Citi / AAdvantage Executive card review: The cheapest way to get American Airlines Admirals Club membership

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Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Citi Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Not only does this card make it possible to earn an initial rush of miles in the American AAdvantage program thanks to the sign-up bonus, but you'll earn airline miles for every purchase you make with your credit card.

If you're serious about the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® because you want access to Admirals Club lounges when you fly American Airlines, don't forget that you can always pair this card with another card that earns rewards. Doing so can be a smart option since the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® only gives you 1 mile per dollar spent on non-American Airlines purchases.

With another rewards credit card, you could rack up more rewards on regular spending and bills throughout the year. You could always consider a flexible rewards credit card that lets you redeem points in more than one way. For example, a Chase Ultimate Rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® would let you rack up rewards you could redeem for any type of travel through the Chase portal, but you could also transfer your points 1:1 to popular airline and hotel programs like Southwest Airlines, World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, and United MileagePlus.

If you want to earn cash back in addition to airline miles, on the other hand, there are a variety of cards to consider. For example, you could get the Citi® Double Cash Card and rack up 2% back for each dollar you spend — 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off. From there, you could use your Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® to earn the sign-up bonus and for American Airlines purchases so you earn 2x miles, then use your Citi® Double Cash Card for everything else you buy.

Bottom line: The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® may be pricey, but it can more than pay for itself if you plan to purchase an Admirals Club membership anyway. With the airport lounge membership and other perks like a statement credit to cover the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, this card is actually a really good deal.

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  • 4.45 out of 5 StarsEditor's RatingOUR EDITOR'S RATINGS ARE PRIMARILY BASED ON 3 THINGS: SIMPLICITY, AFFORDABILITY, AND VALUE. OUR CREDIT CARD EDITOR TAKES THOSE FACTORS INTO ACCOUNT, AND COMES UP WITH A RATING TO BEST REFLECT HOW THE CARD PERFORMS IN THAT CRITERIA – RELATIVE TO OTHER PRODUCTS WE'VE REVIEWED.A tooltipOUR EDITOR'S RATINGS ARE PRIMARILY BASED ON 3 THINGS: SIMPLICITY, AFFORDABILITY, AND VALUE. OUR CREDIT CARD EDITOR TAKES THOSE FACTORS INTO ACCOUNT, AND COMES UP WITH A RATING TO BEST REFLECT HOW THE CARD PERFORMS IN THAT CRITERIA – RELATIVE TO OTHER PRODUCTS WE'VE REVIEWED.Citi Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®