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Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Credit Cards of 2022: Which One Should You Choose?

Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Credit Cards of 2022: Which One Should You Choose?

As the only personal Aviator card with a sign-up bonus, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® stands above as the best overall American Airlines card available through Barclays.

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Top Barclays Aadvantage Aviator credit cards of 2022

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

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AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®

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AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®

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Barclays is home to several co-branded American Airlines credit cards that offer ways for travelers to earn airline miles and elite status with the airline. Cardholders can redeem miles towards award flights and other redemptions through the popular American Airlines AAdvantage program. American offers more credit card options than most airlines, with cards available through Barclays and Citi.

Among the Barclays issued AAdvantage credit cards, only one personal card, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, is available to new applicants. The other Aviator card options are only available to current cardholders who request a product change to upgrade or downgrade their existing card.

Compare the best Barclays Aadvantage Aviator credit cards of 2022

Best overall

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

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Not available on ValuePenguin

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.

$99

16.24%, 20.24% or 25.24% variable

N/A

  • 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.
  • 10% of your redeemed miles back (10,000 miles maximum per calendar year)
  • Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles on all other purchases
  • Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year
  • Receive 25% inflight savings on food and beverages
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • First checked bag free for the primary cardmember and up to 4 companions on eligible bags

Our thoughts

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® is the only Aviator card you can currently apply for through Barclays. It's also the only personal AA card that offers a 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 card offers several perks frequent American Airlines flyers will love, including free first checked bags for cardholders and up to four companions, preferred boarding and in-flight savings and credits on purchases like Wi-Fi, food and beverages. Cardholders can also earn an Anniversary Companion Certificate good for one guest at $99 (plus taxes and fees). However, the minimum spend requirement to earn the certificate is $20,000 annually and may be out of reach for many cardholders.

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® lets you Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on all other purchases purchases.

  • Generous welcome offer
  • First checked bags free for cardholders and up to four traveling companions
  • Up to $25 in statement credits on in-flight Wi-Fi purchases
  • 25% off in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • Preferred boarding
  • 0% foreign transaction fees
  • 0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99%.
  • High annual minimum spending requirement to earn the Anniversary Companion Certificate
  • $99 annual fee
  • No introductory APR on purchases


Best no-fee card

AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®

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Not available on ValuePenguin

$0

660 - 850

Our thoughts

If you want to earn miles towards AA flights but prefer not to pay a fee, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® is your best option. While it doesn't offer the earning power of higher-tier Aviator cards, you also don't have to worry about paying costly fees each year. The card still allows you to collect airline miles, 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.

This AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® is only available through a product change, so it's perfect for current Aviator cardholders looking to downgrade to a no-fee card. However, the card doesn't come with many airline or other perks, except for 25% savings on in-flight food & beverage purchases.

  • $0 annual fee
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • Not available for new applicants
  • No sign-up bonus
  • Low mileage-earning rates
  • No checked bags free
  • No priority boarding privileges
  • No companion pass offer


Best for low annual fee

AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®

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Not available on ValuePenguin

$49

660 - 850

Our thoughts

Another option for Aviator cardholders who want to downgrade and pay a lower fee is the AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®. With a $49 annual fee, this card offers roughly the same benefits as the no-fee version except for its earning rates. AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard® comes with slightly higher earning rates, 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.

In addition, like the no-fee card, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard® offers 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases, but little else. While its perks are lackluster compared to other airline cards, it could be an option for existing cardholders who want to spend less on the annual fee.

  • Lower annual fee
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • Not available for new applicants
  • No sign-up bonus
  • No free checked bags
  • No priority boarding privileges
  • No Companion Certificate offer

Frequently asked questions

What is the annual fee for an Aviator Mastercard?

Annual fees range from $0 to $199 depending on the specific Aviator card. The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® — the only card open for new applicants — carries a $99 annual fee. AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® has $0 annual fee, while AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard® comes with a $49 annual fee.

Is the Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® card worth it?

The Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® card may be worth having if you frequently fly American Airlines and plan to take advantage of the card's perks like in-flight discounts, preferred boarding and free checked bags. It's also a solid option if you typically spend more than $20,000 on cards and want to earn an airline companion pass.

What is the American AAdvantage program?

American AAdvantage is American Airlines' loyalty rewards program. AAdvantage members can earn miles and redeem them for flights to nearly 1,100 destinations, flight upgrades, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages and more.

Recap of the best Barclays AAdvantage Aviator cards

Methodology

To help you choose the best Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Credit Cards, we analyzed current Aviator card offerings. We studied each card's welcome offers, rewards rates, travel benefits, other perks, annual fees and more. Our recommendations are based on how much value these cards can offer our readers and these choices are not influenced by our advertisers.

The information related to AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

The information related to AAdvantage® Aviator® Red 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.

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).