Increased Signup Bonus for Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red: 50,000 Miles After First Purchase

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Competition for airline credit card signups has heated up. American Airlines told the SEC they were behind projections with new card signups and that was materially affecting their revenue outlook. So Citi came out with this new offer.


American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Business Class

Now it appears that there’s a bigger offer for the Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard® as well: 50,000 bonus miles after first purchase in the first 90 days and paying the card’s $95 annual fee. When the card launched for new applications in December the bonus was just 40,000 miles. (There’s also been a 500 mile bonus for applying using an application received inflight, awarded whether you’re approved for the card or not.)

Spending $25,000 on a Barclaycard-issued American AAdvantage credit card in a year also earns 3000 elite qualifying dollars towards status qualification.

Unlike the Citibank card which has a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95, the annual fee on the Barclaycard product isn’t waived the first year.

With either card you get one free checked bag and preferred boarding. I like both cards for the signup bonus and to keep for preferred boarding (you can bring a full sized carry on bag onboard even on a basic economy fare, and either way avoid having to gate check your bag) and the free checked bags.

Of course since the cards are offered by different issuers, you can get both.

(HT: @IadisGr8)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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  1. I have what may be a stupid question but with the “free” baggage allowance on the various cards, can you theoretically get a free bag for your Aviator, CitiAA, Citi Exec and or Citi Prestige? It seems I remember seeing it with the promotional paperwork I received, wasn’t sure if you have to actually pay for the flight with that card for it to apply? If you have 4 cards and the mere ownership of the card entitles you to free baggage can you get it free for each? Like I said, may be a naive question but certainly one the more seasoned vets would know.

  2. I have the US Airways card that was converted into this Aviator card. Is that considered a different product or am I out of luck on getting this bonus because I already have the existing account?

  3. I second Jeff’s question… wondering if I’d be able to get the bonus if I currently hold an old converted us air card.

  4. @stvr – he is a BoardingArea tech staffer. I wrote this post, there was not anyone else doing the writing on this blog. I had a problem with the back end of the blog used for posting earlier and I know I had submitted a ticket to have it looked at. I am not sure why the post published with him listed as the author though I assume he was in the post looking at my issue.

  5. I third Jeff’s and Angela’s question with a slight twist. I had the old Aviator card as, if I recall correctly, an American card as the two were merging. I later canceled it. Any sense of whether having had the card (or, as with J and A, still having the card), precludes getting the bonus?

  6. My bad, I was thinking of the $6k end bonus for $50 k spend- that’s unique to silver. Sorry for the misinformation

  7. Been patiently waiting for the increased sign up bonus!! Figured after Citi offered 60K this want too far behind.

  8. 4th Jeff’s question. I have the US airways converted to Aviator Red. Anyone know the rules for a second sign up bonus with this barclaycard?

  9. while I appreciate the 787-9, please use accurate AA award pictures in these posts, such as those showing no saver space availability over an entire calendar month on a basic route

  10. I found this in the FAQs on the card:
    How many bonus miles will I earn for activating and using the card in the first 90 days?

    The primary cardmember will earn fifty thousand (50,000) AAdvantage® bonus miles after a first purchase is made on the Account within ninety (90) days of Account opening and the annual fee has been paid. This one-time AAdvantage® bonus mileage offer is valid for first-time cardmembers with new accounts only. Existing cardmembers, existing accounts, and previous cardmembers with accounts closed in the past 24 months may not be eligible for this offer. This is a limited-time offer and may be canceled at any time without notice. Please allow 4-6 weeks for AAdvantage® bonus miles to be deposited into your AAdvantage® account after the qualifying transaction has posted and your annual fee has been paid.

    I had one of those cards that were switched over from US Airways and I cancelled a year ago, so it appears I would not be eligible.

  11. Answer to Jeff, Angela, Steve and JK:
    Yes these are different products. I have both cards and received the bonus mentioned in this article. Typically Barclaycard will deny application if you already have same product. However, in my online account, it is very difficult to see the full name of old (converted from US Airways) card and new card and thus difficult to identify the difference.

    Old card:
    Card picture has RED & WHITE mastercard logo (World)
    Services->Account Nickname: AAdvantage Aviator Red World MasterCard account
    Rewards & Benefits center: Welcome to your AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red MasterCard®
    Monthly statement: AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red MasterCard® Statement

    New card:
    Card picture has SILVER mastercard logo (World Elite)
    Services->Account Nickname: AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard account
    Rewards & Benefits center: Welcome to your AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red MasterCard®
    Monthly statement: AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red Mastercard® Statement (with a red&white logo!!!)

    Note that last 2 points are identical because they omit the “World” vs “World Elite” distinction.

  12. Forgot to mention that this is not very recent. I applied for this card in February and received 50K bonus in April of this year. I still have the US Airways converted card also active.

  13. @Travel Miler – Thanks for the detailed answer. Is there a good reason you’re keeping both Red cards? Why not downgrade the older one to Aviator Blue and avoid two annual fees?

  14. @JK I would rather keep the older card long term since it is grandfathered with 10K AA miles on every anniversary and most years I have been successful to get $89 AF refunded. Additionally this account provides 10% miles rebate on AA redemptions, so I want to keep this allowing the flexibility to cancel Citi AA cards to free up credit line for other Citi products. Also the account is now 4 years old and eventually will help with AAoA. I plan to cancel the new card before another AF is due.

  15. So if I have it from when it was a US Airways card, I can apply for it and get the signup bonus?

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