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Barclaycard Offering AAdvantage Aviator Cards Again

aviator credit card

The wait is over! Barclaycard has released the online application page for the Aviator Red Mastercard.

Barclaycard was the issuer of the US Airways co-branded cards before US Airways merged with American Airlines. When the merger occurred, existing cardholders were given the option to convert their cards to a variety of new Aviator cards in the lineup. Unfortunately, those cards were not available for new applicants at that time.

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New Elite Qualifying Dollar Benefit on American Airlines Aviator Cards

Earlier this year American Airlines made the latest copycat move in the world of frequent flyer program devaluations when they announced the addition of an Elite Qualifying Dollar (EQD) requirement beginning in 2017. EDQ requirements mean that you must spend a certain amount of money with the airline in addition to flying a certain number of miles or segments to qualify for elite status.

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AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard From Barclaycard Review

Who Is the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® Good For?

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite 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 companion certificate, 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 Citibank, American’s long-time partner.

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 the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®. The most notable difference is that the Aviator Red comes with an Anniversary Companion Certificate after spending $20,000 on purchases in a year. The Platinum Select, on the other hand, has a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount for spending $20,000 or more in purchases, that is not available with the Aviator Red card.

Sign-Up Bonus:

This Aviator Red card comes with a rather generous sign-up bonus: you can earn 60,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.

In addition to the welcome bonus offer, the card also allows its cardmembers to earn a Companion Certificate for 1 guest at $99 (plus taxes and fees). To qualify for the certificate, you will need to spend at least $20,000 on purchases and account should remain open for 45 days after your anniversary date. The certificate can be earned each anniversary year.

Miles Earned:

  • 2 points per dollar spent with American Airlines
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

Earn rewards with the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard

What Do Your Miles Get You?

The AAdvantage program once offered four different award levels: MileSAAver Off Peak, MileSAAver, AAnytime Level 1 and AANytime Level 2. However, Saver and Anytime awards were eliminated and replaced with a new pricing chart for American Airlines flights in 2023.

American Airlines now has a new award chart that presents pricing as “starting from”. This form shows the minimum pricing and does not show the exact price to expect, which is not a surprise as most American awards were already dynamically-priced. Now you can find awards for domestic flights for as low as 7,500 miles each way.

Usage Perks:

  • Up to $25 back as statement credits annually on inflight Wi-Fi purchases
  • Receive 25% inflight savings as statement credits on food and beverages
  • First checked bag free
  • Preferred boarding
  • Travel and lifestyle services
  • Travel coverage
  • No foreign transaction fees

Get access to Reduced Mileage Awards with the AAdvantage Red MasterCard

Usage Quirks:

  • High yearly minimum spend of $20,000 to receive a Companion certificate
  • Bonus miles for American Airlines purchases only

How Far Do Your Miles Go?

The Aviator Red card comes with a few benefits that will help you earn AAdvantage miles faster.

With the new AAdvantage program you will earn Loyalty Points for one eligible AAdvantage mile. Now you can earn Loyalty Points when you fly and when you buy (AAdvantage eShopping, AAdvantage Dining, SimplyMiles and more). And once you have AAdvantage status, you’ll earn more miles and Loyalty Points when you travel with American and their partners.

Earned miles can be redeemed for flights, as well as hotel stays, rental cars, vacation packages and other retail products.

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

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • $0 fraud liability protection

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