AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® Review [2022]: Business Class in 1 Swipe

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® is one of the most unique credit cards on the market — and you can earn the intro bonus with just one purchase.
Last updated Aug. 2, 2022 | By Brett Holzhauer

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The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® has long been a favorite card of mine for one reason — the simplest sign-up bonus you can imagine. However, the card offers much more than just the bonus and is a great credit card for earning valuable American Airlines miles. Even if you only fly with American Airlines a few times per year, this card could be useful for you.

In this AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard review, we'll discuss this card's perks and drawbacks to help you decide if it's a good option for your wallet.

A Slam-Dunk Welcome Offer!

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

Intro Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase in the first 90 days and pay the annual fee

Annual Fee

$99

Rewards Rate

2X miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1X mile per dollar spent on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • 60,000 bonus mile sign-up offer
  • 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers
  • In-flight savings options
  • No foreign transaction fees

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee
  • Best for American Airlines travelers
Card Details
  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase in the first 90 days and pay the annual fee
  • 2X miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1X mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Intro balance transfer 0% APR offer: 0% for 15 billing cycles (on balance transfers that post within 45 days of account opening) then 16.74% to 25.74% (variable)

In this AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® review

Who should get the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®?

The lure of the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® is that nearly anyone could utilize it to save money. Whether you are someone who only travels a few times per year or is routinely in the air, this card could help you offset the cost of airfare by using airline miles on your flights. Plus, it offers some useful travel benefits.

If you're looking for the best airline credit card to earn American Airlines miles, this one is definitely worth considering. Here are a few basics to help you determine if this is the card for you.

Card basics

Card type Travel
Credit card issuer Barclays
Credit card network Mastercard
Annual fee $99
Intro bonus Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase in the first 90 days and pay the annual fee
Rewards rate 2X miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1X mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Intro APR 0% for 15 billing cycles (on balance transfers that post within 45 days of account opening) (then 16.74% to 25.74% (variable))
Foreign transaction fee None

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® benefits and perks

  • Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase in the first 90 days and pay the annual fee.
  • Statement credits on inflight WiFi: Cardholders get up to $25 per year in statement credits for in-flight WiFi purchases made with your card.
  • Anniversary companion certificate: You can earn a certificate good for companion airfare (valued at $99, plus taxes and fees) if you spend more than $20,000 per year on your card and keep the card open for 45 days after your cardmember anniversary date.
  • In-flight savings: When you use your card to make an in-flight food or beverage purchase on American Airlines, you'll receive a statement credit for 25% off the purchase price.
  • Free checked bags: Get a first checked bag free for you and up to four traveling companions on the same American Airlines itinerary. Even if you only fly a few times per year, this perk could save you a lot on American Airlines baggage fees.
  • Preferred boarding: This card offers priority boarding for you and up to four companions on the same reservation.
  • Travel coverage: When you use the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard to purchase travel, you'll get access to travel coverage. Your policies will include trip cancellation/interruption coverage, travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, and baggage delay insurance.
  • Fraud liability protection: In addition to travel protections, you'll also get $0 fraud liability coverage.
  • Flight Cents: If you are interested in maximizing each one of your purchases and can spare some change, the Flight Cents program may make sense for you. When you make a purchase, this program automatically rounds your purchase up to the nearest dollar and uses that spare change to buy you American Airlines miles.
  • No foreign transaction fees: If you decide to use this card outside of the United States, you won't incur any foreign transaction fees.
  • Intro APR: With this card, you get a 0% introductory APR for 15 billing cycles (on balance transfers that post within 45 days of account opening). After that, the regular APR of 16.74% to 25.74% (variable) applies.
  • Loyalty Points: Earn one Loyalty Point for every one eligible mile earned from purchases. Loyalty Points can help you achieve elite status with American Airlines.

Drawbacks of this card

  • Has annual fee: This card has an annual fee of $99. While it could be relatively easy to offset this cost if you're a frequent flyer on American, it's something to consider as you compare credit cards.
  • No intro APR on purchases: While the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard has an intro APR on balance transfers, it doesn't offer an intro APR on new purchases. Instead, you'll get the card's regular variable APR on purchases. 

