(EXPIRED) Aviator Red now comes with a companion certificate

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This week, the offer on the Barclays Avaitor Red card changed. Whereas it previously awarded a new cardmember bonus of 60K miles, the new offer is good for only 50K miles after first purchase and payment of the annual fee — but now there is also an American Airlines companion certificate. The companion certificate will cost you $99 plus taxes to book, but that can certainly be a great deal if you have a good use in mind and could therefore make the new offer substantially more valuable.

The Offer

Card Offer

Key Card Details

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)

$99 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 2X AA ✦ 1X everywhere else
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Brand: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Mastercard World Elite issued by Barclays. This card has no foreign transaction fees.
Big spend bonus: Earn $99 + tax domestic companion certificate with $20K membership year spend.
Noteworthy perks: First checked bag free ✦ Preferred boarding for the primary cardmember and up to 4 companions traveling on the same reservation ✦ 25% off in-flight purchases ✦ $25 wifi credit per membership year ✦ Flight cents: round up purchases to earn more miles

Quick Thoughts

This new companion certificate benefit will arrive by mail 8-10 weeks after meeting the requirements (at the moment, one purchase and payment of the annual fee) and is valid for one year. It basically works the same as the Alaska Airlines companion certificate in ongoing years: it costs $99 plus taxes, so a total of ~$120-$150 total to book the companion (though it is not the same in many regards as well – for example, unlike the Alaska certificate, the primary cardholder must be traveling to use this one). This can be used for round trip domestic economy class flights in the following fare classes: L, M, N, Q, S, V, G or O.

Unfortunately, in addition to being restricted in terms of fare class, there are also some blackout dates:

2019: Jan 1-3; Feb 15-19; Mar 8-11; Mar 15-18; Mar 22-25; May 24-28; Jun 28-30; Jul 1-7; Nov 27-30; Dec 1-2; Dec 14-23; Dec 27-31
2020: Jan 1-3; Feb 14-18; Mar 6-9; Mar 13-16; Mar 20-23; May 22-26; Jun 30; Jul 1-6; Nov 25-30; Dec 12-23; Dec 27-31

Honestly, the blackout dates make me pretty unenthused about this benefit. There are blackout dates in six of the first seven months of the year. Adding insult to injury, there were three blocks of blackout dates in March alone this year.

Obviously if you have a use in mind (and I’d suggest you should), you could do quite well with a certificate like this. Those who mainly fly to/from/between smaller airports within the US are sometimes faced with astronomical prices, and a certificate like this could make a big dent in a family trip. Keep in mind that you must book travel at least 14 days in advance to take advantage of the certificate.

On the other hand, I’d date to get this certificate with no use in mind and procrastinate for six months on finding a use and then find that there are blackout date blocks in nearly every month I’d have left on the cert.

To recap, here are the gotchas to keep in mind if you consider this offer:

  1. The certificate is limited in which fare classes it can work with
  2. There are a bunch of blackout dates.
  3. You must book at least 14 days in advance
  4. The primary cardholder must be flying on the ticket.

If those aren’t deal-breakers for you, this certainly may be an offer worth considering. We’ve updated out Best Offers page with this information.

H/T: Doctor of Credit and Middle Age Miles

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