Middle Age Miles

Barclays AA Aviator Business Mastercard – Increased Offer; Heightened Scrutiny

Executive Summary

Barclays is offering a an equal-to-all-time-high sign-up bonus of up to 75,000 American Airlines (AA) miles on its Aviator Business Mastercard (not a referral link). The catch is that you might have to work for it, as Barclays seems to be initially denying a lot of applications and/or requesting a substantial amount of verification information prior to approval.

Details of the Offer

For a limited time (no expiration date announced), Barclays is offering a sign-up bonus of up to 75,000 AA miles on the Barclays AA Aviator Business Mastercard. Details of the offer are:

  • Earn 65,000 AA miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after you open the account
  • Earn an additional 10,000 AA miles after you add an authorized user (AU) card for an employee and a purchase is made on the employee card within the first 90 days after you open the account
    • This can only be done once, for a maximum of 10,000 AA miles – that is, you can’t add multiple employee AUs and get multiple 10,000 bonuses

Bonus miles should post to your AA account when your first statement closes after you meet the minimum spend requirement.

Quick Analysis of the Offer

This is a fantastic offer. It’s equal to the all-time high bonus offer for this card. It requires minimal spend – only $1,000. And at our baseline value of 1.25 cents per AA mile, the full sign-up bonus is worth about $937.50.

As a business card, this card won’t count against you for “Chase 5/24” purposes. Barclays pulls TransUnion (TU) for credit report purposes to review your application, which is good for most people because TU is used less than other services. Bottom line, it’s a terrific offer for anyone who can qualify for the offer and use AA miles (even if you don’t use the card at all beyond spending to earn the sign-up bonus; see below).

Benefits of the Card and How We Use It

The card’s primary benefits are:

  • Bonus categories of 2x AA miles on purchases at AA, office supply stores, telecom charges, and car rental locations; 1x everywhere else
  • 5% AA mileage bonus each year upon your account anniversary
    • Note that we received this before we had to pay the annual fee
  • Earn $3,000 AA Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) when you spend $25,000 in a calendar year
  • First checked bag free for cardholder and up to 4 companions when traveling domestically on AA
  • 25% savings on in-flight food & beverages on AA flights
  • Preferred boarding on AA flights for cardholder and up to 4 companions
  • Companion Certificate for one guest at $99 + taxes/fees (all-in, about $135), if you spend $30,000 in your cardholder year
    • This is received after you pay the annual fee for your next cardholder year

None of the spend categories are best-in-class, so there’s really no reason to put ongoing spend on this card – unless you need the EQDs to qualify for a higher elite status level on AA.

And in fact, that’s how we’re using the card this year – to earn EQDs that will allow me to re-qualify for Executive Platinum (EXP) status on AA. Based on our projections for the year, it appeared that our organic flying would get me to the 100,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) threshold for EXP status, but I’d end up with about 12-13,000 EQDs, short of the 15,000 EQD threshold for EXP. That left me with a few choices:

  • Mileage-run extra flights, at a cost of $2-3,000;
  • Spend an extra $2-3,000 purchasing higher class-of-service tickets;
  • Spend $50,000 on my Barclays AA Aviator Silver personal card; or
  • Spend $25,000 on my Barclays AA Aviator Business card

Given those options, $25k in spend on the Barclays AA Business card seemed like the best choice. In addition, with just another $5k in spend, I could earn a Companion Certificate to be received and used next year (after we pay next year’s annual fee).

If you have questions about the Companion Certificate, please see our comprehensive article here:

Approval Process – There are opportunities, but Barclays can be tough

Given the attractiveness of this offer, we’re assuming that it will be very popular. Thus, we thought it would be useful to Middle Age Miles readers for us to summarize some of the things that we’ve learned through research and the recent experience of a friend applying for the card. (Hat tip to the contributors at Reddit Churning for some data points about this card.)

Availability of the Sign-Up Bonus

The official terms & conditions for the Barclays AA Aviator Business card contain this language:

Existing cardmembers, existing accounts, and previous cardmembers with accounts closed in the past 24 months may not be eligible for this offer.

