Why I canceled my AAdvantage Aviator Red Card
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American Airlines offers one of the most robust portfolios of cobranded credit cards, with more than 10 options to choose from with two issuers: Barclays and Citi. While it’s nice to have options, too much of anything can feel like a con.
The information for the Aviator Red card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The chance to earn tons of AA miles and a companion certificate
While English wasn’t actively looking for a new card at the time, she was motivated by the limited-time sign-up bonus. At the time, she earned 60,000 AAdvantage bonus miles and a companion certificate (for $99, plus taxes and fees) after making her first purchase within 90 days of account opening.
Then the pandemic happened
As a long-time Chase fan and New York resident, English rarely flew American. But she wanted to diversify her points portfolio and thought the deal was too good to pass up. Before the pandemic, she anticipated that she would fly on American quite a bit in 2020, as TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures, has headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina — an American Airlines hub — and she wanted to rack up as many miles as possible.
That all changed when the pandemic struck, changing the travel industry forever. Soon, English found her new stash of miles — and her new companion certificate — virtually unusable.
While travel has picked up in recent months, English still doesn’t feel comfortable traveling quite yet. AA miles expire after 18 months of no activity, but it’s easy to prevent this from happening (even if you’re not flying). For instance, any activity on a shopping or dining portal can easily trigger account activity and prevent your miles from expiring.
An expiring companion pass
On the other hand, English’s companion pass is set to expire on June 30. Other TPG readers have had success extending expiring benefits, so she decided to give it a go. Around the time she had to pay the $99 annual fee again, she called American’s customer service to get her companion pass extended.
To her dismay, the customer service representative did not grant her a pass extension. As a result, English decided to cancel her card before the annual fee was charged again.
“Had they actually extended it, I would have paid $300 for my pass (two annual fees, plus the $99 to book with it), making it not really worthwhile anyway,” said English. “It’s a shame that I wasn’t able to use it, but 2020 was just so unpredictable.”
The year 2020 was like no other. Like English, many of us applied for credit cards to make our travel aspirations a reality before the pandemic descended. If you’re in a similar boat and weren’t able to take advantage of your card’s perks this past year, you have a couple of options. You can call your card issuer for an extension of a benefit or perhaps try to get your annual fee waived.
If all else fails, you can cancel your card if you can’t justify paying the annual fee. As travel picks up, many travel cards can help your 2021 travel dreams come true, so you’ll want to apply now to give yourself time to lock in that sign-up bonus.
Featured photo by The Points Guy.
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Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees