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All of the major airlines have their own co-brand credit cards, including American Airlines (AA). American Airlines partners with Barclays and Citi for plenty of options, with four Citi American Airlines credit cards to choose from. Each card caters to your travel habits. It doesn’t matter if you fly American Airlines once a year, once a week or whether you fly for leisure or business. There is likely something for you.

best Citi American Airlines credit cards
The best Citi American Airlines credit cards offer perks like free checked bags and Admirals Club lounge access. Photo by Andy Vu from Pexels

Best Citi American Airlines Credit Cards

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card: No Annual Fee

Not too long ago, co-brand airline credit cards charged an annual fee. Now, you can get the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.

Owning the MileUp and making periodic purchases is the easiest way to keep your AAdvantage miles from expiring.

Here are the key benefits this card lets you enjoy:

  • Earn 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2x miles at grocery stores (includes grocery delivery services)
  • All remaining purchases earn 1x mile per $1 spent
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases

The signup bonus for the American Airlines MileUp Card is 10,000 AAdvantage miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 in the first 3 months. Short-haul domestic award flights start at 7,500 miles each way.

While this card doesn’t charge an annual fee, there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. You will want to use another card if you travel abroad often or if you don’t have excellent credit (this card requires an excellent credit score). Check out some of the best credit cards for international travel for more info.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard: Free Checked Bags

The information for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The mid-tier offering of the Citi American Airlines credit cards is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. This is your best option to avoid American Airlines checked baggage fees.

However, there are more reasons to consider getting this card:

  • First checked bag is free for you and up to 4 travel companions on domestic itineraries
  • Preferred boarding on AA flights
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • $125 American Airlines flight discount after $20,000 in annual card purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
  • Earn 2x miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, restaurants, and at gas stations

The signup bonus is 50,000 AAdvantage Miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months. That’s enough miles to book a round-trip main cabin seat to Europe in the off-season. Or, you could book a round-trip first-class seat within the U.S. This is one of the best Citi credit cards available now.

The annual fee is $0 for the first year then $99 after that. There is no foreign transaction fee. This is also one of the best credit cards for American Airlines fliers. However, you will need excellent credit to get this card.

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard: Elite Travel Rewards

For instant Admirals Club lounge access, get the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. A new individual membership costs $650 with general AAdvantage loyalty status. Therefore, this free lounge access already worth more than the $450 annual card fee.

Also, none of the other premium travel credit cards offer complimentary Admirals Club membership. Besides lounge access, you get these travel benefits:

  • Free first checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions traveling the same on the same domestic reservation
  • Priority check-in, airport screening, and boarding for you and 8 travel companions
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, up to $100 every 5 years
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Get 10,000 bonus Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after $40,000 in annual card purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee

In regards to the Admirals Club access, up to 2 guests or your immediate family can accompany you.

These card benefits are similar to other premium cards including Citi’s very own Citi Prestige® Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Except, this card your best option for flying American Airlines.

The signup bonus 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $450 but there is no foreign transaction fee.

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard: Business Travel

There is only one Citi American Airlines business credit card. It’s the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. It’s similar to the personal Citi/AAdvantage Platinum yet the travel rewards differ somewhat.

  • First checked bag is free for you on domestic itineraries
  • Preferred boarding on AA flights
  • 25% in-flight savings on WiFi
  • Annual American Airlines companion certificate after $30,000 in annual card purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

The annual companion certificate can be a fun perk. After spending $30,000 in a year, you will pay $99 plus fees and taxes (between $21.60 and $43.20) for a domestic round-trip economy fare. While it’s not as good as other companion ticket offers, it can save you several hundred dollars on the right ticket.

This card also has multiple ways to earns 2x American Airlines miles per $1 on purchases:

  • Eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Telecommunications, cable, and satellite providers
  • Gas stations
  • Car rental merchants

One downside for most co-brand airline credit cards is the lack of bonus categories. That has been changing in recent years as more cards offer double points/miles on select non-airline purchases. Still, this is one of the best small business credit cards for travel, especially for frequent AA travelers.

The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard signup bonus is 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases during the first 4 months of account opening. This can be enough miles to book a round-trip economy seat to either Europe or Asia. In business class, you get a round-trip domestic flight or one-way to Hawaii, Europe, and Asia.

This is one of the best business credit cards for airline miles available. The annual fee is $0 for the first year then $99. There isn’t a foreign transaction fee.

Mastercard World Elite Benefits

You might be considering these cards to maximize your loyalty to American Airlines. But the mid-tier personal Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select and premium Citi / AAdvantage Executive are both Mastercard World Elite products.

Citi recently removed many of the travel and purchase protection benefits from their various credit cards. Thankfully, the following World Elite benefits add more value to the card beside what American Airlines offers:

  • $1,000 in annual cell phone protection
  • $10 credit after you take 5 Lyft rides in a month
  • $5 off every Postmates purchase of at least $25
  • Buy 2 movie tickets from Fandango and get $5 off future tickets
  • 5% cash rewards at Boxed for future purchases
  • Mastercard Luxury Hotel and Resorts perks (i.e., room upgrades, daily breakfast for two)

You only need to pay with your qualifying Citi American Airlines credit card to get the above benefits. Plus, you earn American Airlines on each purchase.

The Best Citi American Airlines Credit Cards

There are only four different Citi American Airlines credit cards. Yet, you might need help picking the best one for your travel needs. Below is the best card based on the best card perks:

Summary

The various Citi American Airlines credit cards cater to every type of flyer. If you fly American Airlines regularly one of these cards can be a good addition to your wallet. Your miles won’t expire, but the other travel benefits can maximize your next flight.

FAQs

Which American Airlines Credit Card is best?

The best Citi American Airlines credit card depends on how often you fly American Airlines.

For most people, the best overall card is the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select. You and up to 4 travel companion get one free checked bag and preferred boarding on American Airlines flights. Spending at least $20,000 in total card purchases per year gives you a $125 American Airlines flight discount. The annual fee is $0 for the first 12 months then $99 per year which makes this card budget-friendly.

Luxury travelers will benefit more from the Citi / AAdvantage Executive because you get complimentary Admirals Club lounge access. Two companions or your immediate family can come in for free. You and up to 8 travel companions on the same domestic reservation also get one free checked bag and priority check-in and boarding. And, you get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, up to $100 every 5 years. The annual fee is $450.

What credit score do I need for an American Airlines credit card?

Most American Airlines credit cards require a good credit score. Ideally, your score is above 700 to get an instant approval decision when you apply. Follow this rule of thumb for the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select and  CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select.

Although, you might be able to qualify with a score above 670 for the no annual fee American Airlines MileUp credit card.

For the premium Citi / AAdvantage Executive, apply once your personal credit score is above 740.

What are the benefits of an American Airlines credit card?

The exact benefits you get from an American Airlines credit card vary depending on which card you own. A higher annual fee means you get more benefits. Two benefits every card provide are earning AAdvantage miles on all purchases and your miles never expiring. You also get a 25% savings on in-flight purchases.

The main reason to consider getting an American Airlines credit card with an annual fee is for the free checked bags. The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select gives you and up to 4 companions on the same domestic itinerary one free checked bag. Plus, you get preferred boarding.

If you get the benefit-rich Citi / AAdvantage Executive, you get complimentary Admirals Club lounge access. This perk alone saves you up to $650 per year. And you also get free checked bags and priority boarding for up to 8 travel companions. The primary cardholder can get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100.

What is an American Airlines credit card?

An American Airlines credit card is a branded partnership between American Airlines and a bank. The two current bank partners are Citi and Barclays. These cards have differing annual fees and benefits. Some of the most valuable benefits include:

  • Free checked bags
  • Priority boarding
  • Admirals Club lounge access
  • Earn American Airlines miles on every purchase
  • 25% in-flight purchase savings
  • Your American Airlines miles never expire

The annual fee can range between $0 and $450. The best overall American Airlines credit card may be the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. It offers up a free checked bag for the primary cardholder and up to 4 travel companions. You also have the opportunity to earn an annual $125 American Airlines flight discount after spending $20,000 in annual card purchases.

Josh Patoka
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