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2017 American Airlines Credit Card – Which is best for me?

written by Matt September 5, 2017

Which American Airlines Credit Card is best for me?”

A brief overview…

When it comes to choosing an American Airlines credit card, there are a few options available. Each has different benefits, annual fees & sign-up bonuses so deciding which is best for you can be a process. We go over all the American Airlines credit cards in todays post to help you narrow it down and make the most informed decision possible.


American Airlines is my favorite US airline. Compared to the others, their overall product is just better (especially their international products). Better planes, better food, better lounges – just an overall better flying experience. Acquiring American Airlines AAdvantage miles is always a priority for me. Not only are their great, cheap redemptions domestically but their partner airlines, like Cathay Pacific, are awesome making AA miles incredibly valuable.

So, what’s the best way to get American Airlines AAdvantage miles?

With an American Airlines Credit Card of course!

Now the question becomes which one is best for me and my immediate, or long-term, travel needs & desires. With a few American Airlines credit cards currently on the market, lets go over them all – their benefits, bonuses, annual fees & everything involved.

american-airlines-credit-cards

American Airlines Citi AAdvantage Executive Card

Bonus offer – 75,000 miles after spending a whopping $7,500 on the card in the first 3 months

Extra offer – 10,000 additional AAdvantage miles after spending $40,000 in purchases within the first year

Annual Fee – $450

Key Benefits:

  • Admirals club membership for yourself & guests traveling with you
  • Global Entry/TSA Pre Application Fee credit ($100 value) (if you don’t have this benefit – trust me – you need it!)
  • 2x miles on all American Airlines purchases
  • 1x miles on everything else
  • Priority check-in

Other Benefits:

  • Zero foreign transaction fees
  • 25% off in-flight purchases
  • 24/7 concierge service

So the annual fee is pretty hefty – no doubt. Try to turn your attention away from the actual dollar amount and focus on the benefits you’d be receiving – are they worth $450 or more? If so, this card will pay for itself.

If you don’t have status with American, an admirals club membership with cost you $550/year. The card pays for itself with that benefit alone. The Global Entry fee is worth $100 and if you travel internationally a lot and don’t have Global Entry – you don’t know what you’re missing out on! Speed through customs in most major international airports when returning to the USA – you can’t beat it.

My opinion

If you fly AA a lot, especially internationally, this is a great card to go with. The annual fee is obviously higher than most cards but the benefits, assuming you’d be using them, severely outweigh that fee.


American Airlines Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card

Bonus offer – 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 on the card in the first 3 months

Extra offer – Earn 10% of your miles back, up to 10,000 a year

Annual Fee – $95 (waived year 1)

Key Benefits:

  • Zero foreign transaction fees
  • One free checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights
  • Preferred boarding on AA flights
  • 2x miles on all American Airlines purchases
  • 1x miles on everything else

Other Benefits:

  • 25% off in-flight purchases
  • Access to reduced mileage awards

A much more affordable annual fee (waived for the first year) than the AA Executive card at $95. However, a much smaller signup bonus at $30,000 miles. This will basically get you a roundtrip domestic ticket in economy for 1 – still, not bad considering you only have to spend $1k in the first 3 months to get the bonus.

What’s great about this card is you can get 10% of your miles back when redeeming – up to 10k miles/year. Preferred boarding is also nice along with the first free checked back on domestic AA flights. This is something I don’t really care for as I never really check anything nowadays but if you do – this benefit will most likely pay for that annual fee.

Reduced mileage awards – this is an awesome benefit that allows users to save up to 7,500 AAdvantage miles per booking on round trip OR one-way MileSAAver awards to select destinations chosen every other month. NOTE – this can only be done via phone or at the airport.

My opinion

A great card for the average AA traveler. It’s got some nice benefits that will benefit the average traveler (free checked bag, in-flight discounts, preferred boarding, etc). If you only fly every so often and only on AA – this is a good card for you. The benefits are focused on making your trip easier & quicker by making your airport experience seamless, care-free, stress-free and quick!


American Airlines CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Card

Bonus offer – 30,000 miles after spending $1k on the card in the first 3 months

Extra offer – Earn an AA companion ticket after spending $30k/annually – more on this below

Annual Fee – $95 (waived year 1)

Key Benefits:

  • One free checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights
  • Preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Zero foreign transaction fees
  • 2x miles on all AA purchases
  • 1x miles on everything else

Other benefits:

  • 2x miles on business categories including gas stations
  • 25% off in-flight AA purchases
  • Reduced mileage awards
  • 24/7 concierge service

Companion Ticket

The following is directly from American Airlines on the companion ticket:

The primary cardmember will earn a $99 domestic economy fare American Airlines Companion Certificate provided that: (1) $30,000 or more in eligible purchases are made with the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card during the card membership year (each 12 month period prior to the account anniversary date) and (2) the account remains open for at least 45 days after the anniversary date. After these conditions are met, please allow at least 8-10 weeks for delivery of the Companion Certificate. When used according to its terms, the primary cardmember will pay a $99 companion ticket fee plus $21.60 to $43.20 in government taxes and fees, depending on itinerary, for one round trip qualifying domestic economy fare ticket for a companion when an individual round trip qualifying domestic Main Cabin fare ticket is purchased and redeemed through American Airlines Meeting Services. Travel must be booked and purchased in select Main Cabin inventory. The certificate will be valid one year from issue. Valid for travel on flights within the 48 contiguous United States on flights marketed and operated by American Airlines, or on flights marketed by 
American Airlines and operated as American Eagle® flights by Compass Airlines, LLC, Envoy Air Inc., ExpressJet Airlines, Inc., Mesa Airlines, Inc., Republic Airline Inc., PSA Airlines, Inc., Piedmont Airlines, Inc., Air Wisconsin Airline Corp., SkyWest Airlines, Inc., or Trans States Airlines, LLC. For residents of Alaska and Hawaii, the companion certificate is valid for round-trip travel originating in either of those two states and continuing to the 48 contiguous United States. The Companion Certificate is not redeemable for air travel on any oneworld® carrier or on an American Airlines codeshare flight. Applicable terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. Details, terms and conditions, certain restrictions, and restricted dates apply and will be disclosed on the certificate.

My opinion

If you run a small business and love AA – this might be for you. The sign-up bonus of $30k is a little on the small side if you ask me. Most Chase business cards (ink) offer massive sign-up bonuses (up to 100k Ultimate Reward point) and their miles can be transferred to multiple airlines & hotels (but not AA). If you ask me, unless you only fly AA, go with a Chase card.

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