The Best American Airlines Credit Card Offers

The more frequently you fly American, the more powerful an AAdvantage card you'll want to get.
Aug 3, 2022

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Fittingly for one of the largest airlines in the world, American Airlines offers a wide variety of credit cards — including personal and business cards from two banks. For travelers trying to determine which AA credit card offers the best fit, the options can be overwhelming.

Here's a comparison of American Airlines credit card offers to see which is the best American Airlines credit card for you.

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card vs. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® vs. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

American Airlines issues credit cards through both Citi and Barclays. However, many of these cards aren't available for consumers to sign up for directly. This analysis will compare Citi credit cards that are currently available for consumers.

Welcome bonus

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

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

Annual fee

$0.

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

$450.

Points earned on American Airlines

2x.

2x.

2x.

Bonus categories

2x at grocery stores; 1x everything else.

2x at restaurants and gas stations; 1x everything else.

1x on everything else.

Elite status shortcuts

N/A.

N/A.

Earn 10,000 additional Loyalty Points after you spend $40,000 in purchases during the qualifying status year.

Foreign transaction fees

3%.

None.

None.

In-flight benefits

25% savings on inflight food and beverage.

First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries; Group 5 preferred boarding; 25% savings on inflight food and beverage.

First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries; Group 4 priority boarding; priority check-in and security; 25% savings on inflight food and beverage.

Additional benefits

N/A.

Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card.

Admirals Club membership and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

A closer look at American Airlines credit card offers

Welcome bonus

American Airlines credit card offers vary throughout the year. Here are the latest welcome bonuses:

  • American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card: 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.

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Annual fee

American Airlines offers credit cards with a wide range of annual fees. To earn AAdvantage miles with no annual fee, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card lets you do just that.

Meanwhile, frequent travelers may find the $450 annual fee for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® worth the cost, as it provides a full Admirals Club membership — which otherwise can cost up to $650.

The Goldilocks card for many travelers will be the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®. This card currently charges an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $99 annually after that. That's going to be worth it for many travelers for a card that offers:

  • A free checked bag.

  • Preferred boarding.

  • 25% savings on inflight food and beverages.

  • Plus other perks.

Bonus points on American Airlines purchases

All Citi-issued American Airlines credit cards — regardless of annual fee — earn 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases.

To qualify, American Airlines has to be the merchant of record. That means you'll need to pay directly through:

  • American Airlines Admirals Clubs.

  • American Airlines phone reservations.

  • American Airlines ticket counters.

  • American Airlines Vacations.

  • American Airlines website.

  • Google Flights.

However, car rentals, hotel reservations, AAdvantage status boosts and renewals won't earn bonus AAdvantage miles.

Other bonus categories

In addition to earning bonus miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, some Citi-issued credit cards offer other bonus spending categories. However, these bonus categories vary by card. The $0 annual fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card earns 2x miles at grocery stores. Meanwhile, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® card earns 2x miles at restaurants and gas stations.

Although it charges the highest annual fee, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® doesn't offer any bonus categories besides on American Airlines purchases.

Elite status

For 2022, American Airlines revamped how flyers earn elite status. Now, rather than being based on how many miles you fly, AAdvantage members earn Loyalty Points from most types of mileage-earning activities. One of the ways to earn Loyalty Points is by spending on American Airlines credit cards.

On all Citi-issued AAdvantage cards, you'll earn 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent — regardless of if you're spending in a bonus category. That means you can earn AAdvantage Gold simply by spending $30,000 on an American Airlines credit card.

Unfortunately, credit card sign-up bonuses don't earn any Loyalty Points. However, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® cardholders can earn 10,000 additional Loyalty Points after spending $40,000 in purchases during a qualifying status year.

Other spending bonuses

Besides the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®’s Loyalty Point bonus, only one American Airlines credit card offers a bonus for hitting a spending threshold.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® cardholders can earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after spending at least $20,000 in purchases during a card membership year. Note that you'll need to pay the annual fee and keep your card open for at least another billing cycle after your anniversary month.

Perks that are the same across all cards

Just a few perks are the same across all three personal Citi credit cards. First, all three cards will save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases. Also, all three cards earn 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases.

All Citi-issued American Airlines credit cards also allow cardholders to add authorized users at no additional cost. Even better, authorized users of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® can access the Admirals Club when traveling on American Airlines.

Finally, primary cardholders of American Airlines credit cards don't have to worry about AAdvantage mileage expiration as long as they keep their card open.

Choosing the best American Airlines credit card for you

The best American Airlines credit card depends on how frequently you fly on American Airlines. Infrequent travelers who simply want to earn some AAdvantage miles — and avoid mileage expiration — will want to opt for the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.

Occasional to frequent American Airlines travelers can save on bag fees and get preferred boarding by having the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®.

Finally, frequent American Airlines travelers who want to effectively purchase a discounted Admirals Club membership, priority boarding and other perks should get the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

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