Edited by: Juan Ruiz
& Kellie Jez
Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.
We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.
The American Airline’s AAdvantage® frequent flyer program was established in 1981, making it one of the world’s oldest frequent flyer programs. It’s also the world’s largest.
The AAdvantage brand, with its history and strong presence in the loyalty arena, is also prominent in the collection of nearly a dozen AAdvantage co-branded credit cards.
With offerings that include flight benefits, lounge access, companion tickets, a faster path to elite status, and the ability to earn miles for free flights, there’s an AAdvantage credit card for every American Airlines flyer.
But how do you sort through nearly a dozen cards and find a fit? And are there other travel rewards credit cards worth considering even if you’re an American Airlines loyalist?
Here’s all the information you need on the benefits of the top AAdvantage credit cards, issued by both Citi and Barclays, and a few alternative credit cards.
In the end, you’ll have the information you need to select a credit card that delivers the best bottom-line value for you.
|Card||Welcome Bonus and Annual Fee||Top AA Benefits|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®||
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||
|CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®||
|American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®||
|AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®||
|AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®*||
|AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®||
American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards come with valuable flight benefits that can add comfort, convenience, or cost savings. Boarding early, free checked bags, and statement credits for your in-flight purchases are some examples of perks that add comfort and value.
Let’s take a look at the flight benefits you can expect from each of the best AAdvantage branded credit cards.
|AAdvantage Credit Card||Flight Benefits|
|Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite™ Mastercard®||
|CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator Red World Elite™ Mastercard, Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator Business World Elite Mastercard.||
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®||
|Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®||
In addition to the stated benefits above, the Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard card receives a $25 per anniversary year statement credit for in-flight Wi-Fi purchases.
If you spend a lot on American Airlines, you’ll want to be sure to have an AAdvantage credit card that earns at least 2 miles per dollar spent. The following AAdvantage credit cards deliver this level of earnings.
|AAdvantage Credit Card||Miles Earned per Dollar Spent on AA Flight Purchases|
|Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard||4 miles per dollar spent|
Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard
American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®
|2 miles per dollar spent|
|Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Silver||3 miles per dollar spent|
|Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Blue|
Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red
Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business
|2 miles per dollar spent|
In addition, the Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Business World Elite Mastercard earns a 5% mileage bonus each anniversary year based on miles earned on the card.
Earning AAdvantage miles on American Airlines purchases is great, but miles can add up faster if you can earn multiple miles per dollar spent on other purchases. Here’s how the bonus earnings break down by credit card.
|AAdvantage Credit Card||Bonus Category and Additional Earnings|
|Citi/AAdvantage Platinum||2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants and gas stations|
|AAdvantage Executive World Elite card||10 miles per dollar spent on eligible car rentals through aa.com/cars and eligible hotels through aa.com/hotels|
|CitiBusiness® Platinum Select||2 miles per dollar on telecommunications, satellite and cable providers, car rentals, and gas stations|
|AAdvantage MileUp||2 miles per dollar at grocery stores|
|Barclays Aviator Business||2 miles per dollar on telecommunications, office supply stores, and car rentals|
|Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Silver||2 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals|
|Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red|
Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Silver
|The Flight Cents™ feature allows purchases to be rounded up to the nearest dollar to earn miles faster|
Here’s what it takes to annually qualify for American Airlines AAdvantage elite status, how AAdvantage credit cards can help you qualify, and how the upgrade process works.
American now uses the Loyalty Points program to determine elite status. You’ll earn 1 Loyalty Point per $1 spent on any American Airlines credit card.
To earn AAdvantage Gold Elite status, you’ll need to earn 40,000 Loyalty Points during the qualifying period.
The AAdvantage Executive World Elite card is the only AAdvantage-branded credit card that comes with complimentary Admirals Club access (not to mention a bunch of other perks).
Since an Admirals Club lounge membership can cost $850 annually, securing the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card as an avid American Airlines traveler makes good economic sense.
The cardholder is allowed to bring 2 additional guests or the cardholder’s immediate family. For example, if a cardholder is traveling with a spouse and their 2 teenagers, a total of 4 people, all would be allowed entrance.
One of the best benefits of having an AAdvantage branded credit card is the $99 companion pass ticket. Each card anniversary year, after spending $20,000 on your card, you can secure a companion ticket for just $99 plus taxes and fees when purchasing a paid ticket. Currently, those fees are estimated to be between $21.60 to $43.20, according to Barclays.
The ticket is valid for travel between all 48 contiguous states. Residents of Alaska and Hawaii can use the ticket for flights originating in their home state round trip to the 48 contiguous states.
The AAdvantage Aviator Red card and AAdvantage Aviator Silver card each come with the companion ticket benefit after spending $20,000 each card anniversary year. The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard offers the companion ticket benefit after spending $30,000 each card anniversary year.
Your card must remain active for 45 days after your card anniversary renewal to receive the companion ticket.
