Introduction to the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red Credit Card
Each day almost 80,000 people fly with American Airlines, making it one of the largest carriers in the US. AA is also a member of the Oneworld Alliance, meaning that frequent flyers can also generate AAdvantage miles on those flights.
Are you looking for a credit card that offers an incredible welcome bonus and a solid rewards rate? This could be the option for you, particularly if you live in an American Airlines hub city (Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, or Washington, D.C.), you’ll find that you can quickly generate a huge number of points.
To help you decide whether or not this is the card for you, here’s a closer look at the key features of this card and the terms and conditions that govern its use.
The Aadvantage loyalty program from American Airlines is one of the strongest loyalty programs offered by a US airline. Passengers can use these miles to fly to almost 1,000 destinations around the world, secure luxurious upgrades, book vacations, and purchase other retail products.
Earning points for this program is simple with the Aviator Red card, but we will take a closer look at the rewards rate soon. Once the points have been generated, these points can easily be exchanged for flight awards, upgrades, hotels, cars, and much more.
If you want specific details about the value of the miles, then you should be sure to check out the most recent and up-to-date information that is available on the AA website.
The Sign-Up Bonus
The sign-up bonus will vary throughout the course of the year and is susceptible to change, but the generous 60k air miles offer is currently active. This is a really incredible offer and it is activated when the cardholder pays the annual fee and makes a purchase within the first 90 days of having the card.
These 60,000 AAdvantage miles are worth an estimated $840 and if you book at the right time, this can net you a business-class flight to Europe. Of course, there are more prudent ways to use the miles and if you use them strategically you could get some amazing deals.
The Rewards Rate
Generating miles is simple: when you make purchases with American Airlines you will receive 2x miles, and you’ll receive 1x miles on all other purchases that you make.
There are also a range of other great rewards that you can look forward to receiving. For starters, both yourself and up to four other companions can get your first checked bag for free on domestic AA flights. On those same domestic flights you will also get preferred boarding, as well as 25% inflight savings on beverages and food. In addition, you will also earn 10% of your redeemed miles back.
Because you get preferred boarding and checked bag privileges on domestic flights, even basic economy tickets will be upgraded significantly.
Unlike some other loyalty programs, the miles will never expire as long as you do not go 18 months without earning or redeeming miles. There’s also no limit to the number of miles that you can earn, which is a really fantastic offer. Some airlines place a limit here and this can have a seriously negative impact on the number of miles that you redeem.
Redeeming points online is simple and free, helping you to redeem them whenever you like at your convenience. Unfortunately, there is a $35 fee associated with phone award booking. This is why it makes much more sense to redeem via the internet.
The Annual Fee
At $95, the annual fee for this card is fairly high but it is easily offset by the generous welcome bonus that you will receive after having made your first purchase. With that said, it is fairly high and some other credit cards will waive the fee for the first year.
The costs of the card will be covered after you have made an estimated $6000 in purchases over the course of the year, meaning that this credit card is best for people who spend a significant amount over the course of the year.
This annual fee is charged each year on the date of the anniversary.
This card coms with an APR of 17.49% to 26.49%. This varies according to your credit score and naturally, this isn’t a great rate. This is why it’s important that you make sure you are not late with payment, or you run the risk of incurring significant fees.
After having investigated a range of customer experience, it does appear as though even those customers with the best credit scores struggle to achieve the lower APRs, so this is something worth considering.
H2: Foreign Transaction Fees
There are no foreign transaction fees with this card, which is great news for frequent international travelers who often travel around the globe. To make that international travel even safer, the card is also equipped with an EMV smartchip. This chip makes it simple to conduct purchases and it also offers a key way to avoid fraudulent activities.
For this credit card, 24/7 customer service is offered. This means that if you ever encounter a problem or issue, you can rest assured that your query will be taken care of quickly and accurately. Online chat is also available, giving you another option if you’re not able to get to the phone but need to quickly make a change.
By all accounts, the level of service provided via these platforms is very impressive. Many customers praise the knowledge and attentiveness of the customer service representatives and when you consider that this is one of the biggest in the business, it’s not very surprising!
Mobile applications are available, but it’s important to note that the rating for the Android version is significantly higher than that of the app for iOS. Despite that being the case, both should be serviceable and you will have access to all of the key features. To get the best experience when using the application, you should make sure to check the system requirements and update your smartphone as necessary.
Understanding Terms and Conditions
To avoid disappointment, it is important that you read all of the necessary terms and conditions to understand both the credit card and the AAdvantage rewards program. The better your understanding of these terms and conditions, the more likely you will be to get the maximum amount of value possible from the program.
If you have any questions at all then you should not hesitate to get in touch with the customer support team. In fact, this is a great way to be able to assess the quality of the customer support and find out whether that level of service ticks all of the boxes that you need.
Who Is This Card For?
If you fly frequently within American Airlines and or you live in one of the hub cities, then it could make sense for you to go for the Aviator Red credit card. Of course, the card is a natural choice for anyone wanting to earn the attractive 60,000 introductory bonus miles without having to meet an unreasonable initial spending amount.
The card can also really help for those families who regularly travel on American Airlines and want to save on checked bag fees. It is surprising just how much money can be saved over the course of an average year when those checked flights are free.
The lack of international transaction fees also makes this a pleasant choice for those flyers who regularly travel abroad and carry out a range of transactions.
The Bottom Line
The best part about this card is undoubtedly the attractive welcome bonus that does not require a huge amount of money to be spent to unlock it. After making an initial purchase on the card within 90 days, the cardholder can look forward to receiving a huge number of miles which they can use strategically throughout the year to maximize their savings.
In terms of the rate at which rewards are generated, this is pretty standard for a credit card offered by an airline. Earning 2x on each dollar spent on AA purchases is really worth it if you fly frequently with AA.
In terms of the quality of the card and the customer service on offer, you will find that many customers are delighted with the around-the-clock support and the high level of customer card.
If you do not spend enough specifically with AA over the course of the year, then you might want to consider using an alternative cash back card. There are many options that do not include an annual fee, and you could save this significant amount of money and put it toward the cost a flight.
It’s all about balance and assessing your own needs accurately. You may find that unless a card fits specifically to your spending habits, it is worth going for an alternative.
David is a financial expert who graduated from the University of Fordham (Master in Finance) in 2001. He has 10+ years of experience in private equity and wealth management. With strong expertise in senior-level financial planning, personal financial analysis, and mortgages, David knows his way around personal finance. Before working at CCR he used to be a financial analyst at McKinsey.
- Cash Management
- Trade Finance
- Working Capital Finance
- Student Loans
- Wealth Management