Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® review: Luxury travel perks for American Airlines loyalists – youngvid

Our take: The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® offers premium travel perks like Admirals Club membership, which can offset the annual fee. However, the card lacks substantial category bonuses and might not be suitable for the most frequent or infrequent travelers.

Pros

  • Earns AAdvantage miles, which are not easily accessible outside of co-branded AAdvantage credit cards. 
  • Every dollar spent earns one Loyalty Point toward elite status.
  • Includes Admirals Club lounge membership, valued at up to $850.

Cons

  • Has a very high annual fee
  • Has a high spending requirement for earning the 70,000-mile welcome bonus
  • Offers no category bonuses outside of American Airlines spending.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® Highlights

Card type: Airline

  • Welcome Bonus: Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $595.
  • Rewards: Earn 10X AAdvantage miles on eligible hotels booked through aa.com/hotels and on eligible car rentals booked through aa.com/cars; 4x AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases (5X after you spend $150,00 on airfare); 1X miles on all other spending.

Overview

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is designed with frequent flyers in mind, specifically those loyal to American Airlines. Its primary draw is the welcome bonus and travel benefits. The card offers 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. These AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for flights, upgrades, hotel stays car rentals and more. 

Beyond the welcome bonus, the AAdvantage Executive card earns 10X AAdvantage miles on eligible hotels booked through aa.com/hotels and on eligible car rentals booked through aa.com/cars. Cardholders also earn 4x AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases (5X after spending $150,000 on airfare) and 1X miles on all other spending.

Every dollar spent on this card counts as one Loyalty Point towards AAdvantage elite status. You’ll also receive 10,000 bonus Loyalty Points after earning 50,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year. Plus, another 10,000 Loyalty Points after reaching 90,000 Loyalty Points in the same status qualification year.

One of the standout features of this card is the Admirals Club membership it provides. This membership allows cardholders and eligible guests to access Admirals Club lounges at airports globally, offering a comfortable and premium space to relax, work or refresh between flights. Additionally, the card offers travel-related benefits such as priority check-in, boarding and a free checked bag for the primary cardholder and up to eight companions. Cardholders also receive a 25% discount on in-flight purchases charged to the card, along with up to a $100 TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee credit every four years.

However, the AAdvantage Executive Card does come with a relatively high $595 annual fee, which might not be justifiable for occasional travelers or those who can’t fully utilize the card’s benefits. While the card provides substantial benefits for American Airlines loyalists, its redemption options are limited to American Airlines and Oneworld Alliance networks, limiting flexibility compared to other premium credit cards. 

Overall, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is a compelling choice for frequent American Airlines flyers who can maximize its travel perks, put the miles to good use and offset the annual fee through the use of its benefits.

Who is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® good for? 

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is good for travelers loyal to American Airlines who seek premium travel perks and airport lounge access. Its Admirals Club membership, travel benefit and generous sign-up bonus cater to those who regularly fly with American Airlines and its partners but not enough to earn top-tier status.

The card’s benefits offer perks similar to what elite flyers receive, including priority check-in and boarding, free checked bags, and in-flight discounts with American Airlines. These perks extend to upwards of eight travel companions, making them even more lucrative for those who often travel with groups. 

The Admirals Club membership helps to offset the steep $595 annual fee. Since Admirals Club membership costs $700-$850, the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is a much cheaper alternative. Anyone interested in an Admirals Club lounge membership should consider the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card, since it’s more cost-effective and includes other travel perks and airline miles.

Who shouldn’t get the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®? 

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® might not be the best fit for individuals who don’t fly with American Airlines or within its partner network. The card’s benefits won’t align well with your needs if your travel preferences lead you outside of the American Airlines network.

Those who have AAdvantage elite status might not find the card’s benefits useful, while those who travel infrequently won’t have much use for the much-lauded Admiral’s Club membership. Overall, the high annual fee won’t be justified for those who aren’t able to fully capitalize on the card’s perks like airport lounge access, priority boarding and baggage benefits due to infrequent travel. 

The card isn’t very rewarding when it comes to everyday spending. While it offers elevated rewards on spending with American Airlines, it only earns 1 mile per dollar on everything else. If you spend quite a bit on dining, grocery stores or gas, there are better credit cards suited to your spending habits. Additionally, if you prioritize flexibility in your travel rewards and prefer cards with more versatile redemption options, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® might not offer the diversity you seek. 

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: How to earn Rewards 

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® typically offers numerous ways to earn AAdvantage miles. To start, cardholders earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. Cardholders also get rewarded for every dollar spent, in the form of both redeemable miles and Loyalty Points.

The card earns 10 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through American Airlines. Cardholders also earn 4x AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, which is increased to 5 miles per dollar after you spend $150,00 on airfare. Beyond this, 1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases. 

While this earning structure isn’t the most lucrative, it’s worth noting that you’ll also earn 1 Loyalty Point for every dollar spent, along with a 10,000 Loyalty Point bonus after earning 50,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year. You’ll earn another 10,000 Loyalty Points after reaching 90,000 in the same qualification year.

The card doesn’t usually feature rotating categories for bonus rewards. Instead, it offers consistent earning rates across various spending categories. However, in the past, there might have been limited-time promotions or offers for bonus miles on specific types of purchases, such as dining, gas stations, or travel-related expenses. These offers might vary and are subject to change based on the card’s promotions.

It’s important to check the current terms and conditions as well as any ongoing promotions to confirm the details of the sign-up bonus, earning rates, and any additional benefits offered at the time of application.

