How to Upgrade Your US Airways MasterCard to Aviator Silver

The US Airways Dividend Miles program has been folded into American AAdvantage. And technically now only Citibank has the right to issue new American AAdvantage personal (and small business) co-brand credit cards.

Barclays used to issue the US Airways card. There’s still a working link to apply, don’t wait although my best guess is it will work through around April 25.

Existing Barclays US Airways MasterCard cardholders become Barclays American AAdvantage cardholders. Barclaycard can’t issue new accounts, but they can continue to service existing customers.

And they have a suite of (4) personal cards to offer existing customers:

Here’s a description of all four. Roughly speaking the two bottom tier cards are legacy offerings geared towards US Airways cardholders whose cards had been issued by Bank of America (a portfolio Barclays recently acquired). They’re meant to mirror the offerings those customers already had.

Most US Airways cardholders are being moved to the Aviator Red card. That one is most like the current product and like the Citi AAdvantage card products. It earns double miles on American purchases, receives a 10% rebate on redeemed miles annually (up to 10,000 miles), and provides the first checked bag free (up to 4 traveling companions).

There’s been a lot of mystery and questions surrounding the Aviator Silver card. You could not ever apply for one. So folks wonder how they can get one.

The Aviator Silver card comes with a $195 annual fee and offers:.

  • Triple miles on American purchases plus double miles on hotels and car rentals
  • A 10% rebate on redeemed miles annually, up to 10k miles
  • First checked bag free (up to 8 traveling companions)
  • Companion certificate each year for two guests at $99+tax each with $30,000 in purchases by each anniversary date. The annual companion certificate was a fantastic benefit of the US Airways card, so I’m glad to see it continuing in some form.
  • 5,000 elite qualifying miles for each $20,000 in annual purchases (up to 10,000 per year). This is better than the Citi Executive card’s 10,000 after $40,000 spend at a higher annual fee price point.

So how do you get one?

Some people were invited when the product was announced back in October. I had heard there would be a second round of invites about a month ago, but haven’t verified that this happened or not.

They were rolling the new product out slowly. But it’s not meant to be available only to a handful of cardmembers. It is a product that will be a premium offering which will help Barlcays to retain their best cardmembers. Remember, the portfolio will decline in value over time as cardmembers cancel and Barclays can’t replace them with new AAdvantage co-brand customers. So their mission is to offer a compelling enough product that the portfolio maintains as much value as possible as long as possible.

A representative from Barclays explained yesterday that they need to send out new cards first, and then it will be possible to consider switching products.

So hang tight — wait to receive your Aviator Red card in the mail. Various reports are that it will come between May and July (the email I received told me to expect mine in July).

Once you have your new card in hand you can inquire with Barclays about trading up. I imagine there will be solicitations sent out to trade up as well, once the switching process has been completed.

If you want an Aviator Silver, you first need to have the basic Red, and the window to get that card is shutting quickly. (In fact, officially no new cardmembers are permitted, but this link is a back door.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Since I am not looking to establish status with AA, the Silver Card would not be meaningful to me. So my debate is over deciding to keep both my (new) Barclays Red Card and my Citibank Platinum Select Cards or canceling one or the other.

    Barclays has recently implemented a policy for no foreign transaction fees on their current and new Red cards. Barclays also gives me 10,000 Aadvantage miles annually (though who knows how much longer that great benefit will last. However, I have had my Citibank card for many, many years and it has a large credit allowance (though I always pay my account in full monthly).

    Since I have other cards that offer no international transaction fees, it comes down to the 10,000 annual bonus miles, but this not an easy decision.

  2. So, if the Citi AAdvantage card offers up to 10k miles as a 10% rebate on redeemed miles, and the Aviator Red (and Silver, as mentioned here) also offer that, how do they combine? 10% or 20% rebate? 10k or 20k miles total rebate? I have both cards and I’m curious – that’s a tangible benefit to me and can offset the yearly fee.

  3. On FT, they are indicating that you can’t get the 10,000 mile redemption bonus twice, even if you have the Aviator Red and the Citi Plat. I just cancelled the Plat, because I have the Aviator, and there’s really no reason for me to pay $85 for the Citi card.

    Gary, have you been given any information whether one can get the 2x5k EQM with the Aviator Silver in addition to the 10k for the City Executive Card?

  4. One key item for me will be if the Silver will continue to give me the 10K annual miles (RDM, not EQM) that it looks like I’ll continue to get with the Red. Not sure I’d want to trade those 10K RDM for the ability to get 5K EQM with a higher $195 annual fee.

  5. All US Airways links are gone. FT and your’s gary as well. They sure got ahead of the curve here 🙁
    Oh well, we all probably got what we could

  6. I have the same question as Larry – can we stack EQMs from Barclay and Citi?

    If not, then since I already qualified for my EQMs on Citi (and paid the $450) this year, I can wait until I see whether they offer a bonus to upgrade so I can get my 2016 EQMs.

  7. I had thought the 10% rebate was only on AA metal but I got 10% back on Cathay redemption and it has a coding of half from Barclays and half from Citi!

    CITI 10% AWARD REDEMPTION BONUS 2015 04/01/15 0 1,500 1,500
    BARCLAYS 10% AWARD REDEMPTION BONUS 2015 04/01/15 0 1,500 1,500
    CITI 10% AWARD REDEMPTION BONUS 2015 04/01/15 0 3,375 3,375
    BARCLAYS 10% AWARD REDEMPTION BONUS 2015 04/01/15 0 3,375 3,375

  8. Gary,
    Just got my Red card, so I called about an upgrade. I was told I could only get the Silver card by applying for a new account, so purchases this year on old card will not apply to the new one. Do you have any update on this?

  9. believe it is accurate that purchases from one type of card to the other do not carry over to qualify for spend threshold benefits

  10. Has anyone had any luck getting firm answers from Barclays about a move from Red to Silver? I’ve called once/month since November to ask for details/dates/specifics and every single agent gives me a different answer. One told me in January that calendar year 2015 spending would count towards the EQM benefit (doubtful, based on the comments above), so I have been using the card a lot. I would never have put that spend here if I’d thought it wouldn’t count. I’m tired of the run-around and bogus answers from Barclay’s reps (one transferred me to the applications line so I could apply for the Silver card! Good grief)

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