The Best Credit Cards Offered By American Airlines
Folks who travel regularly, both for business and for personal reasons, are likely to use frequent flyer programs to earn reward miles for their flights. As American Airlines is, by most metrics, the world’s largest airline, reward miles earned via American Airlines’s AAdvantage program are particularly useful.
One way to accelerate the rate at which you earn AAdvantage miles is to use an American Airlines co-branded credit card. Several such cards are available, so you might need a little guidance to find the card that makes sense for your particular needs. Thankfully, you can let us handle that part!
Here’s something you should know off the bat. All American Airlines credit cards offer the following rewards:
- 2 AAdvantage miles for every dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- 1 AAdvantage mile for every dollar spent on all other purchases
- 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases
While each AA card shares these common features, the cards diverge from one another in other ways, such as fees charged, additional ways to earn miles, and travel perks. Let’s examine each American Airlines credit card and the primary selling point of each American Airlines credit card.
|Credit Card||Best For|
|AAdvantage MileUp Card||No Annual Fee|
|CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard||Business Owners|
|Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard||General Travel|
|Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard||High-End Travel Benefits|
|Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard||Balance Transfers|
|Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard||Bonus Offers|
Table of Contents
- Best For No Annual Fee: AAdvantage MileUp Card
- Best For Business Owners: CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
- Best For General Travel: Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
- Best For High-End Travel Benefits: Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- Best For Balance Transfers: Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard
- Best For Bonus Offers: Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard
- Final Thoughts
Best For No Annual Fee: AAdvantage MileUp Card
The AAdvantage MileUp Card’s value for the average traveler is enhanced by the fact that the card carries no annual fee. With most credit cards that earn airline miles, you have to weigh the miles you earn against the annual fee to see if you’re coming out ahead. If you don’t travel all that often, you might find yourself on the wrong side of this particular Mendoza line.
However, since the AAdvantage MileUp card carries no annual fee, you won’t have to weigh your benefits against your fee. Plus, not only will you earn the same double miles from your AA purchases as with every other AA card, but you’ll also earn 2 miles for every $1 spent at grocery stores.
This card doesn’t offer the same free checked bag perk offered by other AA credit cards. It is aimed more at the casual traveler or the entrepreneur who takes occasional vacations rather than at the frequent business traveler — a distinction highlighted by the double miles that accrue to grocery store purchases.
Unfortunately, this card requires excellent credit in order to qualify. There’s also a 3% foreign transaction fee, no introductory 0% APR period, and a relatively high APR.
Best For Business Owners: CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard is one of just two American Airlines co-branded cards currently being offered that is a business credit card. If you want to earn AAdvantage miles with your American Airlines travel and that of your employees, check out this card (or the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard, which we’ll discuss later).
The card currently offers an impressive bonus offer of up to 60,000 AAdvantage miles: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and another 10,000 bonus miles after making a total of $10,000 in purchases within the first 12 months. You’ll also earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on gas, cable/satellite providers, select phone companies, and car rentals. (Offer expired.)
Along with the standard AAdvantage benefits, this CitiBusiness Mastercard offers additional perks befitting business travel, such as:
- Preferred boarding on AA flights
- 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi
- First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines flights for you and up to four companions
- Earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate worth $99 for domestic travel after $30,000 in purchases each cardmembership year (fees apply)
- 24/7 personal business assistant to help with travel, hotel, and dining arrangements
The card does carry a $99 annual fee, though this is waived the first year. There is no introductory 0% APR period (boo!) and no foreign transaction fee (yay!).
Best For General Travel: Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is the personal counterpart to the CitiBusiness card listed above. It’s the most well-rounded of the bunch and makes for a solid travel credit card for frequent travelers.
With this card, along with the AAdvantage miles you’ll earn on AA flights, you’ll earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and gas stations with no cap on the amount of miles you can earn. You’ll also get a bonus offer of 50,000 bonus miles after you make $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Some handy travel perks come with the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard (I’m sorry each of these cards has such an annoyingly long and similar name). You’ll get preferred boarding on all AA flights and one free checked bag on domestic AA flights. You’ll also get a $100 AA Flight Discount after you spend at least $20,000 on purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card. What’s more, there’s no foreign transaction fee.
There’s also a $99 annual fee, waived for the first year. The APR also happens to be on the high side.
Best For High-End Travel Benefits: Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is the luxury option when it comes to American Airlines co-branded credit cards. This is apparent in the card’s whopping $450 annual fee!
As the most, well, “elite” of American Airlines’s credit cards, the Executive World Elite Mastercard comes with a host of great travel benefits:
- 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
- Automatic Admirals Club membership — access over 50 Admirals Club lounges and nearly 60 partner lounges worldwide
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- First checked bag free on domestic AA flights for you and up to 8 travel companions
- Priority check-in, priority airport screening (where available), and priority boarding privileges for you and up to 8 travel companions
- Dedicated concierge service
The card also comes with a bonus offer of 50,000 AAdvantage miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. And as you would expect of a luxury travel card, there’s no foreign transaction fee.
The card’s high annual fee means you’ll have to do quite a bit of traveling in order to fully reap the rewards of the card (or maybe you just really enjoy priority boarding and airport lounge access). If this is you and you don’t mind sticking to American Airlines for your air travel, check out the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.
Best For Balance Transfers: Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard
The AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard is an AA co-branded credit card issued by Barclays, unlike the cards above, which are all Citi-issued. It also comes with two unique and striking benefits.
First, unlike any other American Airlines credit card, this card offers an introductory 0% APR for 15 months on all balance transfers posted to your account within 45 days of your account opening. Second, this card offers a huge bonus of 60,000 miles, and all you have to do to get it is to make a single purchase on your card within 90 days. Of course, you’ll also have to pay the $95 annual fee, as it is not waived the first year.
The card comes loaded with great American Airlines-related perks. You’ll get preferred boarding and one free checked bag for you and up to four companions on your reservation, plus dedicated concierge service. You won’t have to pay any foreign transaction fees, either.
Best For Bonus Offers: Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard
The AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard is an American Airlines co-branded business credit card issued by Barclays.
Compared to the CitiBusiness card, this Barclays AA business credit card has a bonus offer that is quite easy to obtain. With just $1,000 in spending in your first 90 days, you’ll get 60,000 AAdvantage bonus miles. Most businesses in the market for a business travel card should be able to hit this threshold without much problem.
While the $95 annual fee is not waived for the first year, you’ll be accruing benefits that will exceed this if you do a significant amount of business travel. Not only will you earn double miles on all AA purchases, but you’ll also earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year. These Elite Qualifying Dollars boost your status in the AAdvantage program when you earn them, entitling you to more and better travel perks.
Other card benefits include a 5% bonus on your miles earned every year after your account anniversary date based on the total number of miles earned using your card, a free checked bag + preferred boarding for you and four companions, complimentary employee cards, and a Companion Certificate for a guest, worth $99, which you’ll get each year after your account anniversary after spending $30,000 or more on eligible purchases.
To reiterate a point I made earlier, American Airlines is the world’s largest airline. Therefore, AAdvantage miles are going to be more useful for more people than just about any other airline’s proprietary miles. The American Airlines credit cards we’ve detailed here can help you a) earn AAdvantage points on your flights to go towards further AA travel and b) gain access to a variety of different travel benefits and points-earning spending categories.
If you’re still looking around for the ideal credit card for your needs, check out these links!