Why I Finally Applied For The AAdvantage Aviator Red Card

Why I Finally Applied For The AAdvantage Aviator Red Card

Well, over the weekend I strangely decided to apply for the AAdvantage Aviator Red card from Barclaycard. This is interesting because before this past week I hadn’t paid this card much attention. I didn’t really see the point of carrying it. Then, I started to look closely at my spending habits and realized there may in-fact be a place for this card in my wallet.

Large Sign-Up Bonus

The first thing that caught my attention with this card is the current increased sign-up bonus of 60,000 AAdvantage miles after making your first purchase. That’s right, you don’t need to spend $3,000 in 90 days or anything crazy like that. Instead, you just need to receive the card and make a single purchase. You must also pay off the $95 annual fee which should post to your first statement as it’s not waived for the first year.

While I love bringing in more AAdvantage miles, I don’t really need them right now. Rather I just figured if I was going to sign up for this card eventually I might as well do so when the sign-up bonus is higher than normal. I value AAdvantage miles at $0.015 each which means the sign-up bonus is worth at least $900 when used for flights.

Annual AAdvantage EQD Waiver

Here’s the real reason I signed up for this card. The AAdvantage Aviator Red card offers a $3,000 EQD waiver after spending $25,000 on the card in a year. To be clear, $25,000 is a lot of money, but I think it’s possible to reach this mark if I go about it strategically. I’ll start by paying my rent with a credit card. Although I incur a processing fee I believe I get more value from the points than the cost of the fee in the long run. Since I’m already paying rent on a card an only earning 1X points, I might as well get more from that transaction. That’s why I started eyeing this card.

Since I wanted this card to receive the annual $3,000 EQD waiver, it only makes sense to apply for this card near the end of a calendar year. If you apply in the middle of the year you have to scramble to put $25,000 on the card. Apply for the card now means I have the full 12 months to hit the annual spend requirement.

In the past I didn’t care about the EQD waiver since I didn’t think I’d come close to Executive Platinum status. I figured I’d be fine settling for AAdvantage Platinum each year. Now that I have a solid plan of how to earn EP again this year I wanted an EQD waiver so that I could continue to book discount economy tickets. This year’s Qatar Airways business class fare sale was a fluke and I can’t count on such an insane mistake fare again to reach EP.

10% AAdvantage Mile Rebate

In 2018 I also have high hopes of burning AAdvantage miles. I’d like to burn miles to fly in Cathay Pacific First Class, JAL First Class, and hopefully in the Etihad Apartment. With all those redemptions in mind I plan on burning a TON of AAdvantage miles.

Thankfully the AAdvantage Aviator Red card offers an AAdvantage mile rebate of 10% of all spent miles in a calendar year. This benefit is capped at 10,000 miles annually and with the redemption I have in mind I’ll definitely max this benefit out.

The AAdvantage mile rebate isn’t enough of a benefit alone to justify opening the card, but it essentially justifies keeping the card open in perpetuity. Since I value AAdvantage miles at $0.015 each, you’re essentially getting $150 back in miles each year. That amount more than offsets the $95 annual fee.

Final Thoughts

I’m generally not extremely impulsive when it comes to opening credit cards. I usually do a lot of research and narrow it down to a few options before I end up opening a card. This time around however, I was quite impulsive. After reviewing my budget for 2018 I realized that I could reach the $25,000 requirement to earn the $3,000 EQD waiver and I applied.

Since I try to earn EQD at a rate of 2:1 (2 EQD per out-of-pocket $1 spent) I should save about $1,500 in 2018 for the price of airfare. With this EQD waiver I can afford to take a few deep discount international economy flights on American and not worry about falling behind with regards to the EQD waiver.

After that, the 60,000 AAdvantage miles and the 10% annual rebate are cherries on top. As an Executive Platinum elite none of the other benefits offered by this card really matter at this point in time.

Featured Image Courtesy of Barclaycard

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