Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard Review

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    Quick Take: The Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® might be a mouthful, but it offers a significant amount of easily accessible benefits for a low cost.
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    Pros

    • Good sign-up bonus available with minimal effort
    • Numerous American Airlines perks, from priority boarding to a free bag
    • Introductory 0% APR

    Cons

    • Benefits are mostly American Airlines-specific
    • Fee not waived for the first year
    • No lounge access

    Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard Overview 

    If you’re looking for American Airlines perks without spending a lot of money on fees for an affiliated credit card, the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard might be the solution you need. For a modest $99 per year, the card offers a large number of American Airlines-related perks, not the least of which is the relatively large 50,000-mile sign-up bonus that only requires a single purchase to trigger.

    Read: This Credit Score Mistake Could Be Costing Millions Of Americans

    Key Features 

    Although the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard comes with a number of features and benefits, some of them rank more highly than others. Here are the top-tier features offered by the card:

    Fleet Size

    As American Airlines is the largest airline in the world, there’s no shortage of planes to fly on. Since you’ll want to maximize your chances for rewards with an airline-affiliated credit card, choosing the airline with the largest number of planes is a good move. 

    Foreign Transaction Fees

    There are no foreign transaction fees with the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but even if you don’t travel overseas, other cards will ding you up to 3% for even making a purchase on a foreign website. But the primary benefit of having no foreign transaction fees is generally for travelers, who are the biggest target market of the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard.

    Sign-Up Ratio

    The ratio of the sign-up bonus you receive — 50,000 AAdvantage miles to the price you pay, which is $99 per year — is high with the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. Many cards with sign-up bonuses this high charge higher annual fees.

    Travel Benefits

    A high number of travel benefits boosts the value of the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard, as you’ll receive perks ranging from a free bag and discounted in-flight purchases to ancillary travel benefits with the card.

    How the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard Stands Out 

    In addition to the relatively low cost for a card packed with features, what is unusual about the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard is that instead of requiring thousands of dollars of purchases to activate its sign-up bonus, new cardholders are rewarded with 50,000 AAdvantage miles after making a single purchase. 

    But the features of the card are also notable for a card with an annual fee that’s less than $100 per year. Some of the biggest are the following:

    • $99 annual Companion Certificate if you spend $20,000 on the card and your account remains open for 45 days past your anniversary
    • First checked bag free on American Airlines
    • Priority boarding on AA
    • 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Travel accident insurance
    • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
    • Baggage delay insurance
    • Auto rental collision damage waiver
    • 25% off inflight purchases
    • $25 annual onboard wifi credit
    • 2x AAdvantage miles on all American purchases.

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    All-in-all, this is a relatively unique blend of features that seem more valuable than the $99 annual fee, particularly if you fly on American Airlines. About the only thing that might be “missing” from this package is some type of lounge access. Although full Admirals Club or Priority Pass membership can’t be expected in a $99 annual fee card, some competitor cards do offer one-time passes at this price level. 

    Comparable Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard Options

    When it comes to American Airlines-affiliated credit cards, there are a number of choices in the space, offering various rewards for different annual fees. The Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard currently occupies the middle tier of available options, with its decent array of benefits and a midlevel fee of $99. But whether you’re willing to pay up for more features or just want a free card that still provides perks, there are competitive options that may appeal to you.

    Here are a few alternative American Airlines-affiliated cards that you may prefer more or less than the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard:

    American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

    The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card is an option for those looking for a no-fee airline credit card that still offers perks. Although perks are much more minimal than higher-tier cards in the space, you can still get 10,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $500 in the first three months after you own the card, plus a $50 statement credit.

    You’ll also get the same 25% discount on in-flight purchases and 2X miles on American Airlines that you would with the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. Although this is about the limit of the major perks of the card, there’s also no annual fee, so the features and benefits are essentially no charge.

    Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

    For the frequent American Airlines traveler looking to maximize perks, the top-tier Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard may be an option. The premier card has a high annual fee of $450, but it also comes with a high level of features and benefits. The most notable is Admirals Club Membership, which can cost as much as $650 for a single membership and is therefore highly discounted just by getting the card.

    The sign-up bonus is 80,000 AAdvantage miles, although this also comes with a high minimum spend of $5,500 in the first three months. Beyond that, the card offers additional perks ranging from 4X miles on American Airlines purchases to a free checked bag, a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit every five years, and priority check-in and boarding on American.

    All-in-all, the right American Airlines-affiliated credit card for you will depend on your travel patterns and preferences.

    How To Apply

    Applying for the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard is easy on the Barclays website. The site will ask for typical financial and personal information, such as:

    • Your date of birth
    • Name and address
    • Social Security number
    • Employment status
    • Annual income.

    Some applications are approved instantly online, while others require 7-10 business days for additional verification. 

    Who the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard Is Best For

    As with most branded airline credit cards, the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard is best suited for frequent flyers of the airline attached to the card — in this case, American Airlines. But even some non-AA flyers could take advantage of some of the shorter-term perks of the card, such as the 50,000-mile sign-up bonus, which are typically good for two domestic roundtrips, and the 15-month 0% introductory APR on balance transfers. Beyond that, most of the card’s perks primarily benefit AA flyers only.

    Final Take

    If you’re a fan of American Airlines, you could do a lot worse than paying a $99 annual fee for the perks offered by the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. But the card may also appeal to those looking for a 15-month 0% promo rate on a balance transfer. The Companion Certificate, which provides a free flight for a travel partner every year for just $99, can be a huge benefit for anyone, but it does require a high spend of $20,000 annually. 

    Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard FAQ

    Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard.
    • What credit score do you need for the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard?
      • Required credit scores for the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard are not published by the bank, but you should have a good to an excellent score in order to qualify. This typically means your credit score should be in the range of about 680 to 850.
    • Is the Red World Elite Mastercard worth it?
      • Whether or not the Red World Elite Mastercard is worth it is a personal decision. If you're a frequent American Airlines flyer, you'll likely reap rewards that are worth far more than the $99 annual fee. If not, however, the card may not be worth as much after you receive the sign-up bonus.
    • What is the discount for eligible inflight purchases for an AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard Cardmember?
      • Cardholders receive a 25% discount on in-flight purchases of food and beverages, along with a $25 statement credit every anniversary year for in-flight Wi-Fi purchases.
    • Is there an annual fee for the Aviator Mastercard?
      • The card comes with a $99 annual fee.

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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    About the Author

    After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.
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