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Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®: Is it Worth It?

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®: Is it Worth It?

A decent card for frequent American Airlines customers who seek luxury benefits.
Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0
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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."}

4.0/5.0

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.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is a decent premium travel credit card for dedicated American Airlines customers. The card offers a fair rewards rate from spending, and comes with access to lounges and other AA ancillary benefits. The $450 annual fee is quite high, but as long as you are an AAdvantage frequent flyer member who would like to take advantage of airport lounges to begin with, this fee is more than justified.

Pros

  • Lounge access
  • First checked bag free
  • 25% savings on in-flight purchases

Cons

  • $450 annual fee
  • Useful exclusively to diehard American Airlines customers

Review: What are our thoughts on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®?

While the $450 fee might sound scary to some, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® makes a good case for its price tag for certain travelers. Like most others in the ‘premium’ family of cards (such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, and Citi Prestige® Card), the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® gives users access to various airport lounges. This is a benefit easily worth several hundred dollars on its own, and is the main benefit inflating the cost of these cards. If you are unfamiliar with airport lounges, they offer weary travelers a place of quiet respite inside a busy airport with amenities such as free WiFi and snacks.

If you fly exclusively with American Airlines, this card offers the most in terms of well-rounded benefits, for its price-range. The card helps users earn Elite status with the airline, in addition to awarding AAdvantage miles. If you travel frequently with other airlines, and AAdvantage miles hold less value for you, then The Platinum Card® from American Express is a better option due to its flexible $200 airline fee credit. If you are purely concerned about earning rewards, and luxury benefits don’t interest you, then you should focus on cards with cheaper annual rates, such as the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® has all the bells and whistles an international traveler needs and wants – smartchip integration, and no foreign exchange fees. These benefits matter, especially for consumers for frequently travel to Europe or Asia. Within those continents, EMV has long been the standard credit card technology, which means attempting to use old magnetic strip credit cards is not feasible with most vendors abroad.

Benefits & Features of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

The perks of being a Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® user come in two forms. Firstly, you get rewards each time you use the card to make a purchase, in the form of AAdvantage® miles. The other benefits you get by simply owning the card and paying your $450 fee.

On Citi's Secure Website

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

On Citi's Secure Website
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
  • 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
Annual Fee
$450
Regular APR
17.99% - 25.99%* (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."}

How to Earn Rewards & AAdvantage® Status

You can earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases using your Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. All other purchases charged to the card earn just 1 mile per $1. Based on sample itineraries for award flight redemptions, we estimate the rewards rate of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® to be between 1.35% and 2.7%:

We value AAdvantage® miles at $0.0135. We arrive at this value by looking at several different flights and itineraries, and averaging across them. For example, consider a sample itinerary between New York LaGuardia Airport and Denver International Airport. The flight takes place on Presidents Day Weekend, costs $508, or 37,500 miles. $508 / 37,500 = $0.0135. Therefore, spending a single dollar can earn either $0.0135 and $0.027, depending on where you spend it – this translates to a 1.35% and 2.7% rewards rate.

If you manage to spend $5,000 using your card within 3 months you will earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles, worth more than $600 by our calculations. We like this card’s bonus, as it is more generous than most other credit cards currently out there.

If you like traveling with style you will want to make sure you charge at least $40,000 every calendar year. Doing so will earn you 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles from American Airlines. These can be used towards gaining Elite Status with American Airlines. There are varying levels of perks which accompany different tiers of Elite Status – Gold, Platinum, and Executive Platinum.

American Airlines Benefits

All Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® users in good standing are automatically granted Admirals Club® membership. This gives access to over 50 private airport lounges around the globe. In these, you can enjoy complimentary WiFi, drinks, snacks and a relaxing atmosphere that might make your next layover a little bit more bearable.

You get a 7,500 mile discount, anytime you redeem miles earned through the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. This is because the card is a part of the “reduced mileage reward’ benefit. As explained above, we value AAdvantage miles at about $0.0135 per mile. This means a 7,500 mile discount is essentially an additional $101 in your pocket (7,500 miles x $0.0135 = $101.25).

When you pay for in-flight meals on American Airlines flights using your Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, you will receive a 25% savings. Considering that in-flight food, beverages and headsets can get pricey, this is a nice discount – especially for travelers on long-haul flights, when the temptation to order snacks is greatest.

The first checked bag will be free for you, and up to 8 traveling companions (provided they are listed on the same reservation), if you paid for the itinerary using your Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. The free bag only applies to domestic flights, and to bags which adhere to weight and size limits.

How Does the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® Compare to other Credit Cards?

For a more comprehensive understanding of whether the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is a good fit for your wallet, it is best to compare it to its competition. Below we profiled three cards which might be good alternatives to individuals who are currently considering whether the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is worth it or not.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® vs Citi Prestige® Card

If you’re a frequent AA customer, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is the card to get. However, when considering purely luxury travel benefits, the Citi Prestige® Card is the superior choice for most. The Citi Prestige® Card has a $495-annual fee credit and cardholders gain membership to Priority Pass™ Select – this unlocks access to hundreds of VIP lounges around the world.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® earns you AAdvantage® Miles, while spending using the Citi Prestige® Card rewards ThankYou® Points. We value the latter to be less valuable than AAdvantage® Miles. Even though Citi Prestige® Card users can transfer ThankYou® Points to other loyalty programs, American Airlines is not one of them.

The information related to the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.  

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® vs Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Consumers who are not concerned with luxury travel benefits, but still frequently fly using American Airlines, should prefer the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. This card comes with a $99 annual fee (waived year 1), but no lounge access. Also, the initial welcome bonus on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® stands at 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® vs The Platinum Card® from American Express

Dedicated American Airlines customers are better off sticking with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, rather than The Platinum Card® from American Express. If you are someone who frequently finds themselves travelling the world, with different airlines and through various airports, The Platinum Card® from American Express provides the greatest flexibility. For instance, you receive a $200 fee credit, with any airline you choose (can change once every year) - just check that smaller airports might not accept Amex.

If you want to travel with luxury with a group of people, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is also the better choice. Both the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® and The Platinum Card® from American Express provide access to hundreds of lounges, however the The Platinum Card® from American Express has an annual fee of $550 (See Rates & Fees).

For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Comparison Tool

In order to make a better informed, value-oriented decision, you can use the tool below to compare credit cards based upon your spending.

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Comments and Questions

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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).