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 were issued by Citi, while US Airways’ credit cards were issued by Barclays. American made the decision to have a non-exclusive co-brand agreement, thinking that would maximize profits.
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. For those interesting in picking up one of these cards, there’s a good new bonus on the most popular Barclays American Airlines credit card.
Aviator Red Mastercard welcome bonus
The AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard has a welcome bonus of 60,000 AAdvantage miles after making your first purchase within 90 days of account opening. On top of that, the card’s $99 annual fee is waived for the first year.
That’s a solid bonus, especially given the waived annual fee the first year, and the (very) reasonable spending requirement.
AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard benefits
The Aviator Red Mastercard offers a bunch of 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
- 2x 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; your account must remain open for 45 days after your anniversary date
How valuable is the American companion certificate?
As you can see, the major incentive to spend money on the Aviator Red Mastercard is a companion certificate. Personally I wouldn’t go through the effort of spending money on the card for that, given all the restrictions:
- It’s only valid for travel within the lower 48 (the Alaska Airlines companion certificate 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 is offering an excellent welcome bonus of 60,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after making a purchase, plus the $99 annual fee is waived for the first year. This is a nice initial bonus, though there’s not much reason to keep this card in the long-run, in my opinion.
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.