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

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

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

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Editor's Rating

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  • On Citibank's Secure Website

Editor's Rating

?

  • On Citibank's Secure Website

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is well worth the annual fee for frequent flyers who travel with American Airlines often and want lounge access, as well as those who want a leg up when it comes to earning elite status.

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Pros

  • Admirals Club membership (valued at $650)
  • Get the chance to earn Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) through credit card spending
  • Qualify for a free checked bag, fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, priority boarding and more
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $450 annual fee
  • Disappointing earning rate
  • High APR for purchases
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Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® full review

Frequent flyers who are constantly flying with American Airlines or oneworld partners will probably benefit the most from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. This airline card charges a $450 annual fee, but it comes with an Admirals Club membership that has a retail value of $650. Other cardholder perks — like priority check-in and airport screening, a free checked bag and a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck — just sweeten the pot.

If you're in the market for an airline credit card and angling for Admirals Club membership, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® could be your best bet — this is especially true if you're someone who wants a boost toward elite status based on credit card spending. However, you should note that this card only offers Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases & 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

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$450

15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)

Excellent/Good

  • 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.

Earn 50,000 AAdvantage miles

Sign up to Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

This bonus is worth approximately $500 in American flights, making it less valuable than bonus offers on other airline credit cards.

In fact, many airline credit cards from other airlines are offering higher bonus offers right now, and miles from other frequent flyer programs tend to be worth more than American AAdvantage miles in the first place. As you compare airline credit cards across different travel brands, keep in mind that, among major U.S. carriers, American AAdvantage miles are worth the least at 1 cent per mile, below the average value for airline miles.

What it's worth: Around $500 in American Airlines flights

Who's eligible to earn this offer? According to the cardholder terms and conditions, American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles offered with this card are not available if you’ve received a new account bonus for a Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive account in the past 48 months.

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Earn 2X miles on American Airlines

The earning rate on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is somewhat disappointing.

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

This earning rate is subpar since there aren't any bonus categories outside of American Airlines purchases. By contrast, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® lets you Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases, then 1x miles on everything else.

In contrast to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®'s abysmal earning rate, you could rack up more rewards for each dollar spent with quite a few other travel credit cards, which we estimate below using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor along with our estimations of points and miles values.

Average rewards earned per $1 spent

$0.044
American Express® Gold Card
$0.025
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$0.023
The Platinum Card® from American Express
$0.02
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
$0.018
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
$0.013
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
$0.01
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

What are AAdvantage miles worth?

According to internal studies from ValuePenguin, American AAdvantage miles are worth approximately 1 cent each. By our estimates, many airline loyalty programs offer better rewards: United miles are worth 1.1 cents each, Delta SkyMiles are worth approximately 1.3 cents each, Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each and JetBlue TrueBlue points are worth 1.6 cents each.

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Redeeming miles

One major benefit of the American AAdvantage program is that, at least for now, you can still find an award chart. According to the chart, the price of an award flight with American Airlines can vary a lot: from 7,500 miles to more than 200,000 miles, depending on the destination and type of award.

Keep in mind that the award chart is meant to provide insights into how many miles you may need for a flight, but American also uses dynamic award pricing. This means you'll frequently find flight awards that cost significantly more than the chart shows, and that you may have to be flexible with your dates and destinations to get the best deal.

The information we share below shows how many miles you'll need for various types of awards with the American AAdvantage program, as it also reveals some sweet spots. For example, you can fly round-trip within the U.S. and the Caribbean for 25,000 miles during off-peak travel dates, and you can fly round-trip to Europe for just 45,000 miles during part of the year.

In the meantime, the American AAdvantage program also offers an array of Web Special awards. These awards can cost a lot less than published award prices, but the tickets do not allow changes. However, you can cancel a Web Special booking and get your miles reinstated at no charge.

The following award mile numbers apply to main cabin flights departing from the contiguous 48 U.S. states and Canada:

MileSAAver Off Peak

  • Discounted awards during defined off-peak times of the year
  • N/A within contiguous 48 U.S. states and to Canada
  • 12,500 miles to Mexico and the Caribbean
  • 22,500 miles to Europe

MileSAAver

  • The traditional saver award rate
  • 7,500 to 12,500 within contiguous 48 U.S. states and to Canada
  • 15,000 miles to Mexico and the Caribbean
  • 30,000 miles to Europe

AAnytime Level 1

  • The first level of AAnytime awards
  • 20,000 within contiguous 48 U.S. states and to Canada
  • 27,500 miles to Mexico and the Caribbean
  • 47,500 miles to Europe

AAnytime Level 2

  • The highest published level of AAnytime awards
  • 30,000 within contiguous 48 U.S. states and to Canada
  • 37,500 miles to Mexico and the Caribbean
  • 65,000 miles to Europe

The American AAdvantage award chart provides further information for other locations and flight classes.

Lounge access

When you sign up for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, you qualify for access to almost 50 Admirals Club lounges worldwide for you and your immediate family or up to two guests who are traveling with you. This benefit can be immensely useful if you find yourself killing time during layovers and you need a place to relax and unwind and can possibly save money on food purchases.

