The best credit cards for American Airlines flyers

This page is a marketplace where our partners can highlight their current card offers. The reviews and insights represented are editorial, but the order in which cards appear on the page may be influenced by compensation we may receive from our partners.

Whether you’re an avid or occasional American Airlines flyer, it can be a good idea to strategize about having a credit card that makes flying cheaper, easier or more rewarding. Here are the best American Airlines credit cards from our partners.

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

3/5
at Citi's secure site

Rewards

1 - 2X miles
more info
  • 2X2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1X1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases

Intro Bonus

50,000 miles
details

Annual Fee

$450

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
more info
Why we chose it

The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is the best for those who fly American Airlines and want Admirals Club lounge access. It also gives you helps you earn and maintain elite status and comes with priority perks.

Pros

  • Earn a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 on the within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Offers Admirals Club lounge access. Help earning up to 10,000 EQMs that go toward elite status.
  • Priority check-in, airport screening, boarding and a free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions.
  • 25% discount on inflight food and beverages.
  • Receive a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Fee Statement Credit.

Cons

  • No travel protection benefits. Miles redemption limited to American Airlines and its Oneworld partners.
  • 25% inflight credit doesn't include Wi-Fi.
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Best for Admirals Club access

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
3/5
  • 2X 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1X 1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases

Intro Bonus
tooltip

50,000 miles

Annual Fee

$450

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent, Good
Why we chose it

The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is the best for those who fly American Airlines and want Admirals Club lounge access. It also gives you helps you earn and maintain elite status and comes with priority perks.

Pros

  • Earn a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 on the within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Offers Admirals Club lounge access. Help earning up to 10,000 EQMs that go toward elite status.
  • Priority check-in, airport screening, boarding and a free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions.
  • 25% discount on inflight food and beverages.
  • Receive a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Fee Statement Credit.

Cons

  • No travel protection benefits. Miles redemption limited to American Airlines and its Oneworld partners.
  • 25% inflight credit doesn't include Wi-Fi.
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Best for travel insurance

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4.5/5
at Chase's secure site

Rewards

1 - 2X points
more info
  • 2X2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel.
  • 1X1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Intro Bonus

100,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most popular travel rewards credit card on the market. Sporting an all-time-high sign-up bonus and offering an excellent 2x points on all travel and dining purchases, the card packs a ton of value that easily offsets its $95 annual fee. Cardholders can redeem points at 1.25 cents each for travel booked through Chase or transfer points to one of Chase’s 13 valuable airline and hotel partners.

Pros

  • You’ll earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and dining including eligible delivery services and takeout.
  • The current sign-up bonus on this card is quite generous. TPG values it at $2,000
  • Premium travel protection benefits including trip cancellation insurance, primary car rental insurance and lost luggage insurance.

Cons

  • The card comes with a $95 annual fee.
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Best for travel insurance

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
4.5/5
  • 2X 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel.
  • 1X 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

100,000 points

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most popular travel rewards credit card on the market. Sporting an all-time-high sign-up bonus and offering an excellent 2x points on all travel and dining purchases, the card packs a ton of value that easily offsets its $95 annual fee. Cardholders can redeem points at 1.25 cents each for travel booked through Chase or transfer points to one of Chase’s 13 valuable airline and hotel partners.

Pros

  • You’ll earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and dining including eligible delivery services and takeout.
  • The current sign-up bonus on this card is quite generous. TPG values it at $2,000
  • Premium travel protection benefits including trip cancellation insurance, primary car rental insurance and lost luggage insurance.

Cons

  • The card comes with a $95 annual fee.
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Best for frequent travelers

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4.5/5
at Chase's secure site

Rewards

1 - 3X points
more info
  • 3X3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit.
  • 3X3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.
  • 1X1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro Bonus

60,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
more info
Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our top premium travel cards. With a $300 travel credit, generous 3x on dining and travel purchases and other benefits, you can get excellent value that far exceeds the annual fee on the card.

