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Major changes are taking flight this year for three co-branded American Airlines credit cards. Some of the tweaks may be welcome news for cardholders, while other changes are definitely negative.
American Airlines offers cards through both Citi and Barclays, and products from both issuers are affected:
The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
The AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard®
One change affecting all 3 cards
Among the biggest shifts: As of May 1, 2019, these cards will all discontinue the benefit that allows you to receive 10% of your miles back, up to 10,000 miles per calendar year, when you redeem them.
(Existing Barclays cardholders may have as long as November 2019 to take advantage of this benefit, depending on when they first opened their account.)
Change to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
While the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is losing the 10% rebate feature, one positive adjustment coming will be an increase in the annual American Airlines flight discount the card offers. You’ll get a $125 discount on ticket purchases on American Airlines or any oneworld® carrier after you spend $20,000 in a cardmember year and renew your card.
Previously, the discount was $100.
Even bigger changes affecting Barclays-issued cards
The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® are both getting significant revamps. Changes as of May 2019 include:
Annual fees: The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® will increase its annual fee to $99 (from $95). For existing cardmembers, the increase will happen on your next anniversary on or after May 1, 2019. The AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® is increasing its annual fee to $199 (from $195).
Companion certificates: With the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, you’ll be eligible to earn a companion certificate good for one guest at a cost of $99 plus taxes and fees each anniversary year, once you spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on the card. AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® cardmembers will be eligible to earn two companion certificates for $99 each plus taxes and fees after spending $20,000 in eligible purchases on the card.
Statement credits for in-flight purchases: The AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® will offer up to $25 in statement credit per day when you use the card to buy food and beverages on flights. You can also get up to $50 in statement credits every anniversary year for in-flight Wi-Fi purchases. The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® will provide up to $25 in statement credits each anniversary year for in-flight Wi-Fi.
Flight Cents program: This optional program, available for both cards, will allow you to round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and use the rounded-up portion to purchase more miles at a cost of 2 cents per mile. For example, if you make a $19.90 purchase, you will be charged $20. The rounded-up amount will be used to purchase five miles to add to those you earned on the original purchase.
Elimination of $100 flight discount: Previously, AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® cardmembers received a $100 flight discount once they spent $30,000 within a cardmember year, but this benefit is going away. If you already have this card, you have a grace period that allows you to earn your final $100 flight discount after the May 1 cutoff after you reach $30,000 in spending.
These updates come on the heels of another recent big change for the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®: the discontinuation of the card's ability to earn EQDs (Elite Qualifying Dollars), which help you earn elite status with American Airlines.
(Existing cardholders may still be able to take advantage of this benefit until January 2020, depending on when they first opened their account.)
Information related to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards.