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.
Aviator Red Mastercard 50K Bonus
Barclays has a welcome bonus on the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard, 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 $99 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year.
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 Wi-Fi 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 mentioned above, part of the welcome bonus on the card is a companion certificate, which is a relatively new addition to this 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
The Aviator Red Mastercard offers a nice welcome bonus of 50K miles and a companion certificate (though that may or may not be worth using). However, beyond the initial bonus, there’s not much value to keeping this card long term, unfortunately.
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.