Pros

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners.
  • Unlimited 3x on the broad category of travel and dining.
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel directly through Chase Ultimate Reward.

Cons

  • Steep initial $550 annual fee.
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best for frequent travelers

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
4.5/5
  • 3X 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit.
  • 3X 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.
  • 1X 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro Bonus
tooltip

60,000 points

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit
tooltip

740-850
Excellent
Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our top premium travel cards. With a $300 travel credit, generous 3x on dining and travel purchases and other benefits, you can get excellent value that far exceeds the annual fee on the card.

Pros

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners.
  • Unlimited 3x on the broad category of travel and dining.
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel directly through Chase Ultimate Reward.

Cons

  • Steep initial $550 annual fee.
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4.5/5
at American Express's secure site Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

Rewards

5 - 10X points
more info
  • 10XEarn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • 5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Intro Bonus

100,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

The Amex Platinum is unmatched when it comes to travel perks and benefits. If lounge access, hotel elite status and annual statement credits are important to you, this card is well worth the high annual fee.

Pros

  • The current welcome bonus on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $2,000, not including any points you may earn from the temporary 10x bonus categories
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, and at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more (enrollment required).
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The $695 annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning bonus rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards. "
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best for lounge access

The Platinum Card® from American Express

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
4.5/5
  • 10X Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • 5X Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

100,000 points

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

The Amex Platinum is unmatched when it comes to travel perks and benefits. If lounge access, hotel elite status and annual statement credits are important to you, this card is well worth the high annual fee.

Pros

  • The current welcome bonus on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $2,000, not including any points you may earn from the temporary 10x bonus categories
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, and at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more (enrollment required).
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The $695 annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning bonus rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards. "
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best for avoiding annual fees

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

3/5
at Citi's secure site

Rewards

1 - 2X miles
more info
  • 2XEarn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
  • 2XEarn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1XEarn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases

Intro Bonus

10,000 miles
details

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
more info
Why we chose it

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp card is perfect for beginners who are loyal to the carrier. With no annual fee, it’s a great way to earn status and miles with American faster.

Pros

  • Earn 2x on eligible American Airlines purchases and groceries.
  • 25% savings on inflight drink and snack purchases when paying with the card on American Airlines flights.

Cons

  • Small sign-up bonus.
  • No priority boarding or free bag perks.
  • Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Best for avoiding annual fees

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
3/5
  • 2X Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
  • 2X Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1X Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases

Intro Bonus
tooltip

10,000 miles

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent, Good
Why we chose it

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp card is perfect for beginners who are loyal to the carrier. With no annual fee, it’s a great way to earn status and miles with American faster.

Pros

  • Earn 2x on eligible American Airlines purchases and groceries.
  • 25% savings on inflight drink and snack purchases when paying with the card on American Airlines flights.

Cons

  • Small sign-up bonus.
  • No priority boarding or free bag perks.
  • Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

More on the best American Airlines credit cards of 2021

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With 850+ mainline aircraft in its fleet flying to more than 350 destinations in 50 countries, American Airlines is the largest carrier in the world.

Heck, the name “America” is even in the airline’s name, so if you live in the U.S., the odds are high you’ve at least occasionally found yourself flying on American Airlines. Of course, right now, American — along with most carriers — have had to alter their routes substantially throughout the pandemic. But when normal returns, so will many of American’s routes.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Whether you’re an avid or occasional American Airlines flyer, it can be a good idea to strategize about having a credit card that makes flying cheaper, easier or more rewarding. While 2020 was anything but normal, some temporary changes made cobranded credit cards more rewarding than ever.

Looking forward to the normal days when we again take to the sky, let’s consider ways frequent and infrequent American flyers can bolster their miles, enjoy benefits and even get closer to elite status with the right card(s).

