Does It Make Sense To Have Both The Citi Prestige And AAdvantage Executive Card?

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Update: This offer for the Citi Prestige® Card has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.

Update: The Citi Prestige® now offers 1.25¢ per point towards travel on any airline, versus the previous enhanced redemption rate on American Airlines. The Citi Prestige no longer offers lounge access to American Admirals Clubs. Learn more about the current offers here.

I’ve written extensively about the Citi Prestige® Card, which I consider to be the single most compelling credit card out there.

Why I love the Citi Prestige® Card

The card has a $450 annual fee, which seems high, but is a bargain when you look at what you get. The benefits include the following:

The $250 annual airline credit counts towards any purchase directly with an airline, which essentially lowers my out of pocket on the card to $200 per year, since I value the $250 airline credit more-or-less at face value.


On top of that I get a Priority Pass membership with guesting privileges, which I’ve used several times.

Plaza-Premium-Lounge-London-Heathrow - 15Plaza Premium Lounge London Heathrow

And last but most certainly not least, there’s the fourth night free hotel benefit, which has saved me thousands of dollars.

I used the fourth night free benefit at the St. Regis Bali

The card also offers triple points on airfare and hotel purchases, double points on dining and entertainment, and one point per dollar spent on everything else. Given that the card offers great travel protection, this is my go to card for airline and hotel purchases.

The best part is all of these perks are available year after year, so it’s an absolute no brainer that I’ll keep this card.

But what about the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card?

Reader and friend Andrew B messaged me to ask if it makes sense to have both the Citi Prestige Card and Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.

The AAdvantage Executive Card also has a $450 annual fee, and comes with a few perks, the most significant of which is an Admirals Club membership. While the Citi Prestige Card offers Admirals Club access, that’s slightly different than an Admirals Club membership. What’s the distinction? A membership gets you:

To me the difference between lounge access and a lounge membership isn’t huge, since I’m usually flying American anyway. Furthermore, the Citi Prestige Card comes with a Priority Pass membership, which gets you into Alaska Board Rooms.

Alaska-Board-Room-LAX-02Alaska Airlines Board Room Los Angeles

But the killer benefit of the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is that your authorized users receive Admirals Club access as well. You can add up to 10 authorized users to your card for no additional fee.

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card again (I had it several years ago), and my thought process has been as follows:

  • The Citi Prestige Card covers all of my needs when it comes to Admirals Club lounge access, so I don’t see much value in having the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card for myself; unless the benefits of the Citi Prestige Card change radically, it’s a card I’ll be holding onto for a very long time
  • I’m still considering getting the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card for the ability to give lounge access to authorized users; if I can get up to 10 people American lounge access whenever they fly, that seems like it might be worth it

Bottom line

The Citi Prestige Card is one I’ll hold onto for a long time, and it already comes with Admirals Club access. In my opinion it’s only worth also holding onto the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card if you can get value out of the authorized user Admirals Club benefit on the card. Otherwise it doesn’t seem worth holding onto both cards long term.

However, the sign-up bonus on the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card definitely makes this card worth applying for, especially if you can get value out of the lounge access.

Does anyone have both the Citi Prestige Card and Citi AAdvantage Executive Card?

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  1. I have the Citi Prestige, and I’ve been wanting to sign up for the Executive card as well, but have been waiting…waiting…waiting – hoping for a return of the 75k or even 100k bonus.

    Should I be holding my breath?

  2. Thanks! I do think the bonus for the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is compelling, but it may not make sense for me to keep the card long-term.

  3. I have both cards and this is something I have been starting to wonder myself. I started with the AA Exec when the 75K bonus was going last year and have been leveraging the Admirals Club Membership about every trip I’ve taken since getting it.

    I got the CITI Prestige a few months back to stack with my CITI Premier and use them now mainly for my travel items (Prestige for Hotel & Airfare, Premier for rental cars, parking, tolls, etc. as part of its broader “Travel” category).

    I find myself using the AA Exec less and less frequently and wouldn’t really benefit from the additional/authorized users.

  4. You are missing the ONLY reason for that card for me and that’s the 10k EQM. It’s why I have the silver aviator as well. Better to pay the fee than do a mileage run. My company only pays for economy, but they will pay for club membership. I also have the prestige, for the bonus. ( Rarely pay for 4 nights on personal trips)

    It’s all EQM for me.

  5. I’m in the same camp as Beachfan. It’s the 10,000 EQMs. Once I hit that $40k spend, the card gets put away. Prestige/CSP/CFU combo for MS and everyday spend

  6. Agree 10K EQMs on $40K annual spend ; easy ride on Nationwide Buxx Loads combine this and one roundtrip to India in BA , gives me AA Gold every year

  7. I didn’t think the Prestige would allow AA lounge access if you aren’t flying AA?

  8. Danin: You’ve misread the post. The Prestige, as everyone (including you and Ben) already knows, only gives “access” if you’re flying American. What could be clearer?

    I hadn’t realized the Exec now gives “access” to authorized users even if they’re NOT flying AA. They even get to have guests as well. The only significant thing they don’t seem to get is access to reciprocal clubs, i.e., other airlines’ clubs such as the Qantas and JAL lounges in certain circumstances.

    Authorized users are free.

  9. I know that the AA Executive card has some GREAT trip cancellation/interruption protection that covers your trip for things like illness, and even illness/death of family members (including in-laws). For example, if my wife’s dad gets extremely sick we can receive a refund of our tickets or return early at Citi’s expense. This is a HUGE benefit for us because my wife’s dad has some health conditions that could require us to cancel a trip at any time. I have never had, nor fully researched the Citi Prestige, but do you happen to know if these types of benefits apply to that card as well? It seems that the Executive card vastly surpasses all my other current cards in this area, which is why the Executive card gets all our airfare spend…

  10. I agree with everyone else, if you have elite status, the 10k EQM is really the best feature (unless you want Club access for your family).

    @Dave – Prestige generally has the same protections as the Executive.

  11. 100% have the AA Exec card for the EQM. Also have the Aviator Silver for the same. As soon as I’ve hit spend I switch cards for the year. I put all AA spend on the Aviator Silver for the 3x miles on AA purchases.

    Because I use the EQM to help me get EXP switching to the Prestige would actually hurt me more than help me. The 4th night free benefit, not sure if I can get $450 worth of value out of that as I tend to not stay in the same place for 4 nights in a row.

  12. I have the Prestige, also looking at the AA Exec, but I’ve been waiting for a 75 or 100k signup bonus. Should I be holding my breath?

    * this may be a ~dupe post…my first attempt never made it…

  13. What about the first class check-in with the AA Executive card? Our family of 4 which includes two kids under 12 all have TSA pre-check, but the Prioirty Access and first class check-in at the airport make this card worth it to us. I cannot stand lines, and I cannot stand them even more when traveling with kids.

  14. I’m not wild about citi’s cancellation coverage as it doesn’t do anything for award trips.

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