Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® Review
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Your first checked bag is free on domestic itineraries for you and up to eight traveling companions.
- Wait for a delayed flight in comfort, thanks to complimentary access to Admiral's Club® lounges around the globe.
- Earn bonus status miles (EQMs) each year after meeting an annual spending threshold.
- Redeeming your points for flights does limit you to American Airlines and its partners. If you want more flexibility, you'll want to look elsewhere for a travel rewards card.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Miles-earning ease and a long list of quality travel incentives make the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® a great option for frequent American Airlines travelers (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser).
With much to be said about this premium card, let’s jump right in and talk about all the great perks the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® has to offer.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®'s most notable features:
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening your account.
- 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases in a year. (Learn more about EQMs and how to earn and redeem AAdvantage® miles in our American Airlines AAdvantage® program guide.)
- Free first checked bags for you and up to eight companions traveling on the same domestic itinerary.
- Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you.
- No foreign transaction fees on purchases.
- Up to a $100 statement credit every five years to cover your Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee.
- Access to the Citi Price Rewind program.
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
- Redeem on travel-including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
What Our Editors Like Most about the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
There’s a lot on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® most notable features list, and for good reason. There’s much to love about this card and the incentives it has to offer, especially for those who often find themselves flying with American Airlines or traveling with one of its numerous partners.
Let’s start with the bonus miles opportunity.
With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, if you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening the card, you’ll land yourself 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles right from the start. To put things into perspective, 50,000 miles are plenty for some roundtrip domestic AAnytime® tickets, depending on the distance of your flight, or for a roundtrip AAnytime® flight to the Caribbean, Central America or Mexico. On an ongoing basis, you’ll earn two AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and one AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on everything else.
Or, if your plans are flexible, stretch your miles even more by taking advantage of MileSAAver flights – discounted routes that are occasionally available for as low as 7,500 miles each way.
With ongoing miles-earning of two miles per $1 spent with American Airlines on eligible purchases and one mile per $1 for all your other purchases, you can see miles accumulate quickly with regular card use.
Next, let’s talk about some of the perks you can enjoy once getting to the airport.
In addition to dedicated check-in areas, expedited airport screening lanes and early boarding privileges, as a Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® cardholder, you can enjoy the fact that your first checked bag is free for you and one for up to eight other people in your group if booked on the same domestic itinerary, saving you big money per flight.
Plus, when you become a card member, you receive a complimentary Admirals Club® membership which gains you, and up to two guests or your immediate family members, access to dozens of airport lounges worldwide. With household membership prices averaging anywhere from $625 to $925 a year, this membership is a great incentive for those looking for a more comfortable way to travel and easily offsets the $450 annual fee you'll pay to carry the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.
International travelers will appreciate the savings that results from no foreign transaction fees when you pay with your card while traveling abroad.
Lastly, though not necessarily a travel perk, the Citi Price Rewind program is definitely worth a mention. With the Citi Price Rewind program, there is no need to worry if you’ve found the best deal on your purchase. If a purchase made with your Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is found online for less than you paid within 60 days of your original purchase date, you can receive a refund of the difference, up to $200 per item and $1,000 per year.
Potential Downsides of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
While there is a lot to love about the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, there is one big downside: the $450 annual fee.
Although there are a number of ways to compensate for this fee, it is still among the higher annual fees charged by a credit card. Because of this, if you aren’t sure that you’ll fly enough to take full advantage of the perks of this card, you might want to consider another travel rewards card that comes with a smaller fee. (We discuss a few comparison cards below).
Furthermore, $5,000 might be a hard number for some users to reach within just three months, making this card a more appropriate choice for moderate to big spenders, especially since it’ll take spending $40,000 each year on the card to earn those bonus 10,000 EQMs.
How the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® Compares to Other Travel Rewards Cards
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
If you still want to gain a lot of rewards without that hefty $450 fee, but also want more flexibility in your airline choices, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a worthy and comparable card to consider.
With a 100,000-point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months (worth up to $1,250 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®), a low annual fee of $95, two points for travel and dining purchases, one point per $1 on everything else, and many travel protection benefits, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a practical credit card option, especially for those who don’t want to be limited to traveling with American Airlines or its partners.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card gains you the freedom to fly with one of Chase’s many airline partners (United Airlines, British Airways and Southwest Airlines, to name a few).
Is a comparison between the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card apples-to-apples? Each card will show a number of obvious benefits, it’s up to you to decide which perks make the most sense for your unique lifestyle, and whether you’ll spend enough or use enough of the perks with the American Airlines-specific card to offset that sizable annual fee.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® vs. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® welcome bonus is 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 on your card in the first three months – that's compared to the 50,000 you can earn with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® after spending $5,000 in three months. With an annual fee of $99, waived for first 12 months and similar travel perks, it’s a viable option for those looking to gain some extra AAdvantage® miles without the $450 annual fee price tag or such a high spending threshold for the bonus.
With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® earn two AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants and on eligible American Airlines purchases. Plus, you'll enjoy your first checked bag free on domestic itineraries for you and up to four people traveling with you, and you can earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card membership year and renew your card. What you won't get is access to the Admirals Club®.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is another travel rewards card that offers plenty of flexibility without the hefty annual fee to worry about offsetting each year – it's just $95.
With the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you'll earn two miles per $1 spent on every purchase, every day, so there aren't any categories to keep up with; it also means your everyday errands and purchases can do some heavy lifting when it comes to earning you miles toward your next travel purchase.
The one-time welcome bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel, can help you quickly realize the benefits of this card. And there are no blackout dates or travel restrictions when it comes time to redeem your rewards.
You won't enjoy some of the travel perks – free checked bags or lounge access, for instance – that the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® offers, but you also won't have to worry about offsetting a $450 annual fee.
Who Should Get the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Because of the high level of spending required to receive bonuses, and because of the steep $450 annual fee, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® makes the most sense for big spenders who value convenience and comfort while traveling, and who are loyal to American Airlines and its partners.