Understanding The New Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Cards

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As we learned last October, US Airways Dividend Miles will be merged into American AAdvantage in the second quarter of this year (between April 1 and June 30, 2015).

2015-AAdvantage

American’s co-branded credit cards are presently being issued by Citi (which include the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Mastercard and CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard), while US Airways’ co-branded credit card (the US Airways Premier World Mastercard) is presently being issued by Barclaycard.

Once the two programs merge in the second quarter, Barclaycard won’t be able to issue new AAdvantage credit cards anymore, though they will be able to continue to offer AAdvantage credit cards to existing cardmembers.

Presumably over time the number of people with AAdvantage Barclaycard products will decrease, given that some people will cancel their cards while no one will be able to apply for new ones.

Barclaycard’s four new AAdvantage credit cards

Barclaycard has revealed the details of the four new AAdvantage cards they’ll begin issuing, in hopes of keeping existing business.

AAdvantage-Aviator-Red

The four cards will be called the Aviator, Aviator Blue, Aviator Red, and Aviator Silver Cards. So if you presently have a US Airways Premier World Mastercard, you’ll end up with on of the below four cards.

Here are the details of the cards:

AAdvantage AviatorAAdvantage Aviator BlueAAdvantage Aviator RedAAdvantage Aviator Silver
Annual FeeFREE$49$89$195
Base Earning Rate.5 point/$11 point/$11 point/$11 point/$1
Purchases made directly with American or US Airways - 2 points/$12 points/$13 points/$1
Hotel Purchases - - - 2 points/$1
Baggage Benefit - - First checked bag free for cardholder and up to 4 companionsFirst checked bag free for cardholder and up to 8 companions
Mileage Refund - - • 10% of redeemed miles
• Maximum of 10K per year
• 10% of redeemed miles
• Maximum of 10K per year
Threshold Bonus - - $100 flight discount coupon after $30K net spend• 5,000 EQMs after $20k net spend
• Additional 5,000 EQMs after $40k net spend
• Maximum 10k EQMs per year
Foreign Transaction FeeYesYesNoNo

As you can see, they’ve created four unique products which appeal to different consumers, all the way from a no annual fee card which accrues half a mile per dollar spent, to a premium card which can earn you elite qualifying miles.

So, how do you become eligible for these cards?

  • Those with the US Airways Premier World Mastercard will automatically be converted to the Aviator Red Card sometime in the second quarter
  • Select members with the US Airways Premier World Mastercard will be sent invitations to upgrade to the Aviator Silver Card
  • Presumably if you want to downgrade your card, you can downgrade it to the no annual fee Aviator Card or Aviator Blue Card

Overall these are some very nice offerings from Barclaycard. The annual fee of the AAdvantage Aviator Silver Card is substantially lower than the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card, so if you want to earn elite qualifying miles through credit card spend, it’s not a bad option (that being said, it also doesn’t come with an Admirals Club membership).

Easy 50,000 AAdvantage miles

As a reminder, in the meantime you can continue to earn 50,000 Dividend Miles upon completing minimum spend with the US Airways Premier World Mastercard. You’ll also want to apply for it if you eventually want to convert your card into one of the above Aviator products.

American is also offering 50,000 AAdvantage mile sign-up bonuses upon completing minimum spend on their co-branded credit cards, and the annual fee is even waived for the first year. So you can pick up an easy 100,000 AAdvantage miles with the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Mastercard and the CitiBusiness Platinum Select AAdvantage Mastercard.

Picking up 150,000 miles doesn’t get much easier than with these three cards.

Bottom line

I’m impressed by the portfolio of products Barclaycard has created for a card which is more or less disappearing. Personally I’ve just held onto the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Mastercard long term, since I get a 10% rebate on miles spent annually, up to 10,000 miles. And I value AAdvantage miles at substantially more than a penny each.

Do any of these new Barclaycard Aviator Cards interest you? If so, which one?

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Comments

  1. Out of curiosity, what’s with the asterisk by the foreign transaction fees on the red card? I may be mistaken, but thought that the USAir card has no foreign transaction fees.

