With so Many American Airlines Credit Cards to Choose From, Which One is Right for You?

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With so Many American Airlines Credit Cards to Choose From, Which One is Right for You?

AlexWith so Many American Airlines Credit Cards to Choose From, Which One is Right for You?Million Mile Secrets Team

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Fans of American Airlines can earn up to 70,000 bonus American Airlines miles with welcome bonuses from American Airlines credit cards.  Any of these bonuses are more than enough for 2 round-trip coach flights within the mainland US, or a flight to Europe, Hawaii, and beyond!

How to Choose the Best American Airlines Credit Card?

With 5 different cards American Airlines card, all offering slightly different benefits, it can be hard to figure out which card is the right one for you.  The best card usually depends on your travel and spending habits.  That’s why we’re here to help!

Here Are the Best American Airlines Cards

American Airlines Gets You Where You Need to Go, Domestic or International. Getting the Right Card Can Offer Perks to Make Your Flight Even Better
American Airlines Gets You Where You Need to Go, Domestic or International. Getting the Right Card Can Offer Perks to Make Your Flight Even Better

How We Chose the Best American Airlines Card for You

Of course everyone has their own preferences on which perks are best for you and your spending habits.  So I took a look at every perk from the American Airlines cards to see which one is best for several popular categories.

We took 5 different American Airlines credit cards into consideration:

We always recommend paying off your cards in full and on time each month.  It is good to keep an eye on your credit score through a free online tool because you’ll get an idea of your likelihood of getting approved for a card.  Remember that banks have the final say in all approval decisions and they consider many factors other than just credit score.

Best American Airlines Card for the Largest Welcome Bonus

Apply Here:   CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Link:   Our Review of the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard

For those looking to get the most American Airlines miles from their new card, the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Card will give you the largest welcome bonus during the current limited-time offer.  You’ll earn 70,000 American Airlines bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 4 months of opening the card.

This welcome bonus is 10,000 bonus miles more than the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select®World EliteTM Mastercard® and 20,000 bonus miles more than the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.

70,000 American Airlines miles is enough for:

  • 2 round-trip coach flights within the mainland US (with miles to spare!)
  • 3 one-way off-peak coach flights from the mainland US to Hawaii
  • 1 round-trip coach flight from the US to Europe
  • …and more!
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You Can Use Your Welcome Bonus Points to Experience the Culture of Hawaii

While at first glance it seems like you have to spend more money to get the bonus, I want to point out that you have a full 4 months to reach the $4,000 spending requirement.  The Citi®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select card requires $3,000 spending on purchases within 3 months of opening the card, so both of these cards come out to the same $1,000 per month spending requirements.

Folks looking to get the largest welcome bonus will want to consider the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select card.  This card will get you more miles, and the $95 annual fee for the first year is waived which makes the deal even sweeter.

Apply Here:   CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Best American Airlines Card for Priority Boarding

Apply Here:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

Link:   Our Review of the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Priority boarding makes travel more civilized because you can get settled before the chaos begins and the aisles fill up.  I especially like knowing that I will find a great spot for my carry-on luggage right above my seat so I don’t need to go back hunting for it after the plane lands.

If you are looking for the best American Airlines credit card for priority boarding, then the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite is the best card for you.  This card will get you priority boarding which equates to boarding zone 4 on American Airlines.  This priority boarding also extends to up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation.  Other American Airlines cards only extend the benefit to up to 4 companions.

American Airlines Elite Status
Did You Know That Just Having The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Card Can Get You to Skip The Line With Priority Check-In and Boarding?

The other American Airlines credit cards offer preferred boarding, which is boarding zone 5.  So with the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite card, you will get to board before any other American Airlines cardholders are allowed on the plane.

The Citi AAdvantage Executive card has a welcome bonus of 50,000 American Airlines bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Apply Here:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

Best American Airlines Card for Airport Lounges

Apply Here:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

Link:   Our Review of the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Everyone enjoys relaxing in style in an airport lounge, and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ can make that happen.  This card includes an Admirals Club Membership for access to more than 50 Admirals Club lounges around the world for you and up to 2 companions or immediate family (spouse or partner and children under 18 years old).

The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard also allows you to add up to 10 authorized users to your account for no additional fee.  Each of these authorized users also gets into Admirals Clubs at no additional charge.  Of course, there are risks of adding authorized users, so make sure that you only add folks that you absolutely trust.

American Airlines Lounges Offer Snacks, Drinks, Free Wi-Fi, and Some Even Have Showers
American Airlines Lounges Offer Snacks, Drinks, Free Wi-Fi, and Some Even Have Showers

Admirals Club lounges include complimentary beverages and light snacks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).  You will also enjoy access to fast Wi-Fi and a small business center at most locations which includes printer, copier, and fax machines.  Some locations go even further by offering private showers, kids play areas, and even small fitness centers.