Earning & redeeming American Airlines miles

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your miles can add up with the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. To calculate these values, we used a valuation of 1 cent.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $836

Year two earnings: $236

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes a look at points earned via spending, the sign-up bonus, and the annual fee.

Note that these values only account for general travel spending, not spending specific to American Airlines. If you use your card frequently for American Airlines purchases, your earnings will likely be higher in years one and two.  

Best ways to earn

The best way to earn American Airlines miles with the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® is to use it for eligible American Airlines purchases, which earn you 2X miles. All other purchases will net you 1X AAdvantage miles. The more you spend, the more you can earn, and the more you can fly for nearly free. 

However, if you're a foodie, there is an additional strategy to keep in mind when you purchase your next dinner out: Consider signing up for the AAdvantage Dining Program. With this program, you can earn up to five American Airlines miles per dollar spent at their partner restaurants, along with the earnings from the credit card itself.

Categories Rewards rate
Eligible American Airlines purchases 2X
All other purchases     1X

Maximizing your redemptions

There are multiple options for redeeming your American Airlines miles. Here's the full list of redemption options:

  • Flights (on American Airlines, oneworld partners, and non-alliance partners)
  • Rental cars
  • Travel packages booked through American Airlines Vacations
  • Magazine and newspaper subscriptions
  • Gift cards

Generally, you'll get the most value from your miles when you use them for American Airlines flights or transfer them to an airline partner. 

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® transfer partners

American Airlines is part of the oneworld alliance, which means Aviator Red World Elite cardholders can redeem their American Airlines AAdvantage miles across a network of airlines from around the world. Additionally, there are several non-alliance American Airlines airline partners with whom you can also use your miles.

Here's a full list of AAdvantage oneworld partners:

  • Alaska Airways
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

Here's a full list of non-alliance partners:

  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Cape Air
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Fiji Airways
  • GOL Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Seaborne Virgin Airlines

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® FAQs

How much is 60,000 American Airlines miles worth?

American Airlines miles are worth approximately 1 cent per point. So, at that value, 60,000 American Airlines miles are worth around $600. In terms of the type of travel you can book, 60,000 miles on American Airlines could get you a round-trip flight from the continental U.S. to Europe and back, or a one-way flight to Japan.

How long does it take the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® bonus to post?

The sign-up bonus miles will post 4-6 weeks after the requirements have been completed.

Is the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® worth it?

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® could be worth it for anyone looking to earn valuable AAdvantage program miles. It offers a simple sign-up bonus, low annual fee, and other useful card benefits. However, you may also want to consider other American Airlines credit cards depending on how often you fly with the airline.

What credit score do you need for the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®?

For the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, you will likely need a good-to-excellent credit score. The card issuer will consider your creditworthiness as well as other factors to determine if qualify for this card.

Other cards to consider

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is a great card if you fly regularly with American Airlines. With this card, you can earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. While this is a bit lower than the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard bonus, you will also earn additional perks like access to the Admirals Club, a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, and priority airport screening (when available) for you and up to eight traveling companions.

Read our Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is known as one of the best travel credit cards — and for good reason. To start, you can earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. These valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points can then be transferred to a variety of travel partners. Additionally, you will have trip cancellation/interruption insurance, car rental coverage, baggage delay insurance, and trip delay reimbursement to cover you if your travels incur a bump in the road.

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review

A Slam-Dunk Welcome Offer!

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

Special Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase in the first 90 days and pay the annual fee

See how these cards compare:

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
  • 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus mile sign-up offer
  • 2X miles on American Airlines purchases
  • First checked bag free
  • Admirals Club membership and priority check-in
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10% anniversary point bonus each year
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Author Details

Brett Holzhauer Brett Holzhauer is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. He writes about using points & miles for travel, travel industry news, utilizing credit cards as financial leverage, and investing for the future. He has been featured in publications such as The Points Guy, Million Mile Secrets, The Money Manual, Recruiter, Travel Pulse, and Bald Thoughts. He is a full-time digital nomad with his wife, Kiersten.