Do you fly with American Airlines and want the benefits associated with an American Airlines-branded credit card? Or are you just looking for a card to help you accumulate American Airlines miles for an upcoming vacation? Perhaps you’re a small business owner and want to make sure all your expenses are earning miles.
You’ll certainly have plenty of choices when it comes to selecting an American Airlines-branded credit card that fits your travel and reward-earning priorities.
Citi issues 4 of these American Airlines-branded credit cards (which have a lot of perks and benefits), while Barclays issues the AAdvantage Aviator Cards. In addition, Barclays’ AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercards are issued in both personal and business options.
Let’s take a look at the features/benefits of each of these cards, how they can help you earn miles, and which cards can accelerate your path to American Airlines AAdvantage elite status.
Citi® / AAdvantage® World and World Elite™ Mastercards
Each Citi AAdvantage card comes with a generous sign-up bonus, the ability to earn American Airlines miles on every purchase, and an array of premium-level travel benefits.
The sign-up bonus offers fluctuate, but your bonus miles will be awarded after you reach a spending threshold in the first 3 months after card approval. You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent with American Airlines and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases when using the AAdvantage Platinum card.
Travel perks include:
- Free checked bag on domestic itineraries for you and up to 4 traveling companions
- Priority boarding on all flights operated by American Airlines.
- 25% savings in the form of a statement credit when purchasing food/beverages on board during your journey.
With no foreign transaction fees, this card can be a good choice for American Airlines travelers.
This card has a $99 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.
We’ve also written in-depth about other credit cards that have no foreign transaction fees.
For the frequent traveler who wants the benefit of travel perks and lounge access, the AAdvantage Executive card may be a great choice.
The sign-up bonus offers fluctuate, but this generous miles bonus will be awarded after you reach the designated spending threshold in the first 3 months after card approval. You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on American Airlines and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
Travel perks include:
- A free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries
- Priority check-in, boarding, and screening for the primary cardholder
- Complimentary membership for up to 10 authorized users to the American Airlines Admirals Club
- $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every 5 years
The card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee, but the sign-up bonus and Admirals Club membership more than offset this expense. A new annual household membership to the American Airlines Admirals Club costs between $1,150 and $1,250 (depending on your American Airlines AAdvantage program status), so the membership alone is worth the annual fee.
You’ll find that there are no foreign transaction fees charged on this card, and it comes with World Elite Mastercard benefits.
Hot Tip: Starting in 2022, you’ll be able to earn AAdvantage elite status just through credit card spending.
If you’re looking for a card that earns miles for your business expenses, the CitiBusiness Platinum Select card might be a good choice.
Of course, you’ll get started with a bank of miles from your sign-up bonus once you meet the initial spending threshold after card approval.
You’ll then continue to earn 2 miles per dollar on:
- All American Airlines purchases
- Business expenses (such as telecommunications merchants, car rental merchants, and at gas stations)
All other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar spent.
Since additional employee cards are issued for no extra charge, you can be sure all your business expenses (even purchases made by your employees) are earning miles. You can also use the online tracking tools to keep tabs on your business expenses.
Earn a $99 domestic economy American Airlines Companion Certificate
after making $30,000 or more in purchases on the card during each account anniversary year. When you purchase a qualifying domestic American Airlines economy ticket, you’ll receive a companion ticket for $99 plus government taxes and fees. Travel is valid on flights within the 48 contiguous United States.
Travel perks for this card include:
- A free checked bag on domestic itineraries for you and up to 4 traveling companions
- Preferred boarding on all flights operated by American Airlines
- Onboard, cardholders receive a 25% savings rebated to their statement when purchasing food/beverages with the card
This card does not charge foreign transaction fees and comes with World Mastercard benefits. There is an annual fee of $99, which is waived for the first year.
Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Mastercards
You’ll earn plenty of American Airlines frequent flyer miles on the . That’s because you’ll be jump-starting your earnings with a generous sign-up bonus after making your first purchase within 90 days of card approval. You’ll continue earning with 2 miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.
You can effectively buy miles at 2 cents each with the Flight Cents program that rounds up your card purchases to the next dollar, subject to $500 per billing cycle cap (cardholders not wishing to participate should set their Flight Cents limit to $).
When redeeming AA miles for a ticket, you’ll also have access to discounted round-trip or one-way travel (up to 7,500 miles less) when redeeming miles for MileSAAver award tickets on certain routes.
Further, if you spend $20,000 on the card during the year between your card anniversaries, you will receive a $99 companion ticket.
While traveling, you and up to 4 companions receive a free checked bag for domestic itineraries and preferred boarding when traveling together on any American Airlines-operated flights. You’ll also receive a 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases. Plus, a $25 per year statement credits for American Airlines in-flight wifi purchases
The card does not charge foreign transaction fees and comes with World Elite™ Mastercard benefits.
This card has an annual fee of $99.
The Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®
You cannot apply for the AAdvantage Aviator Silver card directly; you must have the first and then subsequently upgrade. The fee for this card is $199, but it does offer more benefits than the Red Aviator card.
The Silver Aviator card has greater earning capacity with:
- 3 miles per dollar spent on American Airlines
- 2 miles per dollar on hotels and rental car purchases
- 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
You’ll receive all of the same benefits on the Silver Aviator card as you did on the Red Aviator card, plus several additional benefits:
- Free checked bag and preferred boarding benefits are expanded to include up to 8 traveling companions.
- The $99 companion ticket benefit, earned after spending $20,000 on the card annually, is expanded to include 2 traveling companions.
- $50 per year statement credits for American Airlines in-flight wifi purchases
- $25 per day statement credits for American Airlines in-flight food and beverage purchases
- The card comes with a $100 Global Entry application fee credit that resets every 5 years.
One of the benefits of having the AAdvantage Aviator Silver card is the ability to earn more EQD (Elite Qualifying Dollar) credits and EQM (Elite Qualifying Miles) toward AAdvantage elite status. Having the card and spending $50,000 in a calendar year allows you to earn a total of $3,000 in EQDs. Spending $20,000 earns you 5,000 EQM, an an additional 5,000 EQM for spending a total of $40,000. The EQD maximum applies regardless of how many Aviator cards you have.
The card does not charge foreign transaction fees and comes with World Elite Mastercard benefits.
Need a credit card that will earn you rewards on your small business purchases? The does that and more.
Sign-up bonuses fluctuate, but you’ll receive your bonus AAdvantage miles after meeting the required spending threshold. You’ll continue earning 2 miles per dollar spent on:
- Purchases with American Airlines
- Purchases with eligible office supply merchants
- Telecommunications expenses
- Purchases with car rental agencies
All other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar spent.
When traveling, you’ll receive:
- First checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions
- Preferred boarding
- 25% inflight savings on food/beverages
- No foreign transaction fees
Once you spend $30,000 on the card between card anniversaries, you’ll receive a $99 companion airfare certificate.
This card also offers free employee cards and zero fraud liability. Additionally, on your card account anniversary, you’ll receive a 5% mileage bonus applied to your account based on mileage earned from your spending.
After spending $25,000 on purchases in a calendar year, you’ll receive $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars toward American Airlines AAdvantage Elite Status.
The card comes with World Mastercard benefits and has a $95 annual fee.
A Faster Path to American Airlines AAdvantage Elite Status
If accelerating your journey toward American Airlines elite status is a priority, the AAdvantage Aviator cards and the AAdvantage Executive card are good choices to help you do that.
Each level of American Airlines elite status qualification requires an EQD (Elite Qualifying Dollars) level of spending with the airline in addition to Elite Qualifying Miles/Segment qualifications (EQM/EQS). If you spend $50,000 on your Aviator® Silver card, you’ll receive credit for $3,000 toward the EQD requirement.
Additionally, if you have the AAdvantage Executive card, you receive 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after spending $40,000 in a calendar year on the card.
American Airlines AAdvantage Elite Status Requirements
American Airlines has also reduced qualification thresholds for 2021 by 20% to 33% from the pre-pandemic requirements.
|2021 Qualifying Metric||Gold|
You can find more information about the American Airlines AAdvantage loyalty system here.
Where Can Your American Airlines Miles Take You?
By planning ahead, the miles you earn with your Citi and Barclays AAdvantage cards can take you just about anywhere in the world.
|Destination (One-way from the U.S.)||Main Cabin (MileSAAver)||Business (MileSAAver)|
|48 contiguous U.S. states||12,500||25,000|
|Canada & Alaska||15,000||30,000|
Not pictured on this abbreviated award chart are off-peak travel awards, which can save you plenty of miles. A round-trip economy class ticket to Europe, for example, can be secured for 45,000 miles during off-peak travel times. A complete list of off-peak discounted award pricing can be found on this American Airlines AAdvantage award chart.
Head off for a weekend in Mexico or the Caribbean in coach class for as little as 25,000 miles round-trip for an off-peak award ticket, or 50,000 miles round-trip in business class for a MileSAAver award ticket.
In addition to booking flights on American Airlines, you can now book flights on 8 of the many Oneworld Alliance partner airlines directly on AA.com using your American Airlines frequent flyer miles. Access the complete list of partner airlines with which can you can book award tickets here.
Wondering which American Airlines-branded credit card is right for you? If you travel frequently on American Airlines and value travel perks and lounge access, the AAdvantage Executive card is an obvious choice.
If earning Elite Qualifying Dollars toward AAdvantage elite status is important to you, one of the Barclay Aviator cards might serve your priorities well.
And if you’re a small business owner who travels on American Airlines, either the Citi or Barclays business credit cards will ensure all of your expenses are earning miles while providing additional travel perks.
The information for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, and Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.