You Can Now Upgrade to a Barclaycard Aviator Silver Card, But Do You Want To?

The US Airways Dividend Miles program has been folded into American AAdvantage. And now only Citibank has the right to issue new American AAdvantage personal (and small business) co-brand credit cards.

Barclaycard used to issue the US Airways card. Existing Barclaycard US Airways MasterCard cardholders became Barclaycard American AAdvantage cardholders. Barclaycard can’t issue new accounts, but they can continue to service existing customers.

And they have a suite of (4) personal cards to offer existing customers:

Here’s a description of all four. Roughly speaking the two bottom tier cards are legacy offerings geared towards US Airways cardholders whose cards had been issued by Bank of America (a portfolio Barclaycard recently acquired). They’re meant to mirror the offerings those customers already had.

Aviator Red is What Most Former US Airways Cardmembers Have, or Will Receive

Most US Airways cardholders are being moved to the Aviator Red card. Many already have received it. It’s the card most like the current product and like the Citi AAdvantage card products. It earns double miles on American purchases, receives a 10% rebate on redeemed miles annually (up to 10,000 miles – no double dipping if you have a Barclaycard card and a Citi card, though), and provides the first checked bag free (up to 4 traveling companions).

There’s been a lot of mystery and questions surrounding the Aviator Silver card. You could not ever apply for one. So folks wonder how they can get one.

The Aviator Silver card comes with a $195 annual fee and offers:.

  • Triple miles on American purchases plus double miles on hotels and car rentals
  • A 10% rebate on redeemed miles annually, up to 10k miles
  • First checked bag free (up to 8 traveling companions)
  • Companion certificate each year for two guests at $99+tax each with $30,000 in purchases by each anniversary date. The annual companion certificate was a fantastic benefit of the US Airways card, so I’m glad to see it continuing in some form.
  • 5,000 elite qualifying miles for each $20,000 in annual purchases (up to 10,000 per year). This is better than the Citi Executive card’s 10,000 after $40,000 spend at a higher annual fee price point.

So How Do You Get an Aviator Silver?

Some people were invited when the product was announced back in October. They were rolling the new product out slowly. But it’s not meant to be available only to a handful of cardmembers.

It is a product that will be a premium offering which will help Barlcays to retain their best cardmembers. Remember, the portfolio will decline in value over time as cardmembers cancel and Barclaycard can’t replace them with new AAdvantage co-brand customers. So their mission is to offer a compelling enough product that the portfolio maintains as much value as possible as long as possible.

You need to have received your Aviator Red card first, then it will be possible to consider switching products.

If you’ve received your Aviator red, you can now call and ask to be upgraded to the Aviator silver.

  • When you call an agent will check if you’re eligible for the card.
  • Some accounts have already been approved for Aviator Silver. If you haven’t been yet, and want one, try back later in the month as they’re apparently in the process of adding more accounts.
  • I was told by Barclays that I should be eligible later in the month, though the offer isn’t yet attaching to my account.

Do You Want Aviator Silver.. or to Keep Aviator Red?

If you have a legacy US Airways card that earned 10,000 miles on card renewal each year, upgrading will give up that benefit.

The Aviator Silver makes sense, to me, if you want to be able to earn elite qualifying miles on American via credit card spend. This card is cheaper than the Citi Executive card, though it doesn’t come with lounge access. And it lets you earn 5000 qualifying miles at $20,000 spend and 5000 more at $40,000 spend — rather than just 10,000 at $40,000 spend like Citi Executive. And you can earn the qualifying miles via spend from both cards.

If you aren’t chasing elite status on American, and don’t need qualifying miles via spend, I’d keep the Red card.

(HT: James F.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Isn’t the 10k U.S. air renewal bonus gone with the conversion anyhow? My two renewals were in 2Q. I’m not expecting to see it next year as 10k AA pts, or should I?

  2. I somehow got assigned the AA Aviator Blue card during the transition. Called yesterday and got upgraded to Silver. EQMs here I come!

  3. @mike, the promotional materials I got with the new red card indicated that I would still get the 10k each year.

  4. At one point, the Barclays website had something about an Aviator business card “coming soon.”
    I don’t remember there being a USAir business card – do you think Barclays will have an Aviator business offering?

  5. If I got the U.S. Airways card with the extra 10K mile bonus on 1st anniversary, will I still get those after the transition to Aviator?

  6. Would the 10K renewal I’ve been getting stick around if I switched to their silver card? If not, that would be a deal breaker right there for me.

  7. For those who have upgraded, did you have to pay the full fee or did they prorate it or what?

  8. If you made a reward redemption with your US Air Mastercard while still waiting to receive the Red Aviator card that replaces it, will you still receive the 10% miles back you are entitled to as a cardholder

  9. I was declined for an upgrade, and I’ve been putting a good amount of spend (and paying it off in full) the last few months. Why, Barclays, why?

    @DJ – US Airways did offer a business card, however, applications were discontinued a few months before they were for the personal card.

  10. You receive the 10% rebate whether it was a US Airways card or the new American card. The 10000 miles I am talking about … some US Airways cards had a 10000 mile annual bonus in addition to that each year at renewal. Mine does. That carries over to Aviator Red. But if you have that currently and you upgrade to Aviator Silver you lose it.

  11. Have they confirmed that YTD red card spend won’t count if you upgrade to aviator?

  12. Anyone know if the companion cert can be used for a British Air flight (SFO-LHR) – first class seats? Is it restricted to AA metal? Is it restricted to domestic travel? Is it restricted to seating class?

  13. I canceled my US Airways card just before they stopped taking new applications. Interestingly, they still appear to have issued me a closed Aviator Red card account number – I’ve gotten mail about it and it also appears in my online Barclay account. Think they did this just to be able to re-issue an AA card to me again if I decide I want it someday…maybe?

  14. @Alys – domestic AA flights only. However, the British Airways Visa offers a companion pass at $30k spend, so maybe you should look into that.

  15. Is there a reason to keep both the Citi AAdvantage card and the Barclay Aviator Red card?

  16. I emailed Barclays to confirm I’d still get the 10k at renewal and was told that benefit is gone: “At this time, we would like to confirm that the 10,000 mile bonus for paying the annual fee has been discontinued. “

  17. Gary,

    I’d also like to know … will the $$ you’ve already spent on the Red card count toward this year’s Silver card spend if you upgrade to the Silver?

    Thank you.

  18. I have two Red Aviator linked to the same AA mileage account. I know Barclays can not issue any new Aviators, but can I upgrade both cards from Red to Silver? And if so, would I be able to get 10,000 EQMs on each card after spending $40K on each for a total of 20,000 EQMs?

  19. @jediwho – No, you are limited to 10k EQM from Barclays per year. However, you can earn another 10k EQM from Citi, so if you want 20k EQM, you have to have an Aviator Silver and a Citi Exec.

  20. Gosh, Barclay is really incompetent from a customer service perspective.

    I’ve cancelled the Aviator Red card.

  21. Would the 5-10K EQM be for this status year? So if I meet the spend requirements, will it count towards status through February 2017 or through February 2018 (i.e., be totaled at the end of the year)? I spoke to an agent who seemed to indicate the latter, but that just didn’t seem right to me…

  22. Upgrade from Red to Silver was simple and took just a couple of minutes. I did ask the question about whether or not YTD spends on the Red card will now count toward the Elite Qualifying Miles since I now am Silver status and was told that they would not.

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