Citi AAdvantage Executive Card Review: Best Admirals Club Deal

Citi AAdvantage Executive Card Review: Best Admirals Club Deal

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® Earn 50,000 miles after qualifying purchases | $450
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Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® Earn 50,000 miles after qualifying purchases | $450
Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
Admirals Club Membership
No Foreign Transaction Fees
10
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Link: Apply now for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Co-branded credit cards are big businesses for airlines, and in many cases, a majority of their profits come from frequent flyer programs, and the lucrative arrangements they have with banks.

When thinking of premium credit cards, the first cards that come to mind are probably The Platinum Card® from American Express, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

However, there’s a premium airline credit card that arguably gets me just as much value as some other premium cards, if not more. In this post I wanted to take a detailed look at this card, which is in a league of its own when it comes to airline credit cards offering lounge access.

Citi AAdvantage Executive Card Basics For December 2022

American Airlines has co-branded cards issued by both Barclays and Citi, and the most premium card in the portfolio is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. This card offers the strongest lounge access perk of any airline credit card, to the point that it’s almost ridiculous how generous this card is.

Let’s look at all major aspects of this card, like the sign-up bonus, return on spending, benefits, and more. Some might even want to give this card another look, given that credit card spending now counts toward elite status in the AAdvantage program.

Bonus Of 50,000 AAdvantage Miles

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card has a welcome bonus of 50,000 American AAdvantage miles after spending $5,000 within the first three months.

Personally, I value American AAdvantage miles at ~1.5 cents each, so to me, those miles are worth about $750. That’s a solid bonus for a card. Then again, think of the bonus as just an added incentive here. There is a much bigger reason you’ll want the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card.

Note that the bonus miles aren’t available to those who have received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 48 months (however, you are eligible if you’ve had a different American Airlines credit card, including if you’ve received a bonus on a different product).

Then there are the typical rules for Citi credit card applications, including that you can apply for at most one card with Citi every eight days, and at most two cards every 65 days.

Redeem American AAdvantage miles for Etihad first class

$450 Annual Fee

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card has a $450 annual fee. You can add up to 10 authorized users to your card at no extra cost, which is my favorite perk of this card, as I’ll discuss in greater detail in a bit.

Rewards Structure & Earning Loyalty Points

When it comes to spending money on the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card:

  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases.
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.

In terms of the reward for spending, there are both better cards for purchasing airline tickets, and also better cards for everyday spending. However, keep in mind that major changes have been made to the American AAdvantage program as of 2022, with the introduction of Loyalty Points.

American’s elite requirements are now as follows, and you earn one Loyalty Point for every dollar spent on an American Airlines credit card:

  • AAdvantage Gold status requires 30,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Platinum status requires 75,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro status requires 125,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum status requires 200,000 Loyalty Points

So spending on the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card could earn you elite status, which I know will interest many. That’s the primary reason you’ll want to consider spending money on this card.

Spend your way to elite status with AAdvantage credit cards

Earn 10,000 Bonus Loyalty Points For Spending

In addition to earning one Loyalty Point for every dollar spent on the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card, you can also earn 10,000 additional Loyalty Points after spending $40,000 on the card during a qualifying year. In other words, for exactly $40,000 of spending, you’d earn the equivalent of 1.25x Loyalty Points per dollar spent.

The AAdvantage elite qualifying year generally goes from March 1 through February 28 of the following year (though in 2022, the qualifying year is longer). Spending $40,000 on this card will prove to be a sweet spot for many looking to maximize Loyalty Points.

Access Flagship Lounges with AAdvantage elite status

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card has no foreign transaction fees, so this can be a good option for purchases you make abroad.

Use this card for purchases abroad and pay no foreign transaction fees

Citi AAdvantage Executive Card Lounge Benefit

The real reason you want to get the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is because of the incredible lounge access perk that it offers. Having this card is the best way to access Admirals Clubs. Let’s discuss how that works.

Receive An Admirals Club Membership

The primary cardmember on the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card receives a full Admirals Club membership. That in and of itself is a reason this card makes sense.

Ordinarily, if you buy an Admirals Club membership you’ll be paying anywhere from $500 to $650 per year, depending on your AAdvantage status, and also depending on whether you’re a new member or are renewing your membership.

By getting an Admirals Club membership with the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card you’re saving $50-200 right off the bat.

Note that while you can redeem miles for an Admirals Club membership, this represents a terrible value, as you’re getting just a cent of value per mile.

This is a full Admirals Club membership, so you don’t even have to bring your credit card, as your membership will be linked to your AAdvantage number:

  • You can access Admirals Clubs worldwide when flying American Airlines, a oneworld partner airline, or JetBlue, the same day
  • You’re allowed to bring immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18) or up to two guests
  • Admirals Club members also receive access to Alaska Lounges, as well as access to dozens of other partner lounges, including lounges of British Airways and Qantas (you can find the full lounge directory here)
American Admirals Club members can access Alaska Lounges

Note that Admirals Club members don’t get access to Flagship Lounges, as that access is determined based on the ticket you purchased rather than any membership.

