Keep, Convert or Close the Barclays American Airlines AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard?

I’ve made a resolution! From now on, when a credit card I currently have comes up for renewal, I really want to consider more deeply than I have in the past, whether or not to keep the credit card. I’m determined to look more closely at the annual fees I pay to keep the credit card and the benefits I receive. And whether I’m actually using those benefits… maybe that’s the most important question of all.

Since I made this resolution, the first credit card to come up for renewal is my Barclays American Airlines AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard. Like many of you, I got this credit card because I had the Barclays US Airways World MasterCard, which became the Aviator credit card when American Airlines bought US Airways. The yearly fee for the Aviator credit card is $89. My first action was to actually read the Reward Summary on my statement and really understand the potential of this credit card, whether or not I actually put much spend on this card.

  1. The card earns 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and 1x miles for all other purchases. Nothing too exciting there.
  2. The next benefit is that my first checked bag is free. OK, what does this really mean? It means that when flying American Airlines on domestic flights, my first checked bag is free for me and up to 4 passengers flying on the same itinerary. I don’t even have to pay for my tickets with the Aviator credit card. I just have to have my American Airlines frequent flyer number attached to the itinerary and this benefit will kick in. Sounds like the same benefit I get when I use my Bank of America Alaska Airlines Credit Card. I definitely would use this benefit in the coming year.
  3. I’d get preferred boarding when traveling on domestic American Airlines itineraries, and so would up to 4 companions. Not a bad benefit but not as useful to me as the free checked bag.
  4. 10% of my redeemed American Airlines miles would be rebated and put back into my American Airlines account. This is per calendar year. I like this benefit and after checking my account, I’ve made use of this benefit for the past few years. It’s been a great benefit, which was transferred over to this card from my US Airways credit card.

The last consideration was the $89 annual fee. Why not give Barclays a call, verify I was correctly interpreting all the credit card benefits, and see if they’d waive the annual fee? Could be worth a few minutes of my time. The rep I talked with did verify my credit card benefits and asked if I had some American Airlines flights scheduled and would use the checked bag perk, because there is a no-fee version of the credit card I could switch to. Yup, I’ve got some domestic and international American Airlines flights in the next year, so no credit card conversion for me.

After asking the rep if they could waive the yearly fee, she said she’d take a look at my account and see what she could do. She DID waive the $89 annual fee. That was a great way to start my day and she offered me a spending bonus as well. She offered me an additional 5,000 American Airlines miles for spending $1,000 in the next 90 days. I’ll likely take “advantage” of that offer :)

So without a doubt, I’m feeling good having stuck to my new resolution to think through keeping or dropping credit cards as they come up for renewal. And I’m feeling even better having just saved $89!

Do you carefully review your credit cards when they come up for renewal? Is the Barclays American Airlines AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard a keeper for you? Please let me know in the comments below!

26 thoughts on “Keep, Convert or Close the Barclays American Airlines AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard?

  1. DaninMCI

    Nice write up. To me the disappointment is the lack of ability to stack the Barclays 10% back and the Citi 10% back. AA limits it to 10% overall.

    Reply
    1. Shelli Post author

      I agree, the stacking of separate card benefits even if linked to the same airline would be a winner! Thanks, Dan, for taking the time to stop by and leaving a comment. Have a great day!

      Reply
  2. Wade

    I got the same exact offer back in March – annual fee waiver and 5000 points for $1000 spend in 3 months. I had spent very little on the card in the prior year, so I was really surprised that I got this offer. I met the $1000 spend in about a month, but my points didn’t come through until after the 3 month period had ended. I thought I was going to have to call about that, but they did eventually post. So stay patient.

    Reply
  3. William Myones

    One benefit of the Barclay’s card is it is a true chip and pin. I was in Copenhagen last week and went to buy train tickets at the ticket machine. Tried my Sapphire Reserve card and it was rejected. I stuck my Barclaycard in and the machine immediately asked for my pin. Entered the pin and we were on our way. I do not believe anyone but Barclays has true chip and pin cards in the US.

