My Barclay Aviator Red Card Retention Call

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Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Red Retention Call

Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Red Retention Call

The $89 annual fee hit on my Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Red card so I decided to give them a call and see if there were any retention offers for the account.  I was expecting to get the annual fee waived, which has been easy for most people in the past.  I don’t have plans to fly American over the next year so if there wasn’t an I was ok with canceling it.

Aviator Red Card Details

The Barclay Aviator card comes with some decent perks for $89 if you fly American Airlines.  They are the same perks that come with the Citi AAdvantage card, but with a slightly lower annual fee.  The best of the card’s perks are as follows:

  • 10% of your redeemed miles back, up to 10,000 miles back per year
  • First checked bag free
  • Preferred boarding
  • Access to reduced AA awards

The earning rates on this card (2x on AA, 1x on everything else) are pitiful and I put virtually no spend on it because of that.  Barclaycard likes to offer spending bonuses right around the time your annual fee comes due.  Mine was pretty terrible this year so I didn’t even sign up for it. In the past they were pretty good (15,000 miles) and even made it worth paying the card’s annual fee if it wasn’t waived.

Details of the Call

I called the number on the back of the card and stated that I wanted to cancel my card when prompted.  I was transferred to customer service and repeated my request.  After stating I had no plans to fly American Airlines over the next year and that I would not use the perks of the card I was transferred to the retention department.

I once again explained my annual fee was recently billed and that I would not be flying American over the next twelve months. I stated that since I would not be able to use the perks the card offered I could not justify the annual fee.

Here is where I thought she would offer to waive the annual fee but it never happened.  She basically said ok after looking over my account briefly.  She offered to move my 16K credit limit over to my Arrival+ card which I gladly accepted.  I had to be transferred to a THIRD department to make this happen and close the account. At least I got something for making the call I guess.

Why I was Ok Canceling

If I am being honest I expected them to waive the annual fee because it has been almost automatic in the past.  My card is a hold over from the US Airways days.  I have put zero spend on the card this year so I can’t really blame them for not offering me anything.

With no plans to use American over the next year, at this point, there was no reason to keep it.  Having burned most of my AA miles last year my stash is sitting at a pitiful 4,000 miles. With such a small stash the 10% rebate perk, which is by far the best perk, is essentially worthless to me. Canceling the card also allows me to go for the card’s sign up bonus a little further on down the road.

I do appreciate them rolling over my credit limit.  Chase does this with ease but I wasn’t sure if Barclay would be the same.  They assured me there would be no hard pull for the transfer, which isn’t the case with all banks for some reason.  I am glad I am able to keep my credit line the same amount, it should help maintain my credit score.


It seems like Barclay is cracking down on the annual fee waivers.  Maybe it was because I didn’t have any spend on the card or maybe they are cracking down across the board.  I would love to get some other people’s data points in the comments section.

Being able to transfer my credit limit was at least something for my time.  It should help keep my credit score high by keeping my usage ratios down. It also gives me a bargaining chip if I sign up for another Barclay card in the future. I can use some of my large credit line to help open a new account without them needing to extend me new credit.


Let us know in the comments section if you have had any luck on any Barclay retention offers lately.


  1. Have had mixed results with Barclay’s in avoiding the annual fee on…. (gasp) the ole’ stale, useless Frontier card….

    First, lest ya’all presume I’m nuts, I’ve actually held onto the card for odd-ball reasons, in part to preserve the large credit line, (which kept going up each year), and to take advantage of recurrent 15 month 1% balance transfer promotions… (ok, they’re up to 2% at the moment)….

    I never did use the original 40K Frontier miles for flying Frontier (made no sense, given how cheap most Frontier flights are)….. But over the years, did take advantage of retention offers to wave a/f and to spend such and such and get nice chunk of points — which I used to get the two free US nights at Club Carlson. (courtesy Drew @ TIF quirky post on that)

    One tip, I’ve often had better luck with recurrent phone calls to Frontier during m/f business hours… ask for retention department. (If you get the overseas reps, don’t waste your time — they may be polite, but they have no power to wave fees) But if you get a rep. based in Wisconsin or Delaware, with a grandmotherly voice — once who knows her stuff — you have a chance. 🙂

    • That’s good stuff! I actually had opposite once with a Club Carlson CC never luck getting fee waiver with US agents but foreign agent once gave waiver.

