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Barclays issues major changes to the AAdvantage Aviator cards

Changes include Wi-Fi credits, increased annual fees and more

Summary

With the numerous updates, you may be wondering if the AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard and the AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard are still worthwhile. Depending on how often you fly, we think so. Read on to learn why.

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Barclays and American Airlines have announced several updates to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® and the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard®. While some changes, such as the addition of Wi-Fi and dining credits, are positive, others are not. Read on to see what updates you can expect starting May 1, 2019.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® changes:

Anniversary companion certificate – Each anniversary year, earn a companion certificate good for one guest at $99 (plus taxes and fees) when you spend $20,000 and your account remains open for 45 days after your anniversary date.

Anniversary $25 Wi-Fi credit – Receive up to $25 back as statement credits on in-flight W-iFi purchases each anniversary year on American Airlines operated flights.

Flight Cents™ round up feature – Your purchases will be rounded up to the nearest dollar, allowing you to earn more AAdvantage miles.

Increased annual fee – The annual fee for the Aviator Red card has increased from $95 to $99. If you are an existing cardholder, the new annual fee will go into effect on your next anniversary on or after May 1.

Removal of 10 percent bonus – Cardholders will no longer receive 10 percent of their redeemed miles back each year.

Removal of $100 flight discount – Cardholders will no longer receive a $100 flight discount after spending $30,000 in a year.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® changes:

Anniversary companion certificate – Each anniversary year, earn a companion certificate good for you and two guests at $99 (plus taxes and fees) when you spend $20,000 and your account remains open for 45 days after your anniversary date.

Anniversary $50 Wi-Fi credit – Receive up to $50 back as statement credits on in-flight Wi-Fi purchases each anniversary year on American Airlines operated flights.

Food and beverage credits – Get up to $25 back as statement credits each day on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines operated flights.

Flight Cents™ round up feature – Your purchases will be rounded up to the nearest dollar, allowing you to earn more AAdvantage miles.

Increased annual fees – The annual fee for the Aviator Silver card has increased from $195 to $199. If you are an existing cardholder, the new annual fee will go into effect on your next anniversary on or after May 1.

Removal of 10 percent bonus – Cardholders will no longer receive 10 percent of their redeemed miles back each year.

The Aviator Red card will continue to offer the first checked bag free for you and up to four companions, preferred seating for you and up to four companions and a 25-percent discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases.

The Aviator Silver card, on the other hand, will continue to offer the first checked bag free for you and up to eight companions, preferred boarding for you and up to eight companions and a $100 Global Entry application credit every five years.

A worthwhile offer?

With the removal of the 10-percent redemption bonus and the increased annual fees, you may be wondering if the Aviator cards are still worthwhile. Depending on how often you fly, we think so.

Take the Aviator Red card, for example, which offers 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases. If you buy five roundtrip tickets in one year at $350 each, you will earn 3,500 miles.

($350 x 5 flights) x 2 miles = 3,500 miles

After factoring in the 10-percent redemption bonus, you would have earned an additional 350 miles at the end of the year – for a total of 350 miles.

3,500 miles x 10% = 350 miles

However, because we estimate each mile to be worth 1.4 cents – the extra 350 miles is valued at less than $5.

350 miles x 1.4 cents = $4.90

So unless you travel constantly each year, the redemption bonus shouldn’t be missed. Also, keep in mind that each card only increased its annual fee by $4. The difference in price can easily be covered by the added round up feature and Wi-Fi and dining credits.

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Published: May 1, 2019

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