Citi Executive AAdvantage Card 50K Welcome Bonus — Is It Worth It?

Filed Under: Citi, Credit Cards
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Update: This offer for the Citi Prestige® Card has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.

The single best credit card welcome bonus of last year was on the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, which at the time offered a welcome bonus of 100,000 AAdvantage miles. That was a hot bonus, and once it was discontinued we saw the offer more or less cut in half. I’d be surprised if we saw that bonus again as a publicly available offer anytime soon, for what it’s worth.

That being said, for the past couple of weeks we’ve seen the offer on this card increased quite nicely. For a limited time, the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Personally I value American miles at ~1.3 cents each, so to me the 50,000 miles are worth ~$650

The “catch” is that the card has a $450 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year. Fortunately the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard comes with some great perks which help offset the annual fee:

  • An Admirals Club membership, giving you access to Admirals Clubs regardless of which airline you’re flying
  • 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 and US Airways when purchased with the card
  • Priority check-in, screening, and boarding on American and US Airways operated flights

Those benefits will have differing value depending on the type of consumer you are. That being said, focusing just on the welcome bonus itself, you’re earning 50,000 AAdvantage miles and paying a $450 annual fee. Using the value of 1.3 cents per American mile, that’s the equivalent of a welcome bonus I value at ~$650.

That welcome bonus is more than enough for a one-way ticket in first class to Asia on Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines, which is a spectacular use of miles.


As far as the terms of the offer go, the offer isn’t available to those who have opened or closed this card in the past 18 months:

American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have had a Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Card opened or closed in the past 18 months.

Furthermore, keep in mind the general rules of applying for Citi credit cards:

  • You can only apply for one Citi card every eight days
  • You can apply for no more than two Citi cards every 65 days

This is worth keeping in mind if you’re someone who has recently signed up for or is eyeing the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premier℠ Card.

Bottom line

American AAdvantage miles continue to be one of the most valuable mileage currencies out there, and the welcome bonus on the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is arguably the best welcome bonus out there offering those miles.

Assuming you can complete the minimum spend, I think picking up this card is a no brainer.

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  1. The 18-month limitation puts the damper on this deal for pretty much anyone who got in last year for the 100k offer. 🙁

  2. Did Citi change their policies regarding the 18 month eligibility? When the 100k offer was around, people got approved multiple times for the same card.

  3. During Citi’s Q2 earnings call yesterday, it was mentioned that the credit card business was under-performing and that increased marketing was planned in this quarter. This may be the “first shot” in that effort.

  4. I think I’d hold off. I remember some speculation on FT and a few blogs that suggested that Citi’s larger purchases of AAdvantage miles from American are delivered in bursts. The story goes that the last burst is what led to the availability of 100,000-mile offers last summer, and that the next larger burst is coming in 2016.

    Take this information with a very large grain of salt, though.

  5. I still think the Prestige makes more sense for AA elites than the Exec since the Exec basically just gives you sorta-kinda half-Gold status and that’s about it . . . other than the 10K EQMs for $40K in spending. Actual Admirals Club “membership” as opposed to mere “access” doesn’t do it for me especially given the $250 difference in the net price of the two cards.

  6. I’ve had success navigating around the 18 month requirement for the AA Citi Platinum Select card as I got two of them (both personal) in an 11 month cycle. I think as long as you are approved for the card and meet the spend requirement they will give you the miles. I wasn’t sure my 50K bonus would post when I got a second Platinum Select card in 11 months but as soon as I met the spend requirement I got the bonus.

  7. @Jeff, you’re wrong on that. Citi will abide by whatever is in the terms of the card. Your card must not have had that wording. If you apply for this card after having one last year, you will not get the bonus. There was previously a version that did not have that 18 month language, and *that* version you could get multiple times.

  8. @Lisa is right on this one, based on my experience.

    I got the $10K/100Kmi card last year in September, finished it, and got another one in October. This was right around the time that Citi started applying the 18-month rule to the Executive cards, unbeknownst to me. They approved me for the card, I finished the spending, and… nothing. When I called to ask about the bonus, they explained that there wasn’t one because I had received one in the past 18 months.

  9. Unless one was already planning on making a $7,500 purchase anyway, this does not strike me like such a great deal, especially since one gets some of the same perks if one has something like the AMEX Biz Plat card…

  10. @ Lantean — A specific date hasn’t been announced, but it is being marketed as “limited time.”

  11. Regarding the “limited time” language, I remember a while back the regular Citi AA cards had a “limited time” bonus of 50K miles for $3K in 3 months, but that ended up staying around for months. I wonder if this is really limited, or if this is going to be the standard offer for a while.

  12. @ Brian L. — Either is certainly possible. This is a pretty big bonus, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t stick around that long. On the other hand, also expect it to be around for more than a week or so.

  13. I have has the normal Citi AAdvantage card and earned 50K miles and thts was upgrade to World Elite. Can I apply for this Executive and will i get the bonus?

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