There’s A New American Airlines Credit Card You Can Now Apply For!

Filed Under: American, Credit Cards
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As I first wrote about in June, American is taking a unique approach among U.S. carriers, as they don’t have an exclusive credit card agreement. US Airways’ agreement used to be with Barclaycard, while American’s has long been with Citi. However, I guess they couldn’t reach an exclusive deal with either issuer, so American will have credit cards issued by both Barclaycard and Citi going forward.

The two issuers have different marketing channels they can use — Citi products can be advertised on American’s website, through the mail, and in Admirals Clubs, while Barclaycard products can be advertised in airports and on flights.

While I thought the Barclaycard AAdvantage products would only be available for new applicants starting early next year, it looks like the application link is already live.

You can now apply for the AAdvantage Aviator Red Card

You can already apply for the the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard, which comes with a welcome bonus of 40,000 AAdvantage miles after making your first purchase within 90 days and paying the $95 annual fee.

Here’s what the card application lists in terms of eligibility:

Existing cardmembers, existing accounts, and previous cardmember with accounts closed in the past 24 months may not be eligible for this offer.

So it seems you’re not eligible for the bonus if you’ve had this card in the past 24 months (I assume that includes people who had US Airways cards that were converted into this product, but I could be mistaken).

This card offers several benefits, including:

  • First checked bag free for you and up to four companions on a domestic itinerary
  • Group 1 boarding on domestic American Airlines itineraries
  • Double miles for American Airlines purchases
  • 10% of your redeemed miles back every year, for a total refund of up to 10,000 miles (Citi’s co-branded credit card has a similar benefit, though the two aren’t stackable — you can get the benefit on one card or the other)
  • 25% inflight savings on food, beverages, and headsets

You can eventually upgrade to the Aviator Silver Card

There’s also a premium AAdvantage Barclaycard product, called the Aviator Silver Card. However, you can’t apply for it directly. The card has a $195 annual fee, though comes with perks that many elite members will find worthwhile, including:

  • Up to 6,000 worth of elite qualifying dollars (3,000 when spending $25,000, and another 3,000 when spending another $25,000)
  • Up to 10,000 elite qualifying miles (5,000 when spending $20,000, and another 5,000 when spending another $20,000)
  • An annual companion ticket


This can be a great way to greatly reduce the elite qualifying dollar requirement, which many will find helpful.

For what it’s worth, you can also earn up to 10,000 elite qualifying miles per year through the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, though there’s no opportunity to earn an elite qualifying dollar waiver through that. However, the lounge access benefit offered through that card is incredible.

While you can’t apply for it directly, View from the Wing notes of a cool opportunity to acquire this card:

It turns out that there’s actually a pretty cool opportunity for new Aviator Red cardmembers to get the Silver card after 90 days: they just won’t charge you the higher annual fee in your first year. So get Aviator Red (and the signup bonus), wait 90 days, upgrade to Silver and your total annual fee that first year is $95, not $195.

So this is something that many AAdvantage loyalists may find useful.

How does the Aviator Red compare to Citi products?

A few days ago I wrote about how there’s temporarily an increased welcome bonus on two of the co-branded Citi AAdvantage cards:

The perks on this card are similar to that of the Aviator Red, and include things like:

  • First checked bag free for you and up to four companions on a domestic itinerary
  • Priority boarding on domestic American Airlines itineraries
  • Double miles for American Airlines purchases

For more information on these cards, see my previous post.

Bottom line

Competition is good for consumers, so I’m happy to see that it’s now possible to apply for the Aviator Red Card, with a 40,000 mile welcome bonus after the first purchase. I’m trying to decide what to do with status for next year, and as I consider that, I’m very tempted to try to get a 6,000 elite qualifying dollar credit and 10,000 elite qualifying miles through the Aviator Silver Card. Or maybe it’s time to finally drop status with American.

Regardless, it’s great that this Barclaycard product is now available!

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
  1. Dang, I closed my Aviator Red card back in January (12 months). They did not enforce that 24 month rule on the Arrival+ cards right?

  2. Meh, Not interested in CC spending for elite status with AA.
    After 2017, moving all my business to Alaska/virgin. If i have to fly one of the BIG 3 (i guess there are 4 now) it’d be United and transfer those to Marriot/SPG.

  3. For us European travelers, “chip and pin” gives the Barclay cards a big advantage over Citi. That’s why I kept my Aviator Red card and closed my Citi card.

  4. Question — I understand that the 10% miles back upon redemption from the Citi Platinum Select and the Barclays Aviator Red cannot stack. But what if I only hold the Citi AA Executive card, which does NOT offer the 10% miles back? In other words, if I were to apply for the Aviator Red, would I be able to have both the lounge membership from the Citi Executive AND get the 10% miles back from the Aviator Red?

  5. $95 fee for 40K AA miles. Blech. AA miles are becoming so useless – sitting on over hundreds of thousands and availability is awful.

  6. I’m sitting on an old Aviator card I have which gives me 10,000 miles on my anniversary for the $89 annual fee. My 2nd favorite stash card behind the $49 IHG Chase card!

  7. Should point out that the Aviator Silver card is the only one that gives 3X AA miles per dollar spent on AA. Others only give 2X.

  8. Question: Can you stack the 10K EQM from Aviator and Citi Exec card? – ie 20K EQM total by meeting the spend on each

  9. Just applied for the Aviator card never had it before and yes 40k AA miles are certainly a bargain for $95 irregardless of what other posters have stated.

  10. I am currently on an American Flight PHL to LAX, and it is the worst plane I have been on in 20 years. Unfortunately this is a legacy US Air 321, and it is horrible. My wife said it feels like she is back on an old Pan am flight. Its dirty, old and cramped. I don’t think I want any of their miles. i would rather drive 90 minutes and fly Virgin out of Newark . American is basically charging a premium price for a spirit air product

  11. I have an Aviator Blue card (used to be a US Airways card). Can I apply for the Aviator Red and get the bonus?

  12. Hi Ben, I just got my Aviator Card. How long would it take Barclay to credit the 40k points upon first purchase ? Thanks !!!

  13. When I use your link to get to the application, and then click on the terms and conditions, the T&Cs state:

    “may not be available if you already have or have had an account with us. ”

    -That wording is different than wording in the post:
    “Existing cardmembers, existing accounts, and previous cardmember with accounts closed in the past 24 months may not be eligible for this offer.”

  14. Two queries regarding collecting the bonuses on multiple cards:

    1) Would it theoretically be possible to collect the bonus miles if you opened both a Citi and an Aviator branded credit card within 24 months of each other?

    2) Could you collect the bonuses if you also hold AAdvantage-branded cards issued in other countries? (I also have a British MBNA AAdvantage card).

    Not really sure if either of those scenarios would be eliminated through the eligibility clause…

  15. I have a question:
    I have 60,000 AA miles on my Citi credit card. Since I never had an aviator card, I went ahead and applied under the promotion of 40,000 AA miles after the first purchase and pay off the annual fee. I was approved and now I’m possession of it. My question is can I transfer my AA miles I’ve earned on my Citi to the Aviator card?

  16. If you have the Aviator Red and received $3000 EQD with the required spending amount. Now, have the Aviator Silver can you receive $3000 EQD and 10,000 EQM if you spend the qualified amount with the year?
    Also, will you received the 10% credit miles now that you have upgraded to silver?

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