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Best American Airlines Credit Cards of 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

We analyzed every credit card offered by American Airlines in order to determine which one offered the best rewards. For most people, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® will be the best card to apply for since it offers outstanding rewards that translate to free flights for cardholders. We've also outlined our top picks for people who have more specific needs from their credit card choice. Please note that Citibank is an advertising partner of ValuePenguin.com.

Recommended cards

Best forCredit neededAnnual fee
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®Best for most peopleGood/Excellent$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $99 ($0 first year)
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ CardNo annual feeGood/Excellent$0
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®Lounge AccessExcellent$450

Recommended cards

Best forAnnual fee
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®Best for most people$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $99 ($0 first year)
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ CardNo annual fee$0
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®Lounge access$450

If you'd like an in-depth review of each of the cards listed above and would like to know what makes them so great, click on the categories below to read our analysis. Our team of engineers also built a unique tool that allows you to calculate how much rewards each card will earn you based on your own spending habits.

Table of Contents

Best American Airlines Credit Card for Most People: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

We consider the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® to be the best American Airlines credit card because it offers a fantastic bonus and a solid ongoing rewards program. To get the entire bonus of 50,000 miles, you'll have to spend $2,500 within the first 3 months of account opening. This is also the best card for earning miles towards your next flight, as cardholders get 2 miles for every dollar they spend at gas stations and restaurants, in addition to American Airlines purchases.

Furthermore, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers perks that can save you even more money and make flights a little more enjoyable. Cardholders get preferred boarding on American Airlines flights and a free checked bag on domestic flights. While the card does come with an annual fee of $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $99 (waived for the first 12 months), the free checked bag perk alone can offset the fee for some travelers.

The information related to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.

Best American Airlines Credit Card With No Annual Fee: American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

  • On Citi's Secure Website
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American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

  • On Citi's Secure Website
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Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 17.49% - 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 17.49% - 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
17.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent/Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is our top pick for American Airlines customers searching for a card without an annual fee. It's actually one of the few airline co-branded cards on the market to not charge an ongoing membership fee. While frequent flyers won't get the same level of perks they would with a fee-card, this card makes up some ground with a strong rewards program. For every dollar you spend at grocery stores or on American Airlines purchases, you'll earn 2 miles. That grocery reward is unusual in the realm of airline cards. All other purchases will earn you 1 mile per dollar.

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card also packs a decent sign-up bonus. Cardholders are able to earn 10,000 miles after making $500 in purchases within the first three months, along with a $50 statement credit. We estimate the 10,000 miles alone to be worth $140 towards your next flight. While we've seen higher sign-up bonuses from other cards, it's important to remember that the bonus is available at no cost to cardholders. The card also gets you a 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights. This isn't the most rewarding perk, but it's certainly nice to have the next time you decide to order snacks on drinks on your flight.

Best American Airlines Credit Card For Lounge Access: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

  • On Citi's Secure Website
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Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

  • On Citi's Secure Website
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Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after $5,000 in purchases the first 3 months
  • 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 guests traveling with you
  • Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
  • 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 17.24% - 25.24%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • 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 guests traveling with you
  • Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
  • 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 17.24% - 25.24%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Annual Fee
$450
Regular APR
17.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is the best American Airlines credit card for people who want lounge access and premium perks. The card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee, but it also grants cardholders access to the Admirals Club (a $550 value). Luxury cards like this are meant for frequent travelers, who find themselves in airports several times per month. The card also allows users to breeze through security, thanks to the application fee credit that can be used for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. Cardholders will also be able to take advantage of early boarding when flying with American Airlines since they'll get to board as Group 4.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is also one of the best cards for earning status with American Airlines since it awards users with elite qualifying miles (EQMs), provided certain spending thresholds are met. The card comes with a sign-up bonus that requires a high minimum spend of $5,000 within three months. However, it's well worth it for high spenders since we estimate the bonus to have a value of more than $600. Not only is that more than other American Airlines cards, but it's among one of the best sign-up bonuses we've seen on any card.

Best American Airlines Credit Card for Businesses: CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

  • On Citi's Secure Website
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CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

  • On Citi's Secure Website
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Earn 70,000 miles after making $4,000 in purchases in first 4 months of account opening
  • Designed for businesses
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations.
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Designed for businesses
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations.
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
Annual Fee
$99, waived for first 12 months
Regular APR
17.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent/Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is the best American Airlines credit card for businesses that frequently travel with the airline. That's because it awards miles for a wide variety of purchases, making it a highly versatile card for any business. For instance, cardholders get 2 miles for every dollar spent on car rentals and at gas stations in addition to the 2 miles per dollar they earn on American Airlines purchases. Any purchases that fall outside of bonus categories earn you 1 mile per dollar. Another lucrative perk: You can get authorized user cards for your employees, and their purchases will earn you miles too.

The card is also ideal for businesses that can spend enough to qualify for the American Airlines companion certificate. The certificate effectively functions as a deeply discounted domestic ticket for a companion, and it's available to businesses that spend $30,000 or more in purchases each card membership year. This is a huge money saver for people who fly with co-workers to conferences or to meet clients around the country. Provided you can meet the spending requirement, the companion certificate can be worth hundreds of dollars, easily offsetting the $99, waived for first 12 months annual fee on the credit card. Even if you don't spend enough to earn the certificate, there are other valuable perks the card allows you to take advantage of, such as preferred boarding and free checked bags.

Honorable Mention: AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Earn 50,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • 10% of your redeemed miles back (10,000 miles maximum per calendar year)
  • Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles on all other purchases
  • Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year
  • Receive 25% inflight savings on food and beverages
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • First checked bag free for the primary cardmember and up to 4 companions on eligible bags

Note: The information in this box was provided by Barclays and is not part of our independent analysis.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • 10% of your redeemed miles back (10,000 miles maximum per calendar year)
  • Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles on all other purchases
  • Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year
  • Receive 25% inflight savings on food and beverages
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • First checked bag free for the primary cardmember and up to 4 companions on eligible bags
Annual Fee
$99
Regular APR
18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The information related to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® is a solid card for American Airlines customers. However, for everything it does well, there is a separate card that performs better. That said, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® comes with one of the easiest sign-up bonuses to qualify for. All you have to do is make a purchase and pay the card's annual fee, and you'll receive 60,000 bonus miles, which is good enough for a free flight or two.

In terms of ongoing rewards, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® is outearned by the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, as it provides more categories to earn bonus miles. Despite the comparisons made above, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® can be a solid card for someone who would rather conduct business with Barclaycard as opposed to Citi. Just be aware that there are better offers available.

Compare the Best American Airlines Credit Cards

If you're not sure which American Airlines credit card is best for you, use our unique comparison tool below. The tool allows you to enter your own expenses and will then calculate which card will earn you the most rewards over a two-year period.

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What About Other American Airlines Credit Cards?

Aside from the Citi cards mentioned above, there are a couple of Barclaycard options available, also known as the Aviator credit cards. However, most of these credit cards aren't available to new applicants, with the exception of the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®, which is why they failed to make our "best" list. People who currently have these credit cards were grandfathered in as US Airways Premier cardholders.

Since then, US Airways has merged with American Airlines. Regardless, if you're interested in learning more about the Aviator credit cards, read our review on the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard® .

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

Comments and Questions

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).