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Which American Airlines Credit Card Should You Choose?

Nov. 9, 2018
Airline Credit Cards, Credit Cards
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American Airlines is the world’s largest airline, and as part of its frequent-flyer program, AAdvantage, you can fly just about anywhere in the world using award miles.

One of the fastest ways to earn AAdvantage miles is by using an American Airlines co-branded credit card. Each offers miles for every purchase you make and some offer bonus miles for certain categories of spending, including on American Airlines purchases. These cards also offer perks, notably free checked bags.

Here’s a rundown of a few popular American Airlines co-branded credit cards:

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

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® offers solid rewards and perks:

  • Earn up to 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles: 40,000 AAdvantage® miles after making $2,000 in purchases in first 3 months and 10,000 after making a total of $6,000 in purchases in first 12 months of account opening*.
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants and eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per $1 spent elsewhere.
  • Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
  • First checked bag free for you and up to four traveling companions on the same domestic reservation.
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Save 25% on in-flight food and beverage purchases made with your card.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $99.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

For more frequent travelers loyal to American Airlines, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® offers elite benefits and airport lounge access, albeit with a much higher annual fee:

  • Admirals Club membership for you and access for guests traveling with you.
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1 mile per $1 spent elsewhere.
  • Earn 10,000 elite qualifying miles after $40,000 spent in purchases each calendar year.
  • First checked bag free for you and eight travel companions on domestic reservations.
  • Priority check-in and airport screening; early boarding on domestic reservations.
  • Receive a statement credit, up to $100 every 5 years, as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual fee is $450.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Designed for businesses with an established credit history, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is similar to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® in what it offers, but it has a few features that make it more appealing to traveling business owners:

  • For a limited time, earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening*.
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Earn a $99 companion certificate each cardmembership year after spending $30,000 or more.
  • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries
  • Preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Save 25% on in-flight Wi-Fi when you use your card.
  • 24/7 access to a personal business assistant to help with travel arrangements.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $99.
Not sure which card is right for you? Let's find the one. Tell us what you most want your new card to do.

The takeaway

Whether you’re a frequent economy flyer, an Admirals Club regular or a traveling business owner, there’s an American Airlines card that might suit you. And the more you use the card, the more quickly you’ll rack up miles for free flights.

Staff writer Gregory Karp contributed. Email: gkarp@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @spendingsmart.


Image via iStock