A few days ago I wrote about how I finally decided to apply for the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red card. I usually try to stay away from co-branded credit cards because I prefer to earn flexible point currencies. I consistently get much more value from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards than I do from AAdvantage miles. The reason is simple. You have more options when redeeming flexible point currencies than you do otherwise.
However, while creating my 2018 budget after analyzing my 2017 spending habits I saw an opportunity. I noticed that I have about $25,000 of non-bonus category spend. That number includes items like rent, utility bills, gym memberships (that I don’t use), car insurance, etc. While I’m ok simply earning 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points on that spend, I wondered if I could do better. That’s how I ultimately decided to open the AAdvantage Aviator Red card. I opened the card because that $25,000 in non-bonus spend earns 25,000 AAdvantage miles and $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) toward American Airlines elite status.
Once I decided to open the card I waited to apply until the end of 2017. I waited because only spend within a calendar year counts toward the $3,000 EQD waiver. Spending on the card in 2017 wouldn’t do me any good. Instead, I waited until now as I won’t start using the card until January 1, 2017.
My Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red Card Finally Arrived!
It always surprises me how long it takes for a new card to arrive. Usually with cards like the American Express Platinum card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve card you receive a new card in 2-3 business days. With other cards it often takes weeks. In my case, the later was true.
I submitted my application to Barclaycard for the AAdvantage Aviator Red card just under two weeks ago. I was not automatically approved for the card when I applied. Instead, it took about 24 hours for Barclaycard to review and approve my application. Then, about 10 days later my new AAdvantage Aviator Red card showed up in the mail.
Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red Card Welcome Kit
As with most credit cards, the AAdvantage Aviator Red card showed up in a generic white envelope. There were no markings whatsoever on the outside of the envelope that suggested my new credit card was inside. However, upon closer inspection (bending the envelope) I quickly realized that there was definitely a credit card inside the envelope. When I opened it up I found my new card and a ton of information about the card. In fact, this card came with one of the most intense “welcome kits” I’ve seen in a long time from a new card.
Inside the envelope was a whole slew of documents and disclaimers. There was one pamphlet explaining the benefits of a World Elite Mastercard, another about the rules of the AAdvantage program, a cardmember agreement, a privacy disclaimer, and a Cardmember Guide. I should have probably read most of the other documents, but in the end I only really took the time to read the Cardmember Guide.
The Cardmember Guide folds out to welcome you to your new card and highlight the various benefits offered from the AAdvantage Aviator card. I won’t get into all the benefits of the card now.
Lastly, after sifting through all of the other pages within the envelope I finally found my new card.
Sadly the card didn’t have an account number on it though…. (nice editing work eh?)
Activating My Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red Card
If you’re an existing Barclaycard customer activating your new AAdvantage Aviator Red card shouldn’t be much of a hassle at all. However, I wasn’t and activating my card turned into quite the process.
I decided to activate the card online by visiting AviatorMasterCard.com/activate (link here). Next, I selected the “Activate Here” button in the “New Cardmember?” box. From there I was asked to provide my social security number, date of birth, account number, and security code. From there I created an online profile, was asked a series of questions about my preferences, and was then asked to create 5 security challenge questions.
Next, I was directed to another identification check page. This time you’re asked to add the last two digits of your driver’s license together, a location you’ve lived before, they asked what city my step-parent (by name) lived. Overall, the security checks seemed like complete overkill.
After a few minutes the website redirected me to the AAdvantage Aviator Red card’s dashboard and I received a message from the system that my card had been activated. Now I just need to go out, make a single purchase, and collect my 60,000 AAdvantage mile sign-up bonus!
I always get a little excited when a new card arrives in the mail. You never know exactly how a card is going to look and feel until you finally have it in your hands. I personally like the way the card looks and especially like the red trim around the outer edge of the card.
While design of a card is great, I’m mostly excited by the $3,000 EQD waiver. Yes, $25,000 is a lot of money to put on a card in a calendar year. However, I believe I can move some spending around to hit that threshold for 2018. Doing so should help me save about $1,500-$2,000 on airfare next year as I won’t have to earn the $3,000 EQD from flying. This means in 2018 I can continue to search for deep discount long haul fares and still have a shot of earning AAdvantage Executive Platinum status again.