Barclays issued AAdvantage branded credit cards come with additional valuable travel and purchase benefits:
Additionally, the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card comes with trip cancellation/interruption protection, trip delay protection, lost baggage protection, and car rental insurance.
This list is just an overview of additional benefits that may come with your AAdvantage branded credit card. It is not all-inclusive and does not include all applicable terms and conditions. You can access the AAdvantage protection guide for more information here and review a list of World Mastercard benefits here.
American Airlines flyers who want to purchase award travel on American can redeem their AAdvantage miles directly for airline tickets. Another option is to transfer points/miles from other programs to your AAdvantage frequent flyer account in order to purchase award tickets.
|Hotel Loyalty Program||Transfer Ratio – Hotel Points to Miles|
|Best Western Rewards||5,000 to 1,000|
|Choice Hotels||5,000 to 1,000|
|Hilton Honors||10,000 to 1,500|
|Marriott Bonvoy||30,000 to 10,000|
|World of Hyatt||5,000 to 2,000|
|IHG Rewards||10,000 to 2,000|
|Radisson Rewards Americas||10,000 to 1,000|
|Wyndham Rewards||6,000 to 1,200|
Transfer ratios when transferring hotel points to AAdvantage miles can be less than stellar; however, topping off your AAdvantage account by transferring hotel points to reach a specific award ticket redemption level can be a useful option.
American Airlines has 1 direct transfer partner in Bilt Rewards, however it can be hard to earn lots of Bilt points since the program only has 1 credit card. However, you can transfer points from some of the most popular rewards programs to airlines that allow you to book flights on American.
Here are some of the best options for American Airlines award flights.
|Transfer Rewards Points From:||To This Frequent Flyer Program:||To Book These American Airline Flights:|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards Points||British Airways||Short distance one-way flights – as low as 7,500 British Airways Avios between U.S. cities|
|Cathay Pacific||To Asia – 75,000 Asia Miles one-way in First|
|Iberia Plus||Round trip to Spain – JFK to Madrid for 34,000 Avios|
|American Express Membership Rewards||British Airways||One-way from West Coast U.S. to Hawaii – 12,500 Avios|
|Ethiad||Round trip U.S. to Europe starting at 40,000 Ethiad miles|
Hot Tip: Chase Ultimate Rewards Points can be redeemed directly for American Airlines flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. If you use a premium Chase credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you will receive an increased redemption value of 1.5 cents per point.
In this article, there was a lot of information pertaining to AAdvantage credit cards. It might be helpful to highlight the best overall credit cards for American flyers and summarize the features and benefits.
The best overall credit card for the American Airlines flyer may not be an AAdvantage branded credit card. Premium travel rewards credit cards can offer broader lounge access opportunities, greater rewards on travel purchases, and premium travel benefits.
Here are 2 premium travel rewards credit cards to consider:
The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.
Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 125k (or 150k) points with the Amex Platinum. The current public offer is 80,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)
Why this card is great for American Airlines Flyers:
A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.
The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options. Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.
Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!
Why this card is great for American Airlines Flyers:
If you travel frequently on American Airlines and general flight benefits, earning AAdvantage miles, and discounted in-flight purchases are important to you, you’ll do well with an AAdvantage branded credit card.
If you’re currently paying for an Admirals Club membership, it would be a sound economic decision to secure the AAdvantage Executive Platinum World Elite Mastercard that comes with complimentary access for you and your traveling companions.
If you travel frequently on a lot of different airlines, enjoy premium travel perks, and would find value in having access to a larger worldwide network of lounges, you might find a better fit with a premium rewards credit card.
As always, you’ll want to align your travel preferences, spending habits, and tolerance for paying an annual fee, to the credit card that brings you the most bottom-line value.
The information regarding Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator Business World Elite Mastercard was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
The best American Airlines credit card will depend on how often you fly American Airlines, whether lounge access is important to you, and your tolerance for paying an annual fee.
If you travel frequently on American Airlines, are currently paying for an annual Admirals Club membership, and don’t mind the annual fee, the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard offers good value.
The steep annual fee is offset with the complimentary Admirals Club membership alone which can cost upwards of $850 annually.
American AAdvantage miles cannot be transferred to other airlines or rewards programs.
However, American Airlines AAdvantage miles can be used to book flights on American and partner airlines.
You can also transfer American AAdvantage miles to another account, however there are fees for doing so.
All of the AAdvantage branded credit cards earn at least 1 American Airlines AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on the card.
Each credit card has its own earning structure and many have bonus categories where you can earn additional miles per dollar spent.
Selecting an AAdvantage credit card that earns at least 2 miles per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases and offers bonus category earnings that match your spending habits is that fastest way to earns lots of American Airlines AAdvantage miles.
American Airlines AAdvantage miles expire after 18 months of inactivity in your AAdvantage frequent flyer account.
You can keep your miles from expiring by earning or redeeming miles with American Airlines or one of its partners.
Each time you make a qualifying activity, your expiration date is extended by 18 months.
Was this page helpful?