Which is the Best American Airlines Credit Card for You?

Which is the Best American Airlines Credit Card for You?

American Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world, so it’s safe to say you’ll have an easy time getting flights with AAdvantage miles.

The best way to earn AAdvantage miles is by using one of American Airlines’ co-branded credit cards. Issued by Barclays and Citi, the AAdvantage cards offer a combination of big sign-up bonuses, ongoing opportunities to earn miles, and special perks when you fly American.

To help you decide which is the best American Airlines credit card for you, we’ll give a quick summary of each and share some tips on how to pick the right one.

The best American Airlines credit cards

American Airlines credit cards come in all shapes and sizes. The best one for you will depend on your appetite for an annual fee and preferences as far as perks go.

Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

This card is a great fit if you want a big sign-up bonus but don’t spend a lot. The card offers a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after you make your first purchase in 90 days. The card also offers 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent elsewhere.

Here are some other highlights:

  • Earn 10% of your redeemed miles back each year up to 10,000 miles
  • Get your first checked bag free for you and up to four other people on your itinerary
  • Get access to priority boarding (group 5)
  • 25% statement credit for in-flight food and drink purchases
  • Earn $3,000 in elite qualifying dollars after you spend $25,000 in a year
  • 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles; balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater
  • $95 annual fee

Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®

For business owners, this card is a great option whether you have few expenses or a lot. The card offers 40,000 miles after you make your first purchase in 90 days. Going forward, you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines, office supply, telecom, and car rental purchases. Plus, you’ll get 1 mile per dollar spent elsewhere.

Here’s what else you need to know about the card:

  • Get a 5% mileage bonus every year based on the number of miles you earned with your card
  • Receive a companion certificate good for a $99 fare plus taxes and fees every year that you spend $30,000 on the card
  • Get your first checked bag free for you and up to four other people on your itinerary
  • Get access to priority boarding (group 5)
  • 25% statement credit for in-flight food and drink purchases
  • Get free employee cards
  • $95 annual fee

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

If you want to test drive an American Airlines credit card, this one’s a good choice. The card’s $95 annual fee is waived the first year, giving you time to determine if it’s worth holding onto.

The card offers 50,000 miles after you spend $2,500 in the first three months, plus 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Here are some other important details:

  • Get your first checked bag free for you and up to four other people on your itinerary
  • Get access to priority boarding (group 5)
  • 25% statement credit for in-flight food and drink purchases
  • Fly to select destinations on American Airlines operated flights for up to 7,500 fewer AAdvantage miles with Reduced Mileage Awards

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage®Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

If you’re a business owner and want a bigger bonus than what the Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® provides, check out this card.

You’ll earn 60,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You’ll also get 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, as well as on telecom, car rental, and gas purchases. You’ll earn 1 mile per dollar spent everywhere else.

Other perks and terms include:

  • Receive a companion certificate good for a $99 fare plus taxes and fees every year that you spend $30,000 on the card
  • Get your first checked bag free for you and up to four other people on your itinerary
  • Get access to priority boarding (group 5)
  • 25% statement credit for in-flight food and drink purchases
  • Get free employee cards
  • $95 annual fee; waived the first year
  • Fly to select destinations on American Airlines operated flights for up to 7,500 fewer AAdvantage miles with Reduced Mileage Awards

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

If you’re looking for an elite travel credit card with premium perks, this card should be on your radar. As for rewards, you’ll earn 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first three months, 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1 mile per dollar spent elsewhere.

You’ll also get some stellar benefits to use every time you fly:

  • Get membership to the American Airlines Admirals Club airport lounge
  • Receive a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit, worth up to $100
  • Get your first checked bag free for you and up to eight other people on your itinerary
  • Get access to priority boarding (group 4)
  • 25% statement credit for in-flight food and drink purchases
  • Earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • Fly to select destinations on American Airlines operated flights for up to 7,500 fewer AAdvantage miles with Reduced Mileage Awards
  • $450 annual fee

Which is the best American Airlines credit card for you?

As you compare each of these American Airlines credit cards and their terms, it’s important to understand your travel goals and personal preferences. For example, the Barclays cards make it easy to get the sign-up bonus — there’s no minimum spending requirement.

But they charge annual fees right off the bat, whereas the two basic Citi American Airlines credit cards waive their fees for the first year.

And if you want a smoother travel experience overall, the airline’s premium credit card might be worth looking at.

As you walk through each of these cards, also consider other top travel credit cards. These can give you a reference point when valuing different features, and help you find out which is truly best for you.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated April 27, 2018 but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.