Best Citi® Airline Credit Cards for January 2023

Zurich, Switzerland - May 04, 2014: American Airlines Boeing 767-300/ER departing Zurich airport.
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Citi® is a well-known global bank providing a wide range of financial services. In the American consumer market, however, one of the bank’s strengths is its line of travel rewards credit cards affiliated with American Airlines. Regardless of the type of traveler you are, Citi offers a card focused on your needs.

Best Citi Airline Cards

Here’s a rundown of the best Citi airline credit cards, along with a review of how each card serves a different target market.

Credit Card Features
  • Best for: Occasional travelers
  • 2x AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and at restaurants and gas stations
  • 1x mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • 1 American Airlines loyalty point per mile earned
  • $99 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months
  • APR
  • Good number of travel perks
  • Best for: No annual fee
  • 2x miles at grocery stores and on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1 American Airlines loyalty point per mile earned
  • APR
  • Fewer travel perks than other cards
  • Best for: Frequent travelers
  • 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1x miles on other purchases
  • 1 American Airlines loyalty point per mile earned
  • 10,000 additional loyalty points after spending $40,000 during the year
  • $450 annual fee
  • APR
  • Excellent travel perks
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Best for: Occasional travelers

The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is the best Citi travel card for occasional American Airlines travelers.

For a modest $99 annual fee, which is waived for the first year, the card provides a host of generous perks. Two of the most important for those flying on American Airlines include preferred boarding and a free checked bag for both yourself and up to four travel companions on domestic itineraries. For five travelers on the same domestic round-trip itinerary, that benefit alone could save them a combined total of $300.

In an era in which free food on airlines is growing scarce, the 25% off in-flight food and beverages is another valuable perk offered by the card.

Those looking to earn miles fast will enjoy the massive sign-up bonus of 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $2,500 on the card in the first three months after opening an account. Additionally, cardholders earn two AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent at restaurants and gas stations and also on eligible American Airlines purchases and one mile per $1 on everything else.

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You’ll also earn a $125 American Airlines flight discount after spending at least $20,000 during your card membership year and renewing your card.

Best for: No annual fee

If you’re a casual traveler looking for a card that has no annual fee but still offers valuable rewards, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card might be the card for you. You’ll earn the same 25% discount on in-flight food and beverages on American Airlines as with the Platinum Select card, but you’ll also earn 2x miles on grocery purchases and eligible American Airlines purchases and one mile on everything else.

The sign-up bonus on this card is less generous, at just 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit, but the spend requirement is also much lower, at just $500 in the first three months after opening an account.

Best for: Frequent travelers

Frequent flyers want a card that’s chock full of features and benefits, and the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard fits the bill. The card does come with a steep $450 annual fee, but American Airlines aficionados can easily earn more than that back in rewards.

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For starters, this card comes with a coveted Admirals Club membership, which is worth at least $500 per year and could cost as much as $650 per year. As most frequent travelers subscribe to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, the $100 fee credit once every five years is also a big perk.

This card carries most of the benefits of the other Citi travel cards, including priority boarding and the 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases. It also offers a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after you spend $5,000 in the first three months after account opening. The free checked bag benefit extends to up to eight travel companions, and this card also includes priority check-in and airport screening for you and up to eight travel companions, where available.

Add in no foreign transaction fees on purchases, the two AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and an additional 10,000 loyalty points after $40,000 in purchases during the year, and this card offers nearly everything a frequent traveler could desire.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Citi credit cards.
  • Is a Citi card good for travel?
    • Yes. Not only do Citi cards allow users to earn ThankYou Points that can be redeemed for travel, but they also offer various other perks, depending on the card.
  • How do I use my Citi points to book a flight?
    • To book a flight with your Citi points, you can book a flight through the Citi ThankYou travel portal or, if your Citi card allows it, transfer your ThankYou Points to one of Citi's travel partners.

Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 19, 2023.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.
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