  2. They don’t mention anywhere if the 10K anniversary bonus miles will still be awarded with this new card. If not, I will cancel it since I already have a drawer full of AA cards

  3. Hi Ben,

    A couple of questions:

    (1) If you have multiple Barclays US DM cards (plus Citi AA cards for that matter) will you be able to aggregate the mileage refunds or will they all be capped at 10k regardless of the number of cards?

    (2) I don’t believe there are foreign transaction fees on the Aviator Red card (your chart indicates there are)

    (3) If you have gotten the AAdvantage Platinum Select signup bonus in the past from Citi, can you re-apply after cancelling, or is Citi limiting to one bonus period.

    Thanks!

  4. Aviator Blue isn’t really half bad. Hard to find a $1:1 mile earning ratio at a card with an annual fee around $49.

  5. Stupid question. If I keep both the Citi and Barclays cards, will I get 10 percent back on each, totaling 20 percent? Thanks!

  6. Unfortunately, none offer the $99 companion certificate, which a lot of us considered the biggest benefit of the card. The $100 off after $30K in spend is trivial in comparison.

  7. @Daniel:

    If the existing DM card is any indication, getting them to waive the annual fee on the Aviator Red would be as simple as calling the retention desk.

  8. @ Travis Swanson — As far as I know we don’t know for sure long term, but I would guess not. Not a stupid question at all.

  9. @ Zed — They’re definitely capped at 10K per card type (Barclaycard vs. Citi), and I believe might even be capped at 10K total. So having multiple Barclaycard AAdvantage cards wouldn’t allow you to earn the 10K refund multiple times.

    Citi seems to be all over the place in terms of getting approved for that card.

  10. @ RakSiam — I believe it’s being honored for cards that had that benefit already, though we’ll see how that works out long term.

  11. Barclay’s communications to me have clearly stated that, with the Red Card replacement, I will definitely continue to receive 10,000 AA miles yearly as an anniversary bonus in addition to receiving the up to 10,000 mile credit on points used. This makes the Red Card far superior to my Cit Platinum Select Card, which I plan to cancel. My only question is whether there is another Citibank card I might want to get in order to maintain my longstanding credit and not negatively impact my credit score and in that regard my focus is currently on the new Costco Card, depending on its being free and the benefits.

  12. Those of us with the $10,000 annual bonuses have already received written correspondence from Barclays indicating that the bonuses would continue after the conversion of our cards to an Advantage Mastercard.

    The BIG question though, is this: if we later are able to convert our new Red cards to Silver cards, do we lose that bonus?

  13. I already have a Usairways mastercard. Is it possible to apply for and get approved for another one or is it too late? I plan on using your cc link.

  14. I currently have no AA status, so not interested in the Silver right now. Any idea if I keep the red (for the presumed 10k annual miles), will I be able to switch it up to a Silver sometime in the future, if I should later desire AA status?

  15. @ Buddy M. — In the past it was possible to get multiple US Airways cards at once, though nowadays they’ve become stricter. Some still report being able to get the bonus multiple times, but it’s not consistent anymore. You’re certainly eligible for both AAdvantage cards, though.

  16. I’m disappointed that I could not opt in/upgrade to the Aviator Silver.. for the extra $100, I would have loved to get the extra benefits from the card. I’m going to call Barclay one more time to see if I can get the Silver.. if not.. I’m cancelling this card.

  17. Are the Reduced Mileage Awards Citi-exclusive?

    @Daniel – Citibank offers a “Gold” card with an annual fee of $50, waived the first year, and earns 1 mile per dollar. It also includes Reduced Mileage Awards.

    @Mike – The Silver card offers $99 companion certificates, if you spend $30k. This is similar to what the CitiBusiness card does.

  18. @Juno, you can request an upgrade to Silver. Just call Barclaycard and put in the request and they should approve it. Keep in mind if you have the anniversary bonus and you upgrade/downgrade then you will lose that benefit.

  19. I have two (2) US Mastercards and I called Barclays today and they told me that I could not upgrade either card to the silver. I’m inclined to cancel and go to Citi because Barclays discontinued the 10k elite miles bonus with the $30k spend.

    Anyone else have this issue or suggestions?

