Citi AAdvantage Executive credit card review

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With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® you could save more than $1,000 on American Airlines flights.

You’ll earn 50,000 American Airlines miles as a welcome bonus after you complete the card’s minimum spending requirements. That’s enough miles for two round-trip coach award tickets within the U.S. or one round-trip business-class ticket to the Caribbean, Mexico or Central America.

The $450 annual fee is not waived for the first year but this is a good opportunity to earn lots of American Airlines miles. It’s especially valuable if you fly American Airlines often and enjoy premium perks like free checked bags, Admirals Club lounge access and priority check-in and boarding. It’s one of the best American Airlines credit cards for frequent flyers.

I’ll dig into the details of the Citi American Airlines Executive card and help you decide whether it’s worth applying for.

Citi AAdvantage Executive
A 50,000-mile bonus of American Airlines miles is more than enough for a round-trip ticket to Central America. (Photo courtesy of Damocean/iStock.)

Citi AAdvantage Executive review

Current bonus

You’ll earn 50,000 American Airlines miles when you’re approved for the Citi AAdvantage Executive card and spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.

American airlines miles are valued vastly different depending on how you use them, but generally you shouldn’t have a problem getting 1.4 cents per mile. That means you should conservatively get $700 in value from this bonus.

Benefits and perks

Earning rate

The card earns:

  • 2 American Airlines miles per dollar you spend on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1 American Airlines mile per dollar you spend on everything else

Admirals Club access

The card offers American Airlines Admirals Club membership (worth $650) which gives you and your immediate family (spouse/domestic parter and children up to 18) or two guests access to Admirals Club lounges when on a same-day American Airlines flight.

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck

Receive up to $100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit (every five years). Both programs speed up the airport security screening process and get you to your flight faster — nobody on the MMS team could imagine traveling without them after having them for years.

American Airlines perks

You’ll receive priority check-in, security (where available), and boarding when flying American Airlines with the Citi AAdvantage Executive. You’ll also receive the first checked bag free for you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation on a American Airlines domestic itinerary.

How to redeem miles

There is no AA award chart, but you can still book some amazing trips with this bonus. 50,000 American Airlines miles are enough for two round-trip saver-award coach tickets within the mainland U.S., which generally cost 25,000 American Airlines miles each. That alone could be worth $1,000 or more.

Or, 50,000 American Airlines miles could be more than enough for saver-award flights like:

  • Six one-way coach flights of 500 miles or less within the mainland U.S. or Canada (7,500 American Airlines miles per ticket)
  • Two one-way, off-peak coach flights from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii (20,000 American Airlines miles per ticket)
  • One one-way coach ticket to Asia (35,000 American Airlines miles)
  • One round-trip business-class ticket to the Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America (50,000 American Airlines miles)
  • One round-trip coach ticket to South America Region 1 (40,000 American Airlines miles per ticket)

Plus, you can use American Airlines miles for flights on American Airlines’ oneworld partner airlines (like Cathay Pacific and Qantas) and other partners like Etihad.

Citi AAdvantage Executive
The sign-up bonus alone is more than enough to fly to Guatemala, to Visit the Magical City of Antigua. (Photo courtesy of SL_Photography/iStock)

Be sure to read our post on how to use American Airlines miles to learn how to become an American Airlines miles pro. And our post on the best use of AA miles will show you some of our favorite ways to redeem them.

Is the annual fee worth it?

The $450 annual fee is not waived the first year. But the card perks can more than offset the annual fee — and you can also get lots of travel with 50,000 American Airlines miles, especially if you have a particular ticket in mind. Plus, with this card you’ll have access to American Airlines reduced mileage awards.

This card will likely work for someone who travels a lot on American Airlines and can make the most of the card’s ongoing perks, like American Airlines Admirals Club lounge access, free checked bags, and the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit. A yearly Admirals Club membership costs $650 and the Citi AAdvantage Executive is the only credit card that offers membership.

And getting a free checked bag for yourself and up to eight companions traveling on your domestic American Airlines reservation can also save you tons of money, especially if you fly domestically a lot.

Who is the Citi AAdvantage Executive for?

Citi will not let you earn the welcome bonus on the same card unless it’s been 48 months since you’ve earned it the first time. So if you’ve earned this card’s bonus in the last 48 months, you’re ineligible at the moment.

It’s still possible to apply and get approved for this card, but you’ll miss out on the welcome bonus

Insider secret

Authorized users (free to add) can access Admirals Club lounges without the primary cardholder, as long as they have a same-day boarding pass for an eligible flight (authorized users don’t have access to partner lounges). You can add up to 10 (free) authorized users to your Citi American Airlines Executive card. That’s an unbelievable deal!

Credit cards similar to the Citi AAdvantage Executive card

If you don’t think you’ll benefit from the perks offered by the Citi AAdvantage Executive card and are hesitant about paying the hefty $450 annual fee, consider these cards:

With both the personal and business version of the Citi American Airlines Platinum cards, the annual fees ($99 for both) are waived the first year.

Also note that each dollar you spend with American Airlines co-branded credit cards on net purchases that post between May 2020 and Dec. 2020 will count toward American Airlines Million Miler status.

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

You can earn 50,000 American Airlines miles when you sign up for the Citi American Airlines Executive card and spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

You can get lots of travel with 50,000 American Airlines miles, like two round-trip coach tickets within the U.S. or two one-way off-peak coach flights from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii or a round-trip business-class ticket to the Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America.

Plus, you’ll get perks like free checked bags, Admirals Club lounge access (worth up to $650) and priority boarding. But the $450 annual fee is not waived the first year. So other cards that earn American Airlines miles, like the Citi American Airlines Platinum card might make more sense for folks who don’t travel a lot.

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

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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