Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard: Is It Worth the Annual Fee?

Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard: Is It Worth the Annual Fee?

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Traveling with a large family can be challenging. The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard® could lower the cost of your trips with American Airlines, while also giving you a comfortable lounge to relax in, away from the hustle and bustle of the airport

The AAdvantage Executive card is the most expensive of American Airlines’ co- branded credit cards with a $450 annual fee. The Admirals Club lounge annual membership and free checked bags for up to nine people on the same reservation are the most important features.

If you don’t travel in a large group, the free entry to the Admirals Club may be incentive enough to consider the airline credit card. If you don’t travel in large groups or visit American Airlines lounges often, the AAdvantage Executive may not save you money.

Information on this card can be found here.

In this article

Intro OfferEarn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
APR17.49% – 26.49% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates

Balance Transfer APR17.49% – 26.49% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees 0%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)


2x miles can be earned for every dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1x miles on all other purchases. Many airline cards have lackluster rewards programs compared to traditional credit cards, which is an especially poor yield when compared to more general travel credit cards

There is a chance to get ahead with airline programs with a credit card. If you spend $40,000 in purchases in a single year, you’ll earn 10,000 additional Loyalty Points. If you accumulate enough Loyalty Points, you’ll be eligible for AAdvantage Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, or Executive Platinum, which is the highest level of status for American Airlines.

We don’t value this perk very much because of the high spending threshold and low potential for 10,000 points to get you into the next tier.

Rewards redemption

The frequent flyer mile currency used by the airline is what the rewards earned with the AAdvantage Executive are. You’ll earn AAdvantage miles on your spending, which are nottransferable. Other travel credit card rewards such as Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points or AmEx’s Membership Rewards points can be transferred to a list of affiliate partners.

AAdvantage miles can be used to book flights with other members of the Oneworld Airline Alliance, which includes British Airways, Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines, Qantas, and 10 more companies spread across the globe.

The value of AAdvantage miles depends on when and how you use them. When they’re worth more than usual, American Airlines publishes a flight award chart that’s worth studying. When you redeem for travel, you should aim to get about 1 cent per mile.

You can redeem AAdvantage miles to upgrade your seat, rent a car or book a hotel. You usually get the highest value when you redeem your miles for flights.

Welcome bonus

The AAdvantage Executive card has a welcome bonus of 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months of account opening. The bonus is worth $500 to American Airlines flights. The welcome offer for a premium credit card is low compared to those of competitors like Delta and United.

Admirals Club membership

The included Admirals Club annual membership is the biggest incentive for the AAdvantage Executive.

An annual membership for the airport lounges at the Admirals Club costs $650 per year, with a $600 renewal fee. A one-day pass for a lounge at the admirals club costs $59 or 5,900 AAdvantage miles. The cost for seven individual trips to the Admirals Club is $423 and the cost for eight trips is $472. Signing up for the AAdvantage Executive won’t save you any money if you visit the Admirals Club less than that each year.

The Admirals Club membership includes free entry for your family and up to two traveling companions, who are on the same reservation, with the AAdvantage Executive card. You have to have a same-day boarding pass for American Airlines or one of its partners to enter an Admirals Club lounge. It’s free to add users to the account if you’re an authorized user of the card account.

There are more than 30 Admirals Club lounge locations.

Additional perks during your travels

They can check their first bag for free. Each traveler on the same domestic, round-trip flight gets a free checked bag, as well as the limit of eight additional travelers. This perk could save you up to $540 per round trip and make up for the cost of the annual fee in a short time.

Additional perks for the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard® are included.

  • Priority boarding, priority check-in and priority airport screening where available 
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights
  • Fee credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • “Dedicated concierge,” or access to a staff of experts for help with travel, shopping, dining, household and entertainment needs

Comparable cards

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

If American Airlines is your preferred airline but you tend to travel in smaller groups (up to five individuals on the same reservation) and you don’t visit Admirals Club lounges often enough to justify the higher annual fee of the AAdvantage Executive, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select

The Platinum Select credit card has slightly better spending rewards and is the next tier down from the AAdvantage Executive credit card. You will earn 2x miles for every $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations and eligible American Airlines purchases, a similar free checked-bag perk (for you and up to four travel companions on the same reservation, compared to the Executive’s eight companions) and a $125 American Airlines flight discount

The Platinum Card® from American Express

If you like lounge access and want to earn more rewards on your spending, The Platinum Card from American Express is worth a look.

You’ll get a long list of credits, unlimited access to the roughly 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, but the annual fee is considerably higher at $700.

See our full review of the Platinum Card from American Express.

Delta and United premium airline cards

The comparable cards from American Airlines’ main competitors, Delta and United, offer a good value if you’re still looking for an airline.

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is $550 per year and offers 3x Delta SkyMiles on Delta purchases, a first-class, Delta Comfort+, or domestic main cabin round-trip companion ticket each year upon card renewal.

The United Club SM Infinite Card is $525 per year and offers 4x miles on United purchases, United Club membership, and up to two free checked bags. The welcome offers on the Delta and United cards are larger than those of American Airlines. The checked bag perks are less impressive than the spending rewards.


Like co- branded retailer credit cards, airline credit cards give more specific rewards for specific airline brands. Along with rewards, they offer perks to make travel more comfortable. You can only use your rewards to book flights with that airline. You can rack up points or miles on more transactions and redeem your rewards for all sorts of travel, or even a statement credit with a travel credit card. They come with more perks like travel credits.

The benefits of an airline credit card can be found here.

  • Waived checked baggage fees
  • Priority boarding
  • Lounge access (during some, not all, itineraries) 
  • Accelerated airline status qualification
  • Complimentary or reduced companion fares
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credits
  • Generous sign-on bonuses

Frequent flyers of a specific airline can get airline credit cards. If you frequently take a specific route and airline to visit family or take a planned vacation, an airline card may be good for you to rack up rewards to cover your next trip. Business travelers can enjoy the perks that make frequent travel more comfortable. As airline credit cards often come with upgraded privileges, they could be a good option for those looking to speed up their time at security lines or at the gate.

Our approach

We look at cards that are in high demand and offer the best benefits. When you open an account, we check the fine print to make sure there aren’t any surprises. We compare the key factors that make a card stand out to the other top cards. If our pick isn’t right for them, they can choose a different card with similar features. Our reviews are updated to reflect changes in offers and the market, as well as to include new recommendations.

All information about the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has not been reviewed by the issuer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.