Updated Mar 04, 2021 | Published Aug 24, 2020 • 13 min read
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The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard was created with frequent American Airlines flyers in mind. The rewards aren’t too impressive, but you’ll be able to fly much more comfortably thanks to perks like Admirals Lounge access, priority boarding, and an in-flight discount, to name a few.
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Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
We’re awarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®5 out of 5 Stars. As with most premium airline credit cards, its rewards aren’t very impressive, but it (mostly) makes up for this shortcoming with a plethora of premium benefits designed to enhance the American Airlines travel experience.
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage®bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% – 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.
The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is clearly designed for active travelers who prefer to fly American.
It carries a significant annual fee and features a milquetoast rewards program. But beneath these drawbacks are a plethora of benefits that effortlessly complement the travel habits of the typical American Airlines superfan.
Priority boarding, check-in, and screening help you get through the airport and to your seat as quickly as possible, while an Admirals Club membership lets you kill extra time in comfort.
So, while the Executive World Elite is a fairly average example of a premium airline credit card, it shares one characteristic with most of its competitors: It serves its audience well.
Get rewarded for flying: You’ll earn 2X miles per dollar from the card, and 5X miles per dollar or more from your AA membership, so your flights will be pretty rewarding.
Enjoy the VIP status: With your card you’ll gain access to priority boarding and priority airport screening when available. Take advantage of these when you can, they’ll expedite some of the more annoying aspects of travel.
Save money on every flight: You and up to eight travel companions will all get your first checked bags free, saving $30 per bag.
Wait for your flight in style: Cardmembers get coveted airport lounge access for themselves and two travel companions when flying AA, thanks to the Admirals Club membership.
Don’t be afraid to snack: There’s a 25% discount on in-flight purchases, so don’t be afraid to grab a snack or buy a drink.
Eliminate some hassle: Every five years you can get up to $100 for either the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
While the rewards aren’t overly impressive, you could still see a pretty solid return. If your miles are worth about 1–2 cents, you’re looking at a cash back equivalent of about 7%–14% (assuming you earn 7X miles with AA).
2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases
1X AAdvantage mile per dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
In addition to what you’ll earn from the card, you’ll get at least 5X miles per dollar from your American Airlines AAdvantage membership on flights. That brings your total to 7X miles per dollar, which equates to 7%–14% cash back.
There are quite a few things you can do with your miles, once you earn a bunch. Here’s a short overview of the options you have when it comes time to redeem. Your best bet would be to redeem miles for AA flights, as that would give you the most bang for your buck.
Use miles for award flights through AA, or through any of the partners in oneworld, an airline alliance comprised of several members like British Airways and Cathay Pacific
Use miles to buy or renew an Admirals Club membership, giving you airport lounge access
Redeem miles for hotel stays or rental cars with AA’s partners
Go to the American Airlines website and search for your flight. You can check the Redeem Miles box to fund it with your miles instead of your cash.
You can only redeem for seats in the main cabin or first class, however. We researched a few one-way flights in order to give you an idea of the per-mile value you could expect to see:
Cash (including taxes and fees)
Chicago (CHI) to Rochester (ROC)
12,500 + $5.60
Indianapolis (IND) to Phoenix (PHX)
12,500 + $5.60
Orlando (MCO) to Denver (DEN)
17,500 + $5.60
Philadelphia (PHL) to Los Angeles (LAX)
12,500 + $5.60
New York City (JFK) to Houston (HOU)
10,000 + $5.60
For the most part your mile value will be pretty solid, but as you can see in some cases the value could be pretty low.
If you look at Philadelphia to Los Angeles, at a mile value of 2.94 cents, you’d see a cash back equivalent of 20.6% when earning 7X miles per dollar. That’s a pretty great return on your spending.
But at the low end, like on the Orlando to Denver flight where your miles would be worth about 0.81 cents, you’d get a cash back equivalent of 5.7%. That’s a pretty significant difference.
But if that initial value doesn’t satisfy you, the somewhat good news is mile values are pretty volatile. So if you take a moment to calculate the value (the cost of the flight divided by the mile requirement) prior to locking in your ticket, you can ensure you’re getting the value you want.
If it’s not the value you had hoped for, you could check back later to see if it’s improved, shop around for a different flight, or save your miles for your next trip and use your card to pay for this one.
This is where the card attempts to make up for the hefty annual fee it asks for. A lot of the value is going to come from your Admirals Club membership, priority boarding and security screening, and the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.
Admirals Club membership: Enjoy access to almost 50 Admirals Club lounges for you and up to two guests or immediate family members. A same-day boarding pass for an eligible AA flight is required.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Every five years you can be reimbursed for up to $100 for the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
Enhanced Airport Experience: Use your card to pay for airfare and you’ll be eligible for priority check-in, priority boarding and, when it’s available, priority airport screening for AA flights. This applies to you and up to eight companions.
25% in-flight discount: You’ll be able to snack and drink with more peace of mind, thanks to your 25% discount on in-flight AA purchases.
First checked bag is free: You and up to eight companions will be able to check one bag, free of charge, on eligible AA flights.
