Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard Review [2021]: Miles, Lounges, and Expedited Security

If you regularly fly American Airlines, adding the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard to your wallet could change your entire flying experience — and save you money.
Last updated Sep 30, 2021 | By Brett Holzhauer

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Flying regularly is one of the best ways to earn a large number of frequent flyer miles. But if you can pair your flights with a top airline credit card, it can enhance your earnings and experience at the same time.  

The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard could be worth considering as you compare cards. This credit card offers a long list of travel perks and can help you earn more American Airlines miles. 

In this Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard review, you'll learn about card benefits and drawbacks to help you determine if it fits your needs.

Admirals Club Membership and More

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Intro Offer

50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles

Annual Fee

$450

Rewards Rate

up to 2X miles

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus mile sign-up offer
  • 2X miles on American Airlines purchases
  • First checked bag free
  • Admirals Club membership and priority check-in

Drawbacks

  • Has high annual fee
  • Low earnings rate
Card Details
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1X miles for every $1 spent on other purchases

In this Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard review

Who should get the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard?

This card has an annual fee of $450, so it takes a specific traveler to justify its cost. But if you travel a few times per year or more with American Airlines or its airline partners, you could offset the cost of the annual fee.

With the points you earn from this card, you can choose to book flights on oneworld airline partners such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Qantas, Qatar Airways, and more. American also has non-alliance partners you could use your AAdvantage miles with, such as Air Tahiti Nui, Hawaiian Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Fiji Airways.

If you only fly once or twice per year or aren’t expecting to fly with American or its partners, you might want to consider other credit cards with a smaller annual fee.

Card basics

Card type Travel
Credit card issuer Citi
Credit card network Mastercard
Annual fee $450
Intro bonus Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards rate 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1X miles for every $1 spent on other purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard benefits and perks

  • Outstanding sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of being a cardholder.
  • American Airlines Admirals Club membership: The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard will give you airport lounge access when you fly American Airlines. You will have access to Admirals Club lounges and 60 other partner lounges across the globe. If you have an authorized user on this card, they will get Admirals Club access as well, but not access to partner lounges. This lounge perk alone is worth $650, which is more than the card's annual fee.
  • Elite qualifying miles: When you fly regularly, you have the chance to earn airline elite status. For elite status with American Airlines, you typically have to earn Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) or Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) plus Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD). With the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, you can earn 10,000 EQM after you spend $40,000 in purchases within a calendar year, which gives you a great start toward achieving status. Once you achieve status with American Airlines, you will have the ability to earn free upgrades, priority check-in, access to an exclusive service desk, and more.
  • TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit: You will have an up to $100 credit applied to either a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee. These programs allow you access to expedited security at many airports, both domestically and internationally.
  • Free checked bag: With the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, you can save on checked bag fees since you will get your first checked bag free. This perk is good for domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight other travelers on the same booking.
  • 25% savings on in-flight purchases: When you use your Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, you will save 25% on in-flight food and beverage purchases.
  • Additional airport perks: Cardmembers get perks like priority boarding and priority airport screening on eligible flights operated by American Airlines. These perks also apply to up to eight other travelers on the same reservation.
  • Concierge service: This card comes with a dedicated concierge service, which can help you with your travel, shopping, and dining needs.

Drawbacks to the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

  • Annual fee: While this card does offer some valuable perks, it also has an annual fee of $450. It might be difficult to offset this cost if you aren't a frequent American Airlines flyer or cannot take advantage of all the perks this card offers.
  • Low earnings rate: Cardmembers get 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1X miles for every $1 spent on other purchases. Other cards may offer a higher earnings rate for a lower annual fee.  
  • No intro APR: Some cards offer a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first several months of account opening. But the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard isn't a 0% APR credit card, so it doesn't offer this benefit.

Earning & redeeming American Airlines miles 

Potential earnings in year one

Here's a look at how your miles can add up with the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. To calculate these earnings, we used a point valuation of 1 cent.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $385

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which takes a look at points earned via spending, the sign-up bonus, and the annual fee.

The value above only accounts for earnings from general travel spending, and doesn't reflect the bonus miles you'd earn from American Airlines purchases.

