Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!
DFW based: Citi Prestige or AAdvantage Executive Card?
I’m a new business traveler. I’m likely going to be loyal to American to the degree possible because of the schedule to SLC. I’d estimate I’m going to do in the next year:
Salt Lake: 8 – 10 times
Chicago: 3 – 4 times
Atlanta: 1 – 2 times
LA: 1 – 2 times
Tokyo: 1 time
Sydney: 1 time
London: 1 time (maybe)
Quality lounge access & status perks are important to me. Earning tons of miles to use on travel is okay but not a major perk for me (I don’t do a ton of personal travel – maybe 2x a year to somewhere I would use the miles/points). However, I do think I’d like to have my spouse be able to fly to Australia with me this first year and would prefer to get a business class seat – that seems doable with the AAdvantage Executive mile bonus.
Already have Global Entry and won’t be eligible to get that credit for another few years.
I currently have 18,300 AAdvantage miles (exp Aug 2016) but only 2,000 Elite-qualifying miles (but haven’t been traveling American much to date).
Once in awhile, I may have to travel Delta or another airline due to cost, but think I can keep it to American at least 80% of the time. Airfare does NOT get charged to my card, company pays for that directly.
I was leaning towards the Citi AAdvantage Executive card w/ 75k bonus (will have to work at it to get the 7500 minimum in the next 3 months but doable), but people seem pretty hot on the Citi Prestige card (50k bonus but lower spending requirement). Given my circumstances, which would you recommend? I’m concerned I’ll miss the status-type perks that come with AAdvantage.
The $450 is a big spend for us, so want to make sure we are making the most of it, but willing to do it mostly for lounge access and helping me have an easier travel life.
While it doesn’t directly deal with the AA Exec vs. Citi Prestige, Lucky had [URL=’http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2015/09/14/best-credit-card-for-american-flyer-in-philadelphia/’]this recent post[/URL] for a reader based at a different AA hub. Maybe there’s something useful there.
The difference in the lounge access is that with the AA Exec card you have an AAdmiral’s Club membership, so even when you’re not flying AA you can use the lounge. With the Prestige card, you must be flying AA to use the lounge.
With the Prestige card you can easily offset the $450 fee with a $250 airline credit each calendar year. That means if you got the card now, you’d get 2 x $250 credits before the next annual fee is due.
Just a word of caution about using AA miles to Australia. It is *extremely* rare to see 2 business class seats to Australia on Qantas. Even on AA’s LAX-SYD flight I’m not seeing 2 seats available at the saver rate (though there are plenty of dates if you want to cough up 140K AA miles each way) for flights that just opened up in July, which is the dead of Australia winter. Something to keep in mind about uses for your miles.
Thank you so much! Your response is amazing. Very helpful, I hadn’t found that article.
I do still have some hesitance as the lounge access to me is a huge deal and the priority pass access doesn’t hold much appeal for the cities I am going to vs Admiral’s Club. If I am flying Delta I would still like to be able to go to the lounge at DFW. So that is swaying me. Plus that we aren’t avid travelers in our personal lives. But maybe I need to dig in more to what the points can be redeemed for on the Prestige card. And being able to use the $$ towards upgrades would be sweet.
Great insight on the Australia miles too. I think your caution still stands, but it may work out, as I would be traveling on a full fate business ticket (paid for by my company), likely in advance of when my spouse would join me. He would come over on a different flight and I would have been there several days already working. We would return together but only he would be on a points ticket. But still a great caution.
Yes, if you only need one award seat to Australia then your odds are much better, especially on AA flights. While it would be great to be able to take the non-stop Qantas flight from DFW the issue is that AA only opens up their award calendar (including flights on partners) ~330 days in advance. However both Qantas and BA allow users to book ~350-360 days in advance. So people using Qantas miles or BA Avios to book have first crack the award seats on Qantas before folks using AA miles ever get a chance. But you’ll have a better shot on the flights on AA metal.
Another routing is via Fiji on Fiji Airways non-stop to LAX. It’s angle-flat but it is business class. Maybe you could tack on a few days at the end of your work to enjoy the sun & sand there.
You are so fabulous, thank you for the detailed responses.
I think what I’ll do is go with the AAdvantage Exec card for now, as I know my travel spend + Christmas are going to be high in the next 3 months – I can get to the $7500. I’ll monitor for the next year and see how much I fly American vs how much I fly other airlines but would like access to the Admiral’s Club while flying a different airline.
Next year, before it renews, I’ll figure out if the card was a good deal for me, or if I could comfortably switch to the Citi Prestige (or some other card that has come out), getting more points at that time if I do want to switch and I’ll be in a better position to know my lounge usage.