Best American Airlines business credit cards

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When the American AAdvantage program was unveiled in 1981, it was the only airline loyalty program in the entire world. These days, you can use this program to travel to more than 1,000 destinations around the world.

Earning and redeeming miles with Oneworld alliance partner airlines is a breeze. If you fly often enough with American Airlines, you can even earn elite status with the American AAdvantage program and qualify for special perks like priority check-in, priority boarding on your plane, free checked bags and more.

If you’re a business owner, you’ll be happy to know you can earn American AAdvantage miles on your business-related flights,  as well as on each dollar you spend. This is made possible thanks to business credit cards that are co-branded with the American AAdvantage program.

Best business credit cards from American Airlines

If you want to earn miles good for free flights with American Airlines, you’ll want to check out the business credit cards that allow it. Here are Bankrate’s picks for the best American Airlines business credit cards:

  • Best for cardholder perks: AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®
  • Best for earning a companion pass: CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®

  • Earn 65,000 miles when you spend $1,000 on your card within 90 days of account opening and another 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card
  • Earn 2X miles on American Airlines purchases and at eligible office supply, telecom and car rental merchants; also earn 1X miles on other purchases
  • $95 annual fee
  • Major cardholder benefits include a free checked bag, preferred boarding, 25 percent off select in-flight purchases, $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year and more
  • No foreign transaction fees

Why it’s best for cardholder perks

If you’re looking for elite status benefits without having to earn a specific tier, the AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard is worth considering. Just carrying this credit card qualifies you for a free checked bag for you and up to four companions for domestic flights on American Airlines, and you also automatically qualify for preferred boarding and complimentary employee cards. There’s a $95 annual fee, but you won’t pay foreign transaction fees.

The fact that you can earn such a generous welcome bonus is also a major plus, along with the fact that you earn 2X miles in popular business categories like office supply stores, car rental companies and telecom purchases. Also, keep in mind this card offers a $99 companion ticket, but you need to spend $30,000 on eligible purchases within a calendar year to qualify.

If you are someone who may want to pursue the top levels of elite status with American, you should know this credit card can give you a leg up. Specifically, you can earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year. This boost can help you meet the dollar requirement for elite status levels through credit card spending alone, rather than segments or miles flown with the airline.

In summary, the AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard offers some of the main perks of elite status without requiring you to earn it. And with the generous welcome bonus and a boost toward elite status requirements, you can easily get plenty of value out of this card the first year.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

  • Earn 65,000 American AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $4,000 on your card within four months of account opening
  • Earn 2X miles on eligible American purchases and on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and gas stations; also earn 1X miles on other purchases
  • Qualify for a first checked bag free on domestic flights
  • $0 annual fee the first year, then $99
  • No foreign transaction fees

Why it’s best for earning a companion pass

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® also offers quite a few cardholder perks, including a free checked bag for yourself and up to four companions and free employee cards.

The companion certificate this card offers helps it stand out even further. When you spend $30,000 more on your credit card within a calendar year, you can qualify for a certificate that’s good for a $99 domestic economy companion fare. Do note, however, that redeeming the companion fare will also require a payment of $21.60 to $43.20 in government taxes and fees, based on the itinerary.

This card does charge a $99 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year. You also avoid having to pay foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad.

Finally, the initial bonus on this card is extremely generous, letting you rack up 65,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on your card within four months of account opening.

How to choose an American Airlines business credit card

When faced with a choice between the two American Airlines business credit card offers above, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the details. After all, both cards offer some basic travel and mileage benefits and let you rack up miles for each dollar your business spends.

With that in mind, here are some factors to consider as you choose the best business credit card for your needs:

  • Which sign-up bonus is easiest to earn? The sign-up bonus on the AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard is definitely easier to earn since you only have to spend $1,000 on your card within 90 days of account opening, compared to $4,000 within three months with the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard. If your business doesn’t make many purchases each month but you want to earn a generous bonus, the spending requirements for each card are definitely worth considering.
  • Will you use the cardholder perks? Both American AAdvantage business credit cards offer free checked bags, but the AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard also offers priority boarding and 25 percent off select in-flight purchases.
  • How do the categories align with your spending? Both cards have similar categories that let you earn 2X miles for each dollar you spend, but the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard includes gas stations. This makes it a better option if your business spends a lot of money on fuel each year.
  • Do you want to pay an annual fee the first year? Finally, don’t forget that the annual fee on the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard is waived the first year, whereas the $99 annual fee on the AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard is not.

Consider picking up a personal card and a business credit card

If you’ve been researching American Airlines credit cards, you may have noticed that some versions are geared toward individuals while others are geared to business owners. Either option can be a good one if your goal is to score frequent flyer perks and earning miles for free flights, but keep in mind you can also pick up a personal and business card to rack up more miles over time.

For example, you could consider pairing either American AAdvantage business credit card with an American Airlines credit card for consumers like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. This card lets you earn miles on all your spending, as well as 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,500 on your card within three months of account opening. The $99 annual fee is waived the first year, and this card also offers a free checked bag, preferred boarding, 25 percent off select in-flight purchases and other perks.

Also consider American AAdvantage credit cards from Barclays, including the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®. This can be an especially fruitful option when it comes to earning miles quickly since you can rack up 60,000 bonus miles when you pay the $99 annual fee and make a single purchase within 90 days of account opening. You’ll also qualify for statement credits good for in-flight Wi-Fi services, in-flight savings, a first checked bag free and other perks.

Final thoughts

While having both a personal and a business credit card may seem complicated, this strategy actually works rather well. Using a business credit card for business purchases can help you keep your expenses separate, thus simplifying your finances for bookkeeping and tax purposes.

Having both types of cards can also help you double up on bonus offers and gain access to different perks and earning rates that can help you grow your miles balance over time.

Don’t see the card for you? Our CardMatch feature can help you find a card that best fits your needs.