s because you’ll get entry into airport lounges, 75,000 American Airlines miles when you complete the minimum spending, and other card perks, all for a $450 annual fee.   [THE 75,000 POINT OFFER HAS EXPIRED]

That’s a lower price than what you’d pay for an Admirals Club membership directly through American Airlines and with more benefits!

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