My Next Two Credit Cards


Update 2/7/2017: I received an email that I have earned the bonus on the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard. The miles are also now in my account. Looks like you’re still eligible for the bonus on this card even if you had/have the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard (the one that your old US Airways card was product changed to). 

Update 1/15/2017: I was approved for both the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard as well as the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express! I was auto-approved for the Amex and had to call the reconsideration line for the Barclaycard but after answering the standard “how much do you make in a year?” and “what do you do for work?” questions, the agent pushed the application through and approved it. 

The next two cards I’m applying for will be the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard and the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express.

The last two credit cards I signed up for were the Asiana Visa Signature and an Alaska Airlines Visa Signature. I have just about finished up their minimum spending requirements, along with an extra $2k in spending on the Asiana card that tops me off at 35k Asiana miles–exactly how many I need for a flat bed Business Class award flying United between Buenos Aires and the United States. Time to move on to greener pastures.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

Why I Chose the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard

When I first dove into miles and points, Scott gave me the advice to sign up for the U.S. Airways card issued by Barclay’s as well as the Citi AAdvantage cards, as it was 2014 and the companies were on the brink of merging. If I signed up for and met the spending requirement on both, the accounts would be merged and I would be flush with American Airlines miles in no time. So I did.

Then my U.S. Airways card was automatically converted into an AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard, which I still have open today because they waived the second annual fee.

AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard, the card you were probably automatically converted to if you previously held Barclay’s U.S. Airways card.

When I read about the new Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard, the 40k American Airlines miles after your first purchase and paying the $95 annual fee piqued my interest since my spending power isn’t the highest (and can be limited by living in South America where less businesses accept cards). My first concern though, which I imagine was many of you guys’ first concern, was whether or not I’d be eligible since I already have an AAdvantage Aviator Red card open. Barclay’s is known (like in the case of the Arrival Plus card) to not issue you another card if you have one of the same product already open. I was happy to see data points of positive approvals left by commenters in this Doctor of Credit post as well as in this FlyerTalk forum that also have an AAdvantage Aviator Red card open. Decision made.

Why do I want American Airlines miles? They can be used to book luxurious First Classes like JAL and Cathay Pacific, but after their devaluation last March it became cheaper to do that with, for example, Alaska miles. I will more likely take advantage of their off peak economy awards, or perhaps on LATAM flights around South America.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 40,000 American Airlines miles after your first purchase
  • Category Bonus: 2 American Airlines miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines flights for the cardholder and four others on the same reservation
  • $100 American Airlines Flight Discount each year that you spend $30k on the card
  • Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines flights
  • 25% off of in-flight food, beverages, and headsets purchased on the card
  • 10% rebate of redeemed American Airlines miles (maximum of 10,000 miles returned each calendar year)
  • Access to American Airlines’s Reduced Mileage Awards
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $95, not waived the first year

Why I Chose the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

The normal offer for the Business Gold Rewards Card is 25,000 points after spending $5,000, but right now you’ll earn double the bonus miles for the same spending requirement. It’s the best offer we’ve seen for the card in years. Since you can only earn the sign up bonus from a publicly available American Express card offer once per lifetime, it’s important to snipe Amex cards when the sign up bonuses are significantly high.

Why do I want Membership Rewards? They’re extremely versatile as they transfer to 17 airline partners. I’ll most likely utilize:

  • Delta miles for flights on Aerolineas Argentinas in Argentina or GOL in Brazil, or perhaps on a flight back to the United States.
  • Singapore miles for a million different reasons… they’re one of my favorite reward currencies. I’m locked out of Chase cards/United miles by 5/24 so Singapore gives me access to Star Alliance award space. It’s a priority of mine to always have rewards that give me access to all three alliances’ award space so if I needed to get back to the United States for any urgent reason, I’d have all the weapons necessary to do it.
Me flying United Business Class booked with Singapore miles. Singapore miles are 1:1 transfer partner of Membership Rewards.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards after spending $5,000 on your card in the first 3 months the account is open
  • Category Bonuses: You’ll get 3x Membership Rewards on one category of your choice (out of five choices), 2X Membership Rewards on the four remaining categories, and 1 Membership Reward per dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • 3X and 2X category bonuses apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the five categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
  • Value of Membership Rewards: Membership Rewards can be transferred to 17 airline miles and 3 hotel points or used like cash toward the purchase of any flight at a rate of 1 cent per point. I value Membership Rewards at 2 cents each, and I would not use them like cash toward the purchase of a flight.
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: waived for the first year, then $175
  • Eligibility: American Express once in a lifetime bonus rule

Bottom Line

Next week I plan on applying for the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard and the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express. Each card comes with a valuable sign up bonus, and the rewards they earn align with my travel goals and compliment the rewards I already have.

