CreditCards.com’s Alex Krivanek discusses why he loves his Executive World Elite and who this card can be an excellent choice for.
When it comes to travel credit cards, many prefer to stick with general rewards cards for flexibility. Still, if you’re a brand loyalist and stay at the same hotel chain or fly with the same airline multiple times a year, a co-branded card may make more sense for you.
Alex Krivanek, an associate on CreditCards.com’s SEO team, makes a convincing case for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, a premium airline credit card for American Airlines flyers.
“This is a luxury card, no doubt about it, at $450 for an annual fee,” Alex says. “However, the card is well worth that annual fee.”
Read on to learn why Alex thinks the cost is justified and how he uses his Executive World Elite.
Earning rewards with the American Airlines Executive World Elite
If you look at the rewards the Executive World Elite offers, they may seem underwhelming: You earn 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. You can also get a welcome offer of 50,000 miles if you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
Still, if you fly with American Airlines regularly, you can easily score hundreds of dollars in annual rewards with this card and save on future trips.
“Using the AAdvantage miles program, combined with this card, I have bought two first-class tickets to St. Thomas, [as well as tickets to] to Chicago, Illinois; Las Vegas, Nevada; Columbus, Ohio; Austin and Dallas, Texas; Lexington, Kentucky and Orlando, Florida.”
Where the American Airlines Executive World Elite truly shines
It’s the card’s perks that make this product so attractive to frequent American Airlines flyers. According to Alex, the $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every five years and Admirals Club access are the benefits that set this card apart from the competition.
“With the TSA PreCheck reimbursement, I am able to skip all the lines and never have to do anything else… but place my bag on the security belt,” he says. “[And] at the American Airlines lounges, you have perks galore. There have been multiple times when I’ve had a 3 p.m. flight [without lunch] but wanted food. Every Club has free food ranging from salads, soups and mac and cheese to guacamole and chips. [Another time] I finished a marathon in Chicago and had to fly out that evening. The spread they had was amazing and helped me save money on food within the terminal.”
Besides all the delicious foods, American Airline lounges offer reliable Wi-Fi.
“Whenever you can get into a lounge, even if you are not hungry, do it, as the Wi-Fi is fantastic,” Alex suggests. “It is password-protected Wi-Fi and is consistently on 4 ‘bars’ for strength of signal.”
Plus, lounge access is an excellent perk to have when you have to wait for your flight.
“There have been multiple times when I’ve been on a layover or a delay,” Alex shares. “When this happens, I can go into the lounge, grab food and set up a conference room to talk to co-workers if needed.”
Finally, those traveling with cardholders can also take advantage of all the lounge benefits.
“On my most recent business trip, I was able to bring in three of my co-workers with me to the lounge in Austin, Texas, and everyone was able to enjoy the perks,” Alex says.
See related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access
Should you get the American Airlines Executive World Elite?
If you’re flying with American at least four times a year, there’s no better card for you, according to Alex.
“You can walk through TSA PreCheck with ease and stop in the club for free food and beverages,” he says. “Then sit down and begin working on the dedicated Wi-Fi, stream Netflix or just listen to your favorite music streaming service.”
Alex also points out that the card can help you achieve the Gold status with American Airlines faster, meaning you’ll get access to perks like auto upgrades to first-class when available, 40% elite mileage bonus and more.