If you’re an American Airlines loyalist who wants to use credit card rewards to fund your travel, the Citi/AAdvantage World Elite cards are a great option.
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Which Citi/AAdvantage card is better in the first year?
Though the two cards offer similar introductory bonuses, the Platinum Select card offers additional spending categories and waives the annual fee during the first year.
To determine which card offers the better deal in the first year, let’s see how they compare side by side:
Comparing Citi/AAdvantage cards
Citi®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
|Annual fee||$99, waived first year||$450|
|Estimated value in first year ($15,900 spend)||$1,423||$814|
The average consumer who spends $15,900 on gas, food, clothing and general purchases can earn approximately $1,264 from the Executive card in the first year. However, once you subtract the card’s $450 annual fee, the first-year value drops to $814 – less than half of the Platinum Select card.
After the first year, the Platinum Select card still comes out on top – even after the annual fee kicks in. We estimate that the average cardholder will earn $800 worth of rewards each year from the Platinum card with the fee subtracted. Meanwhile, a cardholder with $15,900 annual credit card spend will likely end up spending more on the annual fee than the rewards that they can earn with the Executive card (which we value at around $180 per year).
Citi/AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard sign-up bonus history
Citi frequently updates the sign-up bonuses for the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select and Citi/AAdvantage cards. The Platinum Select card’s bonus typically ranges from 30,000 to 60,000 miles, while the Executive card’s bonus ranges from 50,000 to 75,000 miles.
Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard recent changes
|Change date||Sign-up bonus|
|June 27, 2019||50,000 miles after $2,500 spend in first 3 months|
|April 4, 2019||60,000 miles after $3,000 spend in first 3 months|
|Jan. 17, 2019||50,000 miles after $2,5000 spend in first 3 months|
|Oct 18, 2018|
|July 24, 2018||50,000 miles after $2,500 spend in first 3 months|
|May 3, 2018||60,000 miles after $3,000 spend in first 3 months|
|March 8, 2018||50,000 miles after $2,500 spend in first 3 months|
|Feb. 13, 2018||30,000 miles after $1,000 spend in first 3 months|
|Oct. 4, 2017||60,000 miles after $3,000 spend in first 3 months|
|July 20, 2017||30,000 miles after $1,000 spend in first 3 months|
|May 11, 2017||60,000 miles after $3,000 spend in first 3 months|
|March 8, 2017||30,000 miles after $1,000 spend in first 3 months|
|Dec. 19, 2016||50,000 miles after $3,000 spend in first 3 months|
Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard recent changes
|Change date||Sign-up bonus|
|Oct. 23, 2018||50,000 miles after $5,000 spend in first 3 months|
|July 24, 2018||75,000 miles after $7,500 spend in first 3 months|
|Oct. 24, 2017||50,000 miles after $5,000 spend in first 3 months|
|July 26, 2017||75,000 miles after $7,500 spend in first 3 months|
Who is eligible for the sign-up bonus?
If you’re interested in applying for the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard or Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, you should note that you’re not eligible to receive American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles if you have had any Citi/AAdvantage card – other than a CitiBusiness/AAdvantage card – opened or closed within the past two years.
If you’re interested in the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard, you are not eligible to earn bonus miles if you have had any CitiBusiness/AAdvantage card opened or closed within the past two years.
Should you apply now?
Now is a good time to apply for the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select card, thanks to the elevated bonus. While it’s not the highest the bonus has ever been, it still offers great value for frequent flyers. And although the sign-up bonus for the Citi/AAdvantage Executive card is also not currently at its highest, the opportunity to earn 50,000 bonus miles is still a good offer. That said, if you can hold off until the bonus on the Platinum Select reaches 60,000 miles and on the Executive reaches 75,000 miles, the additional miles could be worth the wait.