Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Credit Cards: Which One Should You Choose?

Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Credit Cards: Which One Should You Choose?

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With more than 10 American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards to choose from, you may be overwhelmed with all of the options. Both Citi and Barclays issue AAdvantage credit cards, with each card offering something unique. The Barclays Aviator Mastercard lineup is often overlooked, as some quirky benefits come with each card.

Barclays currently issues five AAdvantage cards, although the only two that you can directly apply for are the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and the AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®. To qualify for the other three, you must request a product change to downgrade or upgrade to Barclays’ remaining cards. In this guide, we’ll delve into all five of the Barclays AAdvantage Mastercard offerings.

Barclays Aviator Mastercards

AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®
AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®
AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard®
AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®
Annual Fee$0$49$99$195$95
Welcome BonusN/AN/AEarn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.NoneEarn up to 75,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles. Earn 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Earn 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card.
Earnings RateEarn 1 mile for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every two dollars spent on all other purchasesEarn 2X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases.Earn 2X miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases.3X miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 2X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on hotels and car rentals and 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases.Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent at eligible office supply, telecom and car rental merchants. Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases.
Earn 5% AAdvantage mileage bonus.
Earn elite qualifying statusN/AN/AN/AEarn Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) and Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs)Earn Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs)
Travel Benefits25% discount on in-flight food and beverages purchases.25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchasesFirst eligible checked bag free.
Preferred boarding.
Earn up to one Companion Certificate. 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases.
Up to $25 back on in-flight Wi-Fi purchases each anniversary year.
Round up your purchases to the nearest dollar with Flight Cents to earn more AAdvantage miles.
$100 Global Entry application fee credit.
First eligible checked bag free.
Preferred boarding.
Earn up to two Companion Certificates.
Up to $25 back per day on in-flight food and beverage purchases.
Up to $50 back on in-flight Wi-Fi purchases each anniversary year.
Premium services.
Round up your purchases to the nearest dollar with Flight Cents to earn more AAdvantage miles.
First eligible checked bag free.
Preferred boarding.
Earn up to one Companion Certificate.
25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases.
Foreign transaction fees?See terms0%0%0%0% of the U.S. Dollar amount.
Not available on ValuePenguinNot available on ValuePenguinRead ReviewNot available on ValuePenguinNot available on ValuePenguin
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AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®

Barclays’ baseline card is the AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®, which offers the ability to earn AAdvantage miles for $0 annual fee. You’ll Earn 1 mile for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every two dollars spent on all other purchases, which isn’t the best rewards rate — even for a $0-annual-fee card. There are no bonus categories or sign-up bonus with the AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®, so you’ll earn miles exclusively through its low earnings rate. The only benefit you’ll receive with this card is a 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines-operated flights.

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® does not accept new applications. If you’re a current cardholder of any other Barclays AAdvantage credit cards, you may request a product change and downgrade to this card to skirt an annual fee.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®

For a modest $49 per year, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard® is a marginally better offering through Barclays. You’ll Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases. Like the AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®, you’ll receive a 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines-operated flights.

As a travel card, you’ll enjoy the key benefit of 0% foreign transaction fees with the AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®. However, there’s still no sign-up bonus, making this an unsatisfactory airline card. Like the AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®, there’s no direct application link to this card.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

One of the few Barclays AAdvantage cards you can apply for is the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®. At a reasonable $99 annual fee, you’ll enjoy a great sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days. This is quite an achievable welcome bonus, unlike other cards that require you to spend thousands of dollars first. Instead, you can earn these bonus miles in no time.

The earnings rate is the same as the AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®: Earn 2X miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases. However, the sign-up bonus and added benefits make this card worth keeping instead of downgrading to its lower-tier options. This card also participates in American’s unique Flight Cents program, allowing you to round up your purchases to the nearest dollar so you can earn even more miles.

Other benefits

In addition to receiving a 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases, you’ll enjoy:

  • First eligible checked bag free on domestic flights and preferred boarding for you and up to four travel companions
  • Up to $25 back on in-flight Wi-Fi purchases every anniversary year
  • Earn one Companion Certificate on your cardmember anniversary after you spend $20,000 on purchases and your account remains open for 45 days after your anniversary date. With this pass, you can bring one guest with you on a round-trip flight for just $99
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard®

Although the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard® does not accept new applicants, it’s still a card worth considering. With a $195 annual fee, you’ll earn AAdvantage miles even faster and even work your way towards American elite status. You’ll get 3X miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 2X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on hotels and car rentals and 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases.

This card will fast-track you to elite status: earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) each calendar year and 5,000 EQMs after spending $20,000 another 5,000 EQMs after an additional $20,000 on purchases.

