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Barclay Aadvantage Aviator Red Retention analysis
I’ve now held a Barclay Aadvantage Aviator Red card for two years. I initially signed up for two of these cards when they were US Airways branded cards and received 100k points after meeting the terms: one purchase and paying the annual fee of $89 each. Seeing as though I didn’t need two of these cards I cancelled one at the end of year 1 and kept the other. The one I kept I was able to negotiate a waived annual fee. My favorite perk of the card is the 10% refund on points up to 10,000 points. My second favorite perk is qualifying for reduced mileage awards. My annual fee is due in September and this year I actually put $25,000 on the card. I was expecting to get my annual fee waived for another great Aviator Red Retention bonus, but NAYYYYYYYYYYYY was the answer!!! NAYYYYYYYYY.
My Aviator Red Retention call went something like this
Me: Yes, I was calling to see if there were any retention offers avail ( super happy cause I’d actually put a fair amount of spend on the card)
Rep: Well, let’s see here
long pause, tons of clicking
Rep: Just looking here, ya there isn’t anything on your account that I can offer
Me: Oh…Um, ok. Who would I speak to about canceling the account then?
Rep: That’d be me or any other card specialist.
Me: I see. Well I put a fair amount of spend on the card last year ( roughly $25k) and really I’m just looking for the annual fee to be waived. Is that something you could handle for me?
Rep: I’m sorry, sir. But as I said there aren’t any offers for you
Me: Oh…I guess I misunderstood. I figured you meant there weren’t any mega point bonuses or something. So you really can’t waive the fee? I really love the card and Citi is offering no fee for the first year…
Rep: I’m sorry sir, your account doesn’t qualify.
Me: ok cool. So how long after you charge me my annual fee do I have to cancel and get it refunded?
Rep: 30 days from the day it’s billed.
Me: Coolio, well thank you for your time.
Rep: Thank you.
My Conclusion….ARE YOU SERIOUS?!
This makes very little sense to me. Not that I think I’m entitled to a waived annual fee, per se, but this year I spent over 4 times more than I did last year when they DID waive the fee. Now, that spend was funding a Citi Gold checking account, but I’m not really sure that makes a difference. Spend is spend. So the consistency isn’t quite there…
Now, I know what you’re thinking, in 2015 Barclay was making a big push to retain the old US Airways cardholders. Totally get that, I do. But, here’s the thing. Barclay is going to offer sign up bonuses on the card starting in January of 2017. YES, they will go from having only grandfathered cardholders to welcoming new ones.
So why would I keep this card now? Come Jan 2017 – I can get a new Barclay Aviator WITH a bonus.
Now, let’s consider a few different situations:
- Barclay will want to incentivize as many people as possible to sign up for the card. I’d say there is even a good possibility that current Aviator Red cardholders will be able to get a 2nd. I mean, this happened to me before in 2014/15 when I got 2 of the same card, so why would things change for the initial push this time around?
- Barclay won’t allow duplicate cards: I dump the one I have now only to reapply for the same card and get a sign up bonus.
- Barclay has restrictions on sign ups for similar cards.
- Circa Citi 18/24 month rule between open and closures. Would have to look at a different card product
- Chase 24 month rule – i’m good cause it’s been more than 24 months since I received the bonus.
- Even if they say I don’t qualify for an Aviator Red because I’ve had one recently, I could still sign up for a Silver or a business card. I’ve had neither of those cards and would more than likely be approved quickly.
- They implement restrictions likes the new Citi rules: ( 1 sign up bonus for each family of cards)…I’m screwed on personal cards
- Even in this situation I would have leeway because I could get a business card. BAZINGA
Why do I even want an Aviator?
Plain and simple = 10% back on redeem points. This year alone I’ve redeemed 140k points on AA. I got 10,000 of those back.
- I value 10000 points more than the $89 annual fee.
With Citi clamping down on sign ups I’ll have to be more strategic on Citi AA cards
- I’ll probably have to wait until the 2 year mark on my citi business card or maybe they will make it easier on the Executive. We will just have to see.
What am I really risking by canceling?
- I’ve exhausted my max mileage refund already this year…So nothing lost
- 25% off in flight purchases…not a biggie
- reduced mileage awards – I could book a few tickets now at the reduced rate and change prior to canceling my card. If I end up not using them I’ll just redeposit them without fee after I’m Executive Platinum.
- I almost always use them to Indiana or Ohio.
The interim Aviator Red retention policy makes no sense to me
Wouldn’t they want to retain me as a current cardholder that spent a lot of money last year, paid all his bills on time, and keeps a high credit score? If they know that they will be offering large sign up bonuses in a few months wouldn’t it make sense to just extend some sort of retention bonus to me now? If they would have offered 10k or 15k for a couple grand spend I would have done it. They could have retained my business at a discount to attracting my future business. Now, I’ll most likely cancel and reapply for some version of the new Aviator in a few months. Fingers crossed for a mega 75k-100k Aviator Silver.