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Starting in May 2019, two AAdvantage Aviator American Airlines credit cards are getting a makeover. Also starting in May 2019, the Barclays Flight Cents program will round each purchase to the nearest dollar to award more miles. There will be several other benefit changes to the AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard and the AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard.
If you fly American Airlines regularly, these benefit changes can be enticing.
Both the Aviator Red and Aviator Silver will feature Barclays Flight Cents program that rounds up your purchase amount and awards 0.5 AAdvantage miles for each cent rounded up. Plus, you earn the standard purchase reward for each $1 spent on the original purchase amount.
Depending on roundup amount, you can get up to 49.5 AAdvantage miles with each purchase using Flight Cents. You may also get benefits lik free bags, Wi-Fi credit, and the ability to earn on select purchases.
Current Aviator cardholders might be familiar with this program as it’s been around since 2017.
If you’re not familiar with Flight Cents, below are two examples for how you can earn bonus miles with spending roundups.
You spend $3.01. Flight Cents rounds up the purchase to $4.00 (this is the amount charged to your Aviator credit card) and you earn 49.5 bonus miles plus the 3 base points from the original purchase to earn 52.5 AAdvantage miles.
Without Flight Cents, to earn 52 AAdvantage miles, you need to spend $52 under the standard 1x mile per $1 spent on non-American Airlines purchases.
You spend $5.98 and the purchase rounds up to $6.00. This means you earn 1 mile from Flight Cents and 5 base points for 6 AAdvantage total miles.
As you can see, you will benefit more from Flight Cents if your purchase amount require a larger roundup. But, this is an easy way to boost your earning power on your everyday purchases.
Although Flight Cents requires you to pay for these bonus miles, it’s an easy way to earn more AAdvantage miles with each purchase. If paying a penny is worth 0.5 bonus AAdvantage miles, then you can accumulate a small nest egg of AAdvantage miles by using your credit card frequently.
AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard
The AAvantage Aviator Red is seeing several new benefits and changes to several other current benefits. One change is that the annual fee increases from $95 to $99.
Besides the Flight Cents program, there are two new benefits coming:
- Anniversary Companion Certificate. Get a Companion Certificate for 1 guest at $99 (plus taxes and fees) after qualifying account activity each card anniversary.
- Wi-Fi Credit. Up to $25 statement credit on inflight Wi-Fi on American Airlines operated flights each anniversary year.
To offset the new companion certificate and Wi-Fi credit, these two benefits disappear in May 2019:
- 10% miles back on redeemed miles
- $100 American Airlines flight discount after qualifying account activity
Other Card Benefits
As an Aviator Red cardholder, you can also enjoy these American Airlines benefits:
- First checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions
- Preferred boarding for you and up to 4 companions
- 25% in-flight savings on food and beverages
- 2x miles on all American Airlines purchases
- 1x miles for all non-American Airlines spending
- No foreign transaction fee
Starting in May 2019, you can also enjoy 0.5 miles per 1 cent spending roundup with the new Flight Cents program.
AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard
The AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard isn’t accepting new applications at this time. But existing cardholders should be aware that is increasing from $195 to $199. Plus, there will be a benefit shakeup that goes beyond the Flight Cents addition.
Like the Aviator Red, these new changes go into effect in May 2019.
- Flight Cents. Spending roundups earn 0.5 AAdvantage mile for each 1 cent spending roundup
- In-flight savings. Up to $25 daily statement credit for in-flight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines operated flights (currently a flat 25% back on food and beverage purchases)
- Companion Certificate. 2 guests fly for $99 each (plus fees and taxes) each card anniversary after qualifying account activity
- Wi-Fi Credit. Up to $50 back as statement credits for in-flight Wi-Fi purchases on American Airlines operated flights
10% Miles Back Benefit Disappears
Like the AAdvantage Aviator Red, the 10% Miles Back benefit on redeemed miles disappears to make room for these new benefits.
Other Card Benefits
You will still continue to enjoy these travel benefits:
- Free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions
- Preferred boarding for you and up to 8 travel companions
- $100 Global Entry application fee credit
- 3 miles per $1 spent on American Airlines purchases
- 2 miles per $1 spent on select hotel and car rentals
- 1 mile per $1 spent on all non-bonus purchases
- No foreign transaction fee
Redeeming AAdvantage Miles
Are your wheels spinning with how much sooner you can book American Airlines award flights?
There are several American Airlines AAdvantage program changes in 2019. Though there are still a few valuable redemption options to keep your eye on.
Domestic Flights from 7,500 Miles
Award flights occurring within the continental U.S. 48 states and Canada that are shorter than 500 miles only cost 7,500 miles.
This is 5,000 points less than the regular 12,500 miles required for a one-way main cabin domestic flight.
Off-Peak Flights to Europe for 22,500 Miles
Flying on American Airlines to Europe stretches your miles in two different ways:
- Main cabin off-peak season flights cost 22,500 miles each way (30,000 miles in peak season)
- You don’t pay a fuel surcharge
For 2019, the off-peak travel dates to Europe are January 10 to March 14 and November 1 to December 14.
Booking outside these dates means you pay 30,000 miles each way for a main cabin seat. Off-peak rates don’t apply to business or first class award seats so expect to pay 57,500 AAdvantage miles each way.
Reduced Mileage Awards
To select U.S. cities, you can enjoy special award flight discounts for owning a co-brand American Airlines credit card. You can visit the Reduced Mileage Awards page to see the current offers.
By owning the Aviator Red or Aviator Silver, you can enjoy these mileage discounts when booking a roundtrip award flight:
- Flights 500 miles or longer: Up to 7,500 mile discount
- Flights shorter than 500 miles: Up to 2,000 mile discount
The exact discount amount depends on the discount award code. To enjoy this discount, you will need to call American Airlines to book your trip.
The Flight Cents program addition helps you earn bonus AAdvantage miles on every purchase through spending roundups. This new point earning opportunity can help you book award flights sooner without having to spend a small fortune to earn those extra miles.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.