I’ll be sure to let you know how the application process goes!

Make sure you consider your travel goals before signing up for just any old travel rewards card. If you need guidance with that decision, we offer Free Credit Consultations that will start with your goal trip and work backwards, determining the best miles and points for that trip, and then the best cards to get those miles and points.

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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  1. I’m in Colombia, on my way to Buenos Aires the end of February. Never been there. Any learning links you love? Also, while you’re living there, how frequently do you find yourself updating your immediate departure toolbox?

    • Usually every three to five months I get new cards. Sometimes I get them myself when I’m back in the US, or sometimes I get friends to bring them down. Sending stuff in the mail to Argentina can be tricky… their customs is a real hassle.

      Be sure to check out my restaurant/bar guide to Buenos Aires while you’re here! What exactly do you mean by learning links?

  2. Where do you see any data points about people receiving the Aviator bonus if they already have an Aviator product? Nothing is confirmed yet.

    • Both commenters Steve and John in this Doctor of Credit post say they had the old US Airways card converted to Aviator Red and have been approved.

      Not to mention a commenter on our own post, KT–an Aviator Red cardholder, was approved after a little bit of negotiating.

      It is true that they haven’t reported yet whether or not they’ve gotten the bonus, but I’ve read that usually with Barclaycards if you are approved, you get the bonus.

      I’ll be sure to keep an eye on those pending data points and update our post about the new Barclaycard when they confirm one way or the other.

  3. Sarah, just received the 40k bonus in my Advantage account yesterday. I made the one required purchase upon activation of the cc and as soon as it posted I paid that and the annual fee before statement due date of 2/12. That was on Jan 9. Needless to say I was shocked to see the bonus this quick.

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Just found milevalue for the first time today and will definitely spend some time here looking around. I’m in PDX and looking to book a nice 2-3 week trip to Chile and Argentina in the next year and starting the planning process now. Starting to look for best flight options, places to eat, stay, things to do, etc. Any suggestions for links on where to start. I’m pretty stocked up in AA, MR, UR, TYP and various others.

    • I would look into Airbnb for your stays in Chile and Argentina before jumping at any hotel options. Compare prices. I live in Buenos Aires for the majority of the year. Here’s my Guide to Bars and Restaurants of Buenos Aires.

      I assume if you’re stocked up you want Business Class or better. It can be hard finding good (flat bed) Business Class award space down here during the high season (November – January/February), so you’ll want to first see what kind of availability you’re working with. Here are some out of the box redemptions ideas:

      in Business Class with 35,000 Asiana miles on United flights
      in First Class with 45,000 Asiana miles on United flights
      in Business Class with 50,000 Singapore miles on United flights
      in Business Class with 50,000 Etihad miles on American Airlines flights
      in Business Class with 50,000 Alaska miles on American Airlines flights

      • Thanks for the tips! This will help when I start trip prep shortly. I’m definitely looking for Business class or better seats. Based on your experience, what has a better product between the States and South America, United or American? Thoughts on LAMTAM as well?

  5. That’s great news!
    How long ago did you get your first aviator bonus?
    And is the first aviator card still open?

  6. So…I was one in the old days that had the US Airways card – that card was great because you could churn it at will. I don’t recall if the 24 month language was in the old application.

    Has anyone tried to churn this card yet – regardless of what the language says. It seems that those of us who still have the card from the US Airways conversion are not subject to the 24month rule based upon the reports of those getting the bonus miles…I wonder if they will enforce this?

    I’m going to give churning a chance after I get the miles from this card – the annual fees are waived for me, so I have nothing to lose to try it out.

  7. BTW, Sarah…after reading your restaurant/bar guide to Buenos Aires, I’m (1), very hungry!, and (2) actually thinking of what a trip to Buenos Aires might be like! Thanks for the thoughts & idea of visiting there – otherwise, I would never have on my own!

    • I now have three total. The old AAdvantage card that was product changed from my US Airways card, an Arrival Plus, and the new AAdvantage card.

      • So even though you still hold an old AAdvantage card (that was converted from the US Air Card), you were still able to get a 2nd card and obtain the bonus?

        • Yes. I’m pretty sure they’re considered different products. I have the Barcalycard AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard which was product changed from the US Airways card. And I recently applied for, was approved, and received the bonus on the new Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard.