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AAdvantage Credit Card Review

Written by Mike Pearson
Updated June 8, 2023

When considering credit cards tailored towards frequent travelers, the AAdvantage credit cards stand out among the options. American Airlines offers various AAdvantage cards designed to suit the needs of different types of flyers. These cards all have one thing in common: they enable users to earn and redeem AAdvantage miles, which can be of great value for those who regularly fly with American Airlines.

The AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard and AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard are two popular choices among these offerings. Both cards come with an array of benefits, such as free checked bags, early boarding, bonus categories, and opportunities to earn a generous sign-up bonus. However, they also come with annual fees that may influence users’ decisions when selecting the perfect fit for their needs.

The key to finding the right AAdvantage credit card lies in evaluating your travel habits and identifying the card that offers the most value for your specific usage. Comparing features, such as APR, annual fees, and bonus categories, will help ensure that you select the card that maximizes both your American Airlines experience and your overall credit card rewards.

AAdvantage Credit Card Options

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is a suitable option for travelers who frequently fly with American Airlines. The card offers valuable benefits such as a free checked bag and early boarding. Key features of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Earn 2x miles on American Airlines purchases
  • Bonus categories for gas stations and restaurants

This card is cost-effective for those who want additional perks while flying with American Airlines.

Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

For travelers looking for more premium benefits and lounge access, the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is an excellent choice. With this card, cardholders enjoy access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges. Notable features include:

  • Annual fee: $450
  • Earn 2x miles on American Airlines purchases
  • Complimentary Admirals Club membership

This card is best suited for frequent flyers who value airport lounge access and seek a more luxurious travel experience.

AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

Issued by Barclays, the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard provides an opportunity to earn a substantial number of bonus miles with minimal spending requirements. Cardholders can enjoy benefits such as a free checked bag for themselves and up to 4 traveling companions. The card’s features are as follows:

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Earn 60,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after making the first purchase and paying the annual fee within the first 90 days
  • Earn 2x miles on American Airlines purchases

This card is ideal for travelers who want to quickly accumulate miles with a relatively low annual fee.

Earning Miles and Rewards

Spending Categories

With AAdvantage credit cards, you can earn miles on various spending categories. Typically, you’ll earn 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases, making it a rewarding option for those who frequently fly with American Airlines. Some AAdvantage cards may also offer bonus miles on spending in other categories, such as gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and grocery delivery services.

Sign-Up Bonuses

A prominent feature of AAdvantage credit cards is the attractive sign-up bonuses they offer. For instance, the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card offers 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months of account opening. Meanwhile, the AAdvantage Aviator Red card provides 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full within the first 90 days.

Anniversary Bonuses

Some AAdvantage credit cards also provide anniversary bonuses as a way to reward loyal cardholders. While these anniversary bonuses vary depending on the specific card, they typically involve earning additional loyalty points or miles that can be used towards travel rewards. Remember to thoroughly research and compare each card’s anniversary offers to ensure you select the most rewarding option for your spending habits and travel preferences.

Travel Benefits

The AAdvantage credit cards offer a variety of travel benefits that cater to different traveler preferences. These benefits aim to make your overall travel experience smoother and more cost-effective.

Free Checked Bags

With certain AAdvantage credit cards, such as the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select and the AAdvantage Aviator Red, cardholders can enjoy free checked bags. This benefit applies not only to the primary cardholder but also to their travel companions (up to four) on domestic American Airlines flights, helping you save on baggage fees.

Preferred Boarding

AAdvantage credit cardholders can receive preferred boarding privileges when flying with American Airlines. By having a higher boarding priority, you can enjoy a faster boarding process, secure overhead bin space for your carry-on luggage, and settle into your seat before the majority of passengers begin boarding.

In-Flight Wi-Fi Purchases

Connecting to in-flight Wi-Fi can be essential for many travelers. Some AAdvantage credit cards offer discounts on in-flight Wi-Fi purchases, providing an opportunity to save money while staying connected to the internet during your journey.

Admirals Club Membership

Admirals Club memberships are obtainable through certain AAdvantage credit cards, such as the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. By possessing Admirals Club membership, you can access over 50 airport lounge locations worldwide, allowing you to experience a peaceful and comfortable environment while waiting for your flight. Amenities offered include complimentary snacks, drinks, Wi-Fi access, and personalized travel assistance.

The travel benefits included with AAdvantage credit cards can significantly enhance your travel experiences with American Airlines. From free checked bags to Admirals Club membership, these cards cater to various aspects of your journey, making it more convenient and enjoyable for both frequent and occasional travelers.

Redeeming AAdvantage Miles

Flight Redemptions

Redeeming your AAdvantage miles for flights can offer solid value in the right circumstances. Typically, you can use your miles to book flights on American Airlines as well as their numerous partner airlines. It’s essential to do some research and compare the redemption options to ensure you’re getting the best value for your miles.

Partner Airlines

In addition to redeeming miles on American Airlines flights, AAdvantage miles can also be used on flights with their Oneworld Alliance partners and other partner airlines. Some of these partners include:

  • British Airways
  • Japan Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Iberia
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Etihad Airways


Another way to use your AAdvantage miles is to upgrade your existing reservations to a higher class of service, such as from Economy to Business class or Business to First class. Upgrades can be a valuable use of your miles, potentially providing a luxurious travel experience at a fraction of the regular price. Factors that affect upgrade availability include your elite status, fare class, and destination.

Other Rewards

AAdvantage miles can also be redeemed for various non-flight rewards, such as:

  • Gift cards for popular retailers
  • Hotel stays
  • Car rentals
  • Donating to charity

However, using your miles for these rewards tends to provide lesser value compared to flight redemptions and upgrades, so it’s best to prioritize using your miles for flights or travel-related expenses.

Other Features and Fees

Companion Certificate

The AAdvantage credit cards offer a valuable Companion Certificate benefit. Holders of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Credit Card are eligible for a Companion Certificate after spending $30,000 in a cardmembership year and renewing the card. This certificate allows the cardholder to bring a companion on a domestic round-trip American Airlines flight for a reduced price, plus taxes and fees.

Foreign Transaction Fees

For travelers, it’s important to consider foreign transaction fees when using a credit card abroad. With the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Credit Card, there are no foreign transaction fees. This means that cardholders can use this card internationally without incurring additional costs.

Concierge Service

Another benefit of the AAdvantage credit cards is the Concierge Service, which provides around-the-clock personal assistance with various tasks and needs. This includes making travel arrangements, booking restaurants, and locating hard-to-find items. Cardholders can access this service 24/7 at no additional cost.

AAdvantage Credit Card Alternatives

When considering an AAdvantage credit card, it’s essential to explore alternative options to ensure you’re getting the best card for your needs. In this section, we will discuss three major alternatives: American Express, cash back cards, and other travel rewards cards.

American Express

American Express offers several travel rewards cards that may potentially be a better fit for some individuals. The Platinum Card® from American Express is worth considering as it offers numerous benefits, such as:

  • 5x Membership Rewards® points on eligible flights and hotels
  • An annual airline fee credit up to $200
  • Access to American Express Global Lounge Collection™

However, this card comes with a higher annual fee compared to some AAdvantage credit cards. For those who frequently use their cards for travel purchases, it may be worth the investment.

Cash Back Cards

For individuals who prefer cash back rewards, there are several credit cards that might be better suited. Some popular cash back credit cards include:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with no annual fee.
  • Citi® Double Cash Card: Provides 2% cash back on every purchase – 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay, with no annual fee.

Before choosing a cash back card, determine whether you prefer earning cash back or travel rewards based on your spending habits and travel preferences.

Other Travel Rewards Cards

Travel rewards cards from various banks and issuers also compete with the AAdvantage credit cards. Examples of such cards include:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: This card earns 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points on dining and 2x points on all other travel purchases. Points can be transferred to several airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earns 2x miles on every purchase, with no limit. Miles can be redeemed for travel expenses or transferred to partner airlines and hotels.

When exploring alternative travel rewards cards, consider factors like your preferred airlines, hotel chains, and the card’s rewards-earning potential based on your spending habits.

In conclusion, when seeking an AAdvantage credit card alternative, explore American Express, cash back cards, and other travel reward options. Assess these alternatives based on your personal spending patterns and travel preferences to find the best fit for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum credit score required?

To qualify for an AAdvantage credit card, you generally need a good to excellent credit score. This typically means a credit score of 670 or higher. Keep in mind that other factors, such as your income and credit history, are also considered during the application process.

How difficult is it to obtain?

Obtaining an AAdvantage credit card is not very difficult for applicants with good to excellent credit scores (670+). However, factors such as your credit history, employment status, and income can also impact the approval decision. Make sure you have a strong credit profile before applying to improve your chances of getting approved.

What are the main benefits?

Some of the main benefits of AAdvantage credit cards include:

  • Earning AAdvantage miles for every dollar spent
  • Free checked bags on American Airlines flights
  • Priority boarding on American Airlines flights
  • In-flight discounts on food and beverages

Different AAdvantage credit cards may offer additional benefits, so it’s essential to review specific card details before choosing one.

Is the Elite version valuable?

The AAdvantage Elite version credit cards can provide additional benefits, such as:

  • Increased mile earnings per dollar spent
  • Access to Admirals Club lounges
  • Elite status qualifying miles or points

These Elite benefits can be valuable to frequent American Airlines flyers who want to enhance their travel experience. However, they may not be as advantageous to occasional travelers or those who don’t prioritize airline-specific perks.

What is the min credit limit?

The minimum credit limit for AAdvantage credit cards varies depending on the card type and the cardholder’s credit profile. Typically, the minimum credit limit will range from $500 to $5,000. However, applicants with excellent credit scores and sufficient income may be eligible for higher credit limits.

How to login to my account?

You can log in to your AAdvantage credit card account by visiting the respective issuer’s web page (either Citi or Barclays) and entering your login credentials. From there, you can access your account to manage your balance, redeem rewards, and make payments. If you’re a first-time user, you may need to register for online access by providing your card details and creating a username and password.

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Mike Pearson

Mike is a recognized credit expert and founder of Credit Takeoff. His credit advice has been featured in Investopedia,, Bankrate, Huffpost, The Simple Dollar, Reader's Digest, LendingTree, and Quickbooks. Read more.