Elite Qualifying Miles: Earn 10,000 EQMs after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. These help to increase your elite status with American Airlines.
Purchase Protection: If a new purchase is damaged or stolen within 120 days (90 for New York residents) you might be eligible for reimbursement, up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per year.
Extended Warranty: As long as you pay for the item with your Citi card, you’ll receive a 24-month extension on eligible manufacturer’s warranties.
Authorized users: You can add an authorized user to your account to share in the benefits, at no additional charge.
The large annual fee is somewhat mitigated by the throng of benefits attached to the card, but it lacks anything like an annual travel or hotel credit that other high-end travel cards have. Those credits go a long way to effectively drop the annual fee.
But what it does provide are quite a few amenities for people who spend a great deal of time in airports and on planes. You’ll even earn a cash back equivalent of about 7%–14% while you fly with AA to make things a bit more lucrative.
So if you want to travel comfortably and earn a little while you do, this could be the card for you.
How Do You Apply for the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard?
Follow the link below and you’ll be directed to Citi’s website where you can apply now. It should only take you a few minutes if you have all the necessary information handy. You’ll typically hear back right away if you’ve been approved or not, so you probably won’t have to bide your time for too long.
What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard?
It’s recommended that you have good credit before applying for this card.
To qualify for good credit, your credit scores would usually need to be at least 670 for FICO or 700 for VantageScore.
But don’t count yourself out if your scores aren’t exactly there. Credit card companies take more into account than just your scores when determining your creditworthiness. Credit card issuers will check out things like income and source of income when determining if you should be approved or not.
So even if you have lower credit scores, you could still be approved. However, that means if you have higher credit scores, you could be denied for those same reasons. In the end it comes down to Citi’s discretion.
Qualifications and Requirements
Must be 18 to apply
Personal identifying information: Name, birth date, Social Security number, country of citizenship
Address and contact information: Email, phone number, address
Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage/rent payment, bank account types
AAdvantage membership number, if applicable
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
It’s a bit more expensive, coming in at $550 annually, but the rewards are a tiny bit better and there are a few key differences in the benefits.
You’ll still get things like the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, priority boarding, an in-flight discount, and your first checked bag free, but you’ll also get a few more bells and whistles. Most notable is the addition of an annual companion ticket. That means you can take one friend or family member along for the ride, only for the cost of fees which can’t exceed $75.
So depending on the ticket, that’s a pretty great value, and could go a long way to making the annual fee more digestible.
Airport lounge access is still attached, only rather than Admirals Club access you’ll get into Delta Sky Clubs and Centurion Lounges. You get two free Delta Sky Club guest passes per year, but then there’s the small caveat of having to pay a $39 ($50 for Centurion Lounge) fee for each of your two guests, rather than no fee with the Citi AAdvantage card.
3X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
1X SkyMile per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
Your miles are typically worth 1–1.5 cents, which is slightly under the 1–2 cents your AA miles are estimated to be valued. And after you factor in your 5X additional miles per dollar for Delta flights from your membership, your cash back equivalent would be 8%–12%.
Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access: Enjoy complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, with up to two guests at $39 each. Plus, access Centurion Lounges for free, with up to two guests at $50 each. Two free Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes per year are included.
Annual companion certificate: Get a certificate for a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip flight. Certificate use requires the payment of applicable fees, not to exceed $75.
First checked bag free on Delta flights: Book with your Delta SkyMiles number, and baggage fees for your party’s first checked bags will be waived (covers the cardholder and up to eight additional passengers on the same itinerary).
Main Cabin 1 priority boarding: Board earlier (with up to eight additional passengers on the same itinerary) when you book airfare with your Delta SkyMiles number.
Complimentary upgrades: Reserve cardholders are added to the complimentary upgrade waitlist after Medallion members, even without Medallion status.
20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: Get 20% off (in the form of a statement credit) a host of in-flight purchases, including food, drinks, and headsets, but not including WiFi.
Concierge service: Request 24/7 non-emergency assistance with things like travel arrangements, dinner reservations, and entertainment plans.
The benefits this credit card offers are a bit different, mainly because it not only supplies a United Club airport lounge membership program, but also a membership for Hertz. You’ll gain some nice amenities from both, including Star Alliance lounge access for you and two guest and rental upgrades.
There are a few extra details, like you’ll get two free checked bags instead of one, and a nice collection of shopping and travel protections. If you’d rather fly United than AA, this card might be a good pick.
75,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
Additionally, you’ll get at least 5X miles per dollar from your United membership, bringing the total you’ll earn from United flights to 9X miles per dollar. And if your miles are sometimes worth as much as 2 cents, or potentially more, you’d see a cash back equivalent of 18% or more, which is higher than average for the AAdvantage card.
United Club membership: Up to a $650 value per year, includes free access to all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance affiliated lounges worldwide for you and up to two guests, depending on the location. This perk does not extend to authorized users. Requires a boarding pass for same-day travel.
Concierge services: 24/7 assistance with referrals and reservations worldwide.
Premier Access Travel Services: Priority check-in, security screening (where available), boarding, and baggage handling privileges.
