New Barclays AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard: Will you still get the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus if you upgrade?

The new Aviator Red MasterCard

The new Aviator Red MasterCard

I wanna dig into this a little, in part because it’s a topic I don’t know the answer to (spoiler alert!), and in part because I would like to upgrade.

As part of Barclays’ discontinuation of the US Airways credit card products, they’ve sent out materials for which version of the Aviator existing cardholders should expect to receive.

I was selected to get the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard.

Barclays' mailed communication about the product change

Barclays’ mailed communication about the product change

Note that they mention the 50% bonus miles promo at the bottom of the page.

They also included a page of FAQs:

Aviator Red FAQ page

Aviator Red FAQ page

But what about the anniversary bonus?

I’ve done a little digging, and Barclays has confirmed that cardholders will continue to receive the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus if they keep the product they are selected to receive. Which is great news. (I barely eked my way in at the last minute into the card with the 10,000 bonus miles.)

But what about if you want to upgrade from Red to Silver? That’s where the murkiness is coming in, and I’ve read reports that if you upgrade (or downgrade) from what’s been pre-selected for you, you will forfeit your 10,000 mile anniversary bonus. Which is not-so-great news.

The other side of the coin is that since this product is so new, and in fact hasn’t even been sent out yet, we still don’t know exactly what will happen.

So here’s my dilemma.

I want the Aviator Silver

In a case of wanting the cake and eating it too, I want to upgrade to the Aviator Silver and still get the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus. But I don’t think that’s going to be possible. It sounds like it’s going to have to be one or the other.

The Aviator Silver offers a $99 companion certificate (for up to 2 guests!) and the ability to earn EQMs with spend – two things the Aviator Red card does not offer. It also has a higher earning rate on AA flights (3 points per dollar vs. 2 with the Red). The annual fee is higher, too – $195 a year for the Silver vs. $89 a year with the Red. Doctor of Credit has a nice comparison table of all the Aviator products.

I value the extra 10,000 miles per year at $200, so keeping the Aviator Red with the bonus would probably be the wiser thing.

However, EQMs are very valuable – they save me time and money by not having to fly to earn status, which is huge. And, if used, the companion certificates could also save me a lot of cash. In the past, I have had a hard time redeeming companion certificates.

The questions now are:

  • Do I really want to put $40,000 of spend on the Aviator Silver to get 10,000 EQMS?
  • Will I actually use the companion certificates? (Availability can be severely limited, and restricted to the worst flight times possible. Think 4am departures and 1am arrivals.)
  • Knowing this, do I want to pay a higher annual fee and forfeit the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus?
  • Will Barclays eventually allow upgrades/downgrades to keep the anniversary bonus?

Bottom line

I appreciate that Barclays introduced me to their new products via the Aviator Red. Had they gone ahead and given me the Aviator Silver, I would’ve been a little aghast at the hike in the annual fee, but you know what? I probably would’ve just gone along with it. Especially if it meant keeping those extra 10,000 miles per year.

If anything, it’s made the think about the value of this card, which looks to outpace Citibank’s version – great for consumers. Barclays is being super aggressive with the benefits offered by these cards.

Have you been notified yet about which version of the Aviator card you will receive? Does anyone have any insight about the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus that I might’ve missed?

Will definitely be following up about this – new products mean more choices! I will be updating this page if there’s an answer lingering out there.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. When the annual fee is up, why don’t you call and negotiate? That’s what I’d do. Given how Barclays won’t be able to add any new card members after the integration, the ball is really on your side! Good luck! As for me, I’m just going to keep the red since I have no desire for AA elite status nor companion pass right now.

    • Love your site!

      I thought that might be the case, but I wonder if they will change their stance on this as the new products get shipped out. After all, I am asking to pay $195 instead of $89 – would that not be a win-win for all involved?

      Thank you for posting the answer – I am hoping they might reverse their decision on this particular benefit. Pie in the sky?

      • I doubt they will reverse their decision, EQM’s are expensive for them to purchase. When they targeted cardholders, they would have taken into account who did and didn’t have the anniversary bonus and only given the Silver offer to those who were profitable with both the anniversary bonus & EQM benefit.

        It never hurts to ask, but I’m almost certain that they’ll say no. Who knows with Barclaycard though, they are pretty desperate to keep cardholders. My only concern would be that a rep might say that you will keep the benefit but not really know what they are talking about – so make sure you double confirm and get reference numbers!

  2. hello, can someone clarify. Was the 10000 anniversary bonus for every year or just the first year as I was just told? Thanks

    • It depends on the offer you originally signed up for. Some peeps got it every year, some (like me and it sounds like you) just got it the 1st year.

    • You should be able to get it again. But remember Barclays is a conservative bank and usually only allows 1 or 2 new cards per year. And you may need to close your current card before you apply again.

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