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Best American Airlines credit cards of 2021

IN THIS POST

Best American Airlines cobranded credit cards

If you’re in the market for an American Airlines-issued credit card, you’ve got choices. Due to the US Airways and American Airlines merger in 2013, there are still two different banks that issue American Airlines credit cards: Citi and Barclays. This means you have more choices as an American Airlines flyer than you would as say, a United Airlines flyer, since all United credit cards are issued by Chase.

Here’s a comparison of the available Citi- and Barclays-issued American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards currently available for new sign-ups:

Credit Card Welcome bonus Annual fee Earning capabilities
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card 10,000 American miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. $0 2 miles for every  $1 spent at grocery stores and on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1x elsewhere
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® 60,000 bonus miles and a $99 companion ticket awarded after you make a single purchase within the first 90 days of card opening $99 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1x elsewhere
Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard 50,000 miles after you spend $2,500 on purchases the first three months of account opening. $99 (waived the first 12 months) 2 miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants and on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1x elsewhere
AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Additional 10,000 miles when an employee card is used for a purchase. $95 2 American Airlines miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, office supply stores, telecom expenses and car rentals, 1x elsewhere
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® 65,000 American Airlines bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening. $99 (waived the first 12 months) 2 American Airlines miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, telecom, cable, satellite, car rentals and gas stations, 1x elsewhere
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. $450 2 American Airlines miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1x elsewhere

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select, Citi AAdvantage Business Platinum Select, AAdvantage Aviator Red and the AAdvantage Aviator Business cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Note that these are the cards available for new customer sign-ups, but some other Barclays-issued American Airlines cards may only be available for current Aviator cardholders. Note: Bonus valuation is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Those are the basics. Now here’s a closer look at the best American Airlines cobranded credit cards and what type of American Airlines flyers they serve best.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/ The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 AAdvantage miles after you spend $2,500 in the first three months of account opening

Bonus valuation: $700

Annual fee: $99 (waived the first 12 months)

Benefits: In addition to the current sign-up bonus, you also receive:

  • 2 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on restaurants, gas stations and on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Access to American’s reduced mileage awards, giving you a 7,500-mile discount on round-trip awards for certain routes in North America
  • First bag checked free on domestic AA itineraries for yourself and up to four companions on the same reservation
  • $125 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card year and renew your card

Who should get it: With a lower annual fee and minimum spending requirement than some of the higher-tier American Airlines cards, such as the Executive World Elite card, it’s the best card for the casual American Airlines flyer who isn’t invested in earning elite status, but wants a better experience when flying American.

For more information, read our AAdvantage Platinum Select card review.

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 10,000 AAdvantage miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $500 in the first three months of account opening

Bonus valuation: $190

Annual fee: $0

Benefits: This card rounds out Citi’s American Airlines card lineup as the no-annual-fee, entry-level option. It’s light on benefits but offers the following in addition to the current sign-up bonus:

  • 2 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent at grocery stores and on eligible American Airlines purchases — equal to a 2.8% return based on TPG valuations
  • 1x on all other purchases
  • 25% savings on food and beverages on AA inflight purchases made with the MileUp card

Who should get it: This card is good for those who want to earn American Airlines miles but absolutely don’t want an annual fee and also don’t fly American Airlines with regularity, so don’t care about waived check bag fees.

For more information, read our AAdvantage MileUp card review.

AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 bonus miles and a $99 companion ticket awarded after you make a purchase within the first 90 days of card opening

Bonus valuation: $840

Annual fee: $99

Benefits: This Barclays-issued card offers an annual $25 annual statement credits on inflight Wi-Fi purchases, an annual $99 companion ticket after you spend $20,000 on the card, waived check bag fees for the cardholder and up to four on the American Airlines reservation and a 25% statement credit for eligible onboard AA purchases. The category bonuses are fairly standard:

  • 2 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1x on all other purchases

Who should get it: The AAdvantage Aviator Red card is a fantastic option for those who want a big sign-up bonus that can be earned after buying something as small as a pack of chewing gum. The perks are solid for the occasional American Airlines flyer.