Other benefits

The AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard® comes with many ancillary benefits, handy for general travel and exclusively for American Airlines:

  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit once every five years
  • First eligible bag free on domestic flights and preferred boarding for you and up to eight companions on your reservation
  • Up to $50 back on in-flight Wi-Fi purchases every anniversary year
  • 0% foreign transaction fees
  • Premium services including U.S.-based customer service, World Elite Concierge and Luxury Travel Benefits

The major downside to the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard® is that there’s no welcome bonus. You can still qualify for this card by requesting a product change with an existing Barclays AAdvantage Mastercard. Therefore, the lack of a welcome bonus shouldn’t be a deterrent if you’re interested in receiving even more generous benefits and a pathway to elite status.

AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®

If you’re a business owner, you can apply for the AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® It comes in at a $95 annual fee but with a lofty sign-up bonus: Earn up to 75,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles. Earn 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Earn 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card.

With this card, you’ll Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent at eligible office supply, telecom and car rental merchants. Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases. Every year, you’ll enjoy a 5% AAdvantage mileage bonus every cardmember anniversary based on the total number of miles you’ve earned with this card. You can also work your way towards American elite status, with the ability to earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year.

Other benefits

The card’s benefits are similar to the offerings of the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®:

  • First eligible checked bag free on domestic flights and preferred boarding for you and up to four travel companions
  • 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • Earn one Companion Certificate on your cardmember anniversary after you spend $30,000 on purchases. With this pass, you can bring one guest with you on a round-trip flight for just $99
  • Complimentary employee cards

Comparisons to other credit cards

As mentioned earlier, American Airlines also partners with Citi to issue more co-branded airline cards. Consider any of these four options by Citi that allow you to earn and redeem AAdvantage miles:

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

  • On Citibank's Secure Website

$0

15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)

Excellent/Good

  • Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

Citi’s $0-annual-fee option is the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, which comes with a sign-up bonus. You’ll Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Off the bat, this makes the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card more enticing than Barclays’ no-annual-fee credit card.

The earnings rate is also higher: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. You’ll still enjoy the 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases, so the clear winner here is the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

One of the most popular American Airlines cards is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®. Its annual fee is $99, waived for first 12 months. You’ll enjoy the same sign-up bonus as the comparable AAdvantage Aviator World Mastercard: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Remember that you’ll need to meet this spending limit before locking in these bonus miles, which will take longer than the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is catered more for everyday spending, as you’ll Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases.

Other benefits

The other benefits of this card include:

  • First checked bag free on domestic flights for you and up to four travel companions
  • Preferred boarding
  • 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • $125 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card membership year and renew your card
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

As you can see, this card is quite comparable to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®. You’ll know which card to choose depending on whether you value the Companion Certificate or the flight discount more.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

  • On Citibank's Secure Website

$450

15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)

Excellent/Good

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® comes with a steep $450 annual fee. In return, however, you’ll enjoy a complimentary Admirals Club membership, valued up to $650. Its sign-up bonus allows you to Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And after spending $40,000 in purchases in one year, you’ll earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles.

Other benefits

The card comes with these exclusive benefits, too:

  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck Application Fee credit
  • First checked bag free on domestic flights for you and up to eight travel companions
  • Priority boarding, check-in and airport screening for you and up to eight travel companions
  • 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • 0% foreign transaction fees
  • Dedicated concierge services

Barclays does not offer a credit card with complimentary lounge membership, so apply for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® if you’re looking to gain access to Admirals Clubs.

CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

Finally, the CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® is the card offering for business owners. Its annual fee is $99, waived for first 12 months. You’ll Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

Catered for business and travel spending, you’ll Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations. 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.. Earn 1X miles on all other purchases.

Other benefits

Enjoy the following travel benefits with this card:

  • First checked bag free for you and up to four travel companions
  • Preferred boarding
  • 25% discount on in-flight Wi-Fi, food and beverages
  • Earn one Companion Certificate on your cardmember anniversary after you spend $30,000 on purchases. With this pass, you can bring one guest with you on a round-trip flight for just $99
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

While the AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® and the CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® are quite similar, the former offers a higher sign-up bonus. The latter has a better earnings rate on an expanded number of categories.

ValuePenguin’s verdict

Each Barclays AAdvantage Aviator card offers something unique; however, they all offer $0 fraud liability protection and the ability to earn unlimited AAdvantage miles. Since the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and the AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® are the only two Barclays cards accepting new applicants, you’ll want to consider the card offerings from Citi as well. Regardless of the card issuer, all of these co-branded airline cards offer the ability to earn and redeem AAdvantage miles, with added benefits catered to how loyal you are to American Airlines.

The information related to AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®, CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® and Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Stella Shon

Stella Shon is a travel credit cards writer with ValuePenguin. After studying abroad in Paris three years ago, she became determined to keep traveling. That’s when she discovered the world of points and miles, which enabled her to travel on a student budget. Since then, she’s flown over 150,000 miles and earned more than 500,000 points and miles with eight different credit cards. While in college, she even co-founded her own travel agency, helping her peers plan and book trips on a budget. As a recent journalism graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill, her goal is to write about travel to make it simpler and achievable for everyone. Her work has also appeared on JetBlue, The Points Guy, Travel + Leisure and CNBC.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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