The best American Airlines credit cards

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In a Nutshell

The best American Airlines credit cards could help you earn rewards flights, score flight discounts and companion certificates, and relax at an Admirals Club airport lounge.

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If you fly with American Airlines on a regular basis, you might be interested in finding one of the best American Airlines credit cards.

But finding the right one for you can be confusing, because there are around a dozen American Airlines cards, issued by two separate banks: Citi and Barclays.

To help you make your decision, we came up with a list of the best American Airlines credit cards for different types of travelers.



Best for rewards flights: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Here’s why: The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® features a generous sign-up bonus that you can use to book rewards flights.

You’ll earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 on purchases within the first 3 months after account opening. If you maximize your rewards, that could be enough miles to book two Caribbean vacations or one trip to Europe.

And you’ll earn two miles for every $1 you spend with American Airlines and at restaurants and gas stations. You’ll also receive one mile per $1 on all other purchases.

Each year that you spend $20,000 on purchases and renew your card, you’ll also receive a $125 American Airlines flight discount.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® can also make your trip more comfortable. When you fly, you’ll receive preferred boarding, 25% off in-flight food and drinks and one free checked bag on domestic flights.

If you fly with American Airlines on a regular basis, these rewards and perks can help make up for the annual fee ($0 intro, $99 after first year).

Take a look at our review of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® to learn more.

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Best for perks: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®

Here’s why: You could travel in style with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®.

The sign-up bonus includes 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months after account opening. You’ll earn two miles for every eligible purchase $1 you spend with American Airlines, and one mile per $1 on all other purchases.

But it’s the travel perks that make this card special. When you arrive at the airport, you’ll be able to go straight to the priority check-in lane at select airports, where you can also check one bag for free.

Then, you can head over to security, where you’ll have access to a priority airport screening lane at certain airports. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® will also reimburse you up to $100 when you apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Once you get through security, check out the Admirals Club — the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® features a complimentary Admirals Club membership, which gives you access to 50+ American Airlines lounges around the world.

When it’s time for your flight, you’ll enjoy priority boarding. And after you board, you’ll get 25% off in-flight food and drinks.

But all of these perks come with the cost of a hefty $450 annual fee.

Check out our review of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® to learn more.

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Best for traveling together: AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

Here’s why: The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® is great for couples and friends who like to travel together.

You’ll earn a companion certificate each account year in which you spend at least $20,000 on purchases and keep your account open for at least 45 days after your anniversary date. This certificate allows you to bring along one guest on a domestic flight for only $99 plus taxes and fees. Depending on how expensive the flight is, that could save you a lot of money on your next trip together.

You’ll also earn an introductory companion certificate and another 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after making one purchase in your first 90 days of holding the card and paying the card’s $99 annual fee. You’ll earn two points per $1 on eligible American Airlines purchases and one point per $1 on all other purchases. And there are other travel perks, too, including preferred boarding, 25% savings on in-flight food and drink, and a free first checked bag.

Take a look at our picks for the best travel credit cards for more options.

Best for budget travelers: American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

Here’s why: Considering there’s no annual fee, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card offers a generous slate of flight perks and rewards.

The sign-up bonus includes 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $500 on purchases during the first 3 months after account opening.

You’ll earn two miles for every eligible $1 you spend with American Airlines and at grocery stores. And you’ll get one mile per $1 on all other purchases. You’ll also score 25% off on in-flight food and drink purchases.

Our list of the best travel cards with no annual fee features some alternatives to this pick, too.

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Best for business travelers: CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Here’s why: The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® could make your next business trip a success.

You’ll earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after account opening. You’ll also receive two miles for every $1 you spend on eligible American Airlines purchases, as well as on gas, car rentals, select telecom merchants, and cable and satellite providers. Then, you’ll get one mile per $1 on all other purchases.

You could use these bonus miles, and any others you rack up, to help pay for your next business trip.

You could also earn an American Airlines companion certificate each membership year after spending $30,000 on purchases and renewing your card membership (you’ll have to keep your account open for at least 45 days after your card anniversary). This companion certificate entitles you to bring along a guest on a domestic flight for only $99 plus taxes and fees.

Beyond these rewards, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® features a handful of perks that can make each flight more comfortable, including preferred boarding and one free checked bag on domestic flights. You’ll also score 25% off in-flight food, drinks and Wi-Fi (if you need to get some work done during your flight).

But you’ll have to weigh these rewards and perks against the card’s annual fee ($0 intro, $99 after first year).

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How we picked the best American Airlines credit cards

To find the best American Airlines credit cards, we reviewed all 11 credit cards mentioned on the airline’s website.

The list included six co-branded credit cards issued by Citi and five co-branded credit cards from Barclays. We compared similar credit cards across issuers and chose the best one for each type of traveler.

How to make the most of your American Airlines credit card

To make the most of your American Airlines credit card, it’s important to first consider whether you’re willing to commit to one airline. If you prefer to take the cheapest flight you can find (regardless of airline), or American Airlines doesn’t offer many flights out of your local airport, you might not get much use out of the card.

But if you’ve decided an American Airlines card will work for you, it’s a good idea to pick a card that offers a sign-up bonus with an attainable spending requirement. You can use these miles to book future rewards flights, but it’s important to consider whether the spending requirement (and the annual fee) fit into your budget.

We also recommend you show up early for your flight. The best American Airlines credit cards could make your trip more comfortable with perks like checking a bag for free, breezing through security with a priority screening lane, relaxing at an Admirals Club airport lounge or boarding your flight early.