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.
- The card earns 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and 1x miles for all other purchases. Nothing too exciting there.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!