Earn up to 50,000 bonus points with the Citi/AAdvantage World Elite cards

Citi AAdvantage World Elite cards

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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. The Citi®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is currently offering up to 50,000 bonus miles: Cardholders will earn 40,000 miles when they spend $2,000 in the first three months of card membership, plus an additional 10,000 miles when they spend a total of $6,000 in the first year. The Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, on the other hand, offers 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first three months.  

Which Citi/AAdvantage card is better in the first year?

While both Citi/AAdvantage cards offer the opportunity to earn 50,000 bonus miles, 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® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
 Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
Rewards rate
  • 2 miles per dollar at gas stations
  • 2 miles per dollar at restaurants
  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar on general purchases
  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar on general purchases
Sign-up bonus
  • 40,000 miles when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • 10,000 additional miles after $6,000 total spend in first 12 months
  • 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
Annual fee
$99, waived first year $450
Estimated value in first year ($15,900 spend) $1,487 $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 – $673 less than that of the Platinum card.

After the first year, the Platinum card still comes out on top – even after the annual fee kicks in. We estimate that the average cardholder will earn $736 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
Oct 18, 2018
  • 40,000 miles after $2,000 spend in first 3 months
  • 10,000 additional miles after $6,000 total spend in first 12 months
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

70,000 bonus miles for business owners

Business owners can also earn a large influx of bonus American Airlines AAdvantage miles. The CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® has launched a limited-time offer that lets cardholders earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first four months of opening an account.

Along with the sign-up bonus, CitiBusiness cardholders can earn an American Airlines companion pass after spending $30,000 each card membership year. With the companion pass, cardholders can add a companion to their flight for a $99 ticket fee (plus $22 to $43 in taxes and fees) each time they purchase a roundtrip coach ticket on an American Airline flight in the continental U.S.

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?

Although the sign-up bonuses for the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum card and the Citi/AAdvantage Executive card are not currently at their highest, the opportunity to earn 50,000 bonus miles is still a good offer. That said, if you can hold off until the bonuses reach 60,000 miles again for the Platinum card or 75,000 miles for the Executive card, the additional miles could be worth the wait.

See related: Earn 40,000 bonus points with Southwest Rapid Rewards cards, Earn up to 30,000 bonus miles with AmEx Delta SkyMiles cards


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Updated: 12-18-2018