Why I Signed up for the AA Executive Card Even Though I’m a United Flyer
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In September, I stepped foot in an American Airlines Admirals Club for the first time in years, to review the airline’s latest location at LAX. I had just signed up for the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, so it didn’t cost me a cent to get in — even though I had arrived on a United flight and would be flying Delta later that night. My new metal credit card hadn’t come in the mail yet, but I was able to get in just by providing my AAdvantage number and a photo ID.
Now, I rarely fly American Airlines, and since United’s my carrier of choice, I’m usually passing through a terminal with at least one United Club, and I can always get in thanks to the membership that comes along with my United Club Card — sometimes I even luck out and get to swipe my Platinum Card® from American Express to gain entry to a Centurion Lounge, in which case I’m in for a treat.
But even though I’m not hurting for options with my existing card portfolio, I decided to add the $450 Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard to my wallet, for a few reasons:
- Sometimes the United Club is crowded while the Admirals Club next door is not, such as at Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS).
- I get a bit of a thrill out of visiting new lounges, rather than always heading to, say, the United Club at LAX.
- I can add friends and family members as authorized users for free, and they get access to the Admirals Club even when they’re not traveling with me.
- I’ll earn 75,000 bonus AAdvantage miles after I spend $7,500 in the first three months.
I recently burned a bunch of AA miles to book the Etihad Apartment, and my balance is lower than it’s been in years. With a recent promise of improved MileSAAver availability, American miles might become useful for domestic flights again — it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have 75,000 more at my disposal. We value AA miles at 1.4 cents apiece, making this bonus worth $1,050, which is more than two years of the annual fee.
For now, I’m only committing to the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard for the first year — whether I renew will depend not only on my own travel habits, but those of the family members and friends I’ve added as authorized users, since the value they can get alone could make the card worth keeping indefinitely.
As for how to use my new stash of AA miles… I have a few ideas.
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