Related: The many flavors of Barclays’ AAdvantage Aviator credit cards

AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Earn an additional 10,000 miles when an employee card is used for a purchase.

Bonus valuation: $910 to $1,050

Annual fee: $95

Benefits: The AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard offers benefits that improve the business traveler experience:

  • Free checked bags for you and up to four people on the same American Airlines reservation
  • Annual $99 companion voucher awarded after $30,000 in spending
  • Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year
  • 5% bonus on American Airlines miles earned on the card each year
  • 2 American Airlines miles per dollar spent on eligible office supply stores, telecom expenses and car rentals, and 1x elsewhere

Who should get it: This small business card is good for frequent American Airlines travelers who want an extra push toward elite status or a chance to earn a companion certificate each year with their small business spending. The 5% annual bonus on miles earned on the card also boosts the effective earning rate above other options on this list.

Related: The best cards for each business credit card category

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening

Bonus valuation: $910

Annual fee: $99 (waived the first 12 months)

Benefits: The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard offers fewer benefits than the Barclay Aviator Business Mastercard, but small business owners will still find them valuable:

  • $99 companion certificate after you spend $30,000 or more on the card in a calendar year and renew the card (account must remain open for at least 45 days after the anniversary date)
  • Access to reduced mileage awards
  • 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and gas stations, and 1x miles elsewhere

Who should get it: The additional spending category bonuses on this small business card make it an attractive option for small business owners who want to earn extra American miles on various charges.

For more information, read our CitiBusiness AAdvantage card review.

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 AAdvantage miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Bonus valuation: $700

Annual fee: $450

Benefits: In addition to the sign-up bonus, the card comes with the following perks:

  • Full Admirals Club membership, including access privileges for authorized users to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges. You are required to show a same-day boarding pass for American or a partner airline to use these lounges.
  • First checked bag free for yourself and up to eight traveling companions when traveling on a domestic American Airlines flight
  • Priority check-in, airport screening and boarding privileges
  • 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year

Who should get it: This is a card for American Airlines elite flyers — or those who fly American a lot but just not quite enough for a meaningful status level. Having this card is a lot like having elite status — without the first class upgrades. If earning AAdvantage elite status is important to you, the Executive card offers 10,000 EQMs when you spend $40,000 on the card within a calendar year to help get to that next threshold faster.

For more information, read our AAdvantage Executive card review.

Related: Earning another American Airlines card sign-up bonus: What you need to know

Admirals Club customer lounge
The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard comes with an Admirals Club membership. (Photo Courtesy of American Airlines)

Good cards for buying American Airlines tickets

You’ll earn American AAdvantage miles just about anytime you fly with a paid ticket, calculated on the base price of your ticket minus taxes and fees. The amount of miles you earn also varies based on your AAdvantage elite status. And while it can make a whole lot of sense to have and use an American Airlines cobranded credit card for your American ticket purchases, there are also situations where other credit cards may be an even better choice.

For example, if you want to earn more flexible rewards, you could pay for your American Airlines ticket with a card that earns American Express Membership RewardsChase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou Rewards Points. Consider the following cards for your American Airlines tickets, some of which carry generous built-in travel protections compared to some of the Barclays or Citi cobranded American Airlines cards.

CREDIT CARD WELCOME OFFER/SIGN-UP BONUS ANNUAL FEE EARNING CAPABILITIES
Chase Sapphire Reserve 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. $550 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining, 1x elsewhere (10x on Lyft until 2022)
Chase Sapphire Preferred 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. $95 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining, 1x elsewhere (5x on Lyft until March 2022)
The Platinum Card from American Express 100,000 Membership Rewards points after new cardholders spend $6,000 on purchases within six months of account opening. Terms apply. $695 (see rates & fees) 5 points per dollar spent on airfare booked through Amex or directly with the airlines on up to $500,000 per calendar year and  on prepaid hotels booked directly with Amex, 1x elsewhere. Terms apply.
Citi Prestige® Card  50,000 Citi ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. $495 5 Citi ThankYou points per dollar spent on air travel and restaurants; 3 points per dollar spent on hotels and cruise lines, 1x elsewhere

The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Let’s take a closer look at these alternate options to see how well they’d work for an American traveler.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.