How to redeem Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® miles

There are many ways you can redeem your Citi AAdvantage Executive Card rewards. American Airlines allows members to redeem miles for flights, hotels, rental cars, vacation packages, gift cards, merchandise, magazine subscriptions, charitable donations and more. Redeeming miles for anything other than travel is usually a terrible value proposition, so we recommend avoiding it whenever possible. 

The best way to redeem AAdvantage miles is for flights on either American Airlines or its partners. Thanks to a vast network, your miles can go a long way on domestic or international travel. American AAdvantage is one of the few airline rewards programs still publishing an award chart, but it should be used as a guideline rather than a firm set of prices as flights on the same route on the same day can vary widely in pricing.

Award flights start at just 7,500 miles each way and can range as high as 110,000 miles for an international first-class flight on the chart, but in reality, you can find domestic flights in economy for as low as 5,000 miles with web specials.

If you don’t have enough miles for a premium flight experience, you can use your AAdvantage miles for an upgrade instead. While there are various fare restrictions and rules, you can upgrade your seat for 5,000 – 70,000 AAdvantage miles. The exact number depends on the cabin you book and the region you’re flying to.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® rates and fees

  • Annual fee: $595.
  • Foreign transaction fee: None.
  • Intro APR: None.
  • Purchase APR: 21.24%–29.99% variable. 

Additional benefits

  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Up to $100 every four years.
  • First checked bag free: On domestic American Airlines itineraries for the cardholder and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation.
  • Travel insurance: Includes trip cancellation and interruption protection, trip delay protection, lost baggage protection and worldwide car rental insurance coverage.
  • Rental car rebates: Earn $1 statement credit per $1 spent on eligible Avis and Budget car rentals, up to $120 every calendar year.
  • Lyft credits: Earn a $10 Lyft credit after taking three eligible rides in a calendar month, up to $120 annually.
  • Grubhub credits: Earn up to $10 statement credit per monthly billing statement on eligible Grubhub purchases, for a total of up to $120 every 12 billing statements.

Credit cards similar to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

If the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card’s benefits don’t quite fit your travel needs, there are several alternatives. For a lower annual fee, you can enjoy most of the travel perks without the markup (and lounge access). But if lounge access is important to you, you can enjoy a wider network by opting for a different card.

Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Card vs. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

The Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Card and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® are geared toward different types of American Airlines travelers. The Platinum Select card is suitable for moderate to frequent flyers seeking a much lower $95 annual fee.  It provides some of the same perks as the AAdvantage Executive card, including a free checked bag, preferred boarding on American Airlines flights, a 25% in-flight discount and waived foreign transaction fees. The card has a slightly lower 50,000-mile welcome bonus after spending $2,500 within the first three months of account opening. 

The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card is also more rewarding for everyday purchases. The card earns 2X miles on purchases at gas stations, restaurants and American Airlines. All other spending earns 1 mile per dollar spent, along with 1 Loyalty Point. While it doesn’t include lounge access, it provides a more practical perk: A $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in a card membership year. If you’re looking for an AAdvantage card with a reasonable annual fee and practical American Airlines benefits, the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card is a better fit. 

The Platinum Card® from American Express vs. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

The The Platinum Card® from American Express is a better alternative for those seeking a premium credit card with more versatile benefits and rewards. The Amex Platinum Card has a higher $695 annual fee, but it provides access to a large network of airport lounges globally, including Priority Pass, Centurion Lounge network, Lufthansa and Delta lounges. Beyond lounge access, cardholders receive $1,500 in travel and entertainment credits, Gold elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. While the Amex Platinum Card lacks airline travel perks, it does offer an annual $200 airline fee credit that can be applied towards checked bag fees, in-flight purchases and more. 

The card also earns valuable Amex Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to 21 airline and hotel loyalty programs. While American Airlines isn’t among these partners, you can book American flights by transferring your points to British Airways Executive Club, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, Iberia Plus or Qantas Frequent Flyer.

This Executive card is ideal for individuals loyal to American Airlines who prioritize benefits within the AA ecosystem, while the Platinum Card from Amex offers more diversified perks across various airlines and hotel chains, appealing to those seeking a broader range of travel benefits and rewards. Ultimately, the choice between the two cards depends on your travel preferences, loyalty to American Airlines and the breadth of travel benefits you desire beyond a specific airline ecosystem.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

Is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® right for you?

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is an excellent fit for frequent travelers who are dedicated to American Airlines and its partners. If you find yourself frequently flying with American Airlines and value premium travel perks like access to Admirals Club lounges, priority boarding and free checked bags, this card can significantly enhance your travel experience. Additionally, the generous welcome bonus and ability to earn AAdvantage miles and Loyalty points through everyday spending make it an appealing choice for those who want to fast-track their way to elite status via credit card spending.

However, this card might not suit travelers who already have elite status, don’t plan on paying for lounge access and prefer more flexible rewards. The high annual fee is quite steep, but even more so if you don’t utilize the travel perks. Moreover, if you seek a broader range of redemption options or prefer a card with rotating bonus categories that align better with your spending habits, other travel rewards cards might be a more suitable choice. 

Frequently asked questions

Is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® metal?

Yes, the Citi Executive World Elite Card is made out of metal. 

What is the credit limit for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®?

The credit limit for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® will depend on numerous factors, including creditworthiness, income and other considerations.  

Which American Airlines card gives you lounge access?

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card gives you lounge access through Admirals Club membership. Admiral’s Club membership includes access to American Airlines lounges and over 50 partner lounges worldwide.


Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *