The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months. American Airlines miles are the best for super-cheap economy redemptions and ultra-luxury redemptions.

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The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® also offers Admirals Club lounge membership, meaning you can access over 90 American Airlines Clubs in airports around the world whenever you’re flying–even if you’re not flying on American. Plus you can bring in any two guests for free OR your spouse and all children under 18 for free on each visit. This is why the card has a $450 annual fee; new membership in the Admirals Club usually costs $500.

What is less known about the card is that it offers the ability to earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after spending $40,000 on the card in a calendar year.

  • What are Elite Qualifying Miles?
  • When do the EQMs post?
  • What are 10,000 EQMs worth?
  • Should You Try to Earn the EQMs Bonus?
  • How Can You Spend $40,000 in the next five months?

What are Elite Qualifying Miles?

Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) are one way to earn American Airlines status. (The other two are Elite Qualifying Points and Segments.) You basically earn one EQM per mile flown on paid tickets in economy and 1.5 per mile flown on paid tickets in First Class. Click here for full information from American Airlines.

EQMs are just a counter toward status and cannot be redeemed for anything. You need to earn in a calendar year:

  • 25,000 EQMs for Gold Status
  • 50,000 EQMs for Platinum Status
  • 100,000 EQMs for Executive Platinum Status.

Those statuses come with perks like free upgrades, free checked bags, waived fees, and faster mileage earning on paid tickets.

Check out this chart of the benefits of each level of status.

What Is This Offer?

Spend $40,000 on your Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® that posts on your January through December statements (slightly different than a calendar year), and you earn 10,000 EQMs.

The EQMs are in addition to the normal AAdvantage award miles earned on the spending, which would be at least 40,000 miles for the spending, plus the 50,000 bonus miles for signing up, plus any bonus miles for making American Airlines purchases.

When Do EQMs Post?

Within a few days of your Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® statement closing that shows you’ve spent more than $40,000 in the calendar year, your EQMs post according to the experience of FlyerTalkers.

That means if you hit $40,000 in spending by the December statement, you should get the EQMs this calendar year.

What are 10,000 EQMs Worth?

I cannot answer this fully for you. I can give some guidance.

If the 10,000 EQMs don’t bump you to the next status level, they are worth $0. For instance, if you have never flown American Airlines or its partners, 10,000 EQMs are worth nothing. Or if you’ll have 55,000 EQMs at the end of the year, 10,000 more EQMs are worth nothing because the next threshold is 100,000 EQMs.

If the 10,000 EQMs do bump you to the next status level, you need to figure out how much extra the next level of American Airlines elite status is worth to you.

Here are, in my opinion, reasonable valuations for moving from one status level to the next:

  • No status to Gold (assuming you fly 15,000 miles per year): $500
  • Gold to Platinum (assuming you fly 40,000 miles per year): $800
  • Platinum to Executive Platinum (assuming you fly 90,000 miles per year): $4,200 because of the eight systemwide upgrades you earn

The 10,000 EQMs are not worth those amounts; those are just the maximum they can be worth. If you can get 10,000 EQMs for cheaper than $4,200, it would be unfair to value 10,000 EQMs at $4,200.

Your best bet to get EQMs is flying cheap economy fares, and you can often find flights for around 5 cents per mile, meaning that 10,000 EQMs would be $500 worth of flights. Add to that the value of your time for flying flights to nowhere but subtract the value of the award miles earned from the flights to get the lowest cost alternative way to get 10,000 EQMs.

Your personal value of 10,000 EQMs should be the lesser of the alternative price to earn them from flying and the value of moving up a status level.

For most people, this will be in the $300 to $1,000 range depending on the value of their time, which is the biggest variable in determining whether flying to nowhere (mileage running) is worth it for you.

Should You Try to Earn the EQMs Bonus?

If you can’t spend $40,000 in year, no.

If you can, maybe.

Spending $40,000 on one card to earn 40,000 American Airlines miles plus 10,000 EQMs needs to be compared to spending $40,000 on another card or cards.

For instance, spending $40,000 on the SPG card would earn 40,000 Starpoints. Those can transfer to 50,000 American Airlines miles normally and 60,000 at the moment. You have to decide whether you want 10,000 or 20,000 extra American Airlines miles by spending on the SPG card or 10,000 extra EQMs by spending on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®.

Or spending $40,000 could unlock 10 new credit card sign up bonuses, which would be a haul of around half a million points and miles. Would you rather have that or 10,000 EQMs?

How Can You Spend $40,000 in the Next Five Months?

To get 10,000 EQMs, you need to $40,000 in spending by the close of your December statement, which is 4-5 months away. (In 2016, of course, you’d have the full 12 months.) That’s a lot of money to spend.

If your normal spending on credit cards doesn’t get you to $40,000, you may want to consider alternatives like paying taxes with a credit card, paying your mortgage or rent with a credit card, or paying tuition or student loans with a credit card. All of these have 2-3% fees, so subtract that from the value of the EQMs you’ll earn.

Bottom Line

In addition to the 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months and Admirals Club lounge membership, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® also offers 10,000 EQMs after spending $40,000 on your January through December statements.

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If those 10,000 EQM bump you to the next status level, they are probably worth $300 to $1,000 to you.