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