The best credit cards for American Airlines flyers of 2022

If you fly American Airlines, even occasionally, a co-branded American Airlines card could make sense for earning miles toward award flights and enjoying benefits like a free checked bag.

Having and using an American Airlines credit card is even more useful now that the AAdvantage program awards elite status based on Loyalty Points. For every dollar you spend on a co-branded AA card, you’ll earn 1 Loyalty Point toward elite status (in addition to redeemable miles).

Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize American Airlines miles

Between its two issuer partners, Citi and Barclays, American Airlines offers an array of co-branded credit cards. They range from a no-annual-fee option to a $450-per-year premium credit card that includes access to the airline’s Admirals Club airport lounges and rewards high spenders with elite-qualifying miles.

With all those choices, the right airline credit card for your travel style depends on the benefits and perks that are most useful to you. Here’s what to know to help you decide.


Regular APR


15.99%-22.99% Variable


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent


Regular APR


15.99%-22.99% Variable


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent

More Information

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 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 03/31/22.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.

If you know you’ll fly American once or twice this year but want to keep your options open with rewards that you can use across multiple airlines (and hotels), a card that earns transferable points is your best bet. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a good option thanks to its reasonable $95 annual fee and the valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points you’ll earn.

The card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You’ll earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (2x points on all other travel purchases), 3x points on dining, 3x points on


online grocery

purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), 3x points on select


streaming

services, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred card review: One of the best rewards credit cards for beginners

While American Airlines isn’t a Chase transfer partner — meaning you can’t move your Chase points into the AAdvantage frequent flyer program — you can use your rewards from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to book American Airlines flights directly through the Chase travel portal. Even better, your points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel, so you’ll get 1.25 cents in value toward flights.

If you prefer a premium credit card, you could consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve instead. It earns 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after earning the $300 travel credit) and 3x points on other travel and dining, and your points are worth 1.5 cents apiece toward American Airlines flights booked through Chase. The card has a $550 annual fee, but up to $300 in annual travel credits help offset that cost.

Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: How to choose the best travel rewards credit card for you


Annual Fee


$99, waived for first 12 months


Regular APR


15.99% – 24.99% variable


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent


Annual Fee


$99, waived for first 12 months


Regular APR


15.99% – 24.99% variable


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent

More Information

  • The information related to the Citi®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® card has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 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
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy preferred boarding 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.

If your primary goal is to rack up American AAdvantage miles quickly on everyday purchases, the earning rates on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® can’t be beat. That’s because it accrues 2x miles not only on eligible American Airlines purchases but also at restaurants and gas stations, two major expense categories for a lot of consumers.

Read more: Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select card review

Aside from that, cardholders get a free checked bag on domestic AA itineraries for themselves and up to four companions, preferred boarding, and 25% back on inflight food and beverage. Those who spend $20,000 or more on purchases in a calendar year and renew the card can earn a $125 flight discount certificate.

The card’s annual fee is $99, waived for first 12 months, and it’s currently offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.


Regular APR


15.99% – 24.99% (Variable)


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent


Regular APR


15.99% – 24.99% (Variable)


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent

Pros

  • Earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles with no annual fee
  • Rack up double miles at grocery stores in addition to American Airlines purchases

Cons

  • Modest sign-up bonus is much lower than other American Airlines cards
  • No meaningful frequent flyer benefits
  • You’ll pay foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad

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More Information

  • Earn 10,000 bonus American AAdvantage miles and a $50 statement credit when you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening
  • Earn 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and grocery store purchases, as well as 1x miles on all other purchases
  • Qualify for 25% off in-flight purchases of internet service, food, and drink
  • No annual fee

Want to earn miles on everyday purchases without the burden of a high annual fee? American Airlines introduced its no-annual-fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card a couple of years ago to target less-frequent flyers on a budget.

Read more: American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card review

The card earns a respectable 2x miles on both eligible American Airlines purchases and at grocery stores, and 1x on everything else. Its only day-of-travel benefit is 25% back as a statement credit on inflight food and beverage, so don’t expect free checked bags or priority boarding.

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is currently offering 10,000 American Airlines miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.


Regular APR


15.99% – 24.99% (Variable)


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent


Regular APR


15.99% – 24.99% (Variable)


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent

Pros

  • Full Admirals Club membership gets you (and authorized users) access to American Airlines lounges
  • Lots of American Airlines benefits, including priority boarding and check-in and a free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companions

Cons

  • High annual fee
  • Only earns bonus miles on American Airlines purchases

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More Information

  • The information related to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
  • 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit up to $100 every 5 years
  • Priority check-in and priority airport screening (where available)
  • A $450 annual fee

If you’re a frequent American flyer and value access to the airline’s Admirals Club airport lounges, then the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is the right card for you. It does have a $450 annual fee, but that is still $200 cheaper than Admirals Club membership costs if you buy it outright.

Read more: Citi / AAdvantage Executive card review

Unlike other airlines’ club cards, which merely offer lounge access, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® cardholders enjoy full Admirals Club membership privileges including entry to some partner lounges. Cardholders can also bring immediate family or up to two guests with same-day boarding passes on American or partner airlines. Not only that, but you can also add up to 10 authorized users at no cost, each of whom can also access Admirals Clubs with up to two guests.

Cardholders are eligible for up to a $100 statement credit to cover the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee once every five years. They also get free checked bags for themselves and up to eight companions on American Airlines domestic itineraries, are entitled to priority boarding, and get 25% back on inflight food and beverage purchases. This card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is currently offering 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Read more: The best credit cards with airport lounge access in 2022


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent

Pros

  • Generous benefits include inflight Wi-Fi statement credits, food and beverage credits, and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Free checked bag and preferred boarding for the cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation
  • Ability to earn Elite Qualifying Miles and Elite Qualifying Dollars for meeting spending thresholds

Cons

  • Not available to new applicants — only available as an upgrade
  • High annual fee

More Information

  • Earn 3X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on hotels and car rentals
  • Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Unlimited earning on miles
  • Earn up to 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) on your spend between January 1, 2021 and February 28, 2022. Earn 5,000 EQMs if you spend $20,000 on purchases and another 5,000 EQMs if you spend an additional $20,000 on purchases

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® is not open to new applicants, but you can upgrade to it if you have the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®
. The reason this card wins in this category is that it allows you to earn Loyalty Points toward American Airlines AAdvantage status.

Read more: Airline credit cards from Delta, Southwest, and more can help you earn elite status — in some cases, you can qualify without setting foot on a plane

You can earn 5,000 bonus Loyalty Points if you spend $20,000 on purchases, another 5,000 bonus Loyalty Points if you spend $40,000 on purchases, and another 5,000 bonus Loyalty Points if you spend $50,000 or more on purchases between January 1, 2022, and February 28, 2023. If you need a boost to reach the next level of elite status, those extra Loyalty Points might be just what you need. 

This card’s other value-packed perks include up to a $100 credit to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every five years, up to $25 back per day on inflight food and beverage purchases, and up to $50 refunded for Wi-Fi purchases on American flights each year.

Cardholders also enjoy preferred boarding, free checked bags on domestic American Airlines itineraries for the cardholder and up to eight companions on the same reservation, and two $99 (plus taxes) companion certificates after spending $20,000 in purchases each account year that they can redeem toward round-trip domestic economy itineraries.

Read more: Guide to the best travel rewards credit cards

The card earns 3x miles on American Airlines purchases, 2x miles on hotels and car rentals, and 1x on everything else. Its annual fee is $199.


Regular APR


15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent


Regular APR


15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent

Pros

  • You’ll earn the welcome bonus after making your first purchase and paying the annual fee
  • Free checked bag and preferred boarding on American Airlines
  • Inflight Wi-Fi statement credits

Cons

  • To earn a companion certificate you have to spend $20,000 or more in a year
  • Annual fee isn’t waived the first year
  • No bonus categories outside of American Airlines purchases

More Information

  • Earn 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full within the first 90 days from account opening
  • Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get up to $25 back as statement credits on inflight Wi-Fi purchases each year on American Airlines operated flights
  • Earn a Companion Certificate good for 1 guest at $99 (plus taxes and fees) if you spend $20,000 on purchases and your account remains open for 45 days after your anniversary date
  • Receive 25% inflight savings as statement credits on food and beverages when you use your card on American Airlines operated flights


Intro APR


0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening

While the Aviator Silver offers more significant onboard discounts, you might still want to consider the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® instead for a few reasons. First and foremost, it’s open to new applicants and is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full within the first 90 days from account opening.

Read more: Credit cards like the new Chase Freedom Flex are part of the Mastercard World Elite program, which can score you Lyft credits and cell phone insurance

In addition to offering 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases, it will also reimburse you up to $25 each year for inflight Wi-Fi. However, since it’s also a World Elite Mastercard, you can take advantage of perks recently added to that program including a $10 Lyft credit after taking five or more rides each month, and a 5% cash rewards credit for shopping on Boxed. Plus, the card includes cell phone protection (with a $50 deductible per claim) against loss or damage on up to $800 per claim, or up to two claims and a total of $1,000 per year, which can be a lifesaver.

