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.)