Best ways to earn

The best way to earn American Airlines miles with the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is to simply use the card as your preferred method of spending, both for your travel with American and on your regular purchases. The more you spend, the more you'll earn.

Categories Rewards rate
eligible American Airlines purchases 2X
All other purchases 1X

You can also enroll in the AAdvantage Dining Program to multiply your miles earnings. Enrolling in the dining program takes three easy steps:

  1. Sign up for the program (it’s free)
  2. Link your Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard to your dining program profile
  3. Dine at restaurants within the program

After that, all it takes is a swipe of your Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard to earn extra miles through the AAdvantage Dining Program. These miles will be stacked on top of the miles you earn with the credit card itself. And while not all restaurants participate in the AAdvantage Dining Program, their list of places to eat can be a great start if you’re searching for a new place in town and want to earn miles at the same time.

Maximizing your redemptions

As for redeeming, you have several options. Here's what you can use your American Airlines AAdvantage program miles on:

  • American Airlines flights or flights with airline partners
  • Flight upgrades on American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia
  • Booking rental cars
  • Booking hotels

While can also redeem your miles for gift cards and hotel stays, these options won't generally get you the best value. American Airlines miles are typically best redeemed for flights. Whether you are looking to earn miles for a luxury first-class ticket or want to stretch the value of your miles by booking in economy, redeeming your miles for airfare could get you a great value for your dollars spent.

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard transfer partners

American Airlines is part of the oneworld alliance, which means Executive World Elite cardholders can redeem their American Airlines AAdvantage program miles with over a dozen airlines in the alliance. Additionally, American Airlines also has several non-alliance partners with whom you can redeem your miles.

Here's a list of AAdvantage oneworld partner airlines:

  • Alaska Airways
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

Here's a list of non-alliance partners:

  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Cape Air
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Fiji Airways
  • GOL Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Seaborne Virgin Airlines

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard FAQs

Is the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard metal?

Yes, it is. This is a great perk as the metal will prevent the card from bending or becoming damaged easily.

Does the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard have foreign transaction fees?

No, it does not. So if you are outside of the United States, you can spend away without incurring any unnecessary costs.

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

The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard could be one of the best airline credit cards for you if you fly with American Airlines on a regular basis. If you don’t regularly fly with American, you won’t be able to get much use of the card’s perks.

If you do fly regularly but not with one particular airline, consider a premium travel card with flexible rewards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee) or The Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 (See rates and fees) annual fee).

Can I upgrade my Citi AAdvantage card?

It might be possible to upgrade your Citi AAdvantage card. However, this can only happen if you receive an email invitation. If you receive one of these, visit the Citi card upgrade to start the upgrade process.

Which American Airlines credit card is the best?

The best American Airlines credit card for you depends on your unique needs and situation. Some may appreciate the perks the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard offers. But there are also other cards you could use to earn AAdvantage miles — and without a large annual fee. Here are a couple of other options to consider:

Other cards to consider

The annual fee of the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard can be tough to digest. If it doesn't seem like the best credit card for you, here are two other options.

With the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can earn miles that can be used with several American Airlines partners including Qantas and Qatar Airways. To add to the earnings, you will have the chance to earn 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. You will also have up to a $100 statement credit to use toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck, no foreign transaction fees, auto rental collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance, and extended warranty.

Read our Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card if you want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, one of the most valuable and flexible travel rewards currencies available. You can use your points to book flights with American and other popular carriers through the Chase portal or transfer them to several airline and hotel partners. This card offers a generous welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95, but as a cardmember, you get valuable perks such as car rental insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip cancellation and interruption coverage, and extended warranty protection.

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review

Admirals Club Membership and More

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Special Offer

Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • 60,000 bonus mile welcome offer
  • 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 5X points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10% anniversary point bonus each year
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Author Details

Brett Holzhauer Brett Holzhauer is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. He writes about using points & miles for travel, travel industry news, utilizing credit cards as financial leverage, and investing for the future. He has been featured in publications such as The Points Guy, Million Mile Secrets, The Money Manual, Recruiter, Travel Pulse, and Bald Thoughts. He is a full-time digital nomad with his wife, Kiersten.