May 20, 2022

Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard Review: 80k Bonus

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Regular APR


16.24% or 25.24%


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent


Regular APR


16.24% or 25.24%


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent

Pros

  • American Airlines benefits, including a free first checked bag and preferred boarding
  • 5% annual mileage bonus
  • You can earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars toward American Airlines elite status by spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year

Cons

  • Companion certificate benefit requires spending $30,000 or more on the card in an account year

More Information

  • Earn 80,000 bonus miles and a $95 statement credit after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • 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
  • After every account anniversary, earn 5% AAdvantage® mileage bonus based on the total number of miles earned using your card
  • First checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions when traveling on domestic itineraries operated by American Airlines

Review: Is the AAdvantage Aviator Business Card the best credit card for you?

There is an overwhelming number of co-branded American Airlines credit cards — nine, to be exact — all with slightly different bonus categories, ongoing benefits, annual fees, and sign-up bonuses.

One of the most well-rounded of these cards is the AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®. It offers the standard American Airlines perks, such as:

  • First checked bag free on American Airlines domestic itineraries
  • Preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • 25% discount on inflight food and beverage

But it’s also got some more unique benefits, such as a 5% annual bonus on all the points you’ve accrued via spending and a domestic companion certificate after meeting yearly spending requirements. It’s also got a whopper of a welcome bonus right now: 80,000 bonus miles and a $95 statement credit after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Even if you never fly American Airlines, you can still book award flights on American’s partner airlines such as Qatar Airways, Etihad, and Alaska Airlines to reach just about anywhere.

Who should consider the AAdvantage Aviator Business card?

Frequent American Airlines flyers can get a lot of benefits and potentially save money with the AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®, particularly if they check bags. Big spenders can also get significant value if they earn the companion certificate by spending $30,000 or more in a year. 

This card is also worth considering if you want to earn American Airlines miles on your everyday spending, or are working toward earning AAdvantage elite status, which is now based on Loyalty Points. You’ll earn 1 Loyalty Point for every dollar you spend on the card, so it can be a great help if you need a boost toward the next status tier.

Who shouldn’t consider the AAdvantage Aviator Business card?

This is a small-business card, so you must have a business to qualify. This doesn’t mean you need a multi-million dollar enterprise — things like babysitting, tutoring, freelance writing, and DoorDash delivery can qualify you for a small-business credit card.

If you’re not a small-business owner but want to earn American Airlines miles, check out personal AA cards like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® or AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®
, which have similar annual fees and benefits.

If you don’t think you’ll fly American Airlines with enough regularity to warrant paying this card’s $95 annual fee, you should consider a card that earns flexible points, instead. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, American Express® Gold Card
, and Citi Premier® Card all accrue points that you can use to simply “purchase” airfare at a fixed rate through each card issuer’s proprietary travel portals — or, you can transfer them to dozens of different airlines if you decide to book award flights.

Comparison: AAdvantage Aviator Business Card vs other American Airlines credit cards

AAdvantage Aviator Business Card vs other small-business airline credit cards

*When you use your card to pay for your ticket, or the taxes and fees on an award ticket

***$100 United credit after making seven or more United flight purchases of $100 or more each card anniversary year

****Up to 1,000 PQP in a calendar year

How to earn rewards from the AA Aviator Business Card

The AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® offers significantly more opportunities to earn bonus miles than its personal card counterpart, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®. You’ll earn:

  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases (made directly through American Airlines channels, including aa.com, American Airlines reservations, American Airlines Vacations reservations, Airpass, Google Flights, and American Airlines airport and city ticket counters)
  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible office supply, telecom, and car rental merchants 
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

Depending on the nature of your business, this could be a nice way to rack up American Airlines miles quickly.

How to use American Airlines miles

American Airlines doesn’t use an award chart to price its flights. Instead, it uses “dynamic pricing,” a mysterious formula based on travel season, flight times, cash price, and other factors.

Dynamic pricing essentially means American Airlines can charge you whatever they want whenever they want. A route may cost 6,000 miles one day and 21,000 miles the next day. In short, if you’re flexible with your travel, you can book some incredible deals with American Airlines miles. If your travel dates and destinations are more rigid, you may end up paying a small fortune for your airfare. 

