The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard is out and it comes with a super easy sign up bonus. You’ll earn 40,000 American Airlines miles after your very first purchase and paying the $95 annual fee, which is essentially buying 40,000 American Airlines miles for $95 (or .23 cents each).
Right now it’s easy to earn a ton of American Airlines miles, thanks to this new offer and the personal and business Citi AAdvantage cards that are each publicly offering 50,000 American Airlines miles for spending $3k in three months. You could sign up for all three at the same time and walk away with 146,000 American Airlines miles in no time.
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- 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
- Eligibility: Typically with cards issued by Barclay’s, you can’t have two of the same card open at the same time. Note that the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard appears to be separate product from the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard, also issued by Barclay’s, which is what most of you who used to have the U.S. Airways card by Barclay’s were converted to back in early 2015. So if you have the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard, you should still be eligible for the this card. More on this below.
Sign Up Bonus
American Airlines is a member of oneworld Alliance, meaning you can use American Airlines miles to book award flights on all of the following airlines:
American Airlines also has a handful of useful non-allied partners you can redeem their miles on like Alaska Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui.
We value American Airlines miles at 1.5 cents each, making the 40k sign up bonus worth approximately $600 to us.
American Airlines miles are good for booking ultra-luxury trips because American Airlines miles can book:
- Etihad First Class
- Qantas First Class
- Cathay Pacific First Class
- Qatar First Class
- British Airways First Class
- Malaysia First Class
- Japan Airlines First Class (although now you can also redeem Alaska miles on JAL First Class for cheaper!)
Delta miles cannot even book international First Class. You can see comparisons of American Airlines, Delta, and United award charts here.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, American Airlines miles are also good for economy awards too. American features off peak dates with cheap economy awards to:
- Japan & Korea
- South America
- Central America
The card offers 2x on American Airlines purchases and 1x on everything else.
Free Checked Bag
Cardholders get a free checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights (everyone gets a free checked bag on international flights), and up to four companions on the same reservation get the same benefit. Since the first checked bag normally costs $25, a family of five could clean up with this benefit, saving $250 per roundtrip.
$100 American Airlines Flight Discount
If you can put $30,000 on the card in a year, you’ll earn a $100 gift certificate redeemable towards an American Airlines cash ticket.
Group 1 Boarding
Since all the airlines started charging for checked bags, more people are carrying on big roll-a-boards that need to go in the overhead bin. When those fill up, you have to surrender your carry on for a dreaded “gate check”, which entails waiting around for 15 extra minutes to get the bag at baggage claim and losing access to everything in your bag during the flight.
This card gets you Group 1 boarding on American Airlines flight, so you will definitely secure overhead bin space and avoid gate checking.
10% Rebate on Awards
You will receive a 10% rebate on the miles used to book American Airlines awards–up to 10,000 miles rebated per calendar year.
That means a 45,000 mile off peak roundtrip to Europe is only 40,500 miles net. An 80,000 mile award in Cathay Pacific First Class to Japan one way would be 72,000 miles net.
A cardholder who redeems 100,000 American Airlines miles each year (very doable for most people) gets back 10,000 American Airlines miles. The process is automatic and the rebate posts within a few weeks (at least in the case of the Citi AAdvantage cards).
Reduced Mileage Awards
The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard gives you access to American Airline’s Reduced Mileage Awards, which are discounts on domestic redemptions. Destinations for the discounts change every other month.
The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard appears to be a separate product from the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard (what you were converted to if you previously had the U.S. Airways Barclaycard). Data points left by commenters in this Doctor of Credit post as well as in this FlyerTalk forum support that statement. So you should still be eligible for the card and it’s bonus even if you have an AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard open.
The terms and conditions of the sign up offer also state: “Existing cardmembers, existing accounts, and previous cardmember with accounts closed in the past 24 months may not be eligible for this offer”… so we’re not entirely sure yet if you’re eligible for the card/bonus if you’ve closed an AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard in the last 24 months, though logic stands that you should still be eligible if they are indeed different products. Let us know in the comments how it turned out for you if you’ve closed your AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard in the last 24 months and applied for the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator World Elite MasterCard.
Upgrade to the Aviator Silver
Word has it (hat tip View from the Wing) that after 90 days of holding this card you can upgrade to the Silver version without having to pay the difference in the annual fee for the first year (which would be another $100 as the annual fee is $195).
For the time being I don’t think you can directly apply for the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite MasterCard, only upgrade from the Red card. Extra benefits include:
- 3 miles per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases
- 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible hotels and car rentals
- 5,000 elite-qualifying miles for every $20k you spend per year (up to 10,000 miles annually)
- $100 statement credit for the Global Entry Application fee
Buying American Airlines miles for .23 cents each is awesome, which is basically what you’re doing when you sign up for the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator World Elite MasterCard. You can redeem these 40k points for around $600 worth of award flights on American Airlines or one of their many partners.
If you currently hold an AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard that was previously the U.S. Airways card issued by Barclay’s, you should still be eligible for the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard as it’s a different product. By the same logic, it also shouldn’t matter if you’ve closed that AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard in the last 24 months.
Not quite sure American Airlines miles are appropriate for where you want to travel? Try our Free Credit Card Consultation Service. Need help spending your American Airlines miles? Consult our Award Booking Service.