My Experience Getting a Retention Offer on the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard

In December 2014, my wife and I applied for one final US Airways MasterCard for an easy 50,000 miles before it went away for good and since then, that card has been converted to a Aviator Red card. Now a year later, the annual fee just posted on both my account and my wife’s so we rang up Barclaycard to see what retention offers were available.

AAdvantage-Aviator-RedBefore we called, I had already decided that I was willing to pay the $89 annual fee for both cards.  The biggest reason was for the 10% rebate of AA miles when you use this card to book any AA awards. You can get a maximum rebate of 10,000 miles per year per person which is worth ~$150 to me. Another main reason to keep the card for us was to hopefully get targeted for one of their bonus spend promotions which are usually quite lucrative. Lastly, we do have a handful of domestic flights on AA this year so the priority boarding and possibly the free checked bag benefit might come in handy though this didn’t factor much into my decision to keep the card. Notably I did not factor in the 10,000 anniversary miles as those already posted to our accounts and we’d be able to keep the miles even if we cancelled the cards.

I started with my card and called the number on the back of my card to start the process. I got a front line agent on the phone and once I mentioned I wanted to close my account, she immediately transferred me to the retention department at Barclaycard. There I had a nice gentleman named Tom whose goal was to try and keep me as a “loyal” Barclaycard customer.

He inquired why I wanted to cancel and I causally mentioned that I already have the competing the Citibank AAdvantage Platinum Select card (which may or may not be true anymore) that has almost identical benefits so why should I pay an annual fee on both cards. Without another word, he immediately offered to waive the $89 annual fee and additionally pointed out the annual fee on this card was only $89 while the one from Citibank was $95 implying I should cancel the Citibank card instead.

Aviator Red Annual Fee Waived

Annual Fee Waived

I told him I appreciated the offer to waive the annual fee but I wanted to know if there were any other retention offers that I was eligible for that included miles (it is important to be direct in what you are asking for). After giving him a minute to look at the “promotions page”, Tom came back with this beauty of an offer – 5,000 AA miles for spending $1k in 3 months. That’s a great offer as I am essentially earning 5x on all purchases up to $1,000 in spend and combined with the annual fee being waived, this would be an easy, free 5,000 miles for keeping a card I wanted to keep all along.

Once he confirmed that was the only offer with miles on my account, I accepted it and then asked him to check my wife’s account for a similar offer. After getting my wife to confirm her identity, we were able to skip all the nonsense about why she wanted to cancel the card and he simply just offered my wife the same exact deal (annual fee waived + 5,000 mile promotion) as me. Of course, she took it and we thanked Tom for essentially paying me and my wife to keep our cards open for another year (ok, I didn’t really say that last part).

Let this post serve as a reminder to always try for a retention offer even if you would be willing to pay the annual fee. For this card, I knew a lot of people have had success getting a retention offer so the odds were fairly high we would get the annual fee waived at a bare minimum. The 5,000 miles for spending $1,000 in 3 months is just icing on the cake. I will definitely be taking advantage of that to earn 5x for my non-bonus category spend. And if you happened to targeted (usually via snail mail) with an offer such as 15,000 bonus miles for spending $500/month over 3 months (or other similar offers), you can stack these offers to really rack up the miles without having to pay an annual fee.


11 thoughts on “My Experience Getting a Retention Offer on the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard

  1. I tried this, and there were no offers available. I ended up keeping the card and paying the annual fee. I wonder why there were no offers available. I tried calling multiple times. Oh well.


  2. If there were no offers, how do you tell them you don’t want to cancel after all?


    • At some point, they usually have to read you a disclosure about cancelling and ask you to confirm you want to cancel the account. At this point, I’ll say something to the effect of “ya know let me rethink this” or “actually I’m undecided on what to do, I’ll call back”. I’ve never had a problem with this approach


  3. What was the spending history for you and your wife on these cards? How much did you spend besides opening Citi bank accounts?


    • Not much at all. I purchased a few AA tickets on the card (<$500 for the year) and paid the taxes on a few award flights. I actually don't even think I used this card to fund my Citi account.

      My wife's card only was used for the $500/month spend offer in Dec 14 to Feb 15. Outside of that nothing.


      • That’s very encouraging. I’ve got the AF coming up next month on my last remaining Aviator Red card out of an original three Dividend Miles USAir cards. Together, they’ve provided me about 193,000 AA miles through about $300US in actual out-of-pocket expenses. The surviving Aviator now includes the combined credit lines from the two cancelled cards, which I maxed for Citi initial funding. Like you, if they make me do it I’ll pay the $89 with a shrug.


  4. Got my annual fee waived last month through probably the easiest route: Twitter DM.


  5. Delayed comment but I got my fee waived in December plus they offered 2x miles for 3 months on groceries, gas and utilities. (Plus the 10K anniversary miles.) I do plan on cancelling the CitiBank version of the card as I have zero use for it while I’ve got this one.


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