|Rewards Rating:||4.2 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||0.7|
|Issuer Customer Experience||3.5|
In a Nutshell:
The AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard is an excellent means for collecting bonus AAdvantage miles. It offers up a 50,000-mile bonus for simply paying the annual fee and making one qualifying purchase.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
Barclays Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: First checked free, preferred boarding privileges, 25% savings on inflight purchases, reduced mileage awards, up to $25 back on in-flight Wi-Fi purchases each year, no foreign transaction fees, World Elite Travel Services, personalized concierge service, auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation and interruption coverage, $0 fraud liability, extended warranty, price protection, purchase security, return protection.ay
|Find card offers for you: This card is not currently available on CreditCards.com, but you can still find a great card offer for you! Our CardMatch tool can help match you with prequalified offers and cards that align with your credit history – with no harm to your credit score. Get personalized offers from our partners in seconds.|
If your preferred airline is American, or you happen to live in an American Airlines hub city (Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, or Washington, D.C.), applying for the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard is an easy way of scoring a ton of miles at a minimal cost.
With this card, 50,000 intro bonus miles are yours after paying the $99 annual fee and making one purchase, both within the first 90 days. If you’re in it for the intro bonus, the Aviator Red Card is the way to go.
Though the intro bonus is the main draw, cardholders can still look to the Aviator Red Card for future American Airlines purchases, which earn 2X miles per dollar.
Unfortunately, American Airlines purchases are the only ones that yield more than 1x miles. Surely that will push some folks back to Citi’s suite of AAdvantage credit cards.
Bottom line: Thanks to its intro bonus, the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard makes sense for just about anyone, whether you fly American often or not. Frequent fliers can use the bonus to quickly pad their AAdvantage account; infrequent fliers can use the bonus to fund a vacation.
2X miles for every dollar spent on branded purchases (in this case, American Airlines) is pretty standard for airline co-branded credit cards. While some airline cards offer 2X or more miles on purchases in additional categories like dining, gas, etc., the Aviator Red Card does not. Because of the fact that cardholders are limited to 1X miles on what is likely the majority of their expenses, it’s hard to argue that the Aviator Red Card is a good option for everyday purchases.
Nice perks at the airport and in-flight
As is the industry standard, the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard makes your first checked bag free, but you’ll also get a free first bag for up to four companions on domestic American Airlines flights. Once through security, you’ll be pleased to know your card grants you and up to four others preferred boarding. After takeoff, you’ll receive a 25 percent discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases. Plus, you can get up to $25 back per calendar year to offset in-flight Wi-Fi purchases.
The value of these perks for a solo traveler is pretty subjective, but if you’re traveling with family or in a group of friends, the amount saved on bags alone can quickly hit triple digits.
Anniversary companion certificate
Each year on your account anniversary, the Red Card offers a free Companion Certificate, allowing you to bring a companion on your next trip for just $99 plus the taxes and fees. Unfortunately, this perk is only available in years you’ve spent at least $20,000 and if your account remains open for 45 days after your anniversary date.
Nevertheless, if you frequently travel with a group, you can save quite a bit with the pass.
Valuable travel benefits
For frequent travelers, the value of trip cancellation and interruption coverage can’t be emphasized enough. If you use your card to pay for a trip, you’re guaranteed all World Elite Mastercard benefits, including cancellation and interruption coverage. Additional travel benefits include personalized concierge, auto rental collision damage waiver, and more.
Though most of these benefits may go unused, each is a tremendous asset in the event that it’s needed.
Coverage when shopping
From a rewards standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense to use the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard to pay for a new TV (you’ll only earn 1X points, unless American Airlines starts selling electronics).
However, if you don’t have another credit card with price protection, it does make sense to use the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard to pay for a new TV. This card comes with a bevy of benefits for shoppers, including price protection (which may pay you the difference if you buy an item and later find it for a lower price), $0 fraud liability, and extended warranty, among others.
AAdvantage award flights
So how valuable are AAdvantage miles after all? It’s an answer that can change on a daily basis, as is the case with any airline rewards program. The key takeaway here is that American puts a price tag on AAnytime Level 1 (main cabin) award trips at 20,000 miles for one-way flights travelling within the contiguous 48 U.S. states. Round-trip flights are available for as little as 15,000 miles if your travel plans are flexible, but most round-trip economy flights will be in that 40,000-mile range.
If you put some research into your redemption, big value can be found in AAdvantage miles, it’s just a matter of being flexible with flight times and strategic with dates.
Why get the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard?
- American Airlines is your primary airline or you live in a hub city and are considering switching to American.
- You want to earn 50,000 intro bonus miles.
- You travel with family regularly and want to save on checked bag fees.
- You don’t already have a credit card with premium features found on a World Elite Mastercard.
How to use the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard:
- Always use it for American Airlines purchases to earn 2X miles per dollar spent.
- Pay the $99 intro fee and make one purchase within the first 90 days to earn the sign-up bonus.
- Redeem miles for award seats in the main cabin and consider being flexible with travel times.
Our reviews and best card recommendations are based on an objective rating process and are not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy
All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.
Responses to comments in the discussion section below are not provided, reviewed, approved, endorsed or commissioned by our financial partners. It is not our partner’s responsibility to ensure all posts or questions are answered.