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Executive AAdvantage or Citi Prestige? Pros and cons for American Airlines

by on Wed December 16, 2015 • 11 Comments

Admirals Club Membership

If you fly American Airlines often and like to spend time in Admirals Clubs, the the Citi Executive AAdvantage credit card is your only bet for Admirals Club access. The Citi Prestige Card used to offer Admirals Club access, but no longer offers that benefit for new cardholders.

Below we’ll review the differences and help you decide which card, or a combination of cards will serve you better for Admirals Club access and American Airlines perks.

Citi AAdvantage® / Executive World Elite Mastercard

executiveaadvantage170Get full Admirals Club membership, so you can access the clubs with up to 2 guests or your spouse / kids even when not flying American, and you have access to some, but not all, OneWorld partner lounges.

Even better, every authorized user you add to your account (which is free up to 10 people) gets access to Admirals Clubs even when you’re not with them. So for example you could give your husband an authorized user card, and he could enter Admirals Clubs with up to 2 guests when traveling without you.

The Citi Prestige won’t let you access Admirals Clubs when you’re not flying American Airlines, and you can’t enter the group of OneWorld partner lounges that are available with full Admirals Club membership.

Earn elite qualifying miles. You get 10,000 elite qualifying miles each calendar year you spend $40,000 or more on the card so you can reach the next tier of AAdvantage elite status faster and get more first class upgrades.

Free checked bag. You’ll get one free for you and up to 8 companions on domestic flights.

Priority boarding, check-in, and security. You’ll check-in and board with some of American’s elite level fliers and get to use the priority security lanes at airports that have them when you’re flying American.

Earn real AAdvantage miles. You get 1 mile per dollar spent on most purchases, and 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases.

> Read our Executive AAdvantage review

Citi Prestige® Card


Access other airline lounges. You also get a Priority Pass card which lets you and 2 guests enter over 700 airport lounges worldwide.

Even better, any authorized users you add to your card (which is free up to 10 people) get their own Priority Pass card to get into lounges on their own.

Get a $250 airline credit. Every calendar year you get $250 automatically refunded on airline purchases you make with your card, even airline tickets. So if you travel, it’s easy to offset over half of your annual fee every year.

Travel and dining bonuses. You earn 3x points on air travel and hotels, plus 2x on restaurants and entertainment.

4th night free at hotels. This is one of the coolest card perks around. Anytime you book a hotel stay of 4 nights with via the Citi Prestige travel concierge, you get the 4th night free.

You might be thinking…does this only apply to inflated rates?

The good news is no, the free night can be used on the very lowest rates you see on a hotel’s website. You just ask Citi Prestige travel to match the rate and you’re good to go.

> Read our Citi Prestige review


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11 thoughts on Executive AAdvantage or Citi Prestige? Pros and cons for American Airlines

  1. Colleen

    I am a Prestige card holder. But now that they are taking away Admirals Club access later this year, I am thinking of cancelling and going with the Citi AAdvantage/Executive World Elite.
    -If I do that, is there a cheaper way to get Priority Pass Select access?
    -Do the authorized users on the Citi AAdvantage get the TSA benefit?

    I think the Prestige Card is great but since I am in PHL (and AA hub with no Priority Pass lounges) it makes no sense to keep it I guess…..


      @Colleen – The ‘cheapest’ way to get the Priority Pass Select is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. $450 annual fee, but you get a $300 travel credit that can be used on airfare, like with the Citi Prestige. So net of $150 a year.

      Authorized users unfortunately don’t get the TSA benefit with Citi Exec, but they do get Admirals Club access.

    2. andrew meshbane

      I have the AA Citi Prestige Card for over two years. The Citi website states cards issued prior to September 2016 will have the benefit continue to July 2017. When calling Citi to complain, I was assured that the Admiral Lounge benefit is still in place, however Admiral lounges refuse entry.

  2. Ellen Williams

    If you go woth option 3. the prestige card and the platinum select, whick do you use to charge American tickets? One would give you a refund and no prority boarding and the other would provide you with priority boarding,,.,

    I already have a Barclays AA dvantage card that costs $89/ yr… keep or not?


      @Ellen – You get the priority boarding regardless of which card you use to charge the ticket. It’s your AAdvantage number that ties it together. So if you keep your Barclays AAdvantage you’d get priority boarding / free bag even if you used the Citi Prestige to pay.

      1. David

        Milecards are you sure about your priority boarding answer above? I flew American 2 weeks ago and one passenger was denied priority boarding by showing a credit card. The gate agent said that priority boarding had to be on the boarding pass, ie zone 1 or similar, which I think is determined at time of purchase by the card one uses (but I am not sure about this).

        Thus it seems like the ticket would have to be bought with the Advantage platinum for priority boarding. And if tickets have to be purchased with the AP, the $250 purchase credit with Prestige is negated.

        Why would there not be priority boarding with an expensive premium card like Prestige, anyway?

        Are there similar cards for Delta?

        Is Prestige a MasterCard or visa?



          @David – Yes – what links it all together is the AAdvantage number. It’s possible that person didn’t enter the right AAdvantage number, or have it in the reservation 7 days before travel. No need to buy with the Citi AAdvantage credit card – just be an AAdvantage credit card holder and have the right AAdvantage number in the reservation 7 days before travel.

          “For benefit to apply, the Citi® / AAdvantage® account must be open 7 days prior to air travel, and reservation must include the primary cardmember’s American Airlines AAdvantage® number 7 days prior to air travel. ”

          As for Delta – the Platinum Card from Amex is the closest thing to the Citi Prestige.

          Prestige is a MasterCard.

  3. Gary

    Can we open a CitiGold account on the phone or over the net to take advantage of the reduced AF? I don’t Live near a Citi Bank branch office. Also if we have an account how many TY points can we get? Thanks

  4. Miles

    The Citi Executive card is also available with a reduced AF for CitiGold account holders.

    Anyway, what combinations do you think make sense when the Barclays cards are thrown in the mix?


      @Miles – If you’re lucky enough to have one of the Barclays cards, then Prestige + Silver would give you the elite miles, AA benefits, plus lounges for just a bit less than the Executive AAdvantage alone ($195 + $100 to $200 = $295 – $395). Then if you really want more elite miles and can hit $80k a year in spend, add the Executive AA second and drop the Prestige.


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