The best elite credit card in America

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Premium credit cards offer not just greater rewards and benefits, but they can provide a more enjoyable experience when traveling. Considering the ordeal that modern travel has become, these benefits alone are often worth the higher price that cardholders must pay to hold a premium credit card.

What to Look for in an Elite Credit Card

At its core, a premium credit card is a rewards credit card, and you should look for the most valuable rewards for the spending you do. Most of these cards offer a single point or mile per dollar spent, with bonus points or miles for spending on certain types of purchases. For example, a card that offers airline frequent flier miles will typically offer double points for purchases from that airline, while other cards might offer additional points for dining or entertainment purchases. But as with other rewards credit cards, those who tend to carry a balance should look for a card that offers the lowest possible interest rates, not rewards for spending. These credit cards often require an excellent credit score to get approved, so make sure you know where you stand so you can compare credit cards for your credit level. You can check your credit scores for free on to see where you stand.

Next, you have to consider the benefits of these cards, and your ability to use them. For example, a premium credit card affiliated with a single airline will offer perks like free checked bags and priority boarding, which can be valuable, but only when flying on that airline. Furthermore, premium credit cards will offer an airport lounge benefit, but you have to learn which lounges they provide access to, and if they also provide access for guests. Finally, you have to consider the price of these premium cards, which includes an annual fee of $400-$500.

The Winner: Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Why It Won: This card now goes above and beyond all other premium credit cards by offering lounge benefits not just for the primary cardholder, but for all authorized cardholders as well.

The Benefits: When traveling on American airlines, cardholders receive their first checked bag free for themselves and up to eight additional people on their reservation. Cardholders also get to use the priority check-in areas at ticket counters and the expedited airport screening lanes, as well as priority boarding privileges. Furthermore, all cardholders including additional authorized users receive American Airlines Admirals Club membership for themselves and their immediate family members, or two guests. And since there is no additional charge to request cards for authorized users, you can offer lounge club membership to anyone you choose to add to your account. (Just be aware that adding an authorized user to your account leaves you open to responsibility for any charges they incur using the card.)

Cardholders also receive a $100 statement credit towards an application for the Global Entry program. Reach elite status sooner by earning 10,000 AAdvantage elite qualifying miles every year when you spend $40,000 on purchases.

The Costs: There is a $450 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.

Want to see the other winners in the Best Premium Credit Cards in America ranking? You can read more on

Note: It's important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for creditcards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with creditcard issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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The best elite credit card in America
BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 10: Memory chip on a credit card, master card on December 10, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
A customer enters their pin number as they make a chip and pin payment via a Verifone Systems Inc. credit card payment device at a restaurant in London, U.K., on Friday, May 22, 2015. Credit and debit cards that can be used by tapping the reader are gaining users, and mobile apps are set to further boost the popularity of contactless paying. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An employee demonstrates the use of an iZettle chip and pin reader mobile payment device at the iZettle AB headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. Swedish payments startup iZettle AB, a rival to Twitter Inc.founder Jack Dorsey's Square Inc., raised 60 million euros ($67 million) to expand in Europe and fund a plan to offer merchants cash advances on future card sales. Photographer: Johan Jeppsson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 10: Memory chip on an EC card on December 10, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

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