Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard: Limited-Time Offer

citiexecThe Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®, from our partner Citi, is their premium American Airlines co-branded card and the sign-up bonus has been bumped up for a limited-time. The highlights:

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Admirals Club® membership for you with guest privileges*
  • 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles from American Airlines after $40,000 spent in purchases each calendar year*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation*

In my opinion, the primary reason to get this card is the flexible Admirals Club lounge membership. The 50,000 miles are nice and can be converted to several hundred dollars (or more) worth of airfare. $100 for TSA PreCheck is nice. But the annual fee is a hefty $450. The thing that tips the scales is the Admirals Club membership, which usually costs $500 on its own and allows you and your immediate family (or up to two traveling guests that accompany you) to access over 50 Admirals Club locations worldwide. You don’t even need to be on an American Airlines flight! You can be flying on any airline, and if that airport has an Admirals Club you and your family can go inside. Lounge access might save you money on certain things like food/drinks and WiFi (and sometimes showers), but mostly it just makes the overall flying experience more pleasant. You can enjoy this for an entire year before you have to the next year’s $450 annual year.

The secondary reason to get this card is for the American Airlines elite qualifying miles. I’ve given up status chasing for the time being, but if you’re an elite on American, you probably already know the value of accumulating these type of miles. 10,000 “butt-in-seat” flight miles is like going from Honolulu to Los Angeles, roundtrip, twice. Valuable if you can generate the required $40,000 in spending in a calendar year.

I like credit card offers that add up to at least $500 in net value during the first year. Here’s how the value would work out for me. 50,000 miles conservatively valued at 1 cent per mile would be $500, plus $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, plus Admirals Club value which I would definitely pay at least $100 cash for, plus free first checked bag per person, (I am putting the 10,000 elite qualifying mile opportunity at zero since I’m not chasing status this year), all minus the $450 annual fee is a little better than half the $500 value I’m looking for.  OK, but not great.

If you fly on American but neither of the two bolded reasons above are attractive to you, I would look into the Citi ThankYou Prestige card instead. There are no elite qualifying miles and you need to have a American Airlines boarding pass to gain club lounge access, but it also offers a variety of alternative perks that are more easily redeemed like $600 towards any American airfare plus another $250 in airfare credit on any carrier. Definitely compare the two offers first before picking one or the other.

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  1. Jonathan, as a long time reader (since 2007!) I feel that you should make it more clear that this is an affiliate offer and you are getting commission from applications using your link. I am assuming you have the affiliate link since the blogosphere has exploded in the last couple of weeks promoting the crap out of this card even though it’s been around since late 2013. I think you should be more transparent about this.

    Now about the card – I would disagree that the fee is worth accessing American Airlines lounges – they are nothing to write home about. Food is crap. So are free drinks. Having access to showers (at some airports) and free wifi (also at some) is nice, but not worth $500 or $450.

    Something to note – if you fly American or Alaska, you can also get into Alaska Boardroom which is slightly better (I always go to the boardroom vs admirals club when I’m in LAX for a while).

    Also, there are still applications for this card out there that don’t have 18mo restriction, making those cards churnable (I’ve gotten a number of them last year with 100,000 points bonus and a few this year with 50k and 75k). If you can meet minimum spend before first statement closes (which could be tricky if you get the card and statement closes within a few days), you get $450 annual fee billed on your statement but if you cancel right away, you will get the $450 back. Note that Citi is starting to crack down on this thou so YMMV and you might be jeopardizing your future relationship with Citi if you do that [too much]

    • @Dima – It is certainly fair to point out this in an affiliate offer. I would also point out though that the only two times I have written about this card in this blog’s 10-year history (since 2004 😉 ) is

      (1) this time for a 75k limited-time offer which is the highest publicly available offer out there, and

      (2) back in January 2014 when there was a 100k special offer out there (10k spending requirement), which was not an affiliate offer and didn’t earn me any commission at all.

      As to lounge access, I dunno, I have the Citi Prestige card (which I think is better for my needs) and I have been quite enjoying the lounge access so far. When traveling on my own, I can just stay in the lounge until the last moment for boarding with my under-seat carryon and the crazy crowds and lines have subsided. When traveling with my family, I just stay in the lounge until boarding just starts instead and they say “families with small children…” and I rush in with all my car seats and strollers. It’s a nice tangible benefit that my wife actually appreciates besides accumulating more miles. No, I wouldn’t pay $500 for it but definitely $100 and probably up to $200 depending on how much travel I had planned for the year.

      So 75,000 miles (conservatively valued at 1 cent per mile would be $750) plus $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit plus $100-$200 Admirals Club personal assigned value (plus free checked bags and elite qualifying mile opportunity at zero assigned value) minus $450 annual fee is still a minimum of $500 to $600 of net value for me in the first year.

  2. I had a AAdvantage platinum card which I closed last month. Do you know if this will disqualify me from getting the miles? The terms and conditions only says should not have had a Executive Elite card in the last 18 months, but does not say anything about having the platinum card.

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