The card waives foreign transaction fees and earns 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and 1x on everything else. Day-of-travel benefits include preferred boarding and a free checked bag for the cardholder and up to four companions on the same domestic American Airlines reservation. If you spend more than $20,000 on purchases per account year, you will also receive a $99 (plus taxes) companion certificate good for a round-trip domestic economy ticket.


Annual Fee


$99, waived for first 12 months


Regular APR


15.99% – 24.99% (Variable)


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent


Annual Fee


$99, waived for first 12 months


Regular APR


15.99% – 24.99% (Variable)


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent

Pros

  • Lots of bonus categories for earning miles on business-related purchases
  • Annual fee is waived the first year
  • Offers a free checked bag on American Airlines flights

Cons

  • Smaller businesses may have trouble meeting the $30,000 spending threshold to earn the companion certificate

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More Information

  • The information related to the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® card has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
  • Designed for businesses
  • Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • 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
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Your other small-business option is the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. It’s offering new cardholders 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening, and has an annual fee of $99, waived for first 12 months.

Read more: CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard review

The bonus earning categories include 2x on eligible American Airlines purchases, gas stations, cable and satellite services, telecommunications, and car rentals. This card has the same checked bag and boarding benefits as the Barclays version, though its inflight purchase discount includes Wi-Fi.

Those who spend $30,000 or more on purchases in an account anniversary year and renew their card receive a $99 companion travel certificate, too (provided their account remains open for at least 45 days after the account anniversary).

American Airlines credit card — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What credit score do you need for an American Airlines credit card?

All of the co-branded American Airlines cards mentioned above typically require at least a good credit score in order to be approved. Some, like the premium Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, usually look for an excellent credit score — that is, anything above an 800 FICO score.

If your credit isn’t quite where you want it to be yet, be sure to read about how to improve your credit score and why using credit cards can help boost your score.

Is an American Airlines credit card worth it?

It definitely makes sense to open an American Airlines credit card, particularly one that offers money-saving benefits like a free checked bag and preferred boarding, if you fly the airline — even a couple of times a year. The perks you receive can more than offset the annual fee on these cards, and you’ll earn miles you can redeem for free flights on American and its partners.

American Airlines credit cards are even more compelling if you’re working toward earning AAdvantage elite status. Because status is now awarded based on earning Loyalty Points, using an American Airlines card for everyday spending can give you the boost you need to achieve the next status tier.

Do you earn more Loyalty Points for spending in bonus categories on an American Airlines credit card?

All co-branded American Airlines credit cards earn 1 Loyalty Point per dollar you spend, regardless of category — so spending more in bonus categories isn’t going to make a difference in that regard.

Read more: Ignore the complicated American Airlines Loyalty Points strategies — here’s how I’ll earn Platinum elite status in a single week

For instance, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® earns 2x redeemable miles on American Airlines purchases and at gas stations and restaurants, but you’ll only earn 1 Loyalty Point per dollar even in these categories.

Do American Airlines card sign-up bonuses count as Loyalty Points?

Any sign-up bonus miles you earn from opening an American Airlines credit card will not count toward earning Loyalty Points and elite status. You’ll just earn redeemable miles.

Do you get priority boarding with an American Airlines credit card?

Most co-branded American Airlines cards (except the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card) come with early boarding privileges.

The premium Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® includes Group 4 priority boarding, and the rest of the co-branded cards offer Group 5 preferred boarding.

Which credit card can transfer points to American Airlines?

None of the major transferable points currencies (Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Capital One miles) have American Airlines as a transfer partner. Citi did have a limited-time transfer partnership in 2021, but that’s since expired.

However, you can transfer some hotel program points — most notably Marriott Bonvoy — to American Airlines. In addition, the Bilt Rewards program has American Airlines as a 1:1 transfer partner.

Do American Airlines miles expire?

American Airlines miles expire after 24 months of account inactivity. This means if you don’t earn or redeem AA miles within that time frame, you could lose your miles.

Read more: I closed my credit card and my airline miles almost expired — here’s how I saved them

Using an American Airlines credit card is a great way to generate earning activity in your account and keep your miles from expiring.

Featured credit cards from our partners

Regular APR

15.99%-22.99% Variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Regular APR

15.99% – 22.99% Variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Regular APR

14.99% – 23.74% Variable APR

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

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