September 30, 2022

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It's time to think about Travel.

Best American Airlines credit card

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If you’re always in the air, you may as well earn some money along the way. Flyers who are loyal to American Airlines (AA) have a few ways to accumulate points and miles to save on bag fees and more. Most AA credit cards are offered through Citi, but there are also two cards available via Barclays bank. All AA credit cards require good to excellent credit for approval.

Keep in mind that many of the best AA credit cards can only be achieved through an upgrade from another card. Get in on the ground floor now, and you can work your way toward a card with better benefits and more buying power. Upgrades are earned by crossing certain loyalty point thresholds. 

The airline recently changed the way they calculate points, and the process of accruing frequent-flyer points is more streamlined. Cardholders continue to earn miles that can be used to book travel, and they will also earn “loyalty points” that are used to unlock elite flyer status. When you buy merchandise through an American Airlines retail portal online, you may earn one loyalty point for every dollar spent and another loyalty point for every dollar spent on your card. Spending $100 using your AA card would translate to 200 loyalty points. 

Buyer’s Guide

American Airlines credit cards are offered through banking institutions who have a relationship with the airline. The APR and terms of each card may depend on the bank that grants the credit as well as your creditworthiness. Likewise, your credit limit will depend on your credit score, credit history, and other details. 

Intro BonusEarn 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

APR16.24% – 25.24% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward Rates

  • 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

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APRN/A

This AAdvantage credit card is made available through the airline’s relationship with Citi. This card doesn’t have an annual fee and allows you to get double the miles for grocery store spending, making it a smart choice for day-to-day spending. You’ll even earn two times the points when you use a grocery delivery service.

The card is also good for in-flight discounts on purchases aboard an American Airlines flight, and there are no limits to the number of miles you can earn. There aren’t a ton of frills with this card, but it’s great for casual travelers who want to earn a few perks while they go about their daily life. 

Pros:

Cons:

Intro BonusEarn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

APR16.24% – 25.24% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants.
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases.

Annual Fee$99, waived for first 12 months

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Not only will you earn loyalty points and frequent flyer miles with this AA card, but you get double miles on gas station purchases. So if you’re often on the road after your flight, you can continue to earn points as you cruise around in your rental card. 

You only have to spend $2,500 in the first three months of having your new card to earn your first mileage reward — and it’s a big one at 50,000 miles. Once your card is associated with your AAdvantage account, you’ll get a bag checked for free and preferred boarding. Plus, all foreign transaction fees are waived. 

Pros:

  • Good for earning miles on the road

  • Up to four travel companions can get a free checked bag

  • Initial spending bonus available

Cons:

Intro BonusEarn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

APR16.24% – 25.24% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward Rates

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

Annual Fee$450

Intro Purchase APRN/A

If you hate waiting in a long customs line when you return from another country, this could be the right card for you. Customers can receive a credit for costs associated with TSA PreCheck and Global Entry every five years. You can also get VIP priority airport screening where applicable. 

Perhaps most impressive, however, is that this card grants you access to the American Airlines Admirals Club. The value of this membership alone more than pays for your annual fee. For frequent international travelers, the priority boarding perk and access to a personal travel concierge can translate to a much more relaxing traveling experience.

Pros:

  • Admirals Club membership included 

  • Up to eight travelers can get a free checked bag on the same reservation

  • Global Entry credit every five years

  • Dedicated concierge for domestic and international travel

Cons:

Intro BonusEarn 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full within the first 90 days.

APR15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable based on your creditworthiness

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar on other purchases

Annual Fee$99

Intro Purchase APRN/A

The Aviator credit cards are offered through Barclays. If you cross a minimum spending threshold each year, you can get a companion pass for just $99. Your pass becomes available on the anniversary of your card membership and is valid as long as you keep your account open for 45 days after the anniversary. Needless to say, this can cut down on the cost of a couples trip or getaway with a friend. 

In addition to the companion pass benefit, this AA credit card offers a yearly credit for in-flight wi-fi and one free checked bag on domestic flights. You can also get preferred boarding for you and up to four companions. This card is also eligible for travel accident insurance and trip cancelation. 

