Starting 2017, I didn’t have many trips planned on American Airlines, which was a first for me in a few years. It was mostly because the change to the American Airlines AAdvantage program, which includes the institution of EQD (Elite Qualifying Dollars) and changing to earning miles based on spend. It wasn’t worth it to me to keep flying on revenue tickets on American Airlines so I decided to travel more on award tickets. I haven’t even thought about the Barclay Aviator Silver Mastercard at this point.
Back in April, I had some business in Boston, so I had to fly from Seattle to Boston every two weeks. I wasn’t sure how long it was going to be for and flying direct on Alaska and with a connection on Amercian were the best choices, so I paid for many of those flights. That put a dent into the EQD spend at least. I knew that there might be a remote chance I can hit American Airlines Executive Platinum status, so I preemptively signed up for the Barclay Aviator Red Mastercard. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to hit $12k EQD one way or another. The highest spend I put with American was about $7,500 last year, but some of those tickets were fairly cheap international tickets that wouldn’t necessarily earn as many EQD due to the percentage of taxes relative to the cost of the ticket. The $3k EQD when you spend $25k on the Barclay Aviator Red Mastercard would definitely help me get Executive Platinum, but it wouldn’t be the only solution.
I signed up for the Aviator Red card for the chance to upgrade to the Barclay Aviator Silver Mastercard in order to earn some extra EQD. With the Barclay Aviator Silver Mastercard, I can really put a dent into the $12k EQD I need for Executive Platinum.
I did what everyone else did: I signed up for the Barclay Aviator Red Mastercard in the hopes of upgrading to the Barclay Aviator Silver Mastercard after 90 days of opening the card. I called into Barclay customer service 90 days after my card was opened and the customer service agent said I wasn’t eligible for the Barclay Aviator Silver Mastercard. She suggested I try back again after the third billing cycle closes, which was in another 10 days or so. I called back again after the third billing cycle and they still told me that I wasn’t eligible.
At this point in time, I had just under $2,300 spend on the Barclay Aviator Red Mastercard over the past three billing statements. I only had a $2500 limit on this card, so it was hard just to put that much spend on the Barclay Aviator Red Mastercard. I knew that it would be an uphill battle to even put $25k worth of spend into the card by the end of the year with a $2,500 limit, so I asked to increase my credit limit. After a customer service agent failed for two days to increase it without a hard inquiry on my credit, I moved around some credit from the other Barclay cards I have in order to increase the limit up to $10,000 about a month ago.
How to Upgrade to the Barclay Aviator Silver Mastercard
I managed to put in about $10,000 spend in the last month. I definitely had some larger purchases rejected, so I just used another card to complete the purchase and called into Barclay to have them approved for future transactions. Once that happened, they allowed large purchases and just notified me via text message about them. I would make the large purchase, then text Barclay back approving the purchase to condition their systems not to flag such transactions. Now, I am able to put through a larger amount of spend daily without any type of notification, which is fine by me (it may be bad if you don’t use the card often).
What is required to upgrade to the Barclay Aviator Silver Mastercard?
I sent a secured message earlier this week when I logged into the Barclay card services for my Aviator and asked if I was able to upgrade to the Barclay Aviator Silver Mastercard. They wrote back that I was indeed eligible to upgrade to the Silver card, which was a bit surprising. I then realized what may be required:
- Account open for at least 90 days or three billing cycles
- Spend of at least $10,000 (Note that there were plenty of people who got the card earlier this year or back in 2016 and said that they didn’t put much spend on it, but got upgraded to the Barclay Aviator Silver Mastercard with minimal spend on the card. I did not have that experience and wanted to give another datapoint to those who are having trouble upgrading.)
When your Barclay Aviator Red Mastercard is upgraded to Barclay Aviator Silver Mastercard, here are the things that will happen:
Your account will be upgraded on 09/**/2017 and will have an annual fee of $195. We will charge this annual fee to your account effective on 5/**/2018 and each year thereafter.
• If you are currently an AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red MasterCard® cardmember and if you’ve spent $30,000 or more during your cardmembership year, please note that by choosing to upgrade you will no longer be eligible to receive the $100 Flight Discount at your Account Anniversary.
• By agreeing to this upgrade, your benefit terms will change as described. Your account will have a new annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. All other rates and fees will remain the same.
• You will receive a letter in the mail detailing the annual fee change(s) and the new rewards and benefits terms that will apply to your account. After reviewing the materials, if you do not wish to be upgraded, contact us by 11/11/2017.
• Your upgraded card will arrive within 7-10 days after your account is automatically upgraded on 10/11/2017. Your new card will have the same account number and expiration date.
Here is a summary of the changes and some other facts:
- Your card will upgrade on the next billing cycle. In my case, it will upgrade on 10/11. Your card will be sent after your next billing cycle closes.
- You have one month after your next billing cycle to call in to cancel the upgrade. This billing cycle ends on 10/11, so I have until 11/11 to cancel the upgrade.
- The annual fee will be charged when your next annual fee is due, so you essentially get the rest of the year “free” for the Silver Mastercard
- Your YTD spend will count towards any EQM/EQD requirement for the new card. I will be personally testing out this since I will be hitting the $20k spend for EQM tomorrow and the $25k spend for EQD sometime next week, but my card won’t officially upgrade until the next billing cycle. I will be checking at the end of October to see if anything credits to my American Airlines account.