How Soon Is Your Admirals Club Membership Activated?

Many people may be considering applying for the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card shortly before taking an American Airlines trip. How soon after being approved for the card does your Admirals Club membership kick in?

Since the primary cardmember gets a full Admirals Club membership, it’s linked to their AAdvantage account. Many may be surprised to learn that this membership could very well kick in before you even receive your credit card in the mail, and you don’t even need your card to enter a lounge.

Fortunately there’s an easy way to tell if your Admirals Club membership has been activated. To figure it out, pretend that you’re signing up for an Admirals Club membership. Go to this page, enter your AAdvantage number, last name, and password.

If your account has already been updated to reflect the Admirals Club membership, you’ll see that the next page shows “1-Year Citi AADV Exec CC Membership.”

If it hasn’t been updated, you’ll see that it gives you the option of choosing what kind of membership you want to purchase.

Note that this only works for the primary cardmember. Since the authorized users don’t get a full Admirals Club membership, they wouldn’t show up as being eligible online. Authorized users need to present the physical Citi AAdvantage Executive Card, since there’s no membership linked to their AAdvantage account.

Give 10 Authorized Users Admirals Club Access

This is where the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card goes from solid to unbelievably good. You can add up to 10 authorized users on the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card at no extra cost, and each of the authorized users also receives Admirals Club access.

Note that authorized users receive Admirals Club access and not a membership, so there are the restrictions:

  • They’ll need to present their authorized user card to access the lounge, since they don’t have a membership tied to their AAdvantage number
  • They need to be flying American Airlines, a oneworld partner airline, or JetBlue, the same day to access lounges
  • They can bring immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18) or up to two guests
  • They can’t access partner lounges, including Alaska Lounges

For the purposes of accessing Admirals Clubs this is more or less the same as an outright membership.

This is such an outrageously good benefit, since it means that just about all of my family and some of my friends get Admirals Club access when they fly. When you split my $450 annual fee 11 ways, I’m basically paying just over $40 per person per year for Admirals Club access. That’s less than the cost of a single day pass.

Even authorized users get Admirals Club access

How To Add Authorized Users To The Citi AAdvantage Executive

Adding authorized users to the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is super easy, and can be done directly on Citi’s website. Follow this link to access the part of the Citi website where you add authorized users, and then log into your account.

On the next page, you’ll be able to manage authorized users, including adding and removing them.

You’ll just need their name to add them, and you have the choice of whether or not you want to give them permission to access your online account.

Make sure you trust all your authorized users, since any charges they incur will be your responsibility.

Citi AAdvantage Executive Card Benefits

The primary reason to get the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is because of the great sign-up bonus, ability to earn status with spending, and Admirals Club benefit, though the card offers some other perks that could add a lot of value for card members. These perks range from priority check-in, to early boarding, to a TSA PreCheck fee credit.

Below is what you need to know about all the other perks of the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card.

First Checked Bag Free

Those with the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card receive a first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries not just for themselves, but also for up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation. There’s no need to actually pay for the ticket with your Citi AAdvantage Executive Card — you just have to make sure it’s linked to your AAdvantage account (this benefit applies for the primary cardmember only).

American ordinarily charge $30 for the first checked bag, so that’s a $60 value per person roundtrip (and if you had eight companions all checking a bag, that would be a value of $540).

Priority Check-In, Priority Screening, Early Boarding

For being the primary cardmember on the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card you receive several valuable airport benefits, including priority check-in, priority airport screening, and early boarding. These are all features that can save you time and money.

There’s no need to show your card, as these perks should automatically be reflected with your ticket when you have your credit card linked to your AAdvantage account (which is automatic when you’re the primary cardmember).

Receive early boarding with this credit card

Global Entry Or TSA PreCheck Credit

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card offers a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit once every five years. Simply charge the purchase to your card and it will automatically be reimbursed. You don’t have to be the one signing up — you can always pay for a friend or family member who is signing up instead.

Personally, I always recommend applying for Global Entry, because Global Entry automatically comes with TSA PreCheck, while the inverse isn’t true.

Receive a Global Entry fee credit with the card

World Elite Mastercard Perks

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is a World Elite Mastercard, meaning that it comes with quite a few benefits you may not be familiar with. In addition to the concierge service, there are also savings and other perks with a variety of businesses, ranging from DoorDash, to HelloFresh, to Lyft.

Is The American Executive Card Worth It?

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is a fantastic card that I personally have and also recommend, but only if you’re a frequent flyer with American. If you fly American with any frequency then an Admirals Club membership is super valuable, and this is the best way to get an Admirals Club membership, hands down.