The Citi / AAdvantage Executive has a $450 annual fee (not waived the first year), but that’s less than Admirals Club household membership by itself (ranges from $675 to $925 the first year, depending on frequent flier level status).  If you add authorized users, they’ll also get lounge access, which adds even more value to this card benefit.

The Citi AAdvantage Executive card has a welcome bonus of 50,000 American Airlines bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Apply Here:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

Best American Airlines Card for Earning Miles From Everyday Spending

Apply Here:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Link:   Our Review of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Sometimes one of the best perks from a card is just earning miles on your favorite airline rewards program, for making purchases you would make anyway like buying groceries or filling the car up with gas.  If you’re looking to earn American Airlines miles from everyday purchases, we think the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select card is the one to look at.

With this card, you will earn:

  • 2X American Airlines miles for every $1 spent at restaurants
  • 2X American Airlines miles for every $1 spent at gas stations
  • 2X American Airlines miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases (some exclusions apply)
  • 1X American Airlines miles for every $1 spent on everything else

The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select earns you American Airlines miles from every purchase you make, with double points at restaurants, gas stations, and on American Airlines purchases.

As an added bonus, this card also will earn you a $100 American Airlines flight discount voucher after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card.

While we thought that double points on gas stations, restaurants, and American Airlines would be best for most people, each American Airlines credit card offers its own categories for bonus points.  Business owners might enjoy the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card because it offers 2X American Airlines points per $1 on telecommunications, rental cars, gas stations, and American Airlines.

Apply Here:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Best American Airlines Card for Business

Apply Here:   Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®

American Airlines offers a business card through both Citi and Barclays.  Both cards offer similar benefits, but the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard offers a few additional perks that give it an edge over the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select.

Some of those additional perks include:

  • Welcome offer of 50,000 American Airlines bonus miles after making your first purchase within 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • 2X American Airlines bonus miles per $1 spent on eligible office supply, telecom, and car rental purchases
  • 5% American Airlines mileage bonus earned every year after your account anniversary date based on the total number of miles earned using your card
  • Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year

It is worth noting that the welcome bonus on the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select has a larger 70,000 bonus mile welcome offer, but it requires spending $4,000 on purchases within 4 months of account opening.  The Barclays AAdvantage Business Aviator card has a 50,000 mile welcome bonus but only requires a single purchase and payment of the annual fee to earn.

While both the CitiBusiness AAdvantage and Barclays AAdvantage Business Aviator have the same $95 annual fee, the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card waives the annual fee for the first year.

3 For 1 Flights For 20 TOTAL Thanks To The Southwest Companion Pass And A Lap Child Baby Arya
The Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Also Offers a Companion Certificate, Which Is a Great Way to Save When Traveling as a Family on Last Minute Or Long Haul Flights

I also like the annual 5% mileage bonus on top of all the additional miles you earn throughout the year, helping you earn miles faster.  Plus the $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars is helpful at reaching the next level of elite status with American Airlines.

Both cards offer an American Airlines companion certificate after spending $30,000 or more on eligible purchases each year after your account anniversary.  This can be good for bringing a partner or colleague with you expensive flights when the additional ticket would cost significantly more.

Apply Here:   Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®

Bottom Line

American Airlines offers many different cards, allowing you to choose the perfect card for your own needs and spending habits.  We compared 5 different American Airlines cards against popular benefits and usage habits to help you find the card that best fits your needs.

Here Are the Best American Airlines Cards

You can’t go wrong with any of these cards.  Because they all share great benefits like big welcome bonuses, better boarding zones, free first checked bag, and more.  All of these will help you enjoy your American Airlines flight even more, all while earning additional miles towards award flights.

Which card do you use to fly on American Airlines?  Let us know in the comments below.

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Both the Barclay personal and business cards have $95 annual fee for first year. Anyway one can apply, get welcome bonus and downgrade to no annual fee card and get refund of the annual fee? If yes to which products for Personal and Business versions to convert to?

Also any worry of them clawing bonus back, one has to be careful about?

Am I misreading something…the Executive World Elite Mastercard is discussed twice above as the best card for both Priority Boarding and Airport lounges? But I don’t see the Barclay’s Aviator Red World Elite card discussed in the article itself?

I’d have to respectfully disagree with the Citi Platinum Select for everyday spend. I have the Barclay Aviator SILVER Card and with its 3X miles for AA purchases, up to 6,000 EQD’s and 10,000 EQM’s after meeting the limits PLUS, the 2 $99 companion certificates after meeting the spend requirements, 2X miles on hotels and rental cars, and $100 Global Entry reimbursement, it blows the Citi Platinum Select out of the water. There’s no comparison in my opinion. If you fly AA regularly and are going for status, there’s no better card if you don’t want to spend $450 for the AF.

Where is the Barclay Aviator silver card? I do not see any such product that provides such benefits you have described above including $100 Global Entry Reimbursement…..Kindly specify and provide link for the card………….Thanks in advance