American Airlines has co-brand credit cards from both Barclays and Citi. Historically this is a good thing, since it means the two issuers are competing with one another for our business. You’d think that this would lead to better welcome bonuses, more benefits, etc.
Unfortunately over the past several months we’ve seen negative changes to American’s portfolio of cards:
- As of the beginning of 2019, the number of elite qualifying dollars (EQDs) that you can earn through credit card spend has been greatly reduced
- As of May 2019, the 10% rebate on redeemed miles (for a limit of up to 10,000 refunded miles per year) is being eliminated
- Some other changes are being made to Barclays cards, some of which are positive, and some of which are negative
It can still be worth having a co-brand American credit card if you are only an occasional American flyer, since the priority boarding and first checked bag free can be valuable benefits. But as an elite member there’s not much value anymore:
For example, I have the Aviator Silver Card, and it’s a card I got for the ability to earn EQDs and for the 10% rebate on redeemed miles. For that matter, one easy way to justify the annual fee on many American cards was the 10% rebate, which in many cases was worth more than the annual fee members were paying.
So at this point I’ve been asked several times by readers if there’s any American Airlines credit card that I still find worthwhile? Yes, personally I have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard, and it’s a card that I find continues to provide exceptional value.
The card has quite a few benefits, though fundamentally what makes the $450 annual fee Citi Executive AAdvantage Card so exceptional is the lounge access that it offers.
The card offers an Admirals Club membership for the primary cardmember.
Admirals Club Phoenix Airport
That in and of itself is a good deal, since the annual fee is less than the cost of an Admirals Club membership even for Executive Platinum members (a new annual membership for an Executive Platinum member costs $550).
But what’s so great is that you can add up to 10 authorized users to the card for free, and they each get Admirals Club access for themselves and two guests each.
I have this card, and I have 10 authorized users, including friends and family members. I value an Admirals Club membership anyway, and the fact that I can essentially gift 10 others Admirals Club access is the icing on the cake.
Admirals Club Sao Paulo Airport
While major changes have been announced to American’s other card products, no changes have been announced to this card, so I’d say it continues to be a “keeper” for anyone in a similar situation to me.
For anyone who is interested in the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card, there are some other great benefits, in addition to a generous welcome bonus:
- 10,000 AAdvantage elite qualifying miles if you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year
- 25% savings on in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and headsets on flights operated by American Airlines when purchased with the card
- Priority check-in, screening, and early boarding on American operated flights
- A statement credit of up to $100 every five years that can be applied towards a TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry application
So yeah, I hope they don’t make any changes to this card, but as it stands this is the only American credit card that I consider to be worthwhile at this point.
Anyone else like the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card as much as I do?