If you fly with American Airlines often, it might make sense to opt for a credit card that gives you special perks for flying with this carrier. There are lots of credit cards that allow you to earn miles to use on different airlines, but there are also some cards that specifically cater to American Airlines customers.
These cards let you get special perks, such as free checked bags — helping you avoid American Airlines baggage fees — extra points on purchases with American, free companion airline tickets on American flights, and more. Finding an American Airlines-branded card can make a lot of sense if you’re loyal to this airline, but it can be hard to know which is the best travel credit card for American Airlines fliers.
Fortunately, this guide will show you all the key cards designed for American Airlines customers so you can find the card that’s best for your specific situation.
The best credit cards for American Airlines
- American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
What American Airlines credit cards offer
Each of the American Airlines credit cards differs in annual fees and the perks it provides. For example, while they all offer earn bonus points on purchases made with American Airlines and allow you to redeem miles with American or partner airlines, there are big differences in the annual fees, airline lounge access, savings on inflight purchases, and other cardholder perks.
The American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® has a $0 annual fee, for example, but charges foreign transaction fees and offers few cardholder perks besides the chance to earn rewards points. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, on the other hand, has a $450 annual fee but comes with Admirals Club membership, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, a free checked bag, and many other valuable perks.
The table below shows more details about each of these cards so you can better select which may be the best airline credit card for you.
||American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®||Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®||Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®|
||$99 (waived first year)||$450||$99|
|Intro 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 spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening||Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening||Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase in the first 90 days|
2X AAdvantage® miles per dollar spent at grocery stores (including grocery delivery services) and on eligible American Airlines purchases; plus 1X miles per dollar on everything else
|2X miles at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases; and 1X miles on all other purchases||2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1X miles for every $1 spent on other purchases
Earn 10,000 Loyalty Points after spending $40,000 within the year
|2X miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1X mile per dollar spent on all other purchases|
|Free bags||None||First checked bag free for you and up to four companions||First checked bag free for you and up to eight companions||First checked bag free for you and up to four companions|
|Boarding perks||None||Preferred boarding||Priority boarding||Preferred boarding|
Which card is right for you?
The right card for your situation will depend on how often you travel, how much you spend, and how you prefer to travel.
While the Citi / American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card is the only one without an annual fee, opting for one of the other cards can make more sense if you and a guest fly more than twice with checked bags. That’s because the American Airlines fee for a single checked bag is $30 on domestic flights — so two bags on two flights would cost you $120 in checked bag fees. That’s well above the $99 annual fee for the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select, which both offer free checked bags for you and up to four companions on domestic flights.
For many, the Barclays card may win over the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select. Both have the same annual fee, but the Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® also offers a companion certificate if you spend $20,000 on purchases each year and keep your account open for 45 days past your card anniversary.
Otherwise, you may prefer the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select if you often spend at gas stations and restaurants, since this Citi card provides double miles for these purchases, which the Barclay card doesn’t.
The Citi / AAdvantage Executive card is in a class by itself regarding the cost, thanks to its high annual fee. But if you were going to buy Admirals Club membership to get access to American Airlines lounges, this card provides a great value.
Other rewards cards that are great if you fly American Airlines
||The Platinum Card® from American Express||Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card|
|Welcome bonus||Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first 6 months||Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||Earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening|
|Rewards rate||5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases||5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases||2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel|
|Free bags||None||None; but you can use the $300 annual travel credit to cover baggage costs||None|
|Other perks||Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck; up to $200 in Uber Cash each year (enrollment required for select benefits)||Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck; points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards||Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck|
While these general credit cards won’t get you any boarding perks or free bags, they do come with benefits that can make your time at the airport more comfortable and offset the costs of baggage. Plus, you’ll be able to use them to earn points on travel even when you’re not flying American Airlines.
Frequent travelers who want the best perks should consider the American Express Platinum Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. Both cards offer annual credits to help offset the costs of travel, plus complimentary airport lounge access and ridesharing perks.
Read our American Express Platinum Card review for more details.
Less frequent travelers looking for straightforward earnings will enjoy the Capital One Venture Card. With a lower annual fee and flexible redemption options, this card is ideal for people just getting started with travel rewards. And the statement credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee is a generous perk as well.
Compare credit cards carefully
With several options to choose from, American Airlines customers will love the flexibility their favorite airline’s cards provide. But you need to consider which of these cards is best suited to your specific needs — or if something other than an American Airlines credit card might be the best way to go.
For some, one of the cards with an annual fee might represent a better value thanks to free checked bags, special boarding privileges, and no transaction fees when using the card abroad. But domestic travelers who don’t fly often on American may prefer not to pay a fee for the card — although, in this case, picking a more general travel card altogether may be a better bet.
To select the best credit cards for American Airlines fliers, we compared a variety of co-branded cards with benefits for American Airlines passengers, as well as cards from other issuers. We assessed rewards rates, welcome offers, perks, and annual fees to recommend the best cards for frequent American Airlines customers. We did not include all cards available.
Free checked bags & more
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
$99 (waived first year)
2X miles at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases; and 1X miles on all other purchases