While lounge amenities can vary, Admirals Clubs all have free Wi-Fi access as well as snacks, house drinks and coffee. Some lounges also have specialty food offerings that are more than enough to make a meal, or shower suites that let you freshen up on the go.

You'll need a same-day boarding pass for an American flight or oneworld partner flight to enter the lounge.

This membership also qualifies you for entry into other airline lounges:

  • Admirals Club locations
  • All Alaska Airlines lounges when you fly American or Alaska
  • All Qantas Clubs when you're flying with Qantas or American out of select locations
  • Select partner lounges operated by third parties

Other Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® benefits

Admirals Club membership is the standout benefit of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. However, plenty of other cardholder perks are worth considering before you sign up.

You can receive up to $100 in credit when you apply for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership and pay with your Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. This credit is good every five years.

Cardholders get a free checked bag when they fly domestically with American Airlines. This credit is also good for up to eight additional companions on the cardholder's itinerary, saving up to $270 in total baggage fees each way.

Cardholders and up to eight companions on their itinerary qualify for priority boarding on American flights. The priority boarding benefit will be shown as Group 4 on your boarding pass.

While not available at all airports, being a cardholder can help you become eligible for VIP airport screening. Cardholders can also check in at the Business or First class check-in counter regardless of the cabin they're flying in.

Primary cardholders get the chance to earn EQMs through credit card spending. This benefit comes in the form of 10,000 EQMs after spending $40,000 in eligible purchases during the calendar year. This benefit can only be earned once per year.

Avoid foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad when you pay with your credit card. Considering the average foreign transaction fee is around 3% for Citi cards, this benefit can lead to significant savings over time.

How does Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® compare to other cards?

Before spending $450 per year on the annual fee for a travel credit card, you should first spend some time comparing other options. The cards below are worth considering alongside the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.

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

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® offers fewer benefits in exchange for a lower annual fee. You won't get Admirals Club membership with this card, but you do get a free checked bag, preferred boarding on American flights and a 25% discount on in-flight purchases.

This card does have a better earning rate in some everyday spending categories. Cardholders Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases.

How does it compare?

  • Annual fee: Annual fee of $99, waived for first 12 months (Better)
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening (Better)
  • Rewards earned/$1 spent: $0.013 (Better)
  • Other benefits: Free checked bag, preferred boarding on American flights, and a 25% discount on in-flight purchases (Worse)

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

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a superior lounge program along with flexible points that can be used for flights on any airline, including American Airlines.

The airport lounge membership with this card is a lot broader: It provides access to more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges worldwide as well as American Express Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs when you fly with Delta.

While the annual fee on this card recently increased to $695, you do get a ton of perks and valuable credits: These include a $179 CLEAR credit, Up to a $200 airline fee credit (enrollment required) and up to $200 in Uber Cash ($15 per month and and additional $20 in December) toward U.S. Uber rides and U.S. Uber Eats when you add the card to the Uber app. If you prefer more flexibility in your travel and can take advantage of these benefits, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a must-have luxury travel card whose value vastly outweighs its fee.

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

How does it compare?

  • Annual fee: $695 (Worse)
  • Welcome bonus: 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. (Better)
  • Rewards earned/$1 spent: $0.023 (Better)
  • Other benefits: up to a $240 annual digital entertainment credit (enrollment required), up to a $300 Equinox credit (enrollment required), upu to a $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit (enrollment required), up to a $179 CLEAR credit, airport lounge membership, up to a $200 airline fee credit (enrollment required), a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck and more (Better)
  • Terms apply

Is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® worth it?

If you really want airport lounge access, you should make sure you fly with American Airlines and its partners enough to take advantage of Admirals Club membership. Remember that you have to have a same-day boarding pass with American or one of its partners to use the lounge, so you'll be out of luck if you wind up flying with other airlines at least part of the time.

If you do like to shop around with other airlines, you should also consider credit cards that offer airport lounge membership. With Priority Pass™ Select airport lounge membership, for example, you can enter more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide, regardless of which airline you're flying that day.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® FAQs

Is AAdvantage a good credit card?

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is a good credit card to consider if you want access to Admirals Clubs and you plan to buy membership anyway. If you fly with other airlines often, on the other hand, you may want to consider a more general travel credit card with a broader airport lounge benefit.

What is the difference between Mastercard World and World Elite?

World Elite Mastercards come with additional benefits, such as three free months of DashPass membership, 5% back on HelloFresh orders, a $5 credit each month you take at least three rides with Lyft, free ShopRunner membership, cell phone protection, World Elite concierge service and more.

Is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® metal?

Yes, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is a metal credit card.

Can you upgrade from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®?

You may be able to upgrade or downgrade between Citi AAdvantage cards, but you'll have to call the number on the back of your credit card to inquire.

Does the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® have status at any hotels?

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® doesn’t offer elite status with any specific hotel brands.

Does the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® provide preferential boarding?

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® offers what’s described as an "enhanced airport experience," which includes early boarding, priority check-in and priority airport screening (where available).

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

The information related to Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

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).

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