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American Airlines has two card issuers, Citibank and Barclays. I have (3) different American Airlines credit cards. One of those cards has a weird new perk, and it’s more versatile than I initially realized.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® which is offering 70,000 AAdvantage® miles after $4,000 in purchases in first 4 months. This card has a $0 annual fee the first year (then $99). The card offers first checked bag on domestic American Airlines itineraries. There’s preferred boarding on American flights.
In addition cardmembers earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate for domestic main cabin travel after $30,000 spend or more in purchases each cardmembership year and cardmembership renewal.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® which is offering 50,000 miles after $5000 spend within the first 3 months of cardmembership. This card comes with American Airlines Club membership — and it offers up to 10 authorized user cards at no additional annual fee each of which get access to American Airlines clubs as well. $40,000 spend on purchases that post to your account during a calendar year earns 10,000 elite qualifying miles. The card’s annual fee is $450.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard® You can’t apply for this card directly, you can only product change an Aviator Red card to it. This card comes with a $100 Global Entry credit. You get priority boarding and free checked bag for up to 8 passengers on the same itinerary.
The card offers a companion certificate valid for up to 2 companions at $99 plus tax each after $20,000 spend in a year. $40,000 in spend gets 10,000 elite qualifying miles (5000 miles each at $20,000 and $40,000 actually). $50,000 spend gets 3000 elite qualifying dollars.
It comes with $50 in statement credits each cardmember year for inflight Wi-Fi purchases on American Airlines operated flights and $25 in statement credits for inflight food and beverage purchases each day that you fly American Airlines operated flights.
All of these are Mastercards, by the way, so you can use them to make mortgage payments at Plastiq.com and earn miles.
Barclays gets to market their cards inflight and in airports, but not within 100 feet of an American Airlines club (which is Citi turf). Citi gets every other marketing channel. When flight attendants offer the card on board, they’re offering the Barclays Aviator Red card which I do not have.
I used to have an Aviator Red, which was my legacy US Airways Dividend Miles Mastercard. I upgraded the card to the AAdvantage Aviator Silver.
The $25 inflight food and beverage credit that comes with this card is really interesting. It’s $25 per calendar day (“defined as 12:00am through 11:59pm EST and statement credits are based on the transaction date of each eligible purchase”).
You have to be flying American Airlines or American’s regional carriers to take advantage of the benefit. If you’re in first class you probably aren’t buying on board. If you’re in extra legroom coach (‘Main Cabin Extra’) your drinks are free. If you’re an Executive Platinum or ConciergeKey member one drink and one snack are free each flight anyway.
American and Barclays probably figure this won’t cost them that much. Their Aviator Silver cardholders probably don’t sit in regular (non-Main Cabin Extra) coach that often.
However you can buy on board even when you’re up front, though some flight attendants will limit you to what’s left in back after service (others will give you priority). You can buy for other passengers and remember this is $25 every single day you fly American.
What’s more, it’s a statement credit triggered by American Airlines inflight purchases to your card account and it does not matter whether your purchases are made with a primary card or a no annual fee authorized user card.
So even if you have elite status, fly first class, and think you won’t use the benefit you can give the $25 per day inflight food and beverage credit to anyone you trust with an Aviator Silver authorized user card on your account.
The limit is $25 per day per account, not per card, so giving out authorized user cards doesn’t multiply the $25. But it makes it a lot more likely that you can maximize frequent use of the $25.