American Airlines has been on my nerves recently. Between their new AAdvantage Executive Platinum requirements and their losing some of their AAdvantage partners, American has become one of the least beneficial programs out there. Well, they recently made my situation worse, with their new changes on their Aviator cards. Now begs the question, should I keep my Aviator Silver credit card? And the bigger question is, should I break up with AA once and for all?
What is the Aviator Silver?
The Aviator Silver card is their premium version of the Barclaycard credit cards. You have probably heard (and been annoyed) by the constant in-flight pitches for the Aviator Red Mastercard. This is the basic version of the card, and to get the Aviator Silver, you must upgrade from the Aviator Red. There are some benefits to the Aviator Silver that I found beneficial last year. One of those was getting 3,000 EQDs when you hit $25,000 in credit card spend in the year. This was subsequently upped to a $50,000 requirement. The card does have some other benefits, such as 3X miles on AA purchases, 1X miles on other purchases, and a chance to obtain EQMs after $20,000 spend.
The new changes are, overall, a big benefit. These include $25 reimbursement on inflight food and beverage purchases per day and $50 a year reimbursement for in-flight wifi purchases. Both of these are useful to most, I would only use the reimbursement for wifi on international flights, however.
The biggest, and I think most beneficial, improvement is that the companion certificate will be available for anyone who reaches $20,000 spend, instead of the previous $30,000. The certificate is valid for 2 people at $99 each, and I see a lot of upside on this benefit.
But at What Cost?
I think that the costs are generally minimal. You will lose the 25% discount on food and beverage purchases onboard, but it is replaced by the $25 per day credit. The annual fee will go up from $195 to $199, which I think is okay ($4 is not an apocalyptic amount). Finally, the 10% return on miles spent per year will also be lost. This will happen to all AAdvantage credit cards, and was capped at 10,000 miles per year. I will miss this perk, but again not the end of the world.
Why I Shouldn’t Keep the Card?
I think you are asking yourself why am I confused if overall the changes are positive. The main reason I am on the fence about the card is that it ties me down to American. I have been looking to fly other airlines more, but because of the credit card and my elite status with AA I have not been able to break up with them. I also live in Philadelphia now, which makes me a captive to AA. American Airlines has devalued their AAdvantage program so much recently, with the potential for it to get worse and not better, that I want to just dump them. This has proven a lot harder, for the reasons I just mentioned. Sadly, it will take about a year for me to decide what to do.
The American Airlines Aviator Silver is not a bad card. I think I should keep the Aviator Silver, and also keep the AAdvantage Citi Executive card. I keep the latter because it offers me Admirals Club membership for less than the cost of actual membership. American’s control of Philadelphia is a big bummer in my struggle to find a new carrier, but I think if American does not do anything to improve AAdvantage, their onboard experience, and their performance, I will likely switch to United or Delta in 2020.
What do you think? Should I keep the Aviator Silver Credit Card? Is there a downside to keeping it? Do you think it will tie me down to American for too long? Let us know!
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