Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® review

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® review

Updated: June 13, 2024

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Updated: June 13, 2024

Partner Offer: Citi is an advertising partner

Apply now
Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
4.6 rating
4.6 rating
4.6 / 5
Rewards Value:4.6
Annual Percentage Rate:5.0
Rewards Flexibility:3.0
Features:4.0
Issuer Customer Experience3.0

In a Nutshell:

This card offers a host of great airline benefits and a large sign-up bonus, but its high bonus spending requirement make it less appealing for modest spenders.

See rates and fees

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 10X miles on eligible car rentals booked through aa.com/cars
  • 10X miles on eligible hotels booked through aa.com/hotels
  • 4X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases (5X miles for the remainder of the calendar year after you spend $150,000 in purchases in a calendar year)
  • 1X miles on all other purchases
Very Good

Sign-up Bonus

For a limited time, earn 100,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $10,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

 

Very Good

Annual Bonus

  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck every 4 years
  • Up to $120 in statement credits every calendar year on eligible Avis and Budget car rental purchases every calendar year
  • Up to $120 in Lyft credits annually (after you take 3 eligible rides in a calendar month, earn a $10 Lyft credit)
  • Up to $120 in statement credits on eligible Grubhub purchases every 12 billing statements (up to $10 per monthly billing statement)
  • Admirals Club access
Excellent

Annual Fee
$595

Poor

APR
21.24% - 29.99% (Variable)

Poor

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Miles don’t expire as long as you earn or redeem miles every 18 months
  • No limit on the number of miles you can earn
  • Free online redemption
  • Wide network of airlines, including American Airlines and other Oneworld Alliance airlines, and other partner airlines
  • Stretch your miles further with MileSAAver awards

Cons

  • Blackout dates on some awards
  • Fee for phone award booking
  • Travel on many partner airlines can’t be redeemed online
  • Various fees for award redemptions and cancellations
  • Restrictive routing rules
  • $175 annual fee for first three authorized users and a $175 fee for each authorized user after
Very Good

Citi Customer Service Ratings

  • J. D. Power 2020 customer satisfaction rating: 801 (50% of issuers in this category ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: Yes
  • Online chat available?: Yes
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.6/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.9/5
Very Good

Other Notable Features: Free Admirals Club lounge access, up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck every 4 years, priority check-in, priority boarding, priority airport screening, 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases, no foreign transaction fees

A glance at the $595 annual fee for the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard may make you wonder if the card is worth such a formidable fee. The short answer is yes – for the right cardholder. Read on to see where this card shines and where it falls short.

Why you might want the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

If you’re a frequent American Airlines flyer, you should have this card on your radar, especially if you’re an airport lounge enthusiast and are trying to reach elite status in the AAdvantage loyalty program. The card has both an impressive rewards rate for frequent AA flyers and a weighty sign-up bonus, plus terrific travel and shopping benefits.

Solid sign-up and annual bonuses

This card offers a limited time 100,000-mile bonus for spending $10,000 within the first three months of card ownership, worth around $1,000 in American Airlines flights based on Bankrate’s latest airline mile valuations, which give AAdvantage miles a value of 1 cent each on average. That’s a substantial increase from the card’s previous 70,000-mile offer (after spending $7,000 in the first three months),  and it’s an excellent value and could easily cover at least a couple of domestic flights with American Airlines.

Along with the sign-up bonus, cardholders can earn a 10,000 Loyalty Point bonus after reaching 50,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year and another 10,000 Loyalty Point bonus after reaching 90,000 Loyalty Points in the same status qualification year.

Admirals Club lounge access

Complimentary access to American Airlines’ Admirals Club lounges is one of the primary reasons to get this card. You, any members of your immediate family and up to two guests traveling with you get unlimited access to these lounges when you fly American Airlines or any Oneworld carrier. According to American Airlines, an Admirals Club membership is worth up to $850, so the lounge access alone can justify the card’s annual fee.

On the downside, there are only around 100 Admirals Club and partner lounges worldwide. If you travel frequently, it’d be wise to make sure the airports you visit most have an Admirals Club lounge so you can take full advantage of this perk.

Solid dining and travel perks

A high-fee travel card usually entitles you to some pampering, and the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard mostly meets expectations. On top of free lounge access, the card offers priority check-in and boarding, and a faster route through airport security lines where available. You get a credit of up to $100 toward a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application every four years, and you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation are entitled to one free checked bag. This benefit applies whether or not you use your card to book the ticket.

You can also take advantage of several other credits, including up to $120 in statement credits every calendar year on eligible Avis and Budget car rental purchases, up to $120 in Lyft credits annually (for every three eligible rides you take in a calendar month, you can earn a $10 Lyft credit), and up to $120 in statement credits on eligible Grubhub purchases every 12 billing statements (up to $10 per monthly billing statement).

Why you might want a different card

As is true of many elite cards, the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard may not be worth it unless you travel frequently with the carrier. And while it offers a handful of valuable travel and dining credits, it’s missing the sort of general travel credit perk you can find on some competing luxury travel cards.

No general travel credits

While the AAdvantage card offers a 25 percent discount on eligible in-flight purchases, competing cards sometimes come with a large credit for general travel purchases, covering everything from tickets to in-flight purchases to fees. There are also no opportunities for discounted airfare or upgrades, unless you reach a higher elite level in the loyalty program.

Additionally, the card is lacking in hotel benefits beyond its rewards rate. Some elite cards offer automatic hotel elite status, which unlocks valuable perks, including automatic room upgrades, priority check-in and credits for hotel expenses. If you are truly looking for the red-carpet experience, you may want to examine other options.

