Just prior to the New Year I decided to apply for the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red card. I applied for the card primarily because of the annual Elite Qualifying Dollar (EQD) benefit. Each year, if I spend $25,000 on the card I’ll earn $3,000 AAdvantage EQD. Those EQD help fast track my elite status qualification and ensures I can continue to buy deep discount economy tickets and still have a shot at earning Executive Platinum once again.
Another reason I opened the card was thanks to the current sign-up bonus. Barclaycard and American are currently offering 60,000 AAdvantage miles after making a single purchase and paying the annual fee. I value AAdvantage miles at a rate of $0.015/each so the sign-up bonus alone nets me $900 of value. From the sign-up bonus alone I easily recoup the $95 annual fee.
However, even with those two great benefits I still wasn’t sure I wanted to open the card. That’s because when I look to open a credit card I only consider cards that offer long-term value. I plan on keeping cards open for some time which means I need a recurring annual benefit which provides value in excess of the annual fee. Luckily, the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red card comes with one other benefit that makes the card worth keeping for years to come.
AAdvantage Aviator Red Card Annual 10% Award Mileage Rebate
The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red card comes with an annual 10% award mileage rebate. That means each calendar year, you receive 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back. American limits this benefit to 10,000 miles annually which means you get 10% of the first 100,000 miles you redeem each year. That limid doesn’t change if you happen to have both this card and the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card which offers a similar benefit.
Even so, that’s potentially 10,000 AAdvantage miles back each year just for maintaining an open account. Since I value American miles at $0.015/each I consider the annual rebate to be worth approximately $150. By maximizing this benefit each year I easily more than cover the cost of the my annual fee.
How Does The 10% Award Mileage Rebate Work?
When you apply for the AAdvantage Aviator Red card you must also include your AAdvantage number in the application. If you don’t have an AAdvantage account, one is created for you when you’re approved for the card. Barclaycard and American have this requirement because your credit card account is linked to your AAdvantage account.
Each time you redeem AAdvantage award miles American automatically applies the 10% rebate to your purchase. This continues until you redeem a total of 100,000 AAdvantage miles and earn a combined rebate totaling 10,000 miles.
As you can see, my recent Qantas First Class award flight cost 110,000 AAdvantage miles. When American credited my AAdvantage account for the 110,000 mile purchase, they automatically added the 10,000 mile rebate which is the 10% rebate from the Aviator Red card.
Additionally, if you later chose to cancel your award flight American also takes back the rebate. The first time I tried to book my Qantas First Class flight things didn’t quite go as planned.
Two Key Facts Regarding the 10% AAdvantage Mileage Rebate
The first thing to know about the 10% AAdvantage mileage rebate is that you can only earn 10,000 miles back each year. Even if you have both the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red card and the Citi AAdvantage Platinum select cards. Each of these cards offers this benefit, but that doesn’t mean you can earn the rebate twice. For that reason, among others, I can’t recommend carrying both cards.
Additionally, the 10% AAdvantage mileage rebate is valid each calendar year. I opened the AAdvantage Aviator Red card late in a calendar year. If I were smart I would have redeemed 100,000 AAdvantage miles immediately following my account approval to earn the 10,000 rebate. Then early in the follow year (2018) I should have booked another 100,000 miles worth of awards to earn another 10,000 rebate. Effectively I would have earned 20,000 AAdvantage miles before paying the second annual fee. If this were the case I would have earned a total of 80,000 AAdvantage miles for paying a $95 annual fee and buying a pack of gum. Not bad.
The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red card annual 10% AAdvantage mileage rebate is the gift that keeps on giving year after year. Keep in mind this benefit is only truly worthwhile if you’re able to redeem 100,000 AAdvantage miles each year. If not, then you won’t realize enough value to justify paying the $95 from this benefit alone.
I’m quite happy with the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red card at the moment. I recently opened the card and earned 60,000 AAdvantage miles. A few weeks later I saved 10,000 miles on an AAdvantage award ticket for a flight that typically costs $9,595. Additionally, I hope to earn $3,000 EQD this year from the card which means I can spend $1,500 less on airfare this year and still qualify for status. I never planned on opening this particular card, but I’m glad I did. We’ll see if I feel the say way a year from now when it’s time to pay my second $95 annual fee.