100K Miles, Lounge Access, & $200 Credit for AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard

Citi released an offer today for the Citi Executive® / AAdvantage® World Elite™ MasterCard® that offers 100,000 bonus miles and a $200 statement credit. (No, it is not an affiliate link.) This is the best offer I have seen for this card, which just last week had already seen a temporary increase to 75,000 miles. (HT to Million Mile Secrets)

Citi Executive AAdvantage card

The catch is that you need to spend $10,000 in 3 months to earn the bonus miles. There is also a $450 annual fee — but this will soon be the only credit card to offer Admirals Club access once the benefit is removed from the Amex Platinum Card in March. I generally recommend getting lounge access through credit cards rather than purchasing the membership separately because the cost is not only lower but also comes with extra benefits.

In this case, those benefits include:

  • 2 miles per dollar on AA purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Priority check-in, security, and boarding
  • First checked bag free
  • 10,000 EQMs after spending $40,000 in each calendar year
  • $200 in statement credits in the first 12 months

None of these benefits are exceptional except the last two (you probably already have some elite status and an AA credit card if you need lounge access). The bonus EQMs could help some achieve elite status more easily, and the statement credit brings down the net cost of the card, much like the Amex Platinum Card. However, there aren’t other benefits like the hotel and rental car elite status that you see with the Amex Platinum Card and Chase MileagePlus Club card.

Usually I’d only recommend this card if you really need access to the Admirals Club. In this case, the bonus miles and fee credit make it a reasonable proposition for earning cheap miles, too, at a net cost of 0.25 cents each even if you never set foot in the club. But that $10,000 minimum spend will be tough for some who don’t have access to or choose to pass on manufactured spend.

The recent marketing push isn’t very surprising after my status run last week, which took me to several Admirals Clubs across the U.S. In each case I was reminded at check-in that my American Express Platinum Card would no longer grant me lounge access after March 22. And while the agent was not so blunt as to hand me a flyer, there were ads and flyers for the Executive AAdvantage card throughout the lounge.

I saw many other guests picking up the flyers, some of them discussing the card with fellow passengers as if it was some strange new creature. It’s not exactly a new card, but my observation suggests that most people have not used it for lounge access in the past. The loss of access for Amex Platinum cardholder is a significant change and Citi and American Airlines seem to be trying to take the most advantage of it that they can. At least they’re doing it tastefully (not handing applications to guests or placing ads on meal trays).

In conclusion, I’m not in a rush to apply for the Citi Executive® / AAdvantage® World Elite™ MasterCard®. I have enough other hassles on my plate right now and don’t need to add the stress of a $10,000 minimum spend requirement. But maybe in six months my mind will change if this offer is still available. I don’t need lounge access, though the Admirals Club is a definite step up from the United Club and one I might be willing to pay for.

About 

Scott created Hack My Trip while traveling on a budget during graduate school and continues to share his thoughts on better travel. He maintains elite status with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hyatt, and Starwood.
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  • kevin

    $200 statement credit is apply for all purchases or just american airline? if so, the fee should be $250 after math.

    • Scottrick

      I looked in the T&Cs and couldn’t figure out how to earn the statement credit. I guess that it is for AA purchases only — but cardholders are probably spending money at AA, so it’s not something I’m concerned about.

      Yes, after the $200 credit the net cost would be $250 the first year, which is how I calculated a price of 0.25 cents per mile for those who earn the bonus 100K miles (ignoring the opportunity cost of devoting that $10,000 in spend somewhere else).

  • alan

    I have this card… however, I have a small biz which i currently have an AMEX. Does anyone know if Citi will do this for a small biz.

    • Scottrick

      Citi does have a small business AA credit card, but it does not include lounge access. This particular card only comes in a version for consumers. Let me know if you’re still interested in a business card and I’ll see what’s available.

  • MichaelMcIntyre

    While $10k spend seems like a lot, just buy a new Mac Pro w/ extras. BOOM. Done and done.

  • Jay

    Can you cancel after you earned the miles?

    • Scottrick

      You can, but I would wait at least six months. You’ll still have to pay the first year’s annual fee, so you might as well wait a year.

  • WireValley

    So I was just approved for this card. However, can I enter Flagship lounges with this card? I’m going to JFK in May and was all excited to use the card to get into my first lounge! However, then I came across a page that said the card won’t allow you enter flagship lounges and JFK is supposedly flagship. Can you confirm if this is true?

    • Scottrick

      JFK has a flagship lounge for customers traveling in first class on international itineraries or on the SFO/LAX-JFK transcons. However, there are standard Admirals Clubs as well.

      In general, the Flagship lounges are reserved for special customers who don’t need a membership to get in — and having a membership to the regular Admirals Clubs won’t help you get in if you aren’t one of those customers.

      http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/airportAmenities/AAFlagshipLounges.jsp

      • WireValley

        Sad :-( I wanted to get in. Thanks for the fast response!

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