AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite MasterCard®
The AAdvantage Aviator Red card from Barclays is a good choice for those who like to fly on American Airlines or its oneworld alliance partners. The card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles. This is easier to obtain than the bonuses offered with many travel rewards cards because there is no minimum spending requirement; you just have to make a purchase on the card within 90 days of opening the account.
The card also offers a free checked bag benefit, preferred boarding and a 10 percent rebate on all mileage redemptions.
The Aviator Red’s $95 annual fee is not waived for the first year. While this fee is typical for a card with this level of benefits, prospective applicants should consider it when deciding if they should apply for the card.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite MasterCard® offers and the value of the Barclays AAdvantage® miles you earn.
The sign-up bonus is 60,000 AAdvantage miles after making a purchase within the first 90 days. The lack of a minimum spending requirement makes this offer very appealing for those that struggle to spend the thousands of dollars typically required to earn bonuses with other travel rewards cards. The Aviator Red’s sign-up bonus is enough for two round-trip domestic economy award tickets on American Airlines. This card also offers 10 percent of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back each calendar year, for up to a maximum of 10,000 miles.
What You Get
- Earn 60,000 miles after your first purchase
- Get 10% of the miles you redeem back
- Free checked bag and preferred boarding
- 2 miles per dollar spent with American Airlines
AAdvantage miles expire 18 months from the date of your most recent activity. However, it is very easy to continually extend expiration by an additional 18 months just by having a small amount of activity, such as earning on a credit card or redeeming, buying or transferring miles.
What is the value of the AAdvantage® Miles?
American Airlines has a traditional region-based award chart. While there have been devaluations over the years, the award chart is still somewhat favorable relative to the carrier’s main U.S. competitors, United and Delta. The mileage rates in the award chart make it possible to achieve values of over two cents per mile. The key is finding sAAver level award availability, which can be difficult these days.
What is CPM and How Is It Calculated?
Cents Per Mile (CPM) is a way to measure the value of miles. It tells you how many cents you get for each mile you redeem by dividing the cash price of the airline ticket (minus taxes and fees charged for an award ticket) by the number of miles the award flight costs. This is a somewhat subjective calculation because the price of the flight in both cash and miles fluctuates by season and availability.
How we calculate CPM:
The Best Ways to Redeem AAdvantage® Miles
American Airline has a region-based award chart which offers good value for long-haul awards. Since it can be very difficult to find sAAver level space on American operated flights, partner awards is a good alternative for getting good value out of your miles.
For example, a round-trip business class flight on a partner airline to Southeast Asia costs 140,000 miles. The same flight would cost 180,000 miles if booking through United on one of their partners. Delta doesn’t even publish an award chart anymore, and their variable pricing scheme allows prices for this route to go up to hundreds of thousands of miles.
Oakland–Los AngelesEconomy classMiles price7,500miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$445
New York–PittsburgEconomy classMiles price7,500miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$241
Seattle–HonoluluEconomy classMiles price40,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$888
Boston–MexicoEconomy classMiles price15,000miles+$80.6 feeDollars price$531
New York–ParisEconomy classMiles price30,000miles+$80.6 feeDollars price$1,098
San Francisco–Hong KongEconomy classMiles price35,000miles+$80.6 feeDollars price$1,108
Denver–ClevelandBusiness classMiles price45,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$981
San Francisco–MauiBusiness classMiles price67,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$1,591
Chicago–MiamiBusiness classMiles price25,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$761
Boston–DublinBusiness classMiles price57,500miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$6,291
Miami–LimaBusiness classMiles price35,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$3,495
Fort Lauderdale–SydneyBusiness classMiles price175,000miles+$11.2 feeDollars price$821
Other ways you can redeem miles
Hotel Stays30 partners30 part.
Miles can be redeemed for hotel stays. They are worth roughly a cent each when using this booking option.
Car Rental13 partners13 part.
Miles can be redeemed for car rentals. They are worth roughly a cent each when using this booking option.
Miles can be exchanged for gift cards using points.com.
There is no option to directly redeem AA miles for cash back.
The AAdvantage Aviator Red card is not particularly lucrative for everyday spending. The only bonus category is purchases with American Airlines, which earn two miles per dollar. All other purchases only earn a mile per dollar.
- Brand earn
- All Other Purchases
The bonus category for American Airlines purchases applies to items billed by American Airlines and booked through American Airlines channels. This could include tickets, upgrades, in-flight purchases, etc. However, it excludes car rentals, hotel reservations, American Airlines Vacations packages, purchases of elite status boost or renewal, and AA Cargo products and services.