Bonus valuation: $1,200

Annual fee: $550

Benefits: Chase Ultimate Rewards points don’t transfer to American Airlines, but you can actually use them to book American-operated flights via Ultimate Rewards transfer partners such as British Airways, starting at 7,500 Avios points each way. This card is a great choice if you’re eyeing future award travel with a diverse group of airline partners. Or if you prefer the simplicity of cash fares. You can redeem your points for 1.5 cents each for airfare, hotels, car rentals or cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

The Sapphire Reserve earns 3x on all travel (excluding its $300 travel credit) and dining purchases and 1x on everything else. If you spend a lot in these two categories, you could be ready to book an award flight in no time.

The card also awards 10x on Lyft. Its $550 annual fee is offset by a $300 annual travel credit that is automatically applied to any eligible purchases — from airfare to hotel stays to sightseeing tours. You get lounge access through Priority Pass Select membership, plus excellent travel protections if you put the airfare or the taxes and fees on award flights on your card. Chase has also added limited-time benefits related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s an example of how using a card like this to book a flight resulted in Chase picking up the tab for a $1,000 last-minute hotel when flights were canceled.

For more information, read our Sapphire Reserve card review.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

(Photo by the Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Bonus valuation: $2,000

Annual fee: $95

Benefits: This card offers 2x on all travel and dining purchases (not just American tickets) at a reasonable annual fee. The Ultimate Rewards points earned can be transferred to United, British Airways, Southwest Airlines, and several other airline and hotel programs.

You can also book flights and other travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card also features primary rental car insurance and some travel and purchase protection benefits.

For more information, read our Sapphire Preferred card review.

The Platinum Card from American Express

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: 100,000 Membership Rewards points after new cardholders spend $6,000 on purchases within six months of card membership. You may be targeted for a 125,000-point bonus offer through CardMatch (offer subject to change at any time).

Bonus valuation: $2,000

Annual fee: $695 (see rates and fees)

Benefits: Although the Membership Rewards points earned by this card can’t be transferred to American, they can be transferred to Oneworld partners — such as British Airways, Qantas and Cathay Pacific — along with Etihad Guest, one of American’s non-alliance partners. You can use points transferred to any of these programs to book award tickets on American-operated flights.

The Platinum Card earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on all flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), as well as prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Other cardholder benefits include an up to $200 annual statement credit toward incidental airline fees (although not airfare), monthly Uber credits, biannual Saks credits, Marriott elite status, Hilton elite status, Centurion Lounge access, Priority Pass Select membership and much more. Enrollment required for select card benefits.For more information, read our Amex Platinum card review.

Citi Prestige Card

Unless you spend a ton on travel purchases aside from airfare, hotels and cruises -- or make a lot of entertainment purchases -- the Prestige is likely a better option.
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Citi ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening

Bonus valuation: $850

Annual fee: $495

Benefits: Although it’s not an AA-cobranded card, the Citi Prestige is a premium card worth considering if you are an American flyer and want to collect transferable points.

In addition to the nice sign-up offer, this card earns 5 Citi ThankYou Points per dollar spent on air travel and restaurants; 3 points per dollar spent on hotels and cruise lines, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.

Citi ThankYou Points can be transferred to Oneworld partners such as Cathay Pacific and Qantas or American Airlines partner Etihad for booking American-operated award flights. You’ll also have lounge access through the Priority Pass Select membership that is provided as a cardmember benefit.

Through the end of 2021, the $250 annual travel credit awarded to cardholders each year can also be used at grocery stores and restaurants.

For more information, read our Citi Prestige card review.

