Is the AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite Mastercard worth it? | March 2018

Review: AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard® – March 2018

The card of choice for American Airlines power flyers.

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  • Get this card if… you’re one of American Airlines’ most loyal customers, and you can earn enough miles to take advantage of MileSAAver discounts.
  • Pick something else if…you fly with American Airlines only once in a while.
  • Recommended good to excellent credit score of 680 to 850.
Product NameAAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®
Annual fee$195
Card TypeMastercard
Minimum Credit ScoreFair (660-699)
Minimum Age18 years of age
Annual fee$195
Rewards ProgramBarclaycard Rewards
Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC)3
Points ExpiryNever

The basics

Invite-only card

The AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite is a rare card you can’t apply for. To get it, you must first be approved for the Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. After you’ve had the latter for at least 90 days, you can call Barclaycard and request an upgrade to the Aviator Silver.

The question, of course, is whether the Silver is worth the upgrade and higher annual fee ($195 p.a. versus $95 for the Red). The answer: Most flyers won’t need it, but power flyers will swoon. So what are the key differentiators between the Silver and Red?

Why you should upgrade to the AAdvantage Aviator Silver

Perhaps the biggest benefit the Silver offers is a stellar rewards rate on American Airlines purchases. You’ll earn 3x miles, which is music to your ears if you spend countless hours in the skies. You’ll also earn 2x miles on hotels and car rentals — the perfect complement to your flight rewards.

As with the Aviator Red card, you’ll receive 1x miles on all other purchases.

As a frequent traveler, you probably hate standing in airport security lines. A Global Entry membership could be a lifesaver. If you considered applying, you’ll love that the Aviator Silver gives you a $100 statement credit when you pay for the $100 Global Entry application fee with your card.

Finally, the Aviator Silver may give you mile discounts when you book MileSAAver award flights, depending on American Airlines’ promotion calendar. Here’s how much you might save:

  • Flights over 500 miles: 7,500-mile discount
  • Flights 500 miles or less: 2,000-mile discount

If you take an Economy MileSAAVer flight from Sacramento to Albany, New York, normally you’d pay 25,000 miles. With the Aviator Silver card, you may qualify for a 7,500-mile discount, which is worth $75 using the industry-standard 1 mile = 1 cent. That goes a long way toward making your annual fee worthwhile.

The perks

  • REWARDS: Earn miles on all purchases.
    You’ll earn 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible hotel and car rentals. Earn 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • MileSAAver awards.
    Save up to 7,500 miles when booking round-trip MileSAAver flights. These are fares that run between select destinations at certain times of the year for fewer miles.
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit.
    A Global Entry application costs $100. If you pay for it with your AAdvantage Aviator Silver card, you’ll be reimbursed for the cost in the form of statement credit.
  • Get miles back.
    You’ll get back 10% of your redeemed miles, up to 10,000 miles back per calendar year. When you redeem 20,000 miles for a flight or discount, for example, you’ll get 2,000 back.
  • American Airlines perks.
    The AAdvantage Aviator Silver card gives you attractive American Airlines perks, such as:
  • First checked bag free for you and up to eight companions on domestic flights.
  • Preferred boarding for you and up to eight companions.
  • 25% off inflight food and beverages.

You’ll also like …

  • No foreign transaction fees. Use your card abroad without incurring fees.
  • Companion certificate. When you spend at least $30,000 in an account year, you’ll earn a companion certificate. With it, you may bring up to two guests at $99 each (as well as taxes and fees) after purchasing a round-trip domestic economy-class ticket.
  • Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) bonus. Earn 5,000 EQMs per $20,000 you spend to get you closer to elite status, with a cap of 10,000 EQMs each calendar year.
  • Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) bonus. Earn 3,000 EQDs after spending $25,000 in a calendar year. After spending another $25,000 within that period, you’ll earn another 3,000 EQDs. You can earn these bonuses each calendar year.
  • World elite travel services. Get access to exclusive offers and experiences from Mastercard.
  • Travel benefits. Mastercard concierge service offers travel planning assistance, as well as insurance for auto rentals, trip cancellation, trip interruption and more.
  • Shopping benefits. Enjoy extended warranties, price protection, purchase security and return protection.

What to watch out for

  • Potentially high APR. Depending on your credit, you could have a purchase and balance transfer APR as high as 24.99%.
  • Higher APR for cash advances. Cash advances come with a 26.24% APR.
  • Other fees. The card has balance transfer and cash advance fees.
  • Penalty fees. Late and returned payments can hurt: You’ll pay up to $37.

How to apply for the AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite Mastercard

Before you can apply for the Silver card, you must have had the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard for at least 90 days.

Barclaycard doesn’t release approval criteria. But if you think you qualify, call the customer service number on the back of your card. The representative will inform you on the line if you can upgrade your AAdvantage Aviator Red card to the Silver card.

What should I know before I apply?

To apply for the AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite Mastercard, you must be at least 18 years old and a US resident. Residents of Puerto Rico and US territories are not eligible.

Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Make timely payments. Pay your bill online at the Barclaycard website, where you can also enroll in autopay.
  • Avoid interest. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of 23 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
  • Avoid fees. Late and returned payments come with hefty fees of up to $37. Balance transfers, cash advances and foreign transactions also come with fees.
  • Customer service. If you have questions, contact Barclaycard customer service at 866-928-8598.

Bottom line

If you’re not in the air all the time to make up for the annual fee, the Silver probably isn’t worth the upgrade. But if you spend enough time in the skies, the Silver can produce endless award miles. Not only can you use those miles for free flights, you may also receive mile discounts on MileSAAver flights. This could create a virtuous cycle that makes the $195 p.a. annual fee well worth paying.

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