The Increasing Value Of The Citi Executive AAdvantage Card

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As we’ve learned over the past couple of days, the Citi Prestige Card will be losing Admirals Club access as of July 23, 2017. Fortunately we have over a year of advance notice about the change, so this shouldn’t immediately impact any of us.

As an American flyer I’m of course sad to see that benefit discontinued, though it doesn’t change the fundamental value proposition of the Citi Prestige Card to me even after the benefit is eliminated. Between the annual airline credit, Priority Pass access with guesting privileges, fourth night free benefit, etc., the card is still a no brainer.

However, one thing this change does do is increase the value proposition of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. This is the Citi card with a $450 annual fee that will continue to offer Admirals Club access.

While the Citi Prestige Card has offered Admirals Club access, keep in mind that it hasn’t offered an Admirals Club membership. In other words, you need to be flying American Airlines same day in order to use the Admirals Club with the Citi Prestige Card.

Meanwhile the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card comes with an outright Admirals Club membership, meaning you can use an Admirals Club even when you’re not flying American.

But as I’ve explained before, it actually gets even better than that. With the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card you can add 10 additional cardmembers at no additional cost, and they receive Admirals Club access as well, with each allowed to take two guests per visit.

Admirals Club Honolulu

The funny thing is that I was already considering picking up the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card in addition to the Citi Prestige Card before this change was announced. Basically for $450 per year I could buy Admirals Club access for my friends and family, which seems like a good enough deal to me.

However, going forward this will be the card that gets me Admirals Club access as well. In a few days American is raising the cost of an Admirals Club membership by $50-100, so once that happens, the absolute cheapest cost to buy an Admirals Club membership will be $450. At that point, getting the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card instead is a no brainer.


Bottom line

Ultimately nothing is changing immediately, given that the Citi Prestige will continue to come with Admirals Club access for another year. However, even with the Citi Prestige Card’s old policy I was considering picking up the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card as a way of getting Admirals Club access for friends & family. Now it’s even more of a no brainer, since I’ll need it to get myself into Admirals Clubs.

With the changes coming to the Citi Prestige Card, do you plan on having the Prestige, Executive, or both?

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  1. I had the same thought process, but would ABSOLUTELY NOT DO ANYTHING until we learn about the full panoply of Citi vs. Barclaycard offerings once those get off the ground.

  2. Thanks for the reminder about the additional authorized user AC benefit. I switched to the Prestige card last year but my husband kept his Executive card. Problem solved!

  3. I’ve been thinking along these lines as well, but I am torn. I closed this card in 2/2015, so I believe I need to wait until 2/2017 to be eligible for the bonus again. On the other hand, I definitely want the 10k EQM for $40k spend feature, and am concerned that this may disappear (or at least the ability to count it towards EXP may disappear) in whatever revision of the card might be forthcoming — so, waiting seems risky, if there’s a possibility that existing cardholders will be grandfathered. Any thoughts on this dilemma, lucky?

  4. I would definitely wait until January to see if Barclays unveils a new premium AA card. I am sure the annual fee will be the same as the Citi card, but it’s possible there might be slight changes in benefits. Perhaps Barclays will take a few things from the Aviator Silver card to make their new premium card more competitive than Citi’s offering.

  5. Good luck that AA will keep the Citi AAdvantage Executive card bonanza where you can bring an entire bus into the lounge for free. They will for sure limit that pretty soon.

  6. The Executive AAdvantage card is ideal for a couple where one member has elite-status, and the other travels on their own but not enough to achieve status. In this case, the non-elite member can be the primary cardholder and get all the pseudo-elite perks while the elite member gets the elite-benefits plus lounge access.

    Assuming the non-elite is already paying $100/yr for an AA card for pseudo-elite perks, that card can be canceled to effectively bring the annual fee down to $350. The lack of a fee for authorized users provides another $50 in savings when compared to the Prestige (which doesn’t even offer Admirals Club access for authorized users).

  7. There is a point at which having so many cards that cost $450 a year just seems silly. Ya know? Like, do I REALLY value hanging out in terrible Admirals Clubs this much, that I’m willing to sign up for another card that costs this much? $900 between the Prestige and this card. There was a time when I traveled for so much cheaper than I do now, albeit in less comfort, but I was just as happy then as I am now. There was a time where stepping foot in any lounge whatsoever was like entering a wonderland. The magic is gone now, and even though I’m getting good “value,” I’m spending way more than I ever did before. Blergh.

  8. so if they first starve you for 7 days, then give you one banana a day, I guess that does increase the value on that banana~

  9. I’m feeling ya, QR. I flew yesterday on a cheap DL award ticket and was annoyed that I had to fly from an airport with no lounge (OAK), plane was stuck on the tarmac waiting on an open gate at LAX, so I had to run from one gate to another to the already-boarded connecting flight and skip the lounge, and then landed back in ATL after all lounges were closed. Oh, and I was also grumbling for hours because I was two spots away from an upgrade from C+ to F. Then I remembered when I had no status, no lounge access, and would’ve been happy with a seat on the WN bus just for the sheer pleasure of getting away. Here I was on a free last-minute cross-country trip and somehow feeling slighted. It really helps to put things in perspective.

  10. For LAX based flyers, this isn’t such a big loss as we are able to use the KAL lounge in Bradley (5 minutes walk airside from T4) and the Alaska Airlines lounge for flights leaving from T6. I’m probably going to stick with the Prestige as long as the other benefits are retained.

  11. I would not be on your case so much but you go week to week proclaiming “this card” is a must have. It is ridiculous and dishonest…one week it’s Delta (which you don’t promote the best value card because you do not receive a referral) and the next week it’s two “different” AA cards that each cost 450.00 per year…jeez.

    Start promoting cards that you do not receive a referral fee more, and balance this blog a bit…enough is enough. I’m not sure how you sleep at night…I mean taste test Krug and Dom all night.

  12. QR – speaking the truth. I am in the process of re-setting my expectations and travel behaviors and it is for the same reasons. I am disillusioned with loyalty programs and all the absurd scheming that is required to take advantage of some of the benefits. I like to travel as comfortably as I can but there is definitely a point of diminishing returns, and I think I am well past that point. The air travel I have planned in the next 6 months has me traveling with airlines I haven’t flown in quite a while, and it will include less lounge access – but it will be more time efficient and it will be cheaper. I will fly slightly less in domestic first class, but I will fly almost exclusively nonstops – I think it will be better but we’ll see. I am just paying for what I want now, and ironically it is saving me both money and time. But if I ever want to fly 2 hours out of the way to connect in DFW and sit in a windowless lounge while snacking on olives and hummus, I will certainly think of American Airlines Admirals Club.

  13. Haha, that lounge image is perfect! I was confounded at why all of the shades were drawn the last time I was in one of those old-school DFW ACs with the awful food and fake espresso drinks. Of course I live in ATL, where the tiny AC windows are above eye level and look out onto the driveway.

  14. Observing the abundance of referral links and calls to immediate action for the Prestige card last week on numerous credit card travel blogs, and comparing that to what’s been posted this week, it’s almost as if the value of referrals dropped precipitously this week, like maybe on Monday at midnight. I’ve never gotten a credit card referral fee, but I wonder if the fees change from time to time, or are eliminated.

  15. One thing not pointed out but minor is also access to Alaska Board Room. That is correct still? And you don’t have to be flying Alaska, correct? I’ve grown sick of United Club in LAX and looking for an alternative when flying United. I could go to Admirals in 4 but that’s a very long walk back to 7 or 8. Minor point and mostly useful but one other benefit if still true. I know Priority Pass also works but wouldn’t that require an Alaska boarding pass?

  16. Well done brother. In less than a month, the blog has fallen in love with three different cards in a row. Delta Amexes, then Citi Prestige, now Citi AA Exec? Get that paper son.

  17. It’s been a while since i started reading your blog, and finally i see a photo i can related to. I was at the Admirals Club in Honolulu during my honeymoon in 2014. Now in august i’ll be flying some of your latest routes hope to catch some of your experience

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