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Barclays is busy notifying former US Airways Mastercard customers about their new AAdvantage Aviator credit cards, and when they will arrive.
For most people, they won’t arrive until June.
But you may be wondering about other Aviator options, as there are actually five different cards:
The basic (no annual fee), Blue ($49 annual fee), Red ($89 annual fee or $79 for some grandfathered accounts), Silver ($189 annual fee), and Business Aviator Mastercards.
You will be automatically converted to the equivalent level Aviator card to what you had with US Airways, though if you were offered an invitation only upgrade to an Aviator Silver card, which doesn’t have a match with the old US Airways, you’ll get that as your replacement.
The Silver card carries a higher $189 annual fee, but offers 3X miles for American / US Airways purchases, 2x miles on hotels and car rentals, and 5,000 Elite Qualifying Miles for every $20,000 in annual purchases, up to 10,000 per year.
That’s really helpful if you want AAdvantage elite status and can be stacked with the Elite Qualifying Miles offered by the Citi Executive AAdvantage card.
So what if you want the more lucrative Aviator Silver, but didn’t get an invitation?
In May, Barclays will send Silver upgrade invitations to more cardholders.
Or, once you receive your Red card and activated it, you may be able to request an upgrade.
They will review your credit quality and other factors to determine if you’re eligible, and some are reporting you need $30,000 in annual spending on your existing US Airways card to be eligible. So the early days may still be limited to those selected on the back end.
If you want your Red card sooner, you can call Barclays to request one for international travel, since it has a Chip + PIN built in. They are sending them now to those who request expedited replacement for $29.
And if you want to downgrade to a lower annual fee Aviator Blue ($49, same mile earning as the Aviator Red, but no free checked bag or priority boarding), or the no annual fee basic Aviator (earns miles at half the rate of the Blue and Red), you’ll also have to wait until your new card is active.
The biggest change to the Red vs the old US Airways Mastercard is that you no longer automatically get a $99 companion certificate each year you pay the annual fee on your card. And that’s going to disappoint a lot of cardholders, so know you should eventually have an option to lower your annual fee in response.
Though in the interim calling Barclays and saying you’re considering canceling might earn you some extra miles or a fee waiver.
We’re also hearing there may be more broad availability of product changes by November, when US Airways and American Airlines fully merge systems.
That may also be when Barclays is hoping to be able to offer Aviator cards to anyone who wants them, not just prior US Airways cardholders. But no announcements have been made on that, so it’s all still up in the air.
If you still wanted to get in on a US Airways Mastercard and earn its bonus, there is some time this month. You can apply via this link and get the 50k miles intro deal and a companion certificate for US Airways travel that will be valid for travel up until December 31, 2015. And your card will be converted to an Aviator Red Mastercard.
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