The Guide to American Airlines Credit Card Benefits

American Airlines credit cards offer free checked bags, AAdvantage mile and Loyalty Point earning, and more.
Lee Huffman
By Lee Huffman 
Published

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If you travel on American Airlines regularly, getting one of the airline's credit cards can make sense. Not only will you earn additional miles when paying for flights, but the cards also come with valuable perks to improve your flight and save money.

The American Airlines credit cards include:

Let’s learn more about American Airlines credit card benefits, including the differences among cards, exclusions that may apply and how to earn elite status and other perks based on your spending.

Top American Airlines credit card benefits

The American Airlines credit card benefits vary based on which card you choose, and there are multiple cards available, including options for both consumers and small business owners.

Earn AAdvantage miles

One of the basic benefits of an American Airlines credit card is the ability to earn AAdvantage miles on your spending. With each card, not only will you earn rewards on American Airlines purchases, but you'll also earn miles on bonus categories and everyday purchases.

This chart highlights how much you'll earn based on different types of spending.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

  • 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through American Airlines.

  • 4x miles on American Airlines (bumps up to 5x after you spend $150,000 in a calendar year).

  • 1x on all other purchases.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

  • 2x miles on American Airlines.

  • 2x miles at restaurants and gas stations.

  • 1x on all other purchases.

American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®

  • 2x miles on American Airlines.

  • 2x miles at grocery stores.

  • 1x on all other purchases.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

  • 2x miles on American Airlines.

  • 1x on all other purchases.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

  • 2x miles on American Airlines.

  • 2x on telecommunications, cable and satellite providers.

  • 2x at car rental merchants.

  • 2x at gas stations.

  • 1x on all other purchases.

New cardholder bonuses

When you apply for a new American Airlines credit card, you may be able to earn a welcome bonus by meeting the card's spending requirement within a few months. In general, the higher a card's annual fee and spending requirement, the more miles you can earn.

American Airlines personal cards
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp<sup>&#8480;</sup> Card
American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®
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Citibank AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard Credit Card
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
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Citibank Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® Credit Card
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
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AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
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Annual fee

$0.

$0 intro for the first year, then $99.

$595.

$99.

Welcome offer

Earn 15,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

For a limited time, earn 100,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $10,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.

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The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, meanwhile, offers the following welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

Earn miles on authorized user purchases

American Airlines credit cards allow cardholders to add authorized users and earn miles on their purchases. Except for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, each card offers free authorized user or employee cards. With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, you can add up to three authorized users for $175 per year, then $175 annually for each additional user.

Benefits when booking flights

Based on your annual spending totals on eligible American Airlines cards, you may earn special benefits when booking flights.

Discount on flights

When you spend $20,000 in a calendar year on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, you'll receive a $125 American Airlines flight discount after renewing your card.

Annual companion certificate

Bring someone with you on your next paid flight with an annual companion certificate. Two American Airlines credit cards earn a companion certificate based on your annual spending. When redeeming these certificates, there is a $99 fee, plus the taxes and fees associated with your flight.

To earn the certificate, you'll need to spend $20,000 on the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® or $30,000 on the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®.

Airport perks

Barclays and Citi American Airlines credit card benefits at the airport can also improve your travel experience and save you money during your trip.

Free checked bags

If you wait to add on checked bags until you're at the airport rather than booking in advance, American Airlines charges $40 for the first checked bag when traveling domestically or to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Getting free checked bags can save $320 on a round-trip flight for a family of four.

You'll get the first checked bag free for yourself and up to four companions on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. With the premium Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, this benefit extends to eight travel companions. The $0-annual-fee American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® doesn't offer this perk.

Early boarding

Getting on the plane early allows you priority access to the overhead bins and more time to get comfortable ahead of your flight. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® cardholders get to board in Group 4, while all other AAdvantage cardholders (except the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®) board in Group 5. American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® does not offer early boarding benefits.

Lounge access

Only one of the American Airlines credit cards includes complimentary Admirals Club lounge access. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® includes a complimentary Admirals Club membership where cardholders can enter the lounge for free whenever they're flying on American Airlines or an eligible partner airline.

Cardholders can also bring immediate family members (spouse, domestic partner and children up to age 18) or up to two guests in for free.

TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry expedite your wait at the airport when going through airport security and U.S. customs, respectively. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is the only card that includes reimbursement for these application fees up to $100 every four years.

In-flight savings

Save money on your in-flight purchases of food and beverages when using your American Airlines credit card. American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards provide a 25% statement credit for all inflight purchases.

If you purchase inflight Wi-Fi, you'll also save 25% when using the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® provides up to $25 in statement credits each anniversary year when purchasing Wi-Fi on American Airlines flights.

Progress toward elite status

American Airlines elite status offers numerous perks for travelers, including complimentary upgrades, waived fees, priority standby and more. You can accelerate your path to elite status using one of American Airlines' credit card benefits.

Earn Loyalty Points on purchases

Not only will you earn AAdvantage airline miles on every dollar you spend on your AA credit cards, but you'll also earn one Loyalty Point on each dollar spent. This allows cardholders to earn points toward elite status based solely on their spending — or in conjunction with flying and other qualifying activities.

Bonus Loyalty Points

With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, you'll receive up to 20,000 bonus Loyalty Points per year to boost your elite status. The first 10,000 points are earned by reaching 50,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year. A second 10,000 points (for a total of 20,000) are earned when you reach 90,000 Loyalty Points.

Travel perks and protections

Often overlooked benefits of Barclays and Citi American Airlines credit cards don't earn airline miles or Loyalty Points. However, these benefits can be just as valuable.

No foreign transaction fees

All of the American Airlines credit cards, except the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®, waive foreign transaction fees. The American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® charges a 3% fee on international purchases.

Travel insurance and assistance

Unfortunately, not all American Airlines credit cards include travel insurance or assistance benefits. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® recently introduced travel insurance benefits, including trip cancellation/interruption protection, trip delay protection, lost baggage protection and worldwide rental car insurance.

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® also includes complimentary travel insurance and assistance benefits. These benefits include travel accident insurance, trip cancellation and interruption benefits, baggage delay insurance and rental car protection.

Travel and dining credits

American Airlines credit card benefits for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® also expanded to include travel and dining credits. Cardholders will receive up to $120:

  • In Lyft credits: When you take three eligible Lyft rides per month, you'll receive a $10 Lyft credit.

  • Back on Grubhub purchases: Earn one $10 statement credit per month when you make an eligible Grubhub order.

  • Back on eligible Avis and Budget car rentals: For every dollar you spend on eligible Avis and Budget car rentals, you'll receive a $1 statement credit up to the annual maximum of $120.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

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