Rewards rate not as valuable for everyday spending

While the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard may be a decent fit for American Airlines loyalists who fly often and are looking for airline-specific perks, the card’s ongoing rewards rate leaves a lot to be desired if you only travel occasionally. Its rates are solid for airline and hotel spending, but it will be difficult to rack up a ton of AAdvantage miles on everyday expenses with this card since it only earns more 1 mile per dollar in groceries, dining, gas and other key spending categories.

Unless you spend heavily on travel, you may have a hard time offsetting the card’s annual fee with rewards earned via card spend, making the luxury perks all the more important in justifying the cost.

High annual fee

The $595 annual fee is likely to be a major barrier for most cardholders. The card offers a few credits and perks that help make up for the fee, but these perks are not nearly as flexible as the travel credits you’ll find on other elite cards.

When you’re spending this amount on a card it’s reasonable to expect high quality perks and benefits that offset fees even before you factor in rewards earnings. Whether the annual fee is justified with this card depends largely on whether you plan to use Admirals Club lounges and the Grubhub and Lyft credits.

See Related: How to use your card’s Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit

How does the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard compare to other travel cards?

American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®

American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Rewards rate

2X miles on grocery store purchases and eligible American Airlines purchases; 1X miles on other purchases

Rewards rate

5X points for flights booked directly with airlines using American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year); 5X points for eligible prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel; 2X points for prepaid car rentals made using American Express Travel; and 1X points for all other purchases

Rewards rate

10X points on hotels and rental cars and 5X on air travel for purchases through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on general travel and restaurants; 1X points on all other purchases (travel rewards only apply after the first $300 spent on travel purchases)

Welcome bonus

10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit if you spend $500 in the first three months

Welcome bonus

80,000 points if you spend $8,000 in the first six months

Welcome bonus

60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$695

Annual Fee

$550

Regular APR

21.24% – 29.99% Variable

Regular APR

See Pay Over Time APR (See rates and fees)

Regular APR

22.49% - 29.49% Variable

Other things to know

25% savings on in-flight purchases, Citi Concierge, extended warranty, 90-day return protection, Citi Private Pass, $0 liability on unauthorized charges

Other things to know

Free airport lounge access, CLEAR® Plus membership credit, Global entry or TSA PreCheck® statement credit, no foreign transaction fees, an Uber Cash credit, up to $200 hotel credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel (The  Hotel Collection requires a two night minimum stay), up to $240 in digital entertainment statement credits, annual Equinox statement credit, luxury hotel loyalty status and perks

Other things to know

Receive a $300 annual travel credit, up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck® credit, no foreign transaction fees, complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges.

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard vs. American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp

If you aren’t ready to dish out a lot of money for an annual fee but are loyal to American Airlines, you should consider the no-annual-fee AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard. This card could be either a great supplement to your AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard if you want to earn some extra miles for grocery purchases, or a standalone travel card for those who don’t travel frequently or wouldn’t use the benefits of a luxury card.

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard vs. The Platinum Card from American Express

If you’re a frequent traveler who doesn’t mind spending money on an annual fee card, then you should consider The Platinum Card from American Express. The Amex Platinum card’s $695 annual fee is also very high, but the card features more luxury perks and hundreds of dollars’ worth of credits. If you take advantage of these benefits, you can more than cover the Platinum Card’s annual fee.

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card will be an ideal choice for frequent travelers who’d rather not be limited to one airline and who eat out frequently. Where the AAdvantage card earns just 1 mile per dollar on most everyday purchases, the Sapphire Reserve at least earns 3 points per dollar at restaurants, making it potentially more rewarding as a general travel card.

Along with its generous rewards rates, rewards earned with the Sapphire Reserve benefit from a 50% increase in value when redeemed through the Chase Travel℠ portal. Cardholders will also benefit from a $300 annual travel credit that puts you more than half way to earning back the card’s annual fee.

Why get the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard?

  • You are a frequent flyer with American Airlines and you want the royal treatment, including access to Admirals Club lounges.
  • You are trying to earn elite status with American Airlines.
  • You are looking for a large sign-up bonus.

How to use the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard:

  • Be sure to spend $10,000 in the first three months to earn your 100,000 bonus miles.
  • You can use any card to book your flight with American Airlines and still get free checked bags and priority boarding, but your card account must be open for at least seven days prior to your flight.
  • Book your companions on the same reservation to extend your cardholder benefits to them.

Is the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard right for you?

Deciding if a card is right for you depends largely on how you plan to use it. If you travel often and value perks like Admirals Club lounge access, the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard may be a great fit.

Stephanie Zito, Creditcards.com Travel Rewards Expert Contributor, makes a solid argument for the card’s value for the American Airlines loyalists: “If you’re an Admirals Club user or a very frequent or elite American Airlines flyer, you’ll likely want this card in your portfolio for its lounge and status-earning benefits. Not only is the annual fee of the card less than the cost of an annual Admirals Club membership alone, the card will quickly help you boost your earnings of Loyalty Points to help you keep your status year after year.”

On the other hand, if the annual fee sounds too high or you want more flexibility when it comes to earning and redeeming points, another card may be a better choice. If you don’t spend heavily with American Airlines or don’t care about the Admirals Club Lounge, then consider a general travel card that carries more value with its perks and higher rewards rates.

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All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

Responses to comments in the discussion section below are not provided, reviewed, approved, endorsed or commissioned by our financial partners. It is not our partner’s responsibility to ensure all posts or questions are answered.

All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

Responses to comments in the discussion section below are not provided, reviewed, approved, endorsed or commissioned by our financial partners. It is not our partner’s responsibility to ensure all posts or questions are answered.

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