  2. I will say this about Barclay. They are miserable to deal with. Flat out. I charge pretty high volume on the cards I use for business etc. The only reason I deal with them primarily is the Arrival card, which is only one of my heavy use cards across various brands. I had a few run ins with them and I tell most of my friends to avoid them. Even something as simple as a 300,000 point redemption a few years ago required 4-5 calls, supervisors and in the end only a formal complaint to CFPB got them to post the proper credits. Overall their products are nothing great either. Arrival card used to pay out more points etc.

    • Arrival+ used to be the 2% darling of this hobby….not so much anymore. I wonder if they lost way more than they gained by lowering the points rebate from 10% to 5%.

  3. 2 recent DPs:

    My husband applied in July 2013 and has the 10K annual bonus version. He has asked for and received a fee waiver for 2015, 2016 and 2017 – this most recent time was in July. He was also offered an additional 5K miles for spending $1000 in 90 days. Lucky man.

    I had opened my AAviator MC in Feb. 2013 (was the USAirways MC then) and (stupidly) cancelled in Feb 2014 to avoid paying the fee – didn’t know about calling for retention offers or fee waivers back then, but I did get the 10K bonus despite not paying the renewal. I reapplied in Oct. 2014 after the 10K annual bonus was no longer offered. For asking, I got a $25 credit on the fee then, and got the fee waived in 2015 and 2016, also by specifically asking about waiving the fee. I asked again this October, but this time I was told that there was no option to waive the fee. I even told them about the offers they extended to my husband, and that I use my card more than he uses his. No dice. However, I was also offered the 5K miles for $1000 spend in 90 days which I accepted. This is on top of a bonus offer I received in September for 15,000 miles for spending $500 each month for Oct, Nov and Dec. I called about 2 weeks later to clarify that the $1000 spend had to be over and above the $500 per month, and in discussion with the rep recounting my retention call, she said that the offers can change from time to time and encouraged me to call again at next year’s renewal.

    Keeping this card because it works as chip and PIN in unmanned kiosks in Europe where my other cards haven’t worked.

  4. Basically the same situation as yours – the only reason I’ve kept the Aviator Red is the “first bag free” perk (I live in a small town served only by AA commuter flights to an AA hub, so am pretty much stuck with American).

    Last two years received a fee waiver, in Sept of this year…nada. Best offer in several calls was “5000 miles for 1k of spend over 90 days”, which I accepted.

    • No I didn’t press as hard as I should/could have. Partially because I wanted to be able to get the sign up bonus again and I was a little surprised how quickly she moved on. There was no desire on her part to keep the card open. Most banks have proactively tried different options to make it work (except maybe Chase). Could have been rep specific. That is why I was hoping for some more DP’s to see if there are offers being extended or not.

  5. Mark, for a data point, were you grandfathered into annual free 10k miles? Earlier US Air Dividend Miles MC sign-ups got that provision grandfathered when converted to AA Aviator Red. Later ones didn’t have that benefit.

    Both earlier and later sign-ups still have 10% AA refund, up to 10k refunded a year. At least you have been able to burn your stash down last year 😀 Many have had trouble finding sAAver seats.

    • Mine did not have the 10k yearly bonus :(. I got lucky with finding some sAAver space but did pay a 20k AAnytime award or two when it made sense.

  6. I keep this card for the annual 10,000 bonus miles. I figure that pays for the $89 annual fee and a little more. I also fly AA a few times a year, so the benefits come in handy. I put very little spend on this card. Maybe $100 per year.

    • I would have kept mine if it came with that too. I got mine a few months after the 10k yearly bonus went away :(.


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