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)
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.