Barclay Aviator Red 60k Offer – Generous, (Likely) Churnable


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Direct link to offer (NOT an affiliate link, if that wasn’t obvious)

One of the best sign up boni right now is the Barclay Aviator Red card. You get 60,000 AA miles after 1st purchase and paying annual fee of $95. In other words, almost NO minimum spending requirement (more on that later), you’re basically buying 60,000 AA miles for $95 – a very, very good deal. In comparison, it’s possible to get targeted Citi offers of up to 65,000 AA miles, but you have to spend $4,000. And that’s targeted (but get both if you can).

So, who can get the bonus? Officially, eligibility is:

This one-time AAdvantage® bonus mileage offer is valid for first-time cardmembers with new accounts only. Existing cardmembers, existing accounts, and previous cardmember with accounts closed in the past 24 months may not be eligible for this offer.

That’s what it says, how about reality? I’ve been following discussions in the Flyertalk thread, Here’s how I would summarize the data points so far:

  1. People are getting approved even if they’ve closed the card within 2 years, so that doesn’t seem enforced.
  2. Some people are getting instant denial without a credit pull , if they either have the card now OR had it recently (~30 days).
  3. For the no-pull instant denials, calling reconsideration and allowing a credit pull will make it a normal application/reconsideration. The result may be approval or denial.
  4. Multiple data points see the churned 60k bonus mentioned in the benefits (online & in welcome letter), but no data point exists for actually getting the churned bonus.

I was a “victim” of #2. I got the 50k bonus a few months ago. Barclay wouldn’t match it to 60k, so I took a calculated risk to cancel and reapply, which I did 34 days after cancelling and got a no-pull instant denial. I called recon a few days later and had my credit pulled. It came back as a denial due to too many new accounts, but there are a number of reports of recon success in the Flyertalk thread (example). Now, I’ve yet to figure out the exact rule for how long to wait after cancelling before reapplying. In my case, 34 days wasn’t enough, but someone found success with just 2 weeks in between. YMMV.

For #4, I hope to see some data points flowing in soon. Most reported churns happened within the last 1.5 months, and bonus doesn’t post until statement closing in which annual fee was paid, so there hasn’t been a lot of time for data points. It’s possible T&C will be enforced and bonus won’t post, but I expect it will given Barclay’s history.

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As Sean54 noted in FT, the offer officially expires January 31, 2018. It could expire sooner or later, of course.

A note about the 1st purchase. Back in the days of the Barclay US Airways card, which also had a 1st purchase requirement, I once made a 1st purchase of something like $0.50 (with no other purchase to follow); after paying annual fee, the bonus didn’t post for months until I finally made another purchase over $1. So I would suggest your 1st purchase to be at least $1 to be safe.

The Value of AA Miles

AA miles continue to serve me well, which may or may not translate to you. These days, I use it primarily for business class to China and SE Asia (70k) via Cathay Pacific (please don’t leave) and Japan Airlines – 2 of my favorite airlines. I also use it for South America, an area where oneworld shines. As someone who lives in flyover country, I like that I can usually find end-to-end availability using AA miles. There was a period where AA’s own availability was horrible, but it seems to have gotten better.

Which is to say, I personally would jump on this offer if eligible. I plan to reapply again before Jan 31. Of course, Barclay could enforce T&C any time and deny bonus to the exclusion criteria. They could even blacklist people who abuse this “too much”. As always, decide your own risk level.

Have you / will you take AAdvantage of this?

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