Who is This Credit Card Best For?
Is turning their passion into a money-making venture
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
Hits the road often, whether for work or play
This is a quality airline business card if you fly and rent cars for work trips at least a few times each year. If your closest airport offers a variety of American Airline flights, this card makes sense, as you’ll be able to easily book award flights and enjoy this card’s airline perks.
You don’t need a high-expense business to get value from this card, but to maximize your reward earnings, it’s best if at least some of your business costs fall into the extra purchases categories, like office supplies and phone bills.
Competitive sign-up bonus
Free checked bag
Annual miles bonus
Few premium travel benefits
- Competitive sign-up bonus: Our research found the bonus is worth about $1,365, on average, which makes it one of the better airline business card bonuses available now. You only have to spend about $334 each month to earn the bonus, which should be easy, even for a small, low expense business. More about this below.
- Free checked bag: The standard fee for a first checked bag with American Airline is $30 each way. So, if you use this benefit for just two round-trip flights each year (or fewer, since up to four if travel companions on the same reservation can check their first bag free, too) you’ll recoup the annual fee cost.
- Annual miles bonus: Each year you have this card, you’ll get a 5% miles bonus based on the total number of miles earned in the previous year. That’s a great boost and card feature regardless of how much you spend. For American Airlines frequent flyers in particular, 5% could be a significant chunk of extra miles.
- Annual fee: While the cost can be made up if you enjoy the free checked bag benefit—and annual fees are very common for airline cards—we still want to call out this fee. The other American Airlines business card waives its annual fee for the first year, after all.
- Few premium travel benefits: This card lacks excellent perks other business travel cards have, like travel accident insurance, airport lounge access, primary rental car insurance, or reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees. If those perks aren’t of interest, this is a moot point, but something to keep in mind if you travel often.
AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard Sign-Up Bonus
Spend only $1,000 within 90 days of opening this card to earn 65,000 AAdvantage miles. To get an extra 10,000 miles, make just one purchase of any amount using an employee card within the same time frame. Those additional bonus miles are a good reason to order employees cards ASAP (which are free, by the way).
You have to add employees to your account within 30 days of opening this card for the first employee purchase to qualify for the bonus miles.
Overall, this is a great airline card sign-up bonus, particularly because American Airline miles are so valuable. Plus, it’s easier to earn than the other a American Airline business card bonus, which makes it an all around winner our book.
Earning Points & Rewards
You’ll earn 2 miles for each $1 spent on American Airline purchases, like flights booked directly with the airline You’ll also get 2 miles per $1 spent at office supply stores, telecom providers, and car rental companies. All other purchases will earn 1 mile per $1.
Make sure all American Airline flight purchases and rental car reservations are made directly with the respective company. Purchases made through travel agencies or online third-party travel websites (like Kayak or Expedia) won’t earn double miles.
You have unlimited earning potential with this card, and AAdvantage miles won’t expire as long as you keep your account active, which means you earn or redeem miles at least once every 18 months.
The miles you earn with this card should be used to book flights with American Airlines or one of its 18 partner airlines either online or through the American Airlines app. Our research found AAdvantage miles are most valuable when redeemed that way. Miles can also pay for seat upgrades on flights you’ve already booked.
You can also use miles to pay for rental cars, hotel stays, vacation packages, and gift cards, but just know they likely won’t go as far with those options.
American Airline miles are worth about 2.10 cents each, on average, according to our calculations. For perspective, other airline miles are worth about half as much.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Start by adding employees to your account right away so you can earn the extra bonus miles. Employees with cards can help you reach the sign-up bonus spend requirement even faster, too. Then use the card for at least $334 of business expenses for three months to earn the rest of the bonus.
Going forward, use this card to book American Airline flights and pay for all your office supplies, phone bills, and internet to really take advantage of the highest-earning rewards categories. Use this card to pay for rental car reservations, too, but note that this card doesn’t offer primary rental car insurance.
AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard’s Excellent Perks
The AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard offers several perks we think go above and beyond what’s offered by other cards. In addition to what was already highlighted above, this card offers:
- Airline companion pass: Spend $30,000 in a year and get an American Airlines companion certificate for only $99 plus taxes and fees good for a domestic economy ticket.
- Get closer to reaching elite airline status: Spend $25,000 on purchases each calendar year to earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars, which count toward a premium frequent flyer status with American Airlines.
AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard’s Other Features
This card also offers these nice perks:
- Preferred boarding (board after priority but before economy)
- Discounts on in-flight purchases
- Extra miles on select restaurant purchases via the AAdvantage Dining Program
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Extended warranties
Barclays ranks fifth for customer satisfaction out of 11 major card issuers, according to the 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. It scored 806 on a 1,000-point scale, which also happens to be the industry average. Barclays customer service can be reached 24/7 by phone.
With this card you’ll get important industry-standard security protections such as $0 fraud liability and opt-in alerts to monitor account activity.
Barclays also goes an extra step to prevent unauthorized account logins. If the bank doesn’t recognize the device being used to access your account, it will send you a code via text, email or phone call, whichever you prefer, via SecurPass, a two-step authentication program.
AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard’s Fees to Note
There’s a $95 annual fee, but if you take advantage of the card benefits, the cost is worth it. You won’t pay foreign transaction fees, which is great for international business travelers. There are a few things—like electronic payments ($15 per payment), extra statement orders ($3 per copy), or account research ($15 per hour)—that you’ll be nickel and dimed for. But if you maintain good records and use free payment options and you’ll avoid paying those extra little fees.