Citi AAdvantage Executive Card NOT Adding Authorized User Fee

Filed Under: American, Citi

Correction: Citi is telling me that this is an error, and that the authorized user fee is still $0. That’s great news.

Earlier Citi updated their website to indicate that a change would be made to one of my favorite cards that they issue, though fortunately it looks like that was a mistake. I’ll still share below what we believed was happening.

What Has Made The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card Awesome

Historically I’ve considered the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card to be one of the most lucrative airline credit cards. The card has a $450 annual fee and offers an Admirals Club membership. That’s a deal in and of itself, given that otherwise American charges a minimum of $550 per year for an Admirals Club membership.

The icing on the cake was that you could add up to 10 authorized users at no extra cost, and the authorized users would get Admirals Club access as well (with the ability to each guest two people into the lounge).

So a single $450 annual fee meant that you and up to 10 authorized users could each get Admirals Club access (and each could bring in up to two guests).

New $175 Authorized User Fee?

Citi had quietly updated their website to add an authorized user fee to this card. Citi’s website suggests that the cost is $175 per authorized user. It’s noted that this will be pro-rated between when you add an authorized user and the anniversary date.

The good news is that Citi has now confirmed that this is not in fact correct, and that they’re working on getting it corrected.

Bottom Line

If this change had been made to the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card it sure would have been a bummer. Fortunately the change isn’t happening (at least for now), and this remains one of the most generous airline credit cards out there.

Not only does the primary cardmember get an Admirals Club membership for the $450 annual fee (which is less than a membership would otherwise cost), but they can add 10 authorized users and give each of them Admirals Club access.

(Tip of the hat to @xJonNYC)

  1. Yes, my husband uses the card. And it comes in handy for both spend and club access when he isn’t with me.

    But since bloggers like you continually exploit this benefit, I’m surprised the fee hasn’t come sooner. If this limits the number of people in admirals clubs, I’m ok with it

  2. I like this change too because it will lead to less crowding in the Admirals clubs.
    So $175 seems a fair price. Delta’s AMEX card allows only 1 person in and the rest pay $29 each so AA is still a good option since you can bring in 2 guests for free.

  3. I suppose those of us with existing AUs are probably good until Citi gives us notice… I’m betting it’ll be effective as of the next annual fee posting date for each existing cardmember.

  4. IMHO I think the problem here is that the card allows up to 10 AUs at no cost which is insane, but I feel the better approach would have been first AU is free but subsequent ones will be $175.

    Alas, Citi seems to feel they can’t compete in the premium credit card space so the trend of continuing to water down their premium credit cards doesn’t surprise me.

  5. I fail to understand why ANYONE would use an airline points card. I’ve failed miserably, to use AAdvantage points for anything meaningful, which is why I bailed on the program a number of years ago (after 3M miles). Admiral’s club = Overcrowded CAAfeteria I just don’t get it….I must be missing something.

  6. It will happen at some point. A couple months ago I took a survey which presented many CC options and ask which one I would prefer over the other. They had a mix of different AU fees and perks. ALL HAD THE AU FEE.

  7. I predict Citi just showed its hand earlier than intended.

    Waybackmachine has the landing page for the card captured as of October 2. On that date, it read “Admirals Club: Membership, a value of up to $650, includes access for authorized users”.

    The language re AUs has been removed from the site. It now reads, “Admirals Club: Enhance your travels with Admirals Club membership (a value of up to $650).”

    It’s definitely coming sometime in the near future.

  8. I think it would be a good idea for Citi to limit this benefit – 10 free authorized user with 2 guests each seems much too generous and would contribute to overcrowding. 2-3 for the family is fine, but who needs 10?

  9. The people that post on these blogs have an irrational fascination with airport lounges. I simply don’t understand why people crowd into these lounges to drink grocery store quality wine and beer (or bottom shelf whiskey) and eat cubes of grocery store quality cheddar and jack cheese. There’s usually much better food and drink in the restaurants scattered throughout the terminals. My only explanation for this “lounge fascination” is that Amex and the bloggers have convinced the traveling public that these scruffy lounges are somehow cool.

  10. Charlie – I agree, I don’t go to the lounge for the food. I go if I need a place to open my laptop and work, or might need help during IRROPs. I would NEVER get and Amex platinum so I could go to the centurion lounge. That is a true waste.

  11. The reality of it is very few people would ever add 10 users. Since most of my travel is international I’m getting access for free anyways. The rest of the benefits for this card were removed last month. I personally think it’s a worthless card especially for miles. Barclays is just as worthless as they got rid of the one benefit that mattered the EQDs. Chase Sapphire Reserve it’s it in every way.

  12. Coming up next: New enhancement to this card.

    YES: You are right, this card will soon get
    Cell phone protection!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    and $175 authorized user fee.

    Time to quickly get this card and get at least a year of free AU on this card.
    And probably a 70000 miles bonus coming with this new enhancement.

    Lounge used to be an oasis back when Amex Platinum got you in AA NW CO TWA lounges. Now everyone has a Platinum card. So yes the quality of users and the facilities dropped. But it is still better than sitting at the gate any day. Some people also don’t care about the food, a cheese is cheese, an alcohol is alcohol. You grab a bite when hungry and a drink when thirsty. I don’t even think airport restaurants these days are much better either. If you want good food while traveling, hire a Michelin star restaurant to cater for your Gulfstream.

    They can make the lounge experience a bit better by banning misbehave children (yes all of you with 5 kids running around) and ESA. Child with self control and service animals are always welcomed.

  13. It turns out this isn’t true but for how long? I would actually support a fee of some type. Maybe even $175 for more than say 2 users. Citi would be beyond stupid to add this fee right now with the devaluation coming where you need a AA boarding pass to access the lounges. It is a deal breaker for many.

  14. Was surprised that I had to read all the way to DaninMCI to see mention of the simple fact that this card has already lost a great deal of value with the requirement that you fly AA the day you visit the AC. Unless you live in an AA hub and fly AA a lot, it is hard to justify the annual fee on the card.

    Going forward, the $450 I save will buy many beers, meals, snacks, coffees in the airport.

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