If you are like many, you probably hate having to worry about a minimum spend requirement. Over 90% of travel credit cards require you to spend past a threshold to receive the bonus point/miles. This time, you’re in luck!
Barclay AAdvantage Aviator
Let’s get down to the deets:
• 50,000 AAdvantage miles
• Must make only one purchase to receive bonus miles
• Must pay the $95 annual fee to receive bonus miles
• Free checked bag for you and up to four companions flying on your itinerary
• Group 4 boarding position (ranges from 1-9)
• 10% Points rebate, up to 10,000 per year (redeem 50k miles, get 5k back to spend later)
• Receive 25% inflight savings onboard AA flight (food and drinks)
According to Barclay, “This one-time AAdvantage bonus mileage offer is valid for first-time cardmembers with new accounts only. Existing cardmembers, existing accounts, and previous cardmember with accounts closed in the past 24 months may not be eligible for this offer“
Notice the “may not be eligible” language, odd it can’t be a simple yes or no. Barclay is known for this gray area stuff and I’ve heard of people receiving the bonus points even though they’ve earned the Aviator card bonus less than 24 months prior. Since this card requires just one purchase, like a pack of gum, it might be worth applying anyway.
The 24 month rule will only apply, in theory, to this Aviator card specifically, if you’ve had the Arrival Plus card that would not factor in.
Barclay will refund an annual fee if the account is closed within 60 days of the fee posting. You could apply, make the one purchase and pay the annual fee, then give it 30 days to see if the miles post to your AA account. (For those who’ve had this exact card recently and are uncertain). They state the points will post 4-6 weeks after you meet the requirements, in my experience it is more like 2-3 weeks. If you don’t get the points, just cancel and receive credit back for the annual fee.
Since this is a co-branded card, once the miles post to American Airlines, they are yours to keep, even if you cancel the card the next day. Though if you are going to pay the annual fee, you may as well keep it for one year and get the priority boarding and free checked bag perk. (Plus the 10% points rebate won’t work if the card is closed down)
No questions asked, this Aviator card is a must. You are essentially paying $95 for 50,000 American Airlines miles worth around $650 at a minimum. That is a nice return for a simple credit inquiry and purchase of a pack of gum! I don’t, however, recommend an AA credit card if you only plan to use the miles for domestic economy flights. Continue reading.
My favorite redemption of American Airlines miles is for off-peak to and from Europe. You can use your AA miles to fly with American Airlines or their partners (though you have to call in most cases to book), such as British Airways, Iberia, AirBerlin, Finnair, and S7. At just 22,500 AA miles one-way during off-peak dates, January 10 – March 14 & November 1 – December 14, this is a great economy redemption!
Alyssa and I recently flew from Tel Aviv, Israel over to Seoul, South Korea for just 40,000 AA miles one-way in business class! (Royal Jordanian and Cathay Pacific – all lie-flat seating on long haul flights)
This one-way trip from Tel Aviv to Seoul, part of our around-the-world journey, required just 36,000 AA miles per person. (after 10% mileage rebate). You could fly from Cairo, Egypt all the way to Tokyo, Japan in FIRST CLASS for 50,000 AA miles one-way. (45k after rebate) That means this first class award ticket would cost you $95, which is the annual fee, plus about $50-$70 in carrier taxes/fees.
You could route through Abu Dhabi on Etihad Airways and spend 24 hours there on your layover for no additional cost. Etihad even offers a free luxury coach service to visit Dubai, just 90 minutes away. That same flight from CAI > AUH > NRT on Etihad first class would cost over $1,500 one-way using cash! (your cost would be $160~ total)