Now Get 60,000 Miles and a $99 Companion Ticket From Lesser-Known American AAdvantage Card

American Airlines partners with two banks for its US consumer credit cards: Citibank and Barclays.

  • Barclays has exclusivity in-airport (except within 100 feet of an American Airlines lounge) and inflight.
  • Citibank gets all other marketing channels.

And since Barclays doesn’t ‘table’ for the card, meaning they don’t staff people in the airport trying to get you to sign up (they merely run ads), they’re really only promoting the card on American Airlines flights.

I’ve long argued that American is missing a lot of potential cardmember business by not competing in the New York market. That hurts Barclays especially, since New York flights are really the only way they get exposure to the largest financial market in the country.

From a consumer standpoint having more than one bank issuing American Airlines credit cards is great.

  1. The banks are competing against each other for our business.

  2. We can get cards from both banks so it’s possible to earn a whole lot of American AAdvantage miles quickly. (Flight attendants making their inflight pitch often used to make the point that even if you have a Citibank American Airlines card you could get the Barclays card they were offering.)

Barclays has just increased the initial bonus offer for its AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard to (what’s tied for) a best-ever bonus offer of 60,000 miles after first purchase within 90 days and paying the card’s $99 annual fee — there is no minimum spend — but added on an unprecedented $99 companion ticket also after first purchase within 90 days.

  • Normally the card earns a companion ticket after spending $20,000 in a year.
  • A second passenger can travel accompanying the primary cardholder on a paid ticket, excluding some fares like basic economy
  • There are several key blackout dates, generally around major travel holidays, and bookings have to be made 14 days in advance.

I have a companion ticket from my Aviator Silver card and was just lamenting that I have only one as I plan a few domestic trips with my wife and infant daughter where American Airlines travel makes the most sense. It could be well worth having my wife sign up for this card both for the miles and the companion ticket.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I am guessing you have 1 year to use the companion fare, correct? And that this is not a recurring annual benefit, the way it is with the Alaska card?

  2. @Jonathan – anniversary companion tickets require $20,000 annual spend.

    On the Aviator Silver ($199 AF; available only via upgrade from Red), you get two companion tickets instead of one, for the same $20,000 spend.

  3. I see the promo from Barclays touts the travel protection benefits of the card. Does anyone know if they have publicly committed to keeping these benefits in light of Citi’s decision to dump nearly every related benefit from their cards? If so, it’d be a no-brainer for me to dump my Citi AA card for Barclays.

  4. For clarification, on the Silver, that’s a single Companion Certificate good for 2 guests, not 2 separate Companion Certificates for 1 guest each.

    Also, all Companion Certificates (signup or anniversary-w/$20k-spend) are $99 + taxes/fees.

  5. While I have two AA Red cards the companion cert isn’t that bad except you have to spend money to get it, unlike the Alaska cards. It’s only good for domestic tickets and there is a $99 cost + taxes and fees. You can get outsized value for this but a lot of domestic flights aren’t always super expensive anyway. Not to be negative but you have to work a bit to get good value on this. Compare putting $20k in spending on this card to get the chance to pay $99 for a cheap ticket to just putting $20k in spending on say a CSR or other flexible point card.

  6. I had this card already (as well as the Aviator Business), cancelled and would like another 60K miles please. How long must I wait before I can get another bonus?

  7. @Ben. Same question.

    @Gary: Can recent acquirers of AAviator Red get the latest offer (i.e. companion ticket. WITHOUT 20k spend)?


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