    Reply
    1. Shelli Post author

      Thanks for letting us know, William. I’ll have to stick a Barclay card in my wallet next time I’m heading overseas. Enjoy the rest of your trip, and thanks for reading!

      Reply
  4. Mike L

    FYI… the AF for this card is now $95. I just got in on the 60,000 bonus point offer with this card and that’s amazing considering all you have to do is make one purchase. It’s nice to know that they at least have the option to waive the AF.

    Reply
  5. LF

    I no longer fly AA. I’ve burned 100k points on a trip and have another 120k to use up. Once done I’ll cancel the card. I have plenary of options for flights from my hometown so no need to deal with AA anymore.

    Reply
    1. Shelli Post author

      Sounds like you’re becoming an airline free agent! Good that you have options. Enjoy those trips, LF, and thanks for stopping by to comment.

      Reply
    2. Very Dissatisfied Customer of 5 years

      Horrible lack of respect for their customers and fraudulence issues. In speaking with Barclay/AA Customer Service, they will not contact you by phone without your verbally calling in to inform them of authorization to call you or contact you other than email in regards to unusual activity on your card, fraud, and any other alerts that may be necessary. Having not used the card for a few months with $0 balance, my statements go an email that is not checked unless necessary. I have 4 credit cards low to no balances with zero issues. Unusual activity occurred on my card, I was not aware until they tagged my credit report stating I had a 30-60 day late payment. I had not used the card therefore no need to pay. I called Barclay/AA customer service they informed me not their fault and to send a letter to a PO Box with my dispute and I should hear a response within 30 days. I have paid the balance and am disputing the fraudulent charge, they are also charging me interest and late fees. They only report on credit every 60 days. They refuse to fix and say it takes time. Meanwhile, I am unable to close on house as it has dropped my credit 100 points. Nightmare! I have never had any late payments on my credit in the 15 years I have worked very hard to establish my credit since I was 18.

      Reply
      1. Shelli Post author

        Sorry to hear this. Sounds frustrating. It does sound like quite a mess and that Barclay customer service isn’t being of any help. Hope it resolves very soon and in your favor.

        Reply
  6. Jeff

    Just to be clear, I thought you had a recent post where you were able to get the newer version of this card with the 50,000 bonus (before it became 60,000). If so do you now have both the old and new version of this card?

    Reply
    1. Shelli Post author

      Hi Jeff, You may be mixing up this post with another one you read. Or maybe it was the IHG card I applied for. I only have the old version of this card. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

      Reply
  7. Nick

    I’m keeping both of mine. I got in when they had the 10K anniversary bonus. Plus I get the “5000 points for $1000 spend in 3 months” just about every quarter. You have to call and ask for it.

    Reply
  8. TimmyD

    I’ve been keeping it largely for that 10k annual bonus. But I wonder if I should cancel it just so I can get a bonus again. I wonder how easy it is to get approved again.

    Reply
    1. Shelli Post author

      HI TimmyD, I have no direct experience with canceling, applying again, and getting the bonus. Maybe if a TWG reader has had experience with this they’ll let us know! Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  9. HideAndZeek

    Hi Shelli – aside from all the benefits you mentioned, I really love the monthly reduced mileage AA awards access as well. I find the $89 annual fee to be well worth it and plan to keep it as long as the benefits don’t change.

    Reply
    1. Shelli Post author

      Hi HandZ, That’s a really good point. I wonder why the representative didn’t mention that benefit, too? Thanks for the reminder, and have a great day!

      Reply
  10. James Harris

    A disaster of customer service. They denied a food charge during our Coronavirus mandated shelter at home. Used my always available AmEx card (thanks AmEx) for the food charge. Barclay’s Aviator charged my card. Two days of calls to customer over 3 hours without an answer. Five messages to customer services without a response. Too many other credit card options with proper customer service departments. Buyer beware.

    Reply

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