  20. How will the spend qualification work? If I meet the 25K spend prior to the card switching will I get my 10,000 elite qualifying miles? What if the card switches over prior to 25k posting? Can I add the spend I have if I call up and get converted to a Silver card? For elite qualifying?

  21. Might be a question with an obvious answer, but you can earn the EQMs with the Aviator Silver and separately with the Citi Executive card, right (20k EQMs for $80k in spend)?

    Thanks

  22. Do you think acct numbers will stay the same? The ONLY reason I’m keeping my US Air card open is bc I booked a trip for my in-laws with it using KE miles on Alitalia, and they say they need that card at check-in for whatever reason. If I wasn’t worried about their trip, I’d just cancel the whole thing and stick with the Citi AA cards.

  23. I got an offer for a bonus 50% extra on everything (I think everything) between now and June 30 (end of 2Q) on Aviator

  24. @ Gardener — Either way you can always cancel the card and just hold onto the physical card. That’s all they’d need to see anyway. But I do think account numbers will stay the same.

  25. @ Western — Apparently they’ll be sending out more invitations soon, so if you’re not in a rush it might make sense to wait?

  26. @Gardener In the FAQs, they said the card numbers and will remain the same but the expiration dates will change:

    Will my new card have a new account number? A new PIN?
    No. Your account number and PIN will not change.

    Will my expiration date change?
    Yes. When you receive your new card it will have a new expiration date, so be sure to notify merchants who automatically bill your account—such as utilities, gyms and cell phone providers. And don’t forget to update any online shopping carts and bill payment services that store your card information.

  27. BTW, got a mailer from Barclays today on each of my two Barclays USAir Mastercards. Both are being converted to Red, as expected. However, both cards had a 50% bonus on all spend for March 1-June 30 (registration required; up to 10,000 bonus miles).

    Pretty good bonus for really not doing anything! I’ll plan to max that out!

  28. @Daniel, I did call and the CSR said that only the people who received the invitation can receive the Silver card. But that was three weeks ago. Maybe now that the Aviator information has been sent out, I should try again.

  29. Hi Lucky, if I applied for the us air card on Nov 4th and then cancelled it a few days ago, how long do you think I should wait before applying again? Thanks!

  30. The US Air card terms are that if you spend $25,000 you will earn 10,000 US Air EQM’s. So I was wondering whether it was still possible to get in the $25,000 spend while it was still a US Air card and what effect the US AIr card spending would have after the conversion or whether it would start anew…It seems that the US Air card $25,000 spend is more favorable for 10,000 EQM [or US Airways elite miles] than the $40,000 spend for 10K and what happens if you do both…

  31. @ Marriott Marty — If you spend it before the card converts then I do think you’d receive the EQM bonus under the old terms, yes.

  32. @ Daniel — All depends on the individual person. Some would probably have luck getting the bonus again, while others seem to have to wait a longer amount of time.

  33. @ Peter — Some time in the second quarter when the programs merge. We don’t know the exact date yet.

  34. I’m a little confused. I have had two Barclays USairways Mastercards for many years and I have excellent credit scores. All I have received thus far is a mailing from Barclays stating my cards will be converted to Red Aviator. I called them asking for Silver Aviator and their response was that it will be offered after the programs merge. Also, they waived the annual fee on both my cards. Is this just a gimmick so I’ll keep the cards or is their intention to offer Silver Aviator (which looks to be a great deal)?

  35. @ Kerry — I’d give them some time and be patient. They haven’t even started issuing the Aviator cards, so I’m sure they’ll send our more invitations/make the Silver more available eventually.

  36. To you question, no, I don’t see why on earth I’d want ANY of these miserly new Barclays cards…. In my family, we might keep one for credit ratings purposes, but we’re inclined to dump all of them, and you’ve given us no reason whatsoever to keep them. Nice try though. Hope you got a good commission out of it from Barclarys.

  37. I’ve already been declined twice for a second US card. If I didnt have a 0 interest balance transfer on the card I’d cancel and reapply.

  38. I am furious. When Citibank told me the US Air MC card I had no longer would give EQMs I cancelled it in December. Noone told me about the Aviator Silver and Red. Now Citibank refuses to give me one even though I had two of their US Air cards for years. What can I do???????

