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Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator Blue Mastercard®
REVIEW

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By : Mr Credit Card

History of the Blue Aviator

An evaluation and review of this card requires us to understand the history behind this card. Prior to the merger of US Airways and American Airlines, US Airways credit cards were issued by Barclaycard. When the merger was completed in 2015, Barclaycard US Airways Mastercard holders were converted to the Red Aviator card. Cardmembers can then either upgrade to the Aviator Silver or downgrade to the Aviator Blue or Aviator Mastercard.

When the Aviator cards were first introduced, the Blue, Red and Silver versions allowed you to earn EQDs based on credit card spending. You could earn $3,000 EQD by spending $25,000 on the all three cards.

This made the Blue Aviator very popular for many American Airline flyers because for $49 in annual fee, you could earn double miles on AA flights and earn EQDs through credit card spending as well.

However, in late 2018, Barclaycard removed the EQD benefit from the Blue and Red Aviator cards. This left many Blue Aviator card holders very unhappy.

With this out of the way, let us now analyze this card in detail starting with it's present features.
 

Blue Aviator Key Features

  • Earn 2X on American Airline purchases
  • 25% Savings on Inflight Food and Beverage purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • $49 Annual Fee

 

Comparisons with other Aviator Credit Cards

As of now, you cannot get the Blue Aviator card. You can only downgrade from either the Red or Silver Aviator. So since the aim of the review is to determine if you should downgrade from either the Red or Silver Aviator, it is worth comparing the features the Blue Aviator versus these two other card. We also have to compare this card with the Citi AAdvantage Mileup card because these two cards both allow you to earn 2X on AA purchases.



Blue vs Red Aviator

The Red Aviator has all the features of the Blue Aviator. It comes with a $99 annual fee and for the additional $50, it offers slightly more features. They include:
  • First Free Checked Bags - Up to 4 customers who are booked on the same flight
  • Preferred Boarding - Zone 5 (After Priority Boarding)
  • $25 Annual OnBoard Wifi Credit
  • Flight Cents Program

In my opinion, the most valuable feature that the Red has over the Blue Aviator is the free first checked bags for the up to 4 companions. Since it cost $25 to check your first bag, this feature alone will save you money on baggage fees even if you only fly a couple of times a year with your family. If you were to consider downgrading from the Red Aviator, the reason to do so is because you no longer fly AA at all.

Blue vs Silver Aviator

The Silver Aviator comes with a $199 annual fee and additional features as well. These include:
  • Earn 3X on American Airlines purchases and 2X on hotels and car rentals

  • First Checked Bag Free

  • Priority Boarding - Up to 8 companions - Zone 5
  • Credit on Global Entry Application Fee

  • 25% Food and Beverage Statement Credit

  • $50 Annual Onboard Wifi Purchase Credit

  • Flight Cents - Dollar amount is rounded up on card

  • Annual 2X $99 Companion Ticket after spending $20,000

  • Earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after $40,000 Spend

  • Earn 3,000 - 6,000 Elite Qualifying Distance after $50,000 Spend


As you can see from the features above, the Silver Aviator is really meant for AA frequent flyers. The Blue Aviator has none of the premium features that the Silver Aviator has.

Blue vs Regular Aviator Mastercard

Now let us compare the Blue Aviator to the regular Aviator Mastercard. The regular Aviator Mastercard has no annual fee and earns one mile for every two dollars you spend on AA tickets. It has no foreign transaction fee but has no other features that the Blue, Red or Silver Aviator has.

Blue Aviator vs Citi AAdvantage MileUp

The last card that we should compare the Blue Aviator is to the Citi AAdvantage Mileup card. The reason is because the Mileup card allows you to earn 2X on AA purchases and grocery purchases. They also give you 25% discounts on Inflight food and beverage Unlike the Blue Aviator, the Mileup card has foreign transaction fees. But the Mileup card has NO ANNUAL FEE. So from a holistic perspective, the Mileup offers a no annual fee card that has better earning rate (2X on groceries) than the Blue Aviator (with a $49 annual fee).

Should You Downgrade to the Blue Aviator?[/label] I normally conclude a review by asking if a particular credit card was good. However, you cannot actually apply for this card. If you were an ex-US Airways Mastercard holder, you would have had your card converted to the Red Aviator. Then you would have to make the decision as to whether you like the Red enough to keep it or potentially downgrade to either the Blue Aviator or Aviator Mastercard. Alternatively, you might have upgraded to a Silver and no longer fly AA and have no more use for the card. Or you may have the Red Aviator and have decided to use the Citi AA cards as you main card. So once again, the question remains: to downgrade to Blue Aviator or Aviator Mastercard.

Before I answer that question, I just wanted to point out again (like I mentioned earlier) that many card holders used to really like the Blue Aviator because like all Aviator cards when they first came out, you can earn EQDs through credit card spending. In fact, this feature was available in ALL Aviator cards. For the Blue Aviator, you could earn 3,000 EQDs after spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year. This feature will go away depending on when you got the card. If you got the Blue Aviator prior to Jan 1 2018, this feature will go away starting Jan 1 2019. If you got the card between Jan 1 2018 and Oct 31 2018, then you will stop earning EQDs starting 2020.

The ability to earn EQDs via credit card spend was valued by elite members. Now that this feature is no longer available on this card, I would suggest that you if decide to ditch your Red or Silver Aviator but do not want to cancel but keep a relationship with Barclaycard and maintain your credit line, then I would suggest that you downgrade to the no annual fee Aviator Mastercard rather than the Blue Aviator. I do not see any point for paying a $49 annual fee with no benefits like first free checked bag (that even an infrequent flyer can benefit).

For those simply want a low annual fee AA card to earn extra AA miles, I would suggest considering the Citi AAdvantage Mileup card instead. It has no annual fee and allows you to earn 2X on AA purchases and groceries.
 

Should Existing Holders Keep it?

As mentioned earlier, when Aviator cards first came out, you can earn EQDs through credit card spending. For the Blue Aviator, you could earn 3,000 EQDs after spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year. This feature will go away depending on when you got the card. If you got the Blue Aviator prior to Jan 1 2018, this feature will go away starting Jan 1 2019. If you got the card between Jan 1 2018 and Oct 31 2018, then you will stop earning EQDs starting 2020.

For those who could no longer earn EQDs, I would suggest getting the Citi AAdvantage Mileup and then cancel the Blue Aviator. The Mileup card is better in that it has no annual fee and yet you can earn 2X not just on AA airline tickets but also on groceries.

If you can still earn EQDs, then perhaps you might want to consider the Mileup switch after 2020 where you stop earning EQDs.
 

Should You Get the Blue Aviator As Your Main AA Card?

You should know the answer by now. And it is NO. If you are considering this card, it tells me me that all you want is to earn extra AAdvantage miles through credit card spending. You do not care about first free checked bags (either because you travel light, fly business class or you have elite status). You probably do not care about earning extra EQDs through credit card spend as well.

As for earning AA miles through credit card spend, you should know by now that the Citi AAdvantage Mileup is a much better card (no annual fee and earn 2X on AA purchases and groceries).