Who Is the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard Good For?
The AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard is Barclays’ midrange American Airlines co-branded card. If you often fly on American, this card comes with some nice perks, including an annual $100 flight discount, free checked bags, priority boarding, in-flight discounts and access to Reduced Mileage Awards.
The Aviator cards were originally only offered to US Airways cardholders after the merger with American. New customers had to get their AAdvantage credit cards from American’s long-time partner, Citibank.
That changed thanks to a July 2016 agreement that gave Barclaycard the ability to sign up new AAdvantage Aviator cardholders at airports and on American Airlines flights. Citi retained the rights to get new customers online, through the mail and at airport lounges, making American the first carrier to offer co-branded cards from two different issuers.
The AAdvantage Aviator Red is very similar to Citi’s AAdvantage Platinum Select card. The most notable difference is that the Aviator Red comes with an annual $100 discount for American flights after spending $30,000 in a year. The Platinum Select, on the other hand, has a 30,000-mile sign-up bonus that is not available with the Aviator.
Since the annual fee is waived for the first year, consider getting the Platinum Select, earning the sign-up bonus and cancelling the card. Then get the Aviator Red for its annual flight discount.
15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99%, dependent on creditworthiness
This card does not come with a sign-up bonus, though that may change to compete with Citi’s AAdvantage card lineup. When the card was first introduced to former US Airways cardholders, it came with a temporary 50 percent bonus for all miles earned. You may see that perk return for new customers.
- 2 points per dollar spent with American Airlines
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
What Do Your Miles Get You?
The AAdvantage program offers four different award levels: MileSAAver Off Peak, MileSAAver, AAnytime Level 1 and AANytime Level 2. You want either of the saver-level redemptions since anytime awards are very expensive.
In the Lower 48, you can get a short-haul round-trip flight at the saver level for as little as 15,000 miles. Other domestic flights are 25,000 miles roundtrip. However, anytime redemptions for domestic flights are 40,000 to 60,000 miles roundtrip.
Outside of the U.S., American’s off peak awards offer great value if you’re able to travel in the low season. You can get round-trip economy tickets to Europe for only 45,000 miles, to Japan for only 65,000 miles, and to parts of South America for only 35,000 miles.
- $100 annual flight discount
- Receive 10 percent of redeemed miles back
- Free checked bag
- Priority boarding
- 25 percent off in-flight purchases
- Access to Reduced Mileage Awards
- No foreign transaction fees
- No sign-up bonus
- High yearly minimum spend of $30,000 to receive flight discount
- Bonus miles for American Airlines purchases only
How Far Do Your Miles Go?
The Aviator Red card comes with a few benefits that will make your AAdvantage miles go further.
You’ll get 10 percent of the miles you’ve redeemed back. That means you’ll save 2,500 miles on a 25,000-mile redemption, which is the cost of a domestic roundtrip. The net cost of the flight after the discount is only 22,500 miles. You can save up to 10,000 miles a year with this perk.
Cardholders also get access to American’s Reduced Mileage Awards. These awards are available for different routes at different times of the year. If you book a qualifying flight, you can save up to 7,500 miles.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
- Extended warranty protection
- Rental car collision damage waiver
- Price protection
- Travel accident insurance
- Identity theft resolution services