American Airlines Barclays credit card: varieties and benefits

Barclaycard US, the US-based division of top British Bank Barclays, has partnered with major airline brands. One of its significant card partners is American Airlines (AA). The world’s largest card issuer Barclays and the world’s largest airline, AA, share a strategic partnership to provide customers with richly rewarding benefits under the AAdvantage aviator name. American Airlines Barclays offers a solid AAdvantage-affiliated credit card that allows travelers to accumulate AA miles and enjoy elite-like benefits.

American Airlines at Tel Aviv, Israel Photo By Oren Levinthal

American Airlines Barclays credit card

American Airlines Barclay credit card offers customers enhanced mile-earning opportunities on the airline. Barclays Bank Delaware is the issuer of the reward AAdvantage Aviator card, which comes up with a wide array of travel benefits to improve the AA flying experience.

AAdvantage is a frequent-flyer program of American Airlines aimed towards building brand loyalty by rewarding repeat customers. Besides Barclay, the Dallas-headquartered carrier co-branded with Citi to issue reward credit cards.

American Airlines Barclays

American Airlines Barclays credit card varieties

AA Barclays Card offers five different options that offer a solid value on American flights. These include AAdvantage Aviator Mastercard, AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard, AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard, AAdvantage Aviator Blue Mastercard, and AAdvantage Aviator World Elite Business Mastercard. Among them, the last credit card option (elite business) is for commercial use and targets business owners.

Here’s an overview of AA credit cards available to consumers and small-business owners through Barclays.

American Airlines Barclays

1. AAdvantage Aviator Mastercard

  • No annual fee
  • Not available to new cardholders
  • Mileage benefit-1 base mile per dollar spent on eligible purchases from American Airlines; 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • Travel benefits-25% discount on onboard meal purchases

The AAdvantage Aviator Mastercard grants 1xAAdvantage mile for every 1 dollar the cardholder spends on eligible purchases from AA. Similarly, it offers one base mile per 2 dollars spent on all other purchases.

 You’ll get one loyalty point on every base mile you earn on eligible purchases. The more loyalty points you earn, the higher will be your elite status, and hence your status journey will even be more rewarding. Besides mileage benefits, cardholders can get 25% savings on inflight meals and headset purchases.

This credit card doesn’t charge any annual fee and isn’t currently available to new cardholders. It has valuable travel benefits due to a 25% discount on onboard purchases but very low mile-earning opportunities.

2. AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard

  • Not accessible to new applicants
  • $199 annual fee

Like AAdvantage Aviator Mastercard, the silver card doesn’t avail applications for new accounts and only serves existing American Airlines Barclay cardholders. You need an invitation or an upgrade from the existing Red World Elite Mastercard to access the benefits. Placed somewhere between a mid-tier and premium credit card, it is a good fit for AA frequent flyers seeking additional perks. You’ll have to pay a $119 annual fee, but you’ll earn the following:

  • 3 miles for every dollar you spend to purchase eligible tickets directly from AA channels
  • 2 miles per dollar for eligible hotel purchases and car rental purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar for all other purchases (goods and services purchases not directly from American Airlines)

The solid travel benefits for this top-of-the-line cardholders include:

  • Upgraded boarding and first eligible checked bag for themselves and up to eight companions on the same AA flight reservation
  • Up to $25 in statement credit towards onboard meals and beverage buyout and $50 in in-flight Wi-Fi credits

If you meet the $20000 spending threshold, you’ll qualify for a Companion certificate each year, good for two people at $99 each (plus taxes and fees). On top of that, you’ll accumulate 5000 loyalty points towards elite status. Spending $40000 in annual purchases will get you an additional 5,000 loyalty points. You’ll earn extra 5,000 elite qualifying miles by spending $50000 on purchases in a calendar year.

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Apart from a $99 Companion Certificate, you’ll also receive a Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit once every five years. Other benefits include access to Simply Miles and the ability to purchase miles at a discount through the optional ‘Flight Cents’ feature.

The AAdvantage Aviator Silver Cardholders get all these great travel deals, but there are some drawbacks. The card lacks a welcome bonus and doesn’t grant bonus miles on everyday spending categories like gas or groceries.

3. AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard

  • $99 Annual fee
  • Application available to new accounts

It is one of two American Airlines Barclay cards available to new applicants (the other is the World Elite Business Mastercard). With a lower annual fee of $99, the card mainly targets those who fly American Airlines but have entry-level status in the airline’s frequent flyer program. The card offers an easily-attainable welcome bonus, i.e., 60000 miles after making a first purchase within the first 90 days.

Compared to the Silver card, Aviator Red cardholders receive a more limited free checked luggage and preferred boarding benefits. The card grants these perks for the holder and up to four companions on the same reservation for American Airlines flights. The category bonuses are also curtailed, i.e., 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar on purchase of American Airlines flights and 1 mile on each dollar spent on non-American purchases.

Other pros of the Red card include 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchase and up to $25 in statement credit on inflight Wi-Fi purchases. Upon spending $20000 in a calendar year and renewing your card, you’ll earn a $99 Companion certificate valid for one guest.

The holder of this American Airlines Barclay card can participate in Flight Cents. He/she can round up mileage earnings to the nearest dollar by purchasing AAdvantage miles at a rate of 1 mile per 2 cents.

Overall, in light of the very easy welcome offer criteria, the Aviator Red Mastercard is ideal for those AA travelers who don’t fly enough to earn status. With nearly half the annual fee, the card grants slightly curtailed mileage earning potential and flight benefits compared to the Silver Card.

4. AAdvantage Aviator Blue Mastercard

  • $49 annual fee
  • Not open to new applicants

AAdvantage Aviator Blue Mastercard is a standard American Airlines Barclay card with a reasonable $49 annual fee. There are not many peculiarities in customer offerings as it just earns 2 miles per dollar on eligible AA purchases and one base mile on 1 dollar spent elsewhere. Members can get up to 25% daily savings on inflight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines-operated flights. Due to a low annual fee, the category bonus and travel benefits are also limited. Aviator Blue is not open to new applicants and serves existing AAdvantage Aviator cardholders. Due to its economical nature, existing cardholders considering a product change or looking to downgrade can choose this option.

5. AAdvantage Aviator World Elite Business Mastercard

  • $95 annual fee
  • Open to new cardholders

The Barclays AAdvantage Aviator World Elite Business Mastercard is a competitive entry-level card with an annual fee of $95. It is a good value for small-business owners as it allows them to increase their AA balance quickly with a substantial welcome bonus. The cardholders get a solid welcome bonus of 80000 miles and a $95 statement credit after $2000 in purchases in the first 90 days.

This AAdvantage Aviator card offers useful category bonuses with 2x AAdvantage miles for every dollar spent on AA purchases and eligible office supply, telecom, and car rental merchants. It also allows gaining 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Furthermore, there’s a 5% annual bonus on AAdvantage mileage you accumulate through the credit card at the end of your account anniversary year.

The card extends free checked bag and preferred boarding benefits to four travel companions on the same itinerary. It also comes with up to 25%savings in in-flight food and beverage purchases as a statement credit and a companion certificate on $30000 spent in your card membership year.

Pros of AAdvantage Aviator World Elite Business Mastercard

  • The easy-to-meet spending requirement for the welcome bonus
  • 5% annual bonus on miles earned
  • complimentary checked bags and priority boarding,
  • $99 Companion Certificate (taxes+ fees) on completing $30000 or more in net purchases in a cardholder year
  • 25% discount as a statement credit on in-flight food or drink purchases with Aviator Business Card

The robust welcome bonus and a suite of airline benefits at just $95 per year make Aviator Business Card an easy sell for the airline. However, the card doesn’t include Admirals Club lounge access and bonus miles earning categories.

Which American Airlines Barclay credit card is the best?

Each American Airlines Barclay credit card has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s difficult to say which is the best. If you are an AA flyer with no elite status, Aviator Red and Aviator Business Cards offer easily-attainable welcome bonus miles. Travelers who frequently take American Airlines flights and seek to maximize card benefits over the long run can opt for the Aviator Silver card. The blue and standard aviator cards aren’t very competitive and don’t offer a good value on spending. But, since they aren’t open to new applicants, you can keep one of two accounts to upgrade later to premium-tier cards if needed.

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