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Travel is ramping up and so are travel card benefits. Premium credit cards carry hefty annual fees but also have great perks and bonuses. Carrying more than one of them can be really expensive if you don’t maximize the benefits. However, depending on your travel and spending patterns, this can be a no-brainer to help you maximize your travel. In this article, we examine the pairing of The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.
See both offers here: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
Amex Platinum vs Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite: Annual Fee & Credits
The Citi Executive AAdvantage card carries a hefty $450 fee, but it’s a top credit card for American Airlines flyers.
Think that’s expensive?
The annual fee for The Platinum Card from American Express is $695 (See Rates & Fees) but can be offset with the perks, which are valued at over $1,400. Get the full details and learn more in our in-depth The Platinum Card from American Express review.
However, for most frequent travelers, the Amex ends up costing less. You can get back most of the annual fee in the form of rebates. But, these are hard to maximize. For example, you get two $50 “use it or lose it” credits per year at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Meanwhile, the only fee credit Citi offers is toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck. However, Global Entry costs $100 so if you don’t already have this, it’s worth using the fee credit. Note that The Amex Platinum also comes with this credit and an annual credit for CLEAR.
Points and Welcome Offers
The more options you have to spend your points, the better the chances of successfully arranging award travel.
American Airlines AAdvantage points can only be earned via hotel programs, airline partners, and American’s own credit card partners. No transferable points currency transfers to American Airlines. But, this is one of the best programs to use for Oneworld awards due to the generally lower-priced award chart than competitors. The catch is that availability is usually worse than average with American and its partners.
American Express Membership Rewards Points, meanwhile, transfer to a wide variety of airline partners covering every major alliance. The catch is that award tickets are often more expensive in these programs.
New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 on purchases on their new Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
New Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® cardholders can earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard isn’t a card to get for the earning rates.
Earn 2 miles per $1 on eligible American Airlines purchases. Plus, earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.
And, if you’re a Google Pay user, note that the AAdvantage cards issued in the U.S. are not eligible for Google Pay.
The Platinum Card earns 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, and earns 5x Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
In the Amex Platinum and Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite battle, you’ll want to go with the card that makes sense for your spending and your ability to use the benefits.
Both cards provide access to a worldwide network of airline lounges. The American Express Platinum provides access to American Express’s own Centurion Lounge network, along with several other lounge networks (enrollment may be required). American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks. Terms apply. Enrollment may be required.
Meanwhile, the Citi Executive AAdvantage card provides a full American Airlines Admirals Club membership. This grants access to lounges with whom American has a reciprocal lounge access arrangement.
Which is better? That depends on the airport and your preferences. If you ask me, it’s “whichever lounge is less crowded.” If you carry both cards, it’s easy to lounge hop!
The American Executive AAdvantage card provides benefits when flying with American Airlines. However, these are awfully stingy given the $450 fee: free checked bags only apply to US domestic flights (not to international flights). Pre-boarding is in Group 4.
There is a 25% discount on in-flight purchases, although you might not want to try the brisket sandwich. Plus, there is a Reduced Mileage Award program, but this is difficult to use, requiring telephone booking (which involves paying a phone booking fee). Most of the destinations for which these awards are good towards are unattractive (such as Yuma, Arizona in August and Fargo, North Dakota in November).
In short, Citi talks a good game, but the benefits don’t deliver much real value beyond the limited bag fee waiver.
Meanwhile, Amex provides a very simple benefit: you can nominate any airline and offset up to $200 of their fees annually. However, it will be in the form of statement credits (terms apply, enrollment may be required). Carrying both cards can be useful if you travel with American for some flights but prefer a different airline for others.
The Amex Platinum offers Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status along with Hilton Honors Gold Status. If you stay with either chain, you might score the occasional upgrade or get a free breakfast depending upon the property.
Cardholders can get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when paying with their Platinum Card®.
Also, get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
Citi doesn’t match this benefit.
Rental Car Status
You get Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, and National Emerald Club status when you’re an Amex Platinum member. These programs allow you to pick up your car without visiting a rental counter. Citi doesn’t match this benefit.
For people who want to use most of the benefits from both cards, it can be beneficial to carry both. Both the Amex Platinum and Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite cards come with premium benefits that only make sense if the cardholder is able to maximize their card.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
See both offers here: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
I think you’re undervaluing the AA Exec card a bit. First, the AA Exec card has trip delay, baggage delay and cancellation insurance (Amex does not have these.) Also, it’s a World Elite Mastercard, which has a bunch of benefits: https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/consumers/find-card-products/credit-cards/world-elite.html
Finally, it beats Amex with Avis as it include Preferred Plus (free upgrades!) as well as Sixt Platinum and National Emerald Club Priority.