  39. I am just wondering if I should be using both Citi (bronze) Aadvantage card and the new Aviator (red, currently) card? Will the Citi card merge as well? I am will downgrade Aviator Red because I don’t believe in paying annual fees. Thanks for your handy chart.

  40. I have Barclay’s new Red Aviator card which is supposed to provide for a free checked back. I just bought my first American ticket with the card, and the confirmation says the first checked bag is $25. What gives?

  41. @ Tim — The confirmation probably doesn’t reflect the fact that you have their co-branded credit card. It should still be free.

  42. @Tim …I had the same thing happen. I called American and they gave me a $25 voucher. Also one question I cannot seem to find the answer to is this: I received an email from American after my accounts merged which gave me my total current miles. Beside this however was an expiration date. Before, with US Airways my miles did not expire as long as I was using my credit card. Why is there an expiration date now that the two companies have merged? Do I really have to use all my miles before this expiration date? Thanks!!

  43. Silly question – I am no longer a Silver member on US Airways/AA but I do have Red Aviator card. What do I do when I check in for flights to not pay for bags and also received correct boarding group?
    THANKS!

  44. @ Helen — As long as your AAdvantage number is on the reservation you should be fine, as it’s linked to that.

  45. I’ll ditch the card soon as it expires. Without the $99 voucher feature, it doesn’t approach the value of the USAir offering and I have people lining up to give me no fee credit cards. Pretty significant move back offering features I don’t care about. I never put $30K a year on all my credit cards combined.

  46. I just activated mine and it asked for a PIN specifically for foreign chip transactions! On the phone, they did say it has to be used at a cashier operated chip terminal in a foreign country once, then the PIN is activated for kiosks.

  47. Just received my new Red card for activation, so I called and had no trouble receiving an upgrade to the Silver card with the $99 companion certificates. When I called last month to inquire, they had no idea if or when Silver cards would be offered.

  48. I really only signed up for the old US Airways Dividend card for the 50k AA miles. Is there any reason to keep the new Aviator Red MC (along with my Citibank AA MC) if those miles have already posted? I don’t see any reason to keep both and the only thing I like better about the Aviator Card is that it’s much thinner than the Citibank AA MC! Which do you think is a better card?

  49. @ Joe — Only worth keeping one for the 10% annual rebate on redeemed miles, in my opinion (up to 10,000 miles per year).

  50. Question –

    Is the Silver worth upgrading to if you have the Red Aviator and currently the AMEX Platinum and Premier Rewards? I’ve had Barclay refund the fee before, so I can assume they will if I upgrade. Just wanted to know if it is worth upgrading too if I have the 2 AMX.

  51. Found a mistake in your article. Purchases made directly with American or US Airways for the basic AAdvantage Aviator earns 1 points/$1.

  52. I’m having extremely serious problems with AAdvantage Aviator BC. It is the worst card I’ve come across, and impossible to talk to a human about the problems.

    We don’t even receive invoices to pay!

    I would like to talk the Barclay’s legal department as I am working in Wilmington DE as I believe they are violating the Privacy Act of 1975, amongst other things.

    I searched for “Talk to a human”. Results: “No results found”

    How many have had these problems since AA bought out US Air, one of the worst deals for the travelling public in transportation history?

    FMQ

  53. Husband and I just called Barclays to request waiving the annual fee on our AAdvantage Red Master Cards. Different accounts set up with same info at same time, good credit scores, on time full payments, plenty of card use monthly on both accounts. I was denied, husband’s fee waived and 5000 miles offered to him. Refused to give us an explanation as to why the inequity in service and customer experience and quickly and swiftly offered to cancel my card. What the hell is that about? The only difference in these two accounts is gender, and one is set up as autopay.

  54. The Aadvantage Barclay credit card is NOT worth it. I have been a member for a year and it is not worth it. The points you need to accrue to get a flight are ridiculous. You might as well get a cash back card from Chase and save the $89 annual fee to go towards a plane ticket. I have made about 4 times more value (per year) on my Chase Freedom card than I ever did with this BS AAdvantage card. Also, the customer service is terrible. STAY FAR AWAY FROM THIS CARD

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