Citi AAdvantage Executive Review

Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard

Reviewed by Credit Carrots (2019)

citi aadvantage review

TL;DR: The Citi AAdvantage card is designed to appeal to the frequent flyer who values airline and airport related perks above all else. If this sounds like you, and you live in an American Airlines hub city then this card offers a strong value proposition with an unbeatable collection of frequent flyer perks.

City AAdvantage Executive Mastercard

The AA Executive is a must-have if American Airlines is your airline of choice.

Annual Fee

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard has an annual fee of $450.

Top Five Travel Benefits

  • Admirals Club Membership
  • First checked bag free
  • Global Entry / TSA Pre Credit
  • Priority boarding on American Airlines
  • Priority airport screening

Top Additional Perks

  • No FX Fees

Introduction

What the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is all about

Citi has partnered with American Airlines (AA) to create a top tier airline credit card. American airlines is one of the largest airlines in the country with major hubs in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York – among many others.

As you may have guessed from the name of the card, the frequent flyer program is called AAdvantage. This venerable program was launched in the 1980’s, and has over sixty million members. It’s an extremely flexible program that allows you to redeem miles for tickets, upgrades, hotel stays, and merchandise – among other options.

American Airlines also runs its own collection of lounges called the Admirals Club. These are high tier lounges that fall somewhere between the typical priority pass lounge and the AMEX Centurion.

The first Admirals Club lounge was opened during LaGuardia airport’s construction. Then New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia had an upper-level space set aside for press conferences. At one of the conferences, he remarked that the entire terminal was getting leased. A vice president at American Airlines immediately offered to lease the conference space for the purposes of turning it into a lounge. This began operating as the “Admirals Club” in late 1939.

The fabulous Citi AAdvantage Executive card will allow you to earn AAdvantage miles, access the Admirals Club across the world, and also receive awesome travel perks such as priority boarding on American Airlines flights.

Read on to learn more about the robust benefits and perks that come with the AAdvantage Executive Credit Card.

How to Earn Miles

AAdvantage Miles Earn Rates

Before we get into the detail of the different ways you can earn AAdvantage miles, we want to first clarify how much each mile is worth.

Based on our research, we value an AAdvantage mile at 1.4 cents. That means if you spend a dollar to earn a rewards point, then you are essentially getting 1.4% of value back.

Here are the different ways you can earn points:

1 mile per dollar spent on everyday purchases (ie. you’re getting 1.4% of your spend back in AAdvantage mile value).

2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. (ie. you’re getting 2.8% of your spend back in AAdvantage mile value).

2 miles per dollar spent on select business categories such as telecom, car rental, and cable/satellite.

2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores.

How to Redeem Miles

Redeeming AAdvantage Miles

The best way to maximize the value of your AAdvantage miles is to redeem them for flights. However, there are lots of other redemption options as well if you aren’t planning on flying anytime soon.

The most popular redemption options are below:

Flights. You can redeem your miles for flights on American Airlines as well as their oneworld and partner awards. There are a lot of variations in the redemption rate for your miles depending on where you’re flying to. Check out the tables below for the latest rates.

It should come as no surprise that redeeming your miles for flights is the best way to maximize your valuable AAdvantage miles. We strongly recommend that you only redeem your miles for flights if you’re looking for the best value.

Seat Upgrades. If you already have a ticket, you can use your miles to upgrade your seat on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Iberia Airlines. The AAdvantage seat upgrade table can be found here: AAdvantage Seat Upgrades.

Car and Hotel. You can redeem your American Airlines AAdvantage for car rentals and hotel stays. Click here to see the American Airlines portal for car and hotel bookings.

Vacation Packages. AAdvantage miles can also be redeemed for vacation packages to numerous destinations such as the Bahamas, Hawaii, and Mexico. Click here to see the American Airlines vacation portal.

For the full list of redemption options click here.

Additional Benefits and Features

What else does the Citi AAdvantage Executive get you?

If you live in an American Airlines hub city, it’s tough to turn down this card. There are so many good airline and airport specific benefits that are beneficial to the frequent traveler.

Our favorite benefits include:

  • Admirals Club Credit. The Admirals Club Lounges are typically a step up from your run-of-the-mill priority pass lounge. Some of the fancier locations even have shower suites and a business center. Of course, awesome lounges don’t come cheap. For example, it would cost over $50 a person to get into the Admirals Club at London Heathrow Airport. With the AAdvantage Executive card, you and your immediate family members (spouse or domestic partner and children under eighteen (18) years of age) or up to two guests can get into the lounge for free. Check out all of the lounge locations here.
  • Global Entry / TSE Pre Credit. This benefits get you a $100 statement credit every five years that can be applied to a Global Entry or TSA Pre application fee. We strongly recommend you take advantage of this benefit if you travel over three times a year.
  • Free Checked Bag. You and up to eight (yes 8!) of your travel companions get your first checked bag free. This will save each person $25 every time they have a checked bag on an American Airlines flight.
  • Priority Boarding. Who doesn’t love getting on the plane early and laying claim to the overhead luggage compartments! With this benefit, you’ll be offered priority boarding as long as your reservation has your AAdvantage number on it.
  • 25% Inflight Food and Beverage Discount. This benefit will give you 25% off on all food and beverage purchases on the plane. With how expensive inflight items are, this is an awesome benefit that we frquently use. We do wish that the discount would apply to inflight WiFi in the future.
  • Enhanced Airport Experience. The cardholder and eight travel companions on the same reservation are eligible for priority check-in and priority airport screening. This benefit comes with a “where available” caveat, and is typically not available in smaller airports.This benefit is a nice-to-have, but should not be a primary consideration if you’re on the fence about getting this card.

For a full list of all Citi AAdvantage Executive benefits click here.