Who should get an American Airlines credit card?

I wouldn’t recommend building your entire points-earning strategy around an American Airlines cobranded credit card since having all your eggs (er, miles) in one basket is very limiting. American moved to dynamic pricing on award tickets, which has made some awards more affordable but others extremely expensive.

However, if you fly even a few times a year with American, you can save a lot of money with some of the perks provided by the cobranded cards. Perhaps the most valuable is the free checked bags. Many American Airlines cobranded cards offer free checked bags for four or even eight additional people on the reservation, making it a money saver for the whole family.

I like to think of airline credit cards as offering “elite-lite” perks, such as priority boarding and lounge access, similar to the benefits you might receive if you have elite status. If you frequently travel with American but don’t fly enough (or don’t spend enough) to earn AAdvantage elite status, these credit card perks become even more valuable. Of course, a couple of the cards can also help you earn elite status faster via bonuses you get for spending certain amounts on the cards each year.

Related: How to avoid checked bag fees

American Airlines A321T First Class Seat
A first class seat in an American Airlines Airbus A321. (Photo by First Class Photography/Shutterstock)

How much are AAdvantage miles worth?

In TPG’s latest monthly valuation, American Airlines AAdvantage miles are pegged at 1.4 cents each. The carrier has been rapidly expanding economy web special deals utilizing miles, which can be a steal when they line up with your needs. AAdvantage miles are worth slightly more than United (1.3 cents) and Delta (1.2 cents), partly because of the value you get redeeming them for Oneworld partner awards.

For just 70,000 miles, you can fly Cathay Pacific’s excellent business class to anywhere in Asia.  You can also fly Iberia business class to Europe for 57,500 miles and avoid some of the nasty fuel surcharges that British Airways is known for.

Cathay Pacific First Class (Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)
Use your AAdvantage miles to book a seat in Cathay Pacific first class. (Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)

Bear in mind that some American cobranded cards also offer discounted awards to select rotating destinations. TPG Editor Nick Ewen took advantage of this for a round-trip flight to New Mexico, dropping the price of his three award tickets from 25,000 miles to just 17,500 miles. If you live near an airport that regularly appears on this rotating list of cities eligible for these discounts, having an American Airlines card could make a lot of sense.

Can you have more than one American Airlines credit card?

Yes! That was easy.

Thankfully, unlike the very complex rules with Marriott credit cards that are issued by both American Express and Chase (also a result of a merger, in that case between SPG and Marriott), having a Citi American Airlines card doesn’t automatically impact your eligibility from getting a Barclays-issued American Airlines card, and vice versa.

Additionally, you can theoretically have more than one Citi-issued American Airlines card if you wish. For example, if you have the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard but decided you also wanted to get the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard for its lounge access (and bonus miles), nothing is stopping you from having both. However, it’s important to note that you can’t get a sign-up bonus on a new card if you previously received one on that same card within the previous 48 months.

As always, read the fine print in the terms and conditions carefully, but there are ways to have more than one American Airlines branded card if you wish.

Related: Comparing Citi and Barclays American Airlines cards

Bottom line

When travel is more normal, deciding which card American Airlines credit card is best comes down to how often you fly the carrier, how much you value lounge access, whether you need help achieving elite status and what other cards you have in your wallet.

For most occasional American Airlines flyers, the Aviator Red is the way to go. The card provides a sizable 60,000-mile sign-up bonus after you hit the spending requirements to boost your account from the beginning and some nice perks like your first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries.

For those who want Admirals Club access, you may prefer the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, while if you have a small business, the answer on which is best will be different.

Then there’s also option B: Get a more flexible travel credit card. For example, The Platinum Card from American Express awards 5 points per dollar spent on American Airlines ticket purchases (made directly with the airline) and includes Priority Pass access. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is another great choice for travelers who want some built-in travel protections and bonus points without being locked into earning miles with American Airlines.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.

Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Additional reporting by Stella Shon. 

Chris Dong
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