Legally covering our hindside: We aren't going to BS you, TDWise provides these most excellent travel tips in hopes that you return the favor and use our referral links. We will get a kickback from the banks if you do so. We promise not to let this influence our advice in any way. See our Terms of Service for more legal ranting.

The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red Card

Military Churning Views on the AAdvantage Aviator Red Card

Not a bad looking card, better without that pesky blur though

This little ditty is a unique animal in the military churners wallet. Unique because Barclaycard, who used to be one of, if not the best SCRA applying companies in America, up and did a 180 on their policy in 2017 and became the worst SCRA applying company. So much so, that not even the MLA could break their armor for annual fee waivers and thus you will have to pay all Barclaycard cards’ annual fees. It’s a lot less fun when you don’t get to churn on easy mode.

Anywho, that doesn’t matter for this, the Aviator Red card. It doesn’t matter because the annual fee is $99 and for that, you get anywhere from 40k-60k American Airlines miles depending on the current sign-up promotion. No minimum spend, no tiered gimmicks, just make any old purchase on the card, pay off the annual fee, and you’ve essentially bought 50k AA miles for $99. That’s an easy round trip ticket (likely more) in CONUS, for $99. It’s probably the only time this blog will recommend you pay actual money for travel benefits.

In addition to the bonus you get a $99 companion certificate, $25/yr in AA inflight wifi, preferred boarding, first checked bag free, and a “flight cents” thing where you can round up all your purchases to the nearest whole dollar, and those extra cents buy you sort of discounted AA miles at 2 cents per mile. It’s sort of discounted because you can currently buy AA miles from AA right now anywhere between 4.7 and 1.6 cents per mile, depending on volume bought.  To achieve a better than 2 cents per mile rate, you would be looking at spending $2,686.50 for 100,000 miles with a bonus 27,500 miles for their current promotion.


  1. How long would you keep this open after the sign up bonus? I have the Citibank Platnium AA card because I was under the impression Citi bank also charged the annual fees for military, I solely have it to keep my AA miles active? Would it be best to upgrade the Citibank to the executive or apply for the new card, if so would I get the bonus points from a second Citibank card?

    1. The general rule of thumb is to always keep accounts open for a year before closing. I only have mine alive to maintain a Barclays log in for a different card situation. When was your bonus on the Citi AA? If it was over 48 months ago it would be best to get the Exec separately for another sign up bonus. I would also get the Exec separately if your AF isn’t waived on the AA Plat, an upgrade won’t cause an AF waiver.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>