New AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard Bonus: 50K Miles + Companion Certificate

Filed Under: American, Credit Cards
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As far as US airlines go, American is in the unique position of having co-branded credit cards with two issuers. This came after the merger of American and US Airways, as American’s credit cards have historically been issued by Citi, while US Airways’ credit cards have been issued by Barclays. American made the decision that they could maximize their profits by having a non-exclusive co-brand agreement.

American has different marketing agreements with both issuers, though. For example, Citi products can be advertised on American’s website, through the mail, and in Admirals Clubs, while Barclays products can be advertised in airports and on flights.

A new 50K bonus on the AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard

Barclays has a new welcome bonus on the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard, as they’re offering 50,000 AAdvantage miles plus an introductory companion certificate after making your first purchase within 90 days of account opening.

The card has a $95 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year.

As a point of comparison, previously the card had a bonus of 60K miles after making a single purchase, so this bonus is 10,000 miles less than before, but does offer a companion certificate.

AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard benefits

The card offers a bunch of other benefits, including the following:

  • First checked bag free for you and up to four companions on a domestic itinerary
  • Preferred boarding for you and up to four companions on a domestic itinerary
  • Double miles for American Airlines purchases
  • 25% inflight savings on food and beverages
  • $25 back as statement credits on American inflight wifi purchases every cardmember year
  • Earn an anniversary companion certificate each anniversary year good for one guest at $99 (plus taxes and fees) after spending $20,000 on purchases, and your account remains open for 45 days after your anniversary date

How valuable is the American companion certificate?

As I mentioned above, the new welcome bonus is 10,000 miles less than before, but you are earning a companion certificate as part of the welcome bonus, which you don’t usually earn.

There are some really valuable credit card companion certificates, like the one offered by the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card and Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card.

Unfortunately I don’t find American’s companion certificates to be terribly valuable. A few things to be aware of:

  • It’s only valid for travel within the lower 48 (the Alaska one is valid for travel anywhere Alaska flies)
  • It’s only valid for a roundtrip ticket in economy
  • You have to book your ticket through American Airlines Meeting Services, so it can’t be booked online
  • The certificate is valid for one year from the date of issue
  • You have to pay $99 plus taxes and fees when redeeming it
  • The companion booked with this certificate isn’t eligible for mileage accrual or upgrades

Bottom line

The Aviator Red Mastercard is generally a great card to consider, given the low spend requirement to earn the bonus. The previous bonus we saw was for 60K, which is the best bonus I recall seeing on the card.

Usually 50K is the regular bonus, but this time around they’re throwing in a companion certificate the first year. Personally I don’t value that much. Perhaps others disagree.

Unfortunately the card doesn’t have the annual fee waived the first year. If you prefer a card with an annual fee waived the first year but a higher spend requirement, consider one of the co-branded Citi AAdvantage Cards.

Current American AAdvantage Offers

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  1. So basically it’s the same benefit from the Barclays US Airways card that this Aviator card replaced during the merger.

  2. I got the previous one at 60k, I just saw it as a great opportunity to get a bunch of AA miles for less than $100 but I have otherwise no use for this card, except maybe the free checked bag since I no longer have status on AA.

  3. I have used the companion certificate and have had no problem with upgrades. I’ll have to check if my companion earned miles, but I certainly did which I believe the terms say I shouldn’t. Others?

  4. 60K offer is way better. You can book economy saver in lower 48 states for 12.5K miles so 10K more miles is almost the value of the companion ticket and you don’t have to pay $99.

  5. What are the resstrictions on getting this card if someone has had it before, is it once every 2 years like Citi cards?

  6. I’ve had it with Barclays. I was on a call to GoDaddy renewing some items for my Internet Domain. When the representative ran the card, it was declined. When I told the representative that I would call him back he was definitely more calm than me.

    After I hung up, I saw a text asking if that was okay. I didn’t realize they sent me a text that required me to respond immediately, regardless of the fact that I was in a business phone call. I was infuriated and asked why, like other credit card companies couldn’t they just retract the charge if it was bogus. They had no answer. I asked to speak to a manager and this person told me sorry that was the way it was. Needless to say I am no longer doing business with this card company.

    In discussing their activity with others I found many were dissatisfied. If you cancel the card, it hurts your credit. It’s not worth the hassle in my opinion..

  7. You say the Companion Certificate is valid for one year from the date of issue. Does this mean you have to fly by that date or does it mean you have to book your flights by that date even if the actual flights are after that date?

  8. Companion certificate is extremely limited for use. Don’t count on using it. Black out dates and limited fares. Really misleading.

  9. @Pom, no, this is not even as good as the old US Airways deal. Back then you didn’t have any spending requirements to get the companion certificate.

  10. Other than the sign up bonus I have no use for the card. The loss of the 10% rebate renders the card useless. I will be cancelling the card at renewal

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