Free first and second checked bags: You and one other on the same reservation will get your first and second bags checked free of charge.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit: Get a $100 credit for the application fee of Global Entry, or $85 for TSA PreCheck, once every four years.
Access to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program: Registering for free will allow you to earn 1 Gold Plus Rewards Point on eligible car rentals. You’ll also have access to designated Gold Plus Rewards parking stalls, and get exclusive email offers.
Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Includes room upgrades, complimentary daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late checkout, and other amenities at more than 750 luxury hotels and resorts worldwide.
Travel protections: Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance services, and rental car insurance
Shopping protections: Extended warranty protection, return protection, and purchase protection
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 16.49% - 23.49% Variable
You won’t have any perks for specific airlines like priority boarding or free checked baggage, but there is an annual $250 travel credit. After taking that into account, the effective annual fee drops from $495 to $245, which is lower than the AAdvantage card. You’ll still have airport lounge access (via Priority Pass) and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, too.
The signature perk of the Citi Premier is for hotels — you’ll get your fourth night free when booking through ThankYou.com, up to twice per year. This could deliver some serious savings if you stay at a nice resort.
This card offers a flexible redemption program, allowing transfers to several airline partners, which could yield higher point values than what you would see from the AAdvantage Executive card.
1X ThankYou point per dollar for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
50,000 ThankYou points for spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
We recommend aiming for a point transfer redemption that’ll get you at least 2 cents per point. That’ll ensure a cash back equivalent of 10% in the 5X categories. The 3X categories will provide an equivalent of 6% cash back.
Point transfer: To a variety of airline partners, including Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Annual $250 travel credit: Good for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, and other travel expenses
Complimentary 4th Night Stay: Get your fourth night free when booking four nights in a row through ThankYou.com and paying with your card, ThankYou points, or a combination of both. Capped at twice per year.
Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership: Access to over 1,300 Priority Pass airport lounges and restaurants around the world
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every five years
Citi Concierge: Call for non-emergency help any time you need it.
World Elite Car Rental Program: Elite memberships at National Car Rental, Avis, Sixt, and Hertz
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 16.99%–23.99% Variable
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $495
5X ThankYou points on Air travel and Restaurants
3X ThankYou points on Hotels and Cruise Lines
No limit to the amount of points you can earn
Rewards never expire
$250 travel credit
Complimentary 4th night free on eligible hotel stays, capped at twice per year
A few important features are its 1:1 transfer rate to travel partners, along with its other redemption methods. That 1:1 rate means you can transfer your points to any of Chase’s travel partners and they won’t lose any value. The partners include JetBlue, Southwest, United, and many more, covering several airline alliances. So you’ll have far greater flexibility with where you can redeem your points than you would with the AAdvantage card.
The benefits aren’t as focused on making your flight experience better, more so improving your overall travel experience. You’ll still get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit and airport lounge access, and will gain an annual $300 travel credit. That’ll help bring your effective annual fee down to $250, which is less than the AAdvantage Executive card.
10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides
3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
Travel (after the full travel credit is used)
1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
If you can find a mile value of 2 cents via a point transfer, you’d see a cash back equivalent of 6% in the 3X categories, which is good. And that would mean you’d get a 20% cash back equivalent on Lyft rides!
There’s also a 50% point bonus when you redeem for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards, meaning your cash back equivalent would be 4.5% in the 3X categories if you go that route, which is still a nice offer.
50% point bonus: When redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Point transfer: Transfer your points at a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, like United, JetBlue, and Marriott.
$300 annual travel credit: You’ll get a $300 travel credit every year that will be automatically applied to any travel-related expenses you charge to your card.
Priority Pass Select membership: Cardholders get complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which provides access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide plus a selection of restaurants.
Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection provides some complimentary services and benefits at participating hotels and resorts, including room upgrades, daily breakfast for two, and special gifts.
Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ application fee credit: Get a statement credit to offset the cost of signing up for Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓ ($85).
Elite Hotel Benefits at Relais & Châteaux: Cardholders get accelerated progress towards Club 5C member status with Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel and resort properties.
Visa Infinite Concierge: Call for non-emergency help of all kinds, like making dinner reservations or finding good tickets to a show. To reach the Visa Infinite Concierge, call 1-877-660-0905.
Special car rental privileges: Get rental upgrades, discounts, and promotional offers at rental companies like Avis, Silvercar, and National Car Rental.
Lyft Pink membership: One free year of Lyft Pink, which includes 15% off rides, relaxed cancellations, surprise offers, and priority airport pickup
DoorDash membership: A free membership (DashPass) for a year, which provides free delivery for orders of $15 or more
$60 annual DoorDash credit: Get $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020, and $60 in credits in 2021.
Travel protections: Travel and emergency assistance, rental car insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, and more
Shopping protections: Purchase protection, extended warranty, and return protection
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 16.99%-23.99% Variable
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $550
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Evan graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism and creative writing. In his professional writing career, he strives for precision and comprehension in his work. He’s written news articles, blog posts, and copy, working across a slew of different mediums. With in-depth research and great care for accuracy and detail, he now works to bring you the most up-to-date credit information.
The information related to Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.
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