Free Checked Bag
First checked bag is free for the primary cardholder and up to 4 companions traveling on the same domestic itinerary.
25% In-Flight Savings
Purchase discounted food and beverages on American Airlines flights.
Cardholders can board after priority boarding is complete, but before the rest of economy boarding.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
You won’t pay extra to use your card while traveling abroad.
Earn Elite Status Fast
You can earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) by spending $25,000 in a calendar year. This is enough to meet the EQD threshold for achieving gold status with American Airlines. Unfortunately, the next three levels of elite status require an additional increment of $3,000 EQDs each, so reaching higher levels will still require earning EQDs by flying or getting another credit card which offers this benefit.
- Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) after spending $25,000 in a year
Fees: the cost of Having the Card
This card carries an annual fee of $95. If you make $6,090 in purchases a year, you’ll cover the cost of the card. That’s because you’ll earn at least $6,090 miles, and they’re worth at least 1.56 cents each. If you spend about $2,000 a month, you’ll pay off the card in three months.
Unfortunately, the annual fee is not waived for the first year. However, the sign-up bonus easily covers the annual fee. If we value miles at 1.56 cents each, then the 60,000-mile sign-up bonus is worth $780.
- Annual Fee
- Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee
- Late Payment Fee
- Up to $37 (the amount of the fee varies by state, see below)
See What It Takes to Cover an Annual Fee:
We strongly recommend to spend not less than $2,030 per months to cover the annual fee in three months.
We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings you’ll get with the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard. Is the card worth getting, and should you keep it after you get the sign-up bonus? Let’s find out.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Top 5 Benefits of the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard
The AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard has a good sign-up bonus without requiring a high minimum spend. It also offers several benefits for travelers when flying on American Airlines.
- Good Sign-up Bonus: You’ll earn 60,000 bonus miles after making a purchase within the first 90 days. The best part is that there’s no minimum spending requirement.
- Free Checked Bags: You and up to 4 companions on the same itinerary can get a free checked bag. That could result in huge savings when traveling with family or a group.
- Preferred Boarding: Getting on the plane before most economy class passengers gives you a better chance of finding space in the overhead bin for your carry-on bag.
- 10% Mileage Rebate: GYou receive 10% of your redeemed miles back each year, up to 10,000 miles total. This effectively reduces the cost of award tickets by 10% for the first 100,000 miles you redeem.
- Elite Qualifying Dollars: Earn $3,000 EQDs by spending $25,000 in a calendar year. This is enough to allow you to qualify for Gold elite status without actually spending $3,000 on flights.
Should You Get the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard?
The Aviator Red card should appeal to anyone who flies reasonably often on American Airlines. The sign-up bonus easily pays for the card’s annual fee for the first year. Citibank also offers co-branded American Airlines cards, but they restrict sign-up bonus eligibility to once every 24 months per card family. Getting a Barclaycard AAdvantage credit card offers a way to earn a bunch of miles for those who are currently locked out of getting AA sign-up bonuses from Citi.
The ongoing benefits, such as free checked bags, redeemed mileage rebates and priority boarding, can make the card worth keeping long-term for those who fly often enough on American Airlines. For example, four free checked bags in a year would save $100, which is more than the $95 annual fee.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
- The AAdvantage Aviator Red card is offered by Barclays Bank. This can be very beneficial to travelers who are currently restricted from getting sign-up bonuses from the other American Airlines’ card issuer, Citibank, which limits earning a bonus to once every 24 months per family of cards.
- No, this card carries an annual fee of $95, which is not waived for the first year. You should consider all of the benefits of this card before applying to make sure that they outweigh the costs given your specific travel needs.
- AAdvantage miles earned from the Aviator Red card can be redeemed through American Airlines. American has a region-based award chart. Note that flights do not have to be operated by American; miles can also be used to book travel on a wide variety of partner airlines. This opens up many opportunities, especially for international travel.
Compare AAdvantage® Cards
Other AAdvantage cards
American Airlines is unique among major airlines in that it does not have an exclusive relationship with a bank to issue co-branded cards. Instead, AA cards are issued by both Citi and Barclaycard. Below we compare the Aviator Red card to several alternatives offered by Citi.
