Update 2/7/2017: I received an email that I have earned the bonus on the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard. The miles are also now in my account. Looks like you’re still eligible for the bonus on this card even if you had/have the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard (the one that your old US Airways card was product changed to). 

Update 1/15/2017: I was approved for both the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard as well as the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express! I was auto-approved for the Amex and had to call the reconsideration line for the Barclaycard but after answering the standard “how much do you make in a year?” and “what do you do for work?” questions, the agent pushed the application through and approved it. 

The next two cards I’m applying for will be the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard and the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express.

The last two credit cards I signed up for were the Asiana Visa Signature and an Alaska Airlines Visa Signature. I have just about finished up their minimum spending requirements, along with an extra $2k in spending on the Asiana card that tops me off at 35k Asiana miles–exactly how many I need for a flat bed Business Class award flying United between Buenos Aires and the United States. Time to move on to greener pastures.

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Why I Chose the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard

When I first dove into miles and points, Scott gave me the advice to sign up for the U.S. Airways card issued by Barclay’s as well as the Citi AAdvantage cards, as it was 2014 and the companies were on the brink of merging. If I signed up for and met the spending requirement on both, the accounts would be merged and I would be flush with American Airlines miles in no time. So I did.

Then my U.S. Airways card was automatically converted into an AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard, which I still have open today because they waived the second annual fee.

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AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard, the card you were probably automatically converted to if you previously held Barclay’s U.S. Airways card.

When I read about the new Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard, the 40k American Airlines miles after your first purchase and paying the $95 annual fee piqued my interest since my spending power isn’t the highest (and can be limited by living in South America where less businesses accept cards). My first concern though, which I imagine was many of you guys’ first concern, was whether or not I’d be eligible since I already have an AAdvantage Aviator Red card open. Barclay’s is known (like in the case of the Arrival Plus card) to not issue you another card if you have one of the same product already open. I was happy to see data points of positive approvals left by commenters in this Doctor of Credit post as well as in this FlyerTalk forum that also have an AAdvantage Aviator Red card open. Decision made.

Why do I want American Airlines miles? They can be used to book luxurious First Classes like JAL and Cathay Pacific, but after their devaluation last March it became cheaper to do that with, for example, Alaska miles. I will more likely take advantage of their off peak economy awards, or perhaps on LATAM flights around South America.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 40,000 American Airlines miles after your first purchase
  • Category Bonus: 2 American Airlines miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines flights for the cardholder and four others on the same reservation
  • $100 American Airlines Flight Discount each year that you spend $30k on the card
  • Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines flights
  • 25% off of in-flight food, beverages, and headsets purchased on the card
  • 10% rebate of redeemed American Airlines miles (maximum of 10,000 miles returned each calendar year)
  • Access to American Airlines’s Reduced Mileage Awards
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $95, not waived the first year

Why I Chose the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

The normal offer for the Business Gold Rewards Card is 25,000 points after spending $5,000, but right now you’ll earn double the bonus miles for the same spending requirement. It’s the best offer we’ve seen for the card in years. Since you can only earn the sign up bonus from a publicly available American Express card offer once per lifetime, it’s important to snipe Amex cards when the sign up bonuses are significantly high.

Why do I want Membership Rewards? They’re extremely versatile as they transfer to 17 airline partners. I’ll most likely utilize:

  • Delta miles for flights on Aerolineas Argentinas in Argentina or GOL in Brazil, or perhaps on a flight back to the United States.
  • Singapore miles for a million different reasons… they’re one of my favorite reward currencies. I’m locked out of Chase cards/United miles by 5/24 so Singapore gives me access to Star Alliance award space. It’s a priority of mine to always have rewards that give me access to all three alliances’ award space so if I needed to get back to the United States for any urgent reason, I’d have all the weapons necessary to do it.
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Me flying United Business Class booked with Singapore miles. Singapore miles are 1:1 transfer partner of Membership Rewards.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards after spending $5,000 on your card in the first 3 months the account is open
  • Category Bonuses: You’ll get 3x Membership Rewards on one category of your choice (out of five choices), 2X Membership Rewards on the four remaining categories, and 1 Membership Reward per dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • 3X and 2X category bonuses apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the five categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
  • Value of Membership Rewards: Membership Rewards can be transferred to 17 airline miles and 3 hotel points or used like cash toward the purchase of any flight at a rate of 1 cent per point. I value Membership Rewards at 2 cents each, and I would not use them like cash toward the purchase of a flight.
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: waived for the first year, then $175
  • Eligibility: American Express once in a lifetime bonus rule

Bottom Line

Next week I plan on applying for the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard and the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express. Each card comes with a valuable sign up bonus, and the rewards they earn align with my travel goals and compliment the rewards I already have.

I’ll be sure to let you know how the application process goes!

Make sure you consider your travel goals before signing up for just any old travel rewards card. If you need guidance with that decision, we offer Free Credit Consultations that will start with your goal trip and work backwards, determining the best miles and points for that trip, and then the best cards to get those miles and points.

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