Citi, American Revamp AAdvantage Executive Card with Fee Hike
AAdvantage Executive Card

Citi, American Revamp AAdvantage Executive Card with Fee Hike

Citi and American Airlines have announced a major update to their premium co-branded credit card.

About the updates:

This week, Citi and American Airlines announced a significant revamp for their top-tier co-branded card. Now, in addition to many of its existing perks, the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard will offer a number of credits, increased reward-earning rates, loyalty point bonuses, and more.

However, along with these updates, the card’s annual fee will be rising from the previous $450 to $595. Moreover, while cardholders could previously add up to 10 authorized users at no cost, a $175 fee will be applied for the first three authorized users (meaning the fee is $175 whether cardmembers add one, two, or three AUs) with each addition thereafter coming at a cost of $175 per person.

Among the new benefits that cardholders will enjoy in exchange for that higher fee include a trio of new credits from partner brands. First, cardholders can earn up to $120 back per calendar year on eligible Avis or Budget car rentals. Additionally, the card will offer up to $120 in statement credits (up to $10 per month) on eligible Grubhub purchases. Finally, customers can also earn up to $120 in Lyft credits ($10 credit per month) — however, this credit will only apply after taking three eligible rides in a month.

Another change involves earning miles. Now, AAdvantage Executive cardholders will earn 4x AAdvantage miles on American Airlines purchases as opposed to the previous 2x. Plus, after customers spend at least $150,000 on the card in a calendar year, they’ll earn a total of 5x AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases for the remainder of the calendar year. Customers will also now earn 10x miles on eligible car rentals booked through AA.com/cars as well as eligible hotels booked through AA.com/hotels.

Finally, cardholders will now be able to earn Loyalty Point bonuses to help them reach status even quicker. Customers can earn 10,000 Loyalty Points after reaching 50,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year. Then, an additional 10,000 Loyalty Points can be earned after hitting 90,000 Loyalty Points in the same qualification year.

Of course, the AAdvantage Executive card will retain many of the key benefits as before. Namely, cardholders will have complimentary access to Admirals Club. On that note, American has also teased upgrades for these lounge locations.

My thoughts:

When you look at what Citi has done to the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, their inspiration seems pretty clear (at least to me): American Express. For one, the structure of the new authorized user fee mirrors that of the Amex Platinum. Furthermore, the so-called “coupon book” strategy has been a controversial albeit effective one for Amex — and it seems that Citi has taken that to heart given the Avis/Budget and Grubhub credits. As for why I didn’t mention the Lyft credit in that sentence, I’d imagine that the requirement to take three rides before the benefit kicks in makes it far less usable for most customers.

All things considered, while the card may still make sense for American Airlines flyers who want lounge access and can make use of the newly-added credits, it’s hard to say that this is really an upgrade. Then again, given my lack of experience with the card or the airline, it’s possible I’m missing something. One thing is for sure though: those with authorized users are sure to be in for a rude awakening given the new fees. As for everyone else, I’d recommend running the numbers including what you’d value the new credits and bonuses at to determine whether or not the AAdvantage Executive Card makes sense at the higher price.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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