AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® review

Bankrate Staff  in  Airline How we rate our cards  | 

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Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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Annual Fee:
$99
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro for first 12 billing cycles following each BT that posts within 45 days of account opening
Regular APR:
15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable based on your creditworthiness
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Bankrate Rating

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our airline category page.

 

Best card for American Airlines flyers who want an easy welcome bonus

  • Rewards rate: 2X miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 50,000 AAdvantage miles after making one purchase and paying the annual card fee in full within the first 90 days
  • Annual fee: $99
  • Purchase intro APR: None
  • Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent for 15 billing cycles for transfers made in the first 45 days
  • Regular APR: 15.99 percent, 19.99 percent or 24.99 percent variable

The AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard’s generous (and easy-to-earn) welcome bonus makes it an attractive card for just about anyone who travels with American Airlines. You’ll earn miles on all your spending, including double miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, so you can quickly put those miles toward flights to destinations around the globe. This American Airlines credit card also comes with handy perks that would benefit people who fly the airline at least a couple of times a year.

AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard current welcome bonus

Earning 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles couldn’t be easier—just pay your $99 annual fee in full and make a purchase on your AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard with the first 90 days of opening your account. This offer is incredibly generous since most airline credit cards on the market require you to spend a minimum (usually around $2,000) for a comparable number of bonus points or miles.

While there are certainly larger welcome offers around, this one is a top pick because it’s rather easy to earn. And keep in mind, too, that a domestic round-trip award flight with American Airlines can cost as little as 25,000 miles—so this bonus could in fact be enough for two domestic round-trip flights if you’re flexible with your travel plans and smart about your redemptions.

Rewards

You can earn unlimited AAdvantage miles, but be aware they will expire if you don’t keep your account active. Make a purchase with your AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard at least once every 18 months to keep your miles.

Earning rewards

As with other co-branded airline credit cards, you’ll earn miles more quickly by traveling with the airline. Flying American Airlines will get you 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar, but you’ll also earn 1X miles per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Frequent American flyers who spend at least $20,000 on the card each year will also earn an annual Anniversary Companion Certificate. With it, someone can travel with you for just $99 (plus taxes and fees).

Redeeming rewards

American Airlines is part of the Oneworld Alliance, and the AAdvantage Program currently has 18 partner airlines, so you can redeem miles with a number of carriers. You can redeem your miles online or over the phone, and you can also gift or transfer miles.

How much are miles worth?

According to The Points Guy’s most recent points and miles valuations, an AAdvantage mile is worth around 1.4 cents. Depending on how you redeem your welcome offer, those 50,000 AAdvantage miles (when you pay your $99 annual fee in full and make a purchase on your card within the first 90 days) could be worth approximately $700.

AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard: Benefits

American Airlines flyers will love the benefits this card offers, which will make traveling with the airline easier and less expensive.

First checked bag free

You and up to four companions on the same reservation can enjoy one checked bag for free on select American Airlines flights.

Preferred boarding

You and up to four companions are also eligible to receive preferred boardings on all American Airlines flights.

In-flight savings

You can get $25 back in statement credits every year for in-flight Wi-Fi purchases on American Airlines, plus save 25 percent on food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights.

No foreign transaction fees

You won’t have to pay the standard 3 percent charge on foreign transactions when making purchases overseas with this card.

Flight Cents

Fast track your AAdvantage miles by rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar.

Protection and insurance

By paying for your trip with this card, you could enjoy a host of travel protections, such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance and collision and theft insurance on rental cars.

Anniversary Companion Certificate

If you spend at least $20,000 on your card and your account remains open for 45 days after your anniversary date, you can receive a Companion Certificate for $99 (plus taxes and fees), which you can use for a domestic economy fare.

Rates and fees

The AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard has an annual fee of $99, but there are no foreign transaction fees. The late payment fee is up to $40.

Travel rewards credit cards don’t often come with introductory APR offers, which makes the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard even more appealing. You can take advantage of an intro 0 percent APR for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers made within the first 45 days. There’s a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3 percent of the transfer amount, whichever is greater.

A variable APR of either 15.99 percent, 19.99 percent or 24.99 percent will apply after the introductory period for balance transfers ends.

How the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard compares to other airline credit cards

Compared to other co-branded airline cards, the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard’s rewards earning potential is fairly limited. For example, both the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® allow you to earn bonus miles on everyday spending in addition to airline purchases. What’s more, these two cards waive their $99 annual fee in the first year.

Card Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome bonus
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
  • Unlimited 2X miles on restaurant, U.S. supermarkets and eligible Delta purchases
$99 (waived the first year) Limited Time Offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 4/28/2021.
Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
  • Unlimited 2X miles on restaurant, gas station and eligible American Airlines purchases
$99 (waived first year) 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 on purchases within first three months.
Discover it® Miles
  • Unlimited 1.5X miles on all purchases
$0 Discover matches all miles earned by the end of your first 12 months.

Best cards to pair with the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

To build AAdvantage miles rewards faster, you could pair this card with another American Airlines credit card. For example, the aforementioned Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard earns two miles at restaurants and gas stations, in addition to airline purchases.

If you want more versatile travel rewards, the Discover it® Miles is a fantastic alternative because it gives you 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, and you can use miles accumulated to offset recent travel expenses or even receive cash back.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard worth it?

If you love flying with American Airlines and travel at least a couple of times a year, then this card could be a great fit. Although there’s a $99 annual fee, you can easily make this back with the checked-bag benefit. And the ability to earn a Companion Certificate each year is excellent for couples or family members who often travel together.

Pros

  • Generous welcome bonus with no minimum spend
  • Introductory APR on balance transfer
  • Ability to earn a Companion Certificate
  • Access to a range of travel perks and protections
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Annual fee not waived in the first year
  • No bonus rewards for everyday purchases

All information about the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.