Why The New Citi Executive Card Lounge Benefit Is So Generous

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Yesterday I posted about the incredible new benefit which Citi added to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite MasterCard®. This is American’s premium co-branded credit card, which has a $450 annual fee, though comes with many perks which help offset that (plus a sign-up bonus of up to 50,000 bonus miles).

Historically the most valuable benefit of the card is an Admirals Club membership for the primary cardmember. An Admirals Club membership ordinarily costs $400-500, so for most members you’re coming out ahead by having the card rather than outright buying an Admirals Club membership, not even factoring in the other perks it gives you.

Admirals-Club-Fees

But as of yesterday Citi added a huge new perk to this card. Authorized users on the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card now also receive Admirals Club access. Best of all, you can add up to 10 authorized users on the card at no additional cost.

Suddenly your $450 annual fee on the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is getting up to 10 people access to the Admirals Club. That’s like paying as little as $45 per person per year for Admirals Club access. That’s less than the cost of a single day pass.

Admirals-Club-Dallas
Admirals Club Dallas

Why this benefit is brilliant

There are a few reasons this move is brilliant.

First of all, presumably most people being added as authorized users on the card won’t actually be frequent flyers, but rather are more likely to be family of frequent flyers. They might go out of their way to book American for the limited number of trips they take each year due to the ability to get lounge access.

For those of you worried about crowding of Admirals Clubs, it’s not something I’m personally worried about. Previously anyone with an Amex Platinum Card got into the Admirals Club. There are only a fraction as many people with the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card, and of those cardmembers, only a small fraction will likely utilize this new benefit.

Admirals-Club-Honolulu-Airport-09
Admirals Club Honolulu

Bottom line

At first I was puzzled when I heard about this benefit being added. But then it sort of made sense.

One thing is for sure — this is the single most generous lounge access benefit offered by any credit card.

What do you make of the new Citi AAdvantage Executive Card benefit? Is it enough to get you to apply for/keep the card, to basically get Admirals Club access for 10 people per year for $450?

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Comments

  1. Real happy about this. My wife travels 4-5 times a year for work and is always upset that her “authorized user” card doesn’t get her access while my primary one does. Problem solved – Merry Xmas!

  2. Do you have a link to the press release or anything else which now indicates this benefit exists? All of the Citi/AA pages I can find still clearly indicate that Admiral’s Club membership is a benefit only available for the primary card holder, and I’m sure they’re just slow to update this. I’m someone that would be able to take aadvantage of this new benefit next week, but would like something to back it up if I get grief from any of the lounge dragons.

  3. I really doubt that many folks have 10 people they trust to carry their EXEC card, giving that the Primary member is ultimately responsible for all charges. But I suppose you could get the AU cards for family members, friends, or even co-workers, that you travel with. Then hold all the AU cards yourself, and personally present them for Club access when they are traveling with you.

  4. Pretty sure Citi let’s you set spending limits for authorized users. That way you don’t have to worry about someone charging five new MacBooks on your card.

  5. i’m not too worried about lounges overflowing with this benefit. as stated above, people won’t just add AUs willy-nilly and i would imagine those of us who hold citi exec cards wouldn’t want just anyone to crowd up the admirals clubs. it’s a nice benefit for spouses and close family who travel a lot, though.

  6. Although you can set spending limits for authorized user cards, the cardholder still knows your full credit card number, expiration date, and security code. They can just use the card online, and write down your name when being asked. This is why I like American Express authorized user cards, which are different than the primary card, with different credit card numbers and security codes.

  7. I too am a dual Citi holder…Prestige and Exec AA. I too was on the fence about canceling the Exec card and going back to the Platinum but now that the family can have access on their own it’s worth keeping. i hardly put any spend on the Exec card, I only got it for 75k offer this year and the lounge access but it’s now worth keeping, especially since the Amex Platinum no longer gets you the access anyway 

  8. I rather they brought back the 100k sign up bonus with no churning limits! I’d love to see Citi’s stats on how many sign ups and cancellations they had in 2014 and 2015.

  9. Are there any limitations on who can be an authorized user? Do they need to live at same address?

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