Review: AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite Mastercard September 2018

AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard® review – September 2018

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The card of choice for American Airlines power flyers.

  • 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®
Card TypeMastercard
Annual Fee$195
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable
Cash Advance Rate24.99% variable
Cash Advance FeeNone
Interest Free PeriodUp to 23 days
Minimum Interest$0
Late Payment Fee$37
Returned Payment Fee$37
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age
Reward Value per Dollar1 miles
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

The basics

Invite-only card

The AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard® is a rare card you can’t apply for. To get it, you must first be approved for the AAdvantage® 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 AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard®.

The question, of course, is whether the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard® is worth the upgrade and higher annual fee ($195 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 World Elite Mastercard®

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

As with the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, 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 AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard® gives you a $100 statement credit when you pay for the $100 Global Entry application fee with your card.

Finally, the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard® 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 AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard®, 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 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 3 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 World Elite Mastercard®, 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 World Elite Mastercard® 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 variable.
  • Higher APR for cash advances. Cash advances come with a 24.99% variable 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.

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome Bonus Reward Value per Dollar APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Annual Fee
1 points
16.74% variable
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
1 points
16.74% variable
$495
Mastercard Black Card members receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
2 points
16.74% variable
$995
Earn points every time you spend. Luxury Card enhances your purchasing power by providing you with one (1) point for every one dollar ($1) you spend. Every purchase gets you closer to the rewards you want.
Earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
None (Charge Card)
$550
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Earn 25,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
None (Charge Card)
$0 annual fee for the first year ($195 thereafter)
25,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points (up to $250 value) when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months
Earn 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
1.5 points
16.74% to 24.74% variable
$0
An intro offer rewards cardholders with a $250 value (25,000 online bonus points) after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Earn 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
1.5 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$95
Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$450
Earn 50,000 BONUS POINTS after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening* — that's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2 miles
14.74%, 21.24% or 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
1 miles
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.* Plus a $100 statement credit after your first purchase.
Earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1 points
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$99
40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open

Compare up to 4 providers

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 World Elite Mastercard® 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.

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 annual fee well worth paying.

But if you feel like you’d be better off flying with a different plastic pal, compare more travel credit cards on finder.com.

Frequently asked questions

Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for finder.com. When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    NikSeptember 21, 2018

    I have a Barclays Aadvantage business Avaitor card. Does Barclay allow you to upgrade to Barclays Silver Avaitor card?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynSeptember 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Nik,

      Thank you for your comment.

      To upgrade to the Barclay Aviator Silver Mastercard, you must have a Barclay Aviator Red Mastercard. It should be open for at least 90 days or three billing cycles and spend of at least $10,000. Then call an agent from Barclays to assist you for the upgrade.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  2. Default Gravatar
    PaulJuly 9, 2018

    I’ve had the Aviator red card since January 2017. I got it for the bonus miles and didn’t recognize the additional value of the silver card. I put minimal spend on the card last year. This year I decided I needed the benefit of this card and I’ve put almost $30k of spend on it. I’ve called and emailed several times to inquire about upgrade to silver, but each time the same thing. “We don’t know what the criteria is but watch for a message when you check your account online”. Any suggestions?

    • finder Customer Care
      MeganJuly 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Paul,

      Unfortunately, Barclaycard doesn’t release its approval criteria for an upgrade to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®. Some cardholders have reported that they had the card for at least a year and spend $10k on it before getting the upgrade, both of which you’ve already done. One cardholder mentioned they were originally denied but asked to call back after their billing cycle, so you may need to just keep calling the customer service to ask. I’m sorry I don’t have more concrete details for you. Good luck!

      Cheers,
      Megan

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