AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard Review

Disclosure: We are committed to recommending the best products for our readers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to products, but this never affects our reviews or recommendations.

The AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard from Barclays touts a high-value and super-easy-to-earn sign-up bonus that is one of the better offers from an airline business card right now. An annual miles bonus and free checked bag benefit make this a great option for business owners who enjoy flying American Airlines.  

AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®

overall rating
4
AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.49% - 26.49% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per $1 on eligible American Airlines, office supply, telecom, and car rental merchant purchases. 1 miles per $1 on all other purchases.
Cash Advance APR (%) 26.74%
Cash Advance Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.7
for Fees
3.0
for Rewards
4.8
for Credit
4.0

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.

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Entrepreneur Persona
    Is turning their passion into a money-making venture
    Entrepreneur
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
    Savvy Saver
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play
    Road Warrior

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.

Pros

  • Competitive sign-up bonus

  • Free checked bag

  • Annual miles bonus

Cons

  • Annual fee

  • Few premium travel benefits

Pros Explained

  • 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. 

Cons Explained

  • 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). 

Note

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.

Tip

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.  

Redeeming Rewards

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.

Important

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

Customer Experience

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. 

Security Features 

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.

For AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®
Compare This Card
See how this card stacks up to the competition
CURRENT CARD
AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®
overall rating
4
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.49% - 26.49% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per $1 on eligible American Airlines, office supply, telecom, and car rental merchant purchases. 1 miles per $1 on all other purchases.

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.