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Barclaycard used to issue US Airways cards, and those became American AAdvantage cards with the merger. But Citibank had the exclusive right to issue new AAdvantage cards.
So once the US Airways Dividend Miles program ended in March 2015, existing cardholders got to keep their cards but no one else could sign up.
Baclaycard gets to take applications in-airport (but not within 100 feet of an Admirals Club, where Citibank has exclusivity) and inflight. Citibank gets clubs and exclusivity through American’s digital channels.
Today is the first day that new Barclaycard American Airlines AAdvantage cards are available. You can get them inflight from flight attendants, and you can apply for them online at ApplyAviator.com.
The card has a 40,000 mile signup bonus after first purchase (no minimum spend), but if you apply inflight you get 500 additional bonus miles. The card comes with free checked bags and priority boarding and a 10% rebate on AAdvantage redemptions each year up to 10,000 miles. These benefits are duplicated by the Citibank-issued AAdvantage cards, and you cannot double dip on the 10% rebate.
New American Airlines B/E Aerospace Super Diamond Business Class
Barclaycard actually has (4) different Aviator cards, because they migrated the old US Airways Bank of America Visas and also offer a no fee product, and because they have a premium Aviator Silver card. I have Aviator Silver, and I’m really excited about it for 2017, but I do not yet see a way to apply for it directly and I assume that you can only product change an Aviator Red card if you’ve had it for a year (because by law a bank can’t increase your annual fee in the first 12 months).
It’s neat that you can now apply for American credit cards from more than one issuer.
- That means you can get 40,000 bonus miles from the Barclaycard Aviator Red and you can take advantage of limited-time offers for the Citi cards.
- You can have American Airlines cards from both Barclaycard and Citibank and in fact I already do.
Unique to the Barclaycard products you can earn elite qualifying dollars towards status through spend.
- Spend $25,000 on a Barclaycard-issued American AAdvantage credit card and earn 3000 elite qualifying dollars.
- Spend $50,000 on a Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Silver credit card and earn an additional 3000 elite qualifying dollars.
You cannot combine spend on more than one credit card to reach these spend thresholds (in contrast to Delta and United). It has to be $25,000 (or $50,000) on a single card. And you can not earn 3000 elite qualifying dollars (or 6000) from multiple cards.
Since both the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® and the Barclaycard Aviator Silver let you earn elite qualifying miles through spend, I plan to put spend on both in 2017.
What’s cool is that $50,000 spend on the Aviator Silver ($195 fee, but unlike the Citi Executive Card doesn’t come with lounge access) will get me:
- 10,000 elite qualifying miles
- 6000 elite qualifying dollars
- A companion ticket
- At least 50,000 miles
As an American Airlines elite, the additional elite qualifying dollars aren’t just helpful for status qualification but starting sometime mid-year will be used to prioritize upgrades. I’m inquiring with Barclaycard about how it will be possible to get the Silver card (that I already have on a legacy basis, from converting my old US Airways-turned-American card) since for now I only see how to apply for the basic ‘red’.