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I’ve written extensively about the Citi Prestige Card, which I consider to be the single most compelling credit card out there.
Why I love the Citi Prestige Card
The card has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $3,000 within three months, and those points can be transferred to an airline or hotel partner, or be redeemed for 1.6 cents each towards the cost of a revenue ticket on American. That means the sign-up bonus alone gets you ~$800 towards travel on American.
The card has a $450 annual fee, which seems high, but is a bargain when you look at what you get. The benefits include the following:
- A $250 annual airline credit
- Access to American Admirals Clubs
- A fourth night free hotel benefit
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
- A $100 Global Entry fee credit
The $250 annual airline credit counts towards any purchase directly with an airline, which essentially lowers my out of pocket on the card to $200 per year, since I value the $250 airline credit more-or-less at face value.
On top of that I get Admirals Club access, which I value as an American Executive Platinum member, since I fly American domestically a fair amount. I value that at a minimum of $200, which means I’m already even on my annual fee.
Then I get a Priority Pass membership with guesting privileges, which I’ve used several times.
And last but most certainly not least, there’s the fourth night free hotel benefit, which has saved me thousands of dollars.
I used the fourth night free benefit at the St. Regis Bali
The card also offers triple points on airfare and hotel purchases, double points on dining and entertainment, and one point per dollar spent on everything else. Given that the card offers great travel protection, this is my go to card for airline and hotel purchases.
The best part is all of these perks are available year after year, so it’s an absolute no brainer that I’ll keep this card.
But what about the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card?
Reader and friend Andrew B messaged me to ask if it makes sense to have both the Citi Prestige Card and Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.
The AAdvantage Executive Card also has a $450 annual fee, and comes with a few perks, the most significant of which is an Admirals Club membership. While the Citi Prestige Card offers Admirals Club access, that’s slightly different than an Admirals Club membership. What’s the distinction? A membership gets you:
- Admirals Club access even when you’re flying another airline
- Access to select partner lounges, like Alaska Airlines Board Rooms
To me the difference between lounge access and a lounge membership isn’t huge, since I’m usually flying American anyway. Furthermore, the Citi Prestige Card comes with a Priority Pass membership, which gets you into Alaska Board Rooms.
But the killer benefit of the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card is that your authorized users receive Admirals Club access as well. You can add up to 10 authorized users to your card for no additional fee.
I’ve been toying with the idea of getting the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card again (I had it several years ago), and my thought process has been as follows:
- The Citi Prestige Card covers all of my needs when it comes to Admirals Club lounge access, so I don’t see much value in having the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card for myself; unless the benefits of the Citi Prestige Card change radically, it’s a card I’ll be holding onto for a very long time
- I’m still considering getting the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card for the ability to give lounge access to authorized users; if I can get up to 10 people American lounge access whenever they fly, that seems like it might be worth it
The Citi Prestige Card is one I’ll hold onto for a long time, and it already comes with Admirals Club access. In my opinion it’s only worth also holding onto the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card if you can get value out of the authorized user Admirals Club benefit on the card. Otherwise it doesn’t seem worth holding onto both cards long term.
However, the sign-up bonus on the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card definitely makes this card worth applying for, especially if you can get value out of the lounge access.