Last night I was perusing the sub-reddit /r/churning, and came across a note from user u/lobonomnom concerning the Barclay's Aviator Business Mastercard. This card offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 American Airlines miles after a single purchase within 90 days (and payment of the annual fee). According to the user and other reliable sources such as Doctor of Credit, that deal was set to expire on 7/29. This left me just under two hours to decide what to do.
Review of the Barclay Aviator Business Card
My plan had been to wait until October to apply for another card, with my sights locked on a second Chase Ink Preferred (CIP). My major motivation for waiting? The minimum spend requirement (MSR). Most high-value cards are going to have a MSR of $3,000 - 5,000 in three months. And while this is not a big deal if I can time it around upcoming expenses, I just applied for my first CIP at the beginning of the month.
That's where the Barclay's Avaitor Business really works for me. With the bonus applied after a single purchase, the only negative impact is the annual fee, which is not waived the first year. But I'm a numbers guy, so let's see how this card fares.
The Barclay's Aviator Business offers 50,000 AAdvantage Miles after a single purchase. I will assume I will load up my Amazon gift card balance with $0.50. After paying the $95 AF, this should trigger the bonus. As in previous posts, I will use the valuations from The Points Guy. He values AAdvantage Miles at 1.4 cpp.
Ok, so maybe it is a bit apples to oranges when comparing the "MSR" here with a true MSR, but this still represents the minimum amount needed to spend to get the points. The points are less flexible than my personal favorite Ultimate Rewards, but they are at least worth two round-trip tickets on American. Not bad for a $95 and a single charge.
In addition to the 50,000 AAdvantage Miles, the card offers 2x points on American Airlines purchases, 2x at office supply, telecom, and car rental merchants, 1x on all other purchases, a 5% boost to any points earned on the card (applied on your anniversary date), your first bag checked free on American Airlines flights, and a companion certificate good for one guest for $99 (but must spend $30,000 on the card annually to receive). There are plenty of terms and conditions, so your mileage may vary (pun sort of intended).
The Barclay's Aviator Business was not on my radar for anytime soon, but the no-MSR and reasonable annual fee makes this one worth considering. It is already considered in the Doctor of Credit's top credit card deals, but it is set to expire any time now (the official expiry date was 7/29, but as of this morning the link is still working).
I do not expect to keep this card past the first year since I do not fly enough American Airlines to make it worth it for me. And unless I am mistaken, there does not appear to be a no-AF version of this card to downgrade to. I might request a retention offer after the first year to see if that is worthwhile, but otherwise this card will not be a keeper.