Pros:

  • Companion travel benefits

  • Fraud liability protection

  • Intro APR on balance transfers

  • Earn double miles on AA purchases

Cons:

Intro BonusEarn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

APR16.24% – 25.24% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Excellent

Reward Rates

  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations*
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases*

Annual Fee$99, waived for first 12 months

Intro Purchase APRN/A

American Airlines also offers a business card from Barclays, but this Citi card has more appealing benefits. They have certainly considered the professionals’ specific spending needs, as cardholders earn double miles on everything from gas and car rentals to cable providers. If you charge your business’s telecommunications services to this card, you’ll also earn double miles on every dollar spent. 

This card is eligible for a companion pass for domestic travel after you meet a spending threshold, and the traveler and up to four companions get a free checked bag. For better business expense tracking, this card offers a summary of spending by month, quarter, and year for every cardholder. 

Pros:

  • Access to a 24/7 business assistant for travel arrangements

  • Individual spending limits available by cardholder

  • Preferred boarding available

  • Special offers on popular business software using your card

Cons:

What is the best American Airlines credit card?

For most card users, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is the best card. The card offers travel perks that are relevant to most leisure travelers. You’ll get the first bag checked for free for multiple travelers on the same reservation, a spending bonus, and one full year with no annual fee to give the card a test run. 

Credit Card

Annual Fee

First Bag Free

Double Miles

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Mastercard®

No

No

Grocery stores, eligible AA purchases, 

Citi / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Yes 

Yes

Gas stations, restaurants, eligible AA purchases

Citi / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Yes

Yes

Eligible AA purchases

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

Yes

Yes

Eligible AA purchases

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Yes

Yes

Gas stations, cable and satellite providers, telecommunications merchants, car rentals, eligible AA purchases

What banks offer American Airlines credit cards?

Citi and Barclays both offer American Airlines credit cards. Citi has four credit cards, each with its own set of terms and associated rewards.Three of Citi’s AA credit cards are personal cards, and one is a business card. Barclays offers one personal credit card and one business credit card with American Airlines benefits. 

What credit cards give American Airlines points?

There are six unique credit cards for consumer and business use for new cardholders. You can also upgrade your credit card as you earn more loyalty points. For instance, the Aviator® Red MasterCard® may be upgraded to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® once you earn enough American Airlines loyalty points. 

Is the American Airlines credit card a Mastercard?

Yes, American Airlines credit cards through Citi and Barclays are Mastercard products. These cards are accepted at most retailers and other merchants domestically and internationally. 

How can I use the AAdvantage miles I earn with my credit card?

Cardholders can earn miles by using their credit card and by completing flights. When you earn enough miles, you can redeem them for a variety of benefits. You can book flights on American Airlines or on a partner airline to more than 1,000 destinations. Cardholders can also use AAdvantage miles to pay for upgrades, hotels, or an Admirals Club membership. 

How did we choose these credit cards?

All American Airlines credit cards require good credit for approval, and your APR will be similar from card to card based on your credit score. However, there are some difference between these credit cards.

Travel perks

Since users of American Airlines credit cards are likely brand loyal to the airline, we looked at which of the airline’s associated cards have travel perks for various types of travelers. We made sure to represent casual and frequent travelers and considered both leisure and business travel needs. 

Quality of features

Are the perks offered actually useful? Some cards may offer a perk that sounds nice on paper but doesn’t actually expedite travel or represent significant savings. We considered cards with perks that make checking bags more affordable, check-in less stressful, traveling in groups more efficient, and more. 

Rewards

In addition to travel perks, like a free checked bag or access to the Admirals Club, we considered credit rewards. This includes bonus miles during the initial spending period and credits for specific purchases. 

Type of use

Some people use a card for personal spending, while other cardholders are using their credit as a part of their business spending. We paid attention to credit cards that would be beneficial for both personal and professional use. 

Which card is the right one for you?

The best American Airlines credit card for your needs depends on where you spend the most and which travel perks you need. Most cards let you check your first bag for free and waive certain fees abroad, but some cards are ideal for casual travelers while others help frequent travelers maximize their miles. 

Choose this card…

If you…

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Mastercard® credit card

Want to earn miles on groceries and avoid an annual fee

Citi / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Travel often by air and car

Citi / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Are an international traveler

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

Want to travel with a companion yearly

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Are traveling for business and need multiple cardholders

Are there alternative cards worth considering?

If you are interested in a business card with American Airlines perks, you may also want to consider this card:

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