Not only is the card’s annual fee lower than the cheapest Admirals Club membership fee, but you get the additional perk of lounge access for 10 others (and they can bring guests into lounges as well).

This card is the best option for accessing Admirals Clubs

Is This The Best Card For Lounge Access?

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is the best card for lounge access if you’re a frequent flyer on American Airlines. However, if you fly a variety of airlines, I think going with another premium card is a better option:

Access the Capital One Lounge DFW with the Venture X

Note that none of those cards gets you access to any American Airlines Admirals Clubs, though.

Bottom Line

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card isn’t for everyone. If you’re not a frequent flyer on American then you shouldn’t consider this card. However, if you are a frequent flyer on American then this card is totally for you.

While Admirals Clubs aren’t anything to get too excited about, there’s still huge value in the complimentary snacks and drinks, free Wi-Fi and quiet places to sit, and access to an agent in the event your flight has irregular operations.

I’ve had the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card for years, and love it. The Admirals Club membership is awesome, while the Admirals Club access for up to 10 authorized users is the icing on the cake. This card is truly in a league of its own when it comes to lounge access.

This card may now even interest more people than in the past, given that spending on American Airlines credit cards can help you earn elite status.

If you want to learn more about the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card or want to apply, follow this link.

Conversations (10)
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  1. AnitaCK3 New Member

    Primary cardholder doesn't need to present the card--they can automatically tell you're the primary from your ticket (AA #). If you're an authorized user, I recommend keeping the card in your Apple Wallet--you don't actually need the physical card (and it's not light!).

  2. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    It's so unfortunate, I just got this card in June (using a OMATT link too) and got a LOW Bonus offer. Should have waited. Als9, bee to 2 Admirals Lounges in the last month where NO COFFEE machines were working at all (PHL & DFW Terminal C). Ridiculous.

  3. David Guest

    For authorized user card spent, does the loyalty points count towards the primary card holder or authorized user’s Aadvantage status?

  4. David Guest

    For authorized user card spend, do the loyalty points count for the primary card holder or the authorized user’s Aadvantage status?

  5. Robert Schrader Guest

    Why would anyone ever want to enter an Admiral's Club? By far the worst lounge of the big three carriers.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      Depends on your airport and the reason you want it. I use LAX and SFO:
      * SFO has a very nice Admiral's club. New, in a new terminal. Tons of space, not crowded in my experience.
      * LAX has an Admiral's club (in T4) that is in a decade-long renovation, but they have showers. I want those for my 10pm flights back up to SFO.
      * The LAX AA food is actually...

      Depends on your airport and the reason you want it. I use LAX and SFO:
      * SFO has a very nice Admiral's club. New, in a new terminal. Tons of space, not crowded in my experience.
      * LAX has an Admiral's club (in T4) that is in a decade-long renovation, but they have showers. I want those for my 10pm flights back up to SFO.
      * The LAX AA food is actually not bad. Much better than snack towers of sadness from pre-Covid times.
      * (I'm excluding the Eagle's Nest from my review. That terminal can go to hell.)

      United Club (not Polaris) is swarmed in both airports and has no showers at LAX.

      Is Delta better? Hard yes. But LAX is an absolute scene (in club/out of club), and the DL schedule out of SFO is really limited. My Amex card rarely gets me in there since I need to be on their metal.

    2. Andrew Diamond

      AND it gets you into the Alaska club in both airports. For when you want something more homey. :-)

      So IME good value.

  6. Anthony Diamond

    Here is the issue - I visited to Admirals Clubs on this card yesterday, my first AA club visits in a while. These clubs were older, but man, were they sad (one was in a hub). Small, poor food selection, etc. Aside from a few locations, it seems like these clubs are to be avoided. Given you get nothing else from this card (aside from signup bonus), I can’t see really recommending it over the other AA cards they offer.

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Andrew Diamond

AND it gets you into the Alaska club in both airports. For when you want something more homey. :-) So IME good value.

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Andrew Diamond

Depends on your airport and the reason you want it. I use LAX and SFO: * SFO has a very nice Admiral's club. New, in a new terminal. Tons of space, not crowded in my experience. * LAX has an Admiral's club (in T4) that is in a decade-long renovation, but they have showers. I want those for my 10pm flights back up to SFO. * The LAX AA food is actually not bad. Much better than snack towers of sadness from pre-Covid times. * (I'm excluding the Eagle's Nest from my review. That terminal can go to hell.) United Club (not Polaris) is swarmed in both airports and has no showers at LAX. Is Delta better? Hard yes. But LAX is an absolute scene (in club/out of club), and the DL schedule out of SFO is really limited. My Amex card rarely gets me in there since I need to be on their metal.

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AnitaCK3 New Member

Primary cardholder doesn't need to present the card--they can automatically tell you're the primary from your ticket (AA #). If you're an authorized user, I recommend keeping the card in your Apple Wallet--you don't actually need the physical card (and it's not light!).

0
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