And remember — even if you never fly AA, American Airlines miles can be extremely useful for achieving your travel goals. American Airlines is partnered with airlines such as:

  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Alaska Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 Airlines (temporarily suspended)
  • SriLankan Airlines

You can use American Airlines to fly on any of these airlines. So even if you’d like to go somewhere that American Airlines doesn’t serve (such as French Polynesia, The Maldives, Morocco, etc.), a stash of AA miles can still get you there.

You can also redeem American Airlines miles for things like hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, seat upgrades, Admirals Club airport lounge memberships, gift cards, merchandise, and more — but these offer an infamously poor value per point.

AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard benefits and features

Free checked bag

As the primary cardholder of the AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®, you and up to four companions on your reservation can receive a free first checked bag on American Airlines domestic itineraries (US mainland, Hawaii, Canada, US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico). American Airlines charges $30 for the first checked bag, so you could easily offset the card’s $95 annual fee by checking bags with a travel buddy for just a single round-trip flight each year.

Preferred boarding

Cardholders will also receive preferred boarding on American Airlines flights — as will up to four companions on the same reservation. Preferred boarding is Group 5 (out of 9) meaning you’re guaranteed plenty of overhead bin space.

25% savings on inflight American Airlines purchases

You’ll save 25% on American Airlines inflight food and drink when you use this card. If you don’t often pay for food in the sky, this benefit won’t move the needle much. Other purchases, such as Wi-Fi, aren’t discounted.

The savings come in the form of a statement credit toward eligible inflight purchases made with the card. It should appear on your card statement within four weeks of the purchase.

Domestic companion certificate

By spending at least $30,000 in a calendar year, you’ll qualify for a companion certificate to anywhere in the lower 48 US states. It allows a companion to fly with you on a round-trip coach fare for a flat fee of $99, plus taxes (no more than $43.20). One small quirk is that your account must remain open for 45 days after your card member anniversary to receive this certificate.

Once the certificate is deposited into your account, you’ll have one year to use it. Also note that you can’t use this perk for flights on an American Airlines partner, like Alaska Airlines. If you live in Alaska or Hawaii, you can use this certificate for travel to the continental US.

Annual 5% miles bonus

After you renew your AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® (and keep it open for 45 days), you’ll receive a 5% bonus on all the miles you’ve earned during your cardmember year. You will not earn a 5% bonus for the welcome offer, however.


Regular APR


16.24% or 25.24%


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent


Regular APR


16.24% or 25.24%


Recommended Credit Score


Excellent

Pros

  • American Airlines benefits, including a free first checked bag and preferred boarding
  • 5% annual mileage bonus
  • You can earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars toward American Airlines elite status by spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year

Cons

  • Companion certificate benefit requires spending $30,000 or more on the card in an account year

More Information

  • Earn 80,000 bonus miles and a $95 statement credit after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • 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
  • After every account anniversary, earn 5% AAdvantage® mileage bonus based on the total number of miles earned using your card
  • First checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions when traveling on domestic itineraries operated by American Airlines

Aviator Business card fees and costs

The AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® comes with a $95 annual fee. And like other credit cards, it will charge for cash advances, returned and late payments, and balance transfers.

The card waives foreign transaction fees, so it’s a good companion when spending overseas.

AAdvantage Aviator Business Card — frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Can I apply for the Aviator Business Card?

The AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® is a small-business credit card. That means you qualify only if you have a business. Examples of this can be:

  • An Etsy shop
  • Reselling items on eBay
  • Petsitting
  • Freelance writing
  • Uber/DoorDash driving

All of these activities are considered a small business.

Is the Aviator Business Card worth it?

The card offers much more value than its $95 annual fee — but only for those who fly American Airlines at least a couple of times per year.

Remember, if you check a bag regularly, you’ll save $60 per round trip. If you and a friend each check a bag during a single vacation, you’ll save $120, completely negating the annual fee. And if you can manage to spend $30,000 in a calendar year, you’ll receive a companion certificate that can save you and a travel buddy many hundreds of dollars. 

Is the Barclays Aviator Business Card bonus normally this high?

No. The card usually offers a generous bonus, but the current offer is notably high. Based on Insider’s valuations, it’s worth $1,120 in flights.

H0w do I check my Aviator Business Card application status?

You can check the status of your Barclays credit card applications by clicking here and entering details such as your last name, the last four digits of your Social Security Number, your mother’s maiden name, and your email address.