Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® review: A high price for American Airlines benefits

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In a Nutshell

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers considerable American Airlines travel benefits, like an Admirals Club lounge membership and free checked bags. But the card comes with a high annual fee, so it may only make sense for frequent American Airlines flyers looking for a luxurious airport experience.

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This offer is no longer available on our site: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Pros Cons
Decent sign-up bonus High spending requirement to earn the sign-up bonus
Admirals Club lounge membership could make airport trips more comfortable Low rewards rates mean it could take awhile to earn miles
Complimentary status perks like priority boarding and free checked bags Some perks are already provided through “elite status” membership with the airline
High annual fee

 

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What to know about the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®

High annual fee

This premium airline credit card boasts plenty of perks, but they come at a cost — a $450 annual fee. With an annual fee that high, you’ll want to make sure you’ll actually use this card’s higher-value benefits before applying.

Complimentary Admirals Club membership

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® includes a full Admirals Club airport lounge membership for the primary cardholder, and authorized users can also access the lounges. You can see the available lounges here.

American Airlines values this benefit at $650, so it’s a valuable one if you were planning to purchase or renew an Admirals Club membership elsewhere. On the other hand, this perk might not mean much if you don’t regularly visit airport lounges or regularly fly American Airlines or its partners.

Decent sign-up bonus, but at a cost

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers new cardholders 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening the card.

Credit Karma’s point valuations estimate AAdvantage miles are worth 1.26 cents each, so we estimate this sign-up bonus to be worth $630.

While this is a decent sign-up bonus for a premium travel card, you might be able to earn the same amount of miles by spending less. For example, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers new cardholders the same 50,000 miles for spending just $2,500 in the first 3 months after account opening.

This card comes with an annual fee of $0 intro, $99 after first year, which is much lower than the annual fee for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®.

Limited opportunities to earn points elsewhere

This card’s sign-up bonus can help you build up your miles balance quickly, but you might have to spend a lot to earn elsewhere. That’s because the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® earns you just two miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and one mile per $1 spent on other purchases.

But there are other travel cards that offer higher travel rewards in addition to other bonus categories.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers three points per $1 on all travel purchases, three points per $1 on restaurant purchases, and one point per $1 on all other purchases. And your travel purchases aren’t limited to just one airline.

So if you prefer points to perks, you might want to opt for a different travel card instead.

Credit Karma Guide to Travel Rewards Credit Cards

A shorter path to elite status

If you’re a big spender, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® might help you earn elite status. If you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases with the card per calendar year, you’ll earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles, or EQMs.

Earning American Airlines and oneworld®’s elite status involves multiple factors — including earning Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) and Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) — but you’ll typically be required to fly American Airlines in order to earn them. So this card benefit can be a nice shortcut to earning status.

But take note that Gold oneworld® Ruby, the lowest-status tier, requires 25,000 EQMs. So even if you spend enough to earn those 10,000 EQMs, you’ll have to do a lot more flying to earn this status.

Plenty of travel perks

Even if you don’t have airline status, you’ll still get plenty of perks from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® comes with early boarding and access to priority check-in and security lanes. It also includes one free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companions.

But keep in mind that these perks are already included with American Airlines elite status. If you already have elite status or plan to earn it with this card, these benefits may not be as valuable to you. But you’ll still get a statement credit of up to $100 for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every five years. And the card has no foreign transaction fees, which could come in handy when you’re traveling abroad.

Understanding your points and redemption options

AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for travel on American Airlines or its oneworld® partners. American Airlines uses a region-based award chart, so the amount of miles required to redeem for a flight depends on where you fly and how you choose to redeem.

For example, a Main Cabin redemption can run as few as 7,500 miles for a domestic flight, but an international flight in the same class can run up to as many as 90,000 miles.

You can also redeem your miles for hotel stays, car rentals or to plan a vacation through American Airlines’ partners.

Is this card worth it?

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® might only make sense for frequent American Airlines flyers. The card’s various perks will likely appeal to frequent travelers who want extra comfort at the airport. But with an annual fee of $450, this card is probably best for those who travel at least once or twice a month.

But if you prefer to get value from travel cards by redeeming miles for award flights, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. This card simply doesn’t offer much mile-earning potential thanks to its limited bonus categories and decent, but not unique, sign-up bonus.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you’re not sure you’d take full advantage of the perks that come with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®, you might want to consider one of these cards instead.