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It’s easy to see why a business traveler would choose to fly with American Airlines. It is the largest airline in the world by fleet size, number of flights, passengers and seats. American Airlines offers more than 6,700 daily flights to over 350 destinations in 50 countries. The oneworld alliance, with member airlines operating almost 14,250 daily flights to 1,000 destinations in 150 countries, extends its reach even further around the globe.
The American Airlines AAdvantage® frequent flyer program offers the chance to earn elite status that comes with an array of travel perks. The AAdvantage program allows you to earn miles on American Airlines and oneworld alliance flights. Being an AAdvantage cardholder can benefit your business by helping leverage your business spending to maximize your miles earnings and get extra travel benefits.
If you’re trying to choose a business credit card, you might want to consider the AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®. This card may be a good fit for a business owner who doesn’t spend a lot each month or travel very frequently but wants to maximize their spending to rack up rewards and earn free travel. Every business is different, so it pays to take the time to choose the best airline business credit card for your needs.
In this article, we’ll break down the pros and cons of this card, and we’ll offer a comparison with a different co-branded American Airlines card from another issuer that made our list of best business travel credit cards.
Where the AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® stands out
The AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® offers a generous sign-up bonus: Earn up to 75,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles. Earn 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Earn 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card. That’s a relatively low minimum spending requirement compared with many other airline rewards cards. Many other cards either give you a much smaller bonus for a similar minimum spending level or require you to spend $3,000 to $4,000 to earn a similar bonus.
The card allows you to Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, eligible office supply, telecom and car rental merchants. Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases. These earning boosts in categories where businesses commonly spend can help you to quickly accrue your rewards earnings.
And unlike some cards that have a dollar cap on categories in which you can earn more than one mile per dollar, there are no reward limits you can earn on this card.
You also get an extra mileage boost of 5% of total miles earned in a calendar year. You receive the bonus each year after the anniversary date of your account opening. This bonus rewards customers who continue to use the card on a regular basis after receiving the sign-up bonus.
As a cardholder, you also earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year. These dollars count toward your AAdvantage Program elite status earning requirements each year, making it easier for you to qualify for AAdvantage elite status.
The card also comes with several travel benefits that can help you save money and make your business travel easier. For example, you and up to four travel companions get preferred boarding. You and your companions also each get your first bag checked for free when traveling on domestic flights operated by American Airlines on the same reservation.
One more bonus: you get a $99 companion certificate good for one guest after spending $30,000 on your card in a calendar year.
Additional AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® benefits
- 25% in-flight savings on food and beverages on flights operated by American Airlines
- Cards for your employees at no additional cost
- Tools that offer business owners flexibility and spending control, including unique card numbers for employees and ability to limit individual purchase amounts and control individual employee credit lines and cash access
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Baggage delay insurance
- Accidental death or dismemberment coverage
Where the AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® falls short
You will get hit with an annual fee when you open your account. The AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® charges a $95 annual fee, which Barclays does not waive the first year. It is common for many card issuers to reward new customers by waiting to charge the first annual fee until the account has been open for a year.
When it comes to earning miles, the card offers only a handful of categories aside from American Airlines purchases in which you can earn two miles for every $1 spent. For example, you earn only one mile per dollar spent for gas station purchases.
And while the card offers several nice travel benefits, it lacks access to the Admirals Club airport lounges that offer a quiet place for weary business travelers to kick back, rest and enjoy free drinks and food. But that’s typical for a card with an annual fee under $100. For the sake of comparison, you’d need to pay a $450 annual fee for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® to get Admirals Club access with a card.
The card also doesn’t offer any travel insurance beyond the standard MasterCard travel insurance benefits.
Compare it with the CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
If you’re a business owner who flies frequently on American Airlines, you have the advantage of being able to choose between two similar business credit cards from two separate issuers, Barclays and our partner Citi. You can look at the needs of your business and the card details for both offers to pick the best American Airlines card for your business. To help you decide which card is best for you, the chart below offers a comparison of the AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® with the CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, which made the CompareCards list of best small business credit cards.
|AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®||CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®|
|Annual fee||$95||$99, waived for first 12 months|
|Regular purchase APR||18.24% (Variable) or 27.24% (Variable)||15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)|
|Rewards||Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, eligible office supply, telecom and car rental merchants. Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles for every one dollar spent on all other purchases.||Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations.|
|Sign-up bonus||Earn up to 75,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles. Earn 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Earn 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card.||Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.|
|Foreign transaction fee||0% of the U.S. Dollar amount.||0%|
The bottom line
Business owners who fly American Airlines may want to choose a credit card that offers extra rewards for American Airlines purchases, plus a boost toward elite qualifying status with the AAdvantage program. The AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® fits that bill. The card offers good value for a modest annual fee.
This card is a solid option for small business owners who want to earn a substantial sign-up bonus, but have low overhead and expenses and could not normally meet a typical minimum spending requirement for a bonus. It’s also a good card for business owners who travel only a few times a year and don’t need elite perks like airport lounge access.
Overall, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® presents a solid middle-of-the-road business travel card option for small business owners.