AAdvantage Aviator Business Card Review [2020]

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If you’re trying to get far with your American Airlines miles, you should really consider picking up the AAdvantage Aviator Business Card — one of the top travel credit cards.

It’s a great addition to other AA cards like the Citi Platinum Select and can help build you up a big balance of AAdvantage miles pretty quick.

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the AAdvantage Aviator Business Card.

AAdvantage Aviator Business Card Overview

AAdvantage Aviator Business Card card art
  • 2X on AA purchases
  • 2X on office supply, telecom, and car rental merchants
  • First checked bag free for the primary cardmember and up to 4 companions
  • Preferred boarding
  • $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year
  • 25% inflight savings on food, beverages, and headsets on American Airlines-operated flights
  • Reduced mileage awards
  • Companion certificate good for 1 guest at $99 
  • 5% AAdvantage mileage bonus
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Chip and Pin technology (great for Europe)
  • Annual fee $95 (not waived)

Eligibility 

Barclays imposes something known as “6/24.” This is a soft rule that means that if you’ve opened six or more cards in the past 24 months, you might not get approved for their cards. 

This is not always enforced so you don’t always have to worry about, but there are other eligibility rules at play with this card as well.

Tip: Check out the free app WalletFlo so that you can optimize your credit card spend with smart automation!

Welcome bonus

The welcome bonus for this card has ranged from 40,000 miles all the way up to 75,000 miles although the spend requirements have been a bit different.

Here’s one of the most recent offers we’ve seen:

  • Earn 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Earn 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card.

50,000 miles can put you in great position to start redeeming for some excellent products. If you stack this with other AA credit cards you can quickly be on your way to some great redemptions on partners like Qatar.

If you combined this offer with another AA sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles or got matched to 75,000 miles, you’d be a step closer to making some great redemptions such as:

  • One way in the first class Etihad Apartment
  • Roundtrip business class to Europe
  • Etihad or Qatar business class roundtrip to or from the Middle East
  • Cathay Pacific business class roundtrip to Asia
  • Roundtrip in business class to Africa
  • Two roundtrip business class tickets to Hawaii
American Airlines First Class.

Bonus categories

  • 2X on AA purchases
  • 2X on office supply, telecom, and car rental merchants
  • 5% bonus on annual earnings

2X on AA

Earning 2X on American Airlines purchases is pretty standard for a co-branded airline credit card.

Using a WalletFlo valuation of 1.37 cents per point, 2X comes out to 2.74% back.

Personally, I like to put my travel expenses like airfare on a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve that has a better earning rate of 3X and more importantly more robust travel protections.

Tip: If you want a business card that earns 3X on travel, consider the Chase Ink Preferred.

2X on office supplies, telecom, and car rentals

You will also earn two times the points on office supplies, telecom, and car rentals.

These are okay earning rates for these categories but if you really want to maximize points for office supplies and telecom, you might want to look into a card like the Chase Ink Business Cash.

Chase Ink Business Cash earns 5X on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases in the following categories each account anniversary year:

  • Office supplies stores
  • Internet, cable and phone services

Tip: You could transfer your Chase points to a program like British Airways Avios and still use your points for American Airlines.

5% bonus

At the end of every year, you will receive a 5% bonus on all of the miles that you earned.

You will need to renew your card which means that you will need to pay the annual fee to get this benefit. In fact, your card will have to remain open for at least 45 days after the anniversary date.

Airline benefits

First checked bag free

You can get a free checked bag for you and up to four companions on domestic itineraries operated by American Airlines.

American Airlines charges $30 for the first checked bag, so you could easily save over $100 traveling with three other people on a one-way trip.

This perk alone will justify the annual fee for a lot of people who frequently fly American Airlines.

The one drawback to this perk is that it only applies to domestic flights unlike the United Explorer Card which offers a free bag on international flights.

Related reading: The ultimate guide to checked baggage.

Preferred boarding

You can also get preferred boarding for you and up to four companions when flying on American Airlines operated flights.

Preferred boarding is not the same as priority boarding but you will be among the first to enter the aircraft in main cabin so it can be helpful when trying to secure our overhead storage bin space.

You can find out more about the American Airlines boarding process here.

Get preferred boarding with the Business Aviator.

$3,000 elite qualifying dollars

Each year, after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your card, you can earn $3,000 of elite qualifying dollars (EQDs).

In order to achieve American Airlines Gold status, you will have to earn $3,000 in EQDs, so this benefit allows you to instantly achieve that qualification.

The EQD requirements are:

Elite status levelSpend requirement
Gold$3,000
Platinum$6,000
Platinum Pro$9,000
Executive Platinum$15,000
American Airlines EQD requirements.

So this benefit can really help you achieve higher levels of elite status if the spend requirement is generally something that you struggle to achieve.

25% discount

You can receive a 25% discount as a statement credit on food and beverages when you fly on American Airlines operated flights.

This is a pretty standard discount for a co-branded airline credit card but it’s not quite as good as the 50% savings that the JetBlue Plus offers.

Get a 25% discount on American Airlines in-flight purchases.

Companion certificate

If you spend $30,000 or more on your card, you will be issued one companion certificate that is good for one guest at $99.

This allows a companion to fly with you on many different types of qualifying her outs for only $99.

You will still need to pay taxes and fees which may range from $21.60 to $43.20.

AAdvantage Aviator Business Card (FAQ)

Does the Aviator Business Card come with lounge access?

No, the Aviator Business Card does not come with Admirals Club access. To find out more about how to get Admirals Club access click here.

Can I get the Citi Business Platinum Select and the Aviator Business Card?

Yes, it is possible to get both American Airlines business cards.

Does the Aviator Business Card have foreign transaction fees?

No, the Aviator Business Card does not have foreign transaction fees.

What is the Aviator Business Card annual fee?

The annual fee is $95 and it is not waived.

Final word

As you can see there are a lot of benefits you can take advantage of with this card such as free checked baggage and preferred boarding.

If you fly with AA even a couple of times a year, those perks can more than justify paying the annual fee!

UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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