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Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

American Airlines Personal Card Comparison

The Citibank American Airlines family of cards, like most other co-branded airline cards, aren't typically viewed as high value or long-term keeper cards. At ToP, we much more prefer cards that earn transferrable currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards. But depending on the situation, airline credit cards can make sense. Citi's AA cards each compliment one another and make for a good combination for frequent AA flyers and may be worth considering. In these American Airlines Personal Card Comparison and review we will look at the welcome offer, card perks, earning structure and share our overall thoughts for each card.

American Airlines Personal Card Comparison

Current Welcome Offers

We will break down the welcome offers in our American Airlines personal card comparison:

American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®
  • Earn 10,000 American Airlines miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • This card has no annual fee.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $2,500 within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • This card has an annual fee of $99, which is waived for the first 12 months.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • This card has an annual fee of $595. The fee is NOT waived the first year.

This Executive card's welcome offer is down from the highest ever of 100,000 miles, but the minimum spend amount has also decreased, so it remains a great offer.  The Mile Up card has had a stagnant welcome offer for quite some time. The Platinum Select welcome offer is often 60,000 or more and has even been as high as 75,000 miles. It may be best to wait for a better offer for the Platinum Select if you don't need the miles right away.

Citi Application Rules

If you choose to apply for any of these cards, remember that Citi has a few application rules to keep in mind.

  • Citi will not approve you for more than one card every 8 days, and 2 cards every 65 days.
  • Also, if you earned a welcome offer for a particular Citi American Airlines card, you cannot earn a bonus for that same card for 48 months.
    • However, you can still earn a sign-up bonus for another Citi American Airlines card. Citi considers each of these cards a separate product.

American Airlines Personal Card Comparison

American Airlines Personal Card Comparison: Earning Structure

Here is the earning rates for each card:

American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®
  • 2x miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases
  • 2x miles per dollar at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
  • 1x on all other eligible purchases
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
  • 2x miles per dollar on the following
    • American Airlines purchases
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1x miles per dollar on all other eligible purchases
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
  • 10x for every $1 spent on eligible hotels booked through aa.com/hotels and eligible car rentals booked through aa.com/cars.
  • 4x miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases
  • 1x on all other eligible purchases

MileUp

Card Benefits

The benefits and perks vary greatly among the three AA personal cards. Let's take a look at each:

American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®
  • 25% savings on AA inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card.
  • The card has no annual fee as mentioned above.
  • Earn 1 loyalty point towards American Airlines status for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
  • First checked bag free on domestic itineraries for the cardholder and up to 4 companions on the same reservation.
  • Preferred boarding.
  • $125 AA flight discount after spending $20,000 or more during your card membership year and renewing your card.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Earn 1 loyalty point towards American Airlines status for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
  • Earn a statement credit of up to $10 per monthly billing statement on eligible Grubhub purchases, for a total of up to $120 every 12 billing statements.
  • Earn a $1 statement credit per $1 spent on eligible Avis or Budget car rental purchases, up to $120 every calendar year.
  • Up to $120 In Lyft Credits
    • After taking 3 eligible rides in a calendar month, you will earn a $10 Lyft credit, for a total of up to $120 Lyft credits annually.
  • Admirals Club membership, with access for you and your immediate family (or up to 2 traveling guests).
  • Earn a 10,000 Loyalty Points bonus after reaching 50,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year. Earn another 10,000 Loyalty Points bonus after reaching 90,000 Loyalty Points in the same status qualification year.
  • Priority check-in, airport screening, and boarding when flying AA.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA itineraries for the cardholder and up to 8 companions on the same reservation.
  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every 4 years.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Earn 1 loyalty point towards American Airlines status for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.

This is where the cards can really stand out depending on how highly you value some of the perks. The free checked bags for you plus up to 4 passengers can easily offset the annual fee on the Platinum Select if you can use it.

ToP Analysis

Citi's American Airlines personal cards generally serve two different purposes: earning AA miles or providing perks for AA flyers. AAdvantage miles are pretty difficult to earn, since American is not a transfer partner with any of of the major banks. That means if you are a frequent American flyer, or a hub captive, having at least one of these cards would make sense.

Some Decent Earning Options

For earning, the the MileUp card and the Platinum Select card are your best options. The MileUp earns 2x at grocery stores, and the Platinum Select earns 2x at gas stations and restaurants. Depending on your spending patterns, either, or both, of these cards would make sense. It's interesting that the Executive card does not earn bonus miles on anything other than AA purchases, despite having the highest annual fee of the 3 cards.

American Airlines Personal Card Comparison

Useful For Chasing Status

Under American's AAdvantage loyalty program, members can earn elite status solely by earning Loyalty Points. Each AAdvantage mile earned via credit card spend is equal to one Loyalty Point. So if you earn 10,000 miles from a purchase through an American Airlines card, you will also earn 10,000 Loyalty Points. Unfortunately, miles earned through credit card sign-up bonuses do not count towards Loyalty Points. This all makes AA cards even more important for those getting elite status.

Executive Card's Perks Stand Out

On the benefits side, the Executive card shines. Admirals Club membership alone mostly offsets the card's $595 annual fee. Individual membership cost ranges from $650 to $550 per year, depending on your AA elite status. Household membership ranges from $1,250 to $1,150 per year. The card's other benefits are also pretty good. Free checked bag on domestic flights for up to eight companions on the same reservation is quite generous. And priority check-in, airport screening, and boarding can all be helpful, especially for families. In fact, these benefits all make the Executive card one of the most family-friendly airline cards in the market. Then you have to put a value on the yearly credits. What those are will depend on what you find easy, or not, to use.

Perks For The Other Cards

The Platinum Select card's benefits are much more limited, but still helpful for AA flyers. Free checked bag and priority boarding is sure to make most flyers' lives easier. A $125 discount after spending $20,000 is a pretty bad deal. Compare this to hotel cards like the Chase World of Hyatt or the Amex Hilton Surpass, which give you a free night certificate after spending $15,000. Those free night certs are worth a lot more than $125.

Lastly, the MileUp card's only benefit is 25% off in inflight purchases. Even for a no-annual fee card, this is pretty limited. Basically, the MileUp card is worthy for those looking to earn AA miles through grocery spend.

American Airlines Personal Card Comparison: ToP Thoughts

Each one of the Citi American Airlines cards have their own merit. The MileUp is the card for those looking to earn AA miles through credit card spend without paying an annual fee. The Platinum Select card offers a good mid-point. It provides a couple of helpful benefits that offset the $99 annual fee while also having a compelling earning structure. The Executive card is one of the most family-friendly cards on the market. Admirals Club membership for the primary cardholder and Admirals Club access for immediate family can cover the cost for frequent flyers. Frequent AA flyers can surely benefit from each of these cards.

Which of these Citi AA cards is most appealing to you? Come share your thoughts in our Facebook group!

 Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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