American Airlines

Review: Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

I recently product changed my Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite card to an AT&T Access More card from Citi (details to come).  The biggest reason I downgraded was the Executive card’s whopping $450 annual fee.  After the first year, I just couldn’t justify paying the high fee.  Originally, the card was compelling simply because of the mileage I could accrue from the sign up bonus.  It’s offered 100,000 AAdvantage miles in the past, but I was only able to snag a 75,000 AAdvantage offer.  Still, after 90 days I was 75,000 miles richer!

Before I get into all the details, a disclaimer:  In my opinion, every card is worth the sign up bonus if you cancel after the first year.  You just need to pick which card works best for you.  Once you have a few, you then need to pick which ones to keep.  There are a lot of factors that go into this – the bonus offer, the long-term benefits, you get the idea.

In an effort to clear up some of the mystery of selecting cards, I’m going to outline my decision and the benefits I was able to use with the AAdvantage Executive.  I’ll break the benefits up into “tangible” and “intangible.”

Tangible:  benefits that I more than likely would have paid for otherwise, or that I will be able to use or well save me money in the future

Intangible:  benefits that I can’t comfortably assign a value to, this is usually because I’d be unwilling to pay upfront for such benefits

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Admirals Club, ATL Terminal T

On my Mexico trip, we flew through Atlanta on the way there and back.

For anyone that hasn’t flown out of Atlanta…

It’s huge.  Atlanta sees nearly triple the passengers Boston does, and it shows.  There’s twice as many terminals, and a train that runs between them.  Southwest calls Terminal C its home, and American happens to fly out of Terminal T, which means .  With over 2 hours in Atlanta on both the way to Cancun and back home to Boston, I slipped my Citi AAdvantage Executive card back into my wallet before we left.

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I’ll take a boarding pass with a side of miles, please.

Back to the travel hacking bit..

I’m still very much in the accumulation phase.  As you read more about the game, you’ll see different types of folks.  Earn & Burn type people rack up points and then jet off to somewhere far away as soon as they have the points for the trip.  Some people get all their points through clever spending.  Some just take a vacation once a year with their miles, and accumulate very steadily, over time.

Me?

I’m a bit of a hoarder at the moment.  Now, eventually I’ll be able to get to see the world, but for now, I’m content to watch my frequent flyer accounts grow.

As you know, I was able to get down to North Carolina for a weekend recently.  I love to crunch the numbers, and see how I did, what I could maximize, and how best to travel hack.  By reviewing each trip, I’m able to improve and learn more about this hobby, and you know what they say:  knowledge is travel.

Or power, or something like that..

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Admiral’s Club, CLT Concourse C

Flying out of Charlotte, I had my second taste of the high life.  Racing through security, I turned my attention to the Admirals Club in Concourse C at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Similar to Boston, Charlotte actually has two Admirals Clubs, one an old US Airways Club.  This time, I actually opted for the old US Airways option, rather than the original American Airlines lounge in Concourse B.

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Admirals Club, BOS Terminal B (near gate B4)

On my recent excursion to the great city of Winston-Salem, I had the pleasure of flying American Airlines with my trusty Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard.

In addition to extra miles on American Airlines purchases, discounts on in-flight snacks, and World Elite MasterCard benefits, this card grants the user Admirals Club access.  As long as the card is open, you can pop right in and enjoy the food, drinks, and comfy chairs.

Not only did I love pretending I was an important business traveler, but their gin & tonic wasn’t half bad…especially considering it was free!

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Citi and AAdvantage

Citi and American Airlines seem to get along very well.  There’s a selection of Citi/AAdvantage co-branded cards, and Citi often offers miles for new bank accounts.  I got lucky with two special AAdvantage bonuses this past Fall.  I decided to take full advantage of both of them.

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