On this front, we have good news. It appears that many people have been approved for the card and are eligible for the sign-up bonus, even though they may have held the card within the past 24 months. It is critical, though, that you do not have an open Barclays AA Aviator Business card when you apply; if you do, it appears that your application will be summarily denied.

How soon after closing a previous Barclays AA Aviator Business card can I re-apply?

Based on several data points on Reddit Churning, it appears that once you close a Barclays AA Aviator Business card, you can re-apply almost immediately. Please read the Reddit Churning thread for more details.

Initial application denials

Barclays does not seem to have any hard-and-fast velocity rules for this card such as Chase’s 5/24 rule or its own 6/24 rule applied to Arrival cards. However, as best we can tell, Barclays is initially denying a lot of applicants for this card. And the reasons for denial may not be particularly strong. This suggests that Barclays is trying to “weed out” card applicants.

The good news on this front is that many denial decisions can be overturned. Call the Barclays business reconsideration line at 866-710-2688, and be prepared to address Barclays’ stated reasons for denial. (Hat tip to Doctor of Credit for the reconsideration line number and its hours, which DoC says are 8:00 am until 8:00 pm Eastern time.)

Other Business and Personal Verification Questions & Documentation

In addition, all applicants of this card should be prepared to verify their business and personal information, and also to provide substantial documentation about their business if requested by Barclays. Sometimes Barclays will make this request while the application is pending; sometimes you’ll need to provide it after an initial denial, when you call for reconsideration.

Based on data points and our own personal experience on a different Barclays card, the Barclays agents are generally friendly about the verification and documentation process, so at least there’s some good news on that front. But they can be quite thorough. Our friend told us that they spent about 40 minutes on the phone with 4 different Barclays agents in different departments before Barclays was satisfied. Others on Reddit Churning reported that their calls went more quickly.

On the personal side, you need to be prepared to verify all of your personal information and your identity (including perhaps supplying documentation such as a copy of your Social Security card and/or drivers license, a copy of a utility bill, etc.). On the business side, questions include business address, time in existence, type of business, and revenue. Barclays may also ask for copies of business documentation.

If you get a letter from Barclays requesting documentation, we suggest that you call in to discuss the matter with Barclays, as opposed to simply mailing or faxing responsive information. There’s at least some chance that you can provide the information they need over the phone. And in any event, calling will allow you to clarify exactly what they need and where it needs to be sent, plus you may be able to proactively answer some questions that will help facilitate things once they receive the documentation. For instance, they’ll probably need to verify some personal data verbally in addition to seeing documents, and calling allows you to do this sooner rather than later. We know some people really dislike calling the card company, but this is one situation where we believe it can be a great advantage to call.

We hope that many Middle Age Miles readers can take AAdvantage of this great sign-up bonus offer on the Barclays AA Aviator Business card. And we hope that the information we’ve provided here can help guide and inform you, as Barclays can be a bit finicky and different from other issuers in its underwriting process. Good luck with your card applications!

Do you have additional insight or data points about applying for the Barclays AA Aviator Business card? Please share them with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!

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2 thoughts on “Barclays AA Aviator Business Mastercard – Increased Offer; Heightened Scrutiny

  1. HS

    Mixed DP, but definitely more good than bad:

    Attempt 1 earlier this year: Got a message that application was being reviewed. Called in several times, but could not get any info. I’m not even sure I was able to get to a person. Eventually I got a letter asking for stuff you describe, like my social security card (copy thereof). Oh, yeah, I just saw that — when was it? — maybe in 1987? Not just that, but there was a deadline on the form snail-mail letter that was in about a week. If I had been more clever, I would have / should have called in. But at that point I felt defeated.

    Attempt 2, a couple months ago: Approved immediately, Hit the spend quickly, got the miles.at first closing date.

    The website, by the way, is like something from the opening of The Flintsones. Pending stuff disappears; the available balance ignores payments for a couple of weeks.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi HS – Many thanks for the DPs. Wow, you had 2 radically different experiences applying for this card!

      Agreed on the website. I meant to mention that in the article – thanks for bringing it to the fore! I had a situation with the card a few weeks ago where it took about 8-9 days for my credit limit to free up, *after* the date that Barclays received the payment. That was definitely a pain. ~Craig

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