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Which American Airlines Credit Card Is Best for You?

Which American Airlines Credit Card Is Best for You?

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated May 20, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

If you regularly travel to one of the 350 destinations in 50 countries that American Airlines flies to, you may want to take a look at one of the co-branded credit cards offered by the airline carrier.

In addition to earning AAdvantage® miles on every purchase you make – which can be used to help offset the cost of future travel on American Airlines – these cards often allow you to take advantage of special benefits, such as preferred boarding and free checked bags.

Based on our research or the credit cards available through CompareCards, as well as the top cards offered by Citi and American Airlines, here are our picks for the best American Airlines credit cards based on the following categories:

Comparing American Airlines credit cards

American Airlines credit cards share several similarities. For example, each card offers a sign-up bonus, 2 miles per $1 on American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per $1 on general purchases. The cards also offer the same regular APRs on purchases, and none of them come with 0% intro APRs on purchases or balance transfers.

Where the cards differ most is whether they offer rewards in additional spending categories and the size of their sign-up bonuses. The cards also come with a wide range of annual fees – just know that the lower the annual fee, the less travel benefits and perks the card tends to offer.

 Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ CardCitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
Sign-up bonusEarn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account openingEarn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account openingEarn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account openingEarn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
Rewards rateEarn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchasesEarn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases & 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchasesEarn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations
Annual fee$99, waived for first 12 months$450$0$99, waived for first 12 months
Foreign transaction fees0%0%3% of the U.S. amount of each transfer0%

Best overall American Airlines credit card – Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers a great opportunity to earn a solid rewards rate and sign-up bonus, while charging a reasonable annual fee.

  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for flights on American Airlines, American Eagle or any oneworld airline or partner airline, as well as flight upgrades on American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia flights. Miles can also be redeemed for car rentals, hotel stays, activities and tours.

Read: American AAdvantage Cheat Sheet for Using Miles

Additional Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® benefits:

  • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation.
  • American Airlines preferred boarding for up to four companions traveling on the same reservation.
  • 25% savings on eligible in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airline flights.
  • $125 American Airlines flight discount when you spend $20,000 or more during your card membership year and renew your card.
  • 0% foreign transaction fees.

What to look out for. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® charges an annual fee of $99, waived for first 12 months. However, this still allows you the opportunity to test out the card for a full year without committing to paying an annual fee.

Just know that with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you won’t have access to all of the same premium benefits – such as a Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit or priority airport screening – offered by the much more expensive Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® (more details below).

Read our Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® review.

Best American Airlines card for premium travel: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases & 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

See additional details for Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

More Info

If you want to take advantage of premium American Airlines benefits, such as complimentary Admirals Club membership, and don’t mind paying a much higher annual fee, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® may be a good fit.

Additional card benefits include a Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit, priority check-in and priority boarding for you and up to eight travel companions and 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) when you spend $40,000 in one year.

Additional Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® benefits:

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases & 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.
  • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight travel companions.
  • Priority boarding on American Airlines flights.
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights.
  • Dedicated concierge to help with travel, shopping, dining, household and entertainment needs.
  • 0% foreign transaction fees.

What to look out for. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® comes with a hefty annual fee of $450. That said, the card’s benefits can more than make up for that amount. For example, the Admirals Club membership is valued at up to $650.

Read our Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® review.

Best American Airlines card with no annual fee: American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

  • Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

  • Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores & for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases

  • No annual fee & 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases

Highlights
  • Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

See additional details for American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

More Info

If you want to earn AAdvantage miles without paying an annual fee, you should look at the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.

The $0 annual fee card offers the following rewards rate: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.

Additionally, cardholders can earn a decent sign-up bonus for a low spend requirement: Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Additional American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card benefits:

  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights.
  • Access to concierge services for assistance with dining, shopping, entertainment and travel needs.

What to look out for. While the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card comes with a $0 annual fee, keep in mind that it does not offer all of the same travel benefits as other American Airlines credit cards, including the first checked bag free and preferred boarding.

Also, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card charges foreign transaction fees of 3%.

Read our American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card review.

Best American Airlines card for business owners: CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

  • Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines® purchases

  • No foreign transaction fees and first check bag free on domestic itineraries

Highlights
  • Designed for businesses
  • Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations.
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

See additional details for CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

More Info

A business owner looking to earn a large influx of AAdvantage® miles to use toward future business travel should take a look at the CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. In addition to a generous sign-up bonus, the card offers rewards in several popular spending categories.

  • Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations.

Additional CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® benefits:

  • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four travel companions.
  • Preferred boarding on American Airlines flights.
  • 25% savings on American Airlines in-flight Wi-Fi purchases.
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights.
  • Earn an American Airlines companion certificate for domestic travel after $30,000 spend each card membership year.
  • 0% foreign transaction fees.

What to look out for. The CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® comes with an annual fee of $99, waived for first 12 months. Also, like the other American Airlines credit cards in this post, the CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® does not offer a 0% intro APR on purchases.

Read our CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® review.

Which American Airlines credit card is right for you?

Ultimately, that depends on how you plan to use the card. For example, if you plan to take advantage of premium airline perks, like Admiral Club membership, then the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® could be well worth the card’s $450 annual fee. But if you simply want to earn AAdvantage® miles to help offset the cost of future travel, a $0 annual fee card, like the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, may be a better fit.


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