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AAdvantage Aviator Red vs Aviator Silver – is Silver worth the upgrade?

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This article was last updated Dec 26, 2016, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

The information related to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®* has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card*.

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard® cards are two lesser known credit card options that allow you to earn American Airlines AAdvantage® miles.

*Unfortunately, only the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® is available for direct applications.  To get an AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard® you need to open an AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and request an upgrade to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard® after having the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® card open for at least 90 days.

We’re going to take a deeper look at the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard® in this article and help you decide if you should get the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® and whether or not it is worth the hassle to product change to the Aviator Silver.

The short answer is:

  • Get the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® if you fly American Airlines and check a bag without status. Even with just one person traveling, you can pay for the card and then some with checked bags on just two round trips.
  • Change your AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® to an AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard® if you want elite qualifying miles or often travel with more than four companions who check bags.

Here’s a rundown of the major features of each card:

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

  • aadvantageaviatorredworldelitemastercardEarn 2X AAdvantage® miles per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases and 1X AAdvantage® mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year
  • First checked bag free for the primary cardmember and up to 4 companions on eligible bags when traveling on domestic itineraries operated by American Airlines.
  • Preferred boarding for the primary cardmember and up to 4 companions on their reservation for all American Airlines operated flights
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • This card has an $95 annual fee.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®

  • aviatorsilverEarn 3 miles for every $1 you spend when you use your card on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 miles for every $1 you spend on select hotel and car rentals, and Earn 1 AAdvantage mile for every $1 you spend on every other purchase.
  • Get 5,000 Elite Qualifying Miles for every $20,000 you spend annually (up to 10,000 miles each year)
  • Earn $6,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars when you spend $50,000 on purchases each calendar year. You’ll earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000, and another $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $50,000.
  • Your first eligible checked bag is free for you and up to 8 traveling companions on your reservation, when traveling on domestic itineraries operated by American Airlines.
  • You and up to 8 people traveling with you can board with preferred boarding on American Airlines flights.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Depending on your spending patterns and travel needs, one of these cards might be better for you than the other. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each card.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

Pros

  • You can apply directly. Unlike the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®, it is possible to apply for the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
    directly. If you want the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®, you first have to apply for the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, wait 90 days, and then do a product change.
  • Preferred boarding. The cardholder and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation are eligible for preferred boarding.
  • Free checked bag. The cardholder and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation are able to check their first bag for free. This has a value of $25 per person, per direction.
  • No foreign transaction fees. This is a pretty standard benefit for credit cards that charge annual fees, but nonetheless a good one to have.
  • 25% off in-flight purchases. If you’re going to snack or drink on your flight anyway, saving 25% can add up.
  • 10% off your redeemed miles. When you redeem American Airlines miles, you’ll get 10% of your miles back, up to 10,000 miles per year.
  • Access to reduced mileage awards. American Airlines offers up to a 7,500 mile discount on select routes throughout the year. This card gives you access to the maximum discount.
  • Earn elite qualifying dollars. While the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® doesn’t let you earn elite qualifying *miles* you can earn elite qualifying dollars, which are also required to earn elite status. You get $3,000 elite qualifying dollars after spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year.

Cons

  • Earning for spending. The card isn’t the most rewarding for your spending. It only earns 2 points per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases and one on all other purchases. Additionally, the spending required to earn the $100 flight discount is a very high $30,000. This works out to be a 0.3% rebate on your spending – not much.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®

Pros

  • Decent mileage earning. Earn 3 miles for every $1 you spend when you use your card on eligible American Airlines purchases, 2 2 miles for every $1 you spend on select hotel and car rentals, and 1 AAdvantage mile for every $1 you spend on every other purchase.
  • Companion certificate. Earn a companion certificate good for up to two people at $99 each after spending $30,000 within your cardmember year.
  • Earn elite qualifying miles. For every $20,000 you spent within the calendar year, you can earn 5,000 elite qualifying miles up to a maximum of 10,000 elite qualifying miles. You can also earn $3,000 elite qualifying dollars after you spend $25,000 and another $3,000 after you spend $50,000 in a calendar year.
  • Preferred boarding for more companions. The cardholder and up to eight companions (versus four for the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®) traveling on the same reservation are eligible for Preferred Boarding.
  • Free checked bag for more companions. The cardholder and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation (versus four for the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®) are able to check their first bag for free. This has a value of $25 per person, per direction.
  • $100 Global Entry Fee credit. If you don’t have Global Entry, this is a great opportunity to be able to get it without paying for it.

Cons

  • You can’t apply directly. If you want the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®, you will first need to apply for the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, wait 90 days, and then do a product change to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®.

Which Should You Get?

Well, you’re going to have to start off with the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, no matter what. The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, makes the most sense for someone who frequently checks bags but does not have status.

This savings for one person would be $50 per round trip flight and will cover the annual fee of the card in less than two trips. The savings add up even more if you travel with a companion.

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, also makes sense for someone who is planning to redeem American Airlines miles as the savings is 10% of the mileage redemption, up to 10,000 miles, or can make use of the reduced mileage awards.

Whether it makes sense to upgrade to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard® mainly depends on spending and how many people you travel with. If it is common for you to travel with more than four traveling companions who check bags, you can cover the fees for an additional four companions (eight total) with the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®.

And if you’re hard up for hitting AAdvantage® elite status – either re-qualifying for your current level, or trying to hit the next level, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard® is one of the most powerful ways to get closer to status without flying.


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