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®||Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®||Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard®|
|Sign-up bonus||60,000 miles||60,000 miles||50,000 miles||25,000 miles|
|Annual Fee||$0 first year, then $95||$95||$450||$0 first year, then $50|
|APR On Purchases||17.24% to 25.24% Variable±||16.99% to 25.99% Variable±||16.99% to 24.99% Variable±||17.24% to 25.24% Variable±|
|Second Year Value||$374||$374||$374||$374|
Citibank offers three AAdvantage cards with varying levels of benefits and annual fees. The cheapest option is the Gold card, which offers a 25,000-mile sign-up bonus and no annual fee for the first year ($50 thereafter). However, this card offers little in the way of ongoing benefits.
The mid-tier card is the Platinum Select. This card is the most comparable to the Barclaycard Aviator Red. The annual fees are the same at $95, though the Citi card waives it for the first year. The sign-up bonus is 60,000 miles. Other benefits, such as free checked bags and priority boarding, are very similar.
The Executive World Elite card carries a hefty $450 annual fee but also comes with a higher level of benefits, including an Admirals Club lounge membership, elite qualifying miles and a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus.
Compare the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard to Other Cards
All of the major airlines offer multiple co-branded credit cards. In many cases the benefits and fees are similar, so the most important consideration may be which airline you fly most often. Also, the issuing banks often offer elevated sign-up bonuses, so you may want to research how the bonus has fluctuated over time and wait for a better offer.
- United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
40,000 miles offerRead Review
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
35,000 miles offerRead Review
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
30,000 miles offerRead Review
Each of the airline cards presented here has its pros and cons. The Aviator Red card is issued by Barclays, which has less restrictive sign-up bonus rules than Chase and Citi. The United MileagePlus Explorer card has a relatively high sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles, but many may be prevented from getting the card by Chase’s 5/24 rule.
The Platinum Delta card from Amex has the best benefits, including a companion fare and significant elite status qualification opportunities, but also has the highest annual fee at $195. The Alaska Airlines card has a low sign-up bonus, but offers the most valuable and flexible miles.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the rewards offered by the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this World Elite MasterCard.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- 0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening
- Ongoing APR:
- 16.99% to 25.99% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 23 days
- Extended Warranty Protection:
- The Extended Protection Benefit automatically doubles the time period under the original manufacturer’s written U.S. warranty for up to one additional year. Applies to eligible warranties of three years or less when an item is purchased entirely with your card.
- Purchase Protection:
- Within 90 days of the date of purchase, MasterCard will replace, repair or reimburse you for eligible items purchased with your card for up to a maximum of $1,000.00 per claim and $50,000 per card member.
- Price Protection:
- If you buy an eligible item with your card and see a printed advertisement for less at any retail store within 120 days of the original purchase date, simply file a valid claim and the difference can be refunded. Covers up to $250 per item.
- Return Protection:
- This coverage will reimburse you for the cost of an eligible item within 90 days of the date it was purchased with your card if you are not satisfied with it and the retailer won’t allow it to be returned.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 26.24% Variable±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
The Aviator Red card comes with a full set of security features to protect your account.
- Account alerts:
- Set up alerts to be notified when large transactions occur, if there’s an unauthorized withdrawal and when your bill’s due.
- Banking On the Go:
- Barclaycard offers a mobile app where you can manage your card, and it will send you text messages when there is suspected fraud.
- EMV Chip Technology:
- Get global acceptance and enhanced security at merchants that use chip enabled terminals.
- Credit Score Monitoring:
- Access your credit score for free each month with Barclaycard.
Barclaycard offers a wide range of options for alerts than you can receive on your phone.
- Manage payments and check due dates
- Monitor credit limit and availability
- See every single transaction.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
The Barclaycard Aviator Red is issued as a World Elite MasterCard and comes with a higher level of benefits than the standard World MasterCard.
Master Card Travel Benefits
- World Elite Hotels & Resorts Portfolio:
- Receive special benefits, such as room upgrades, early check-in, late check-out, complimentary breakfast for two and more, when you stay at a property in the World Elite Hotel portfolio.
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
- Coverage for damage due to theft and collision for most rentals in the U.S. and abroad. Coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.
- Baggage Delay Insurance:
- Reimbursement for essentials, such as toiletries and clothing, if bags are delayed over 12 hours after you reach your destination. The benefit is capped at $100 a day for up to 3 days.
- Travel Accident Insurance:
- Receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $250,000 for any air, bus, train or cruise ship transportation paid for with your card.
- Travel and Emergency Assistance Services:
- Legal and medical referrals, and other travel and emergency assistance is available any time of day. Service charges apply.