Barclaycard USA Pilot Program Allows You To Buy Miles From 1 Cent Each

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At the beginning of 2017 Citibank’s monopoly on issuing AAdvantage credit cards was broken thanks to a deal American Airlines inked with Barclaycard USA….and this has seen some innovation in the AAdvantage credit card sector.

Citi’s offerings had become somewhat stale, so, when Barclaycard opened up its AAdvantage Aviator cards to new applications in January, it was a welcome change for a lot of customers.

Barclaycard offers a number different types of co-branded AAdvantage credit card but the main two are the Aviator Red and the Aviator Silver credit cards.

a close-up of a credit card

Both cards offer bonus miles for spend with American Airlines (the Silver card earns 3 miles/$ which is the most out of all American Airlines credit cards), both cards allow cardholders to earn Elite Qualifying Dollars (which no other AAdvantage co-branded card does), both come free of foreign transaction fees and the Silver card allows holders to earn up to 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles per year.

Barclaycard have been smart in that they’ve made sure that the cards they offer have very clear selling points when compared to the cards issued by Citi and now they appear to have come up with a new innovation.

Flight Cents From Barclaycard

Barclaycard is piloting a scheme (Flight Cents) which allows cardholders to purchase AAdvantage Miles while they go about their everyday shopping.

Per Barclaycard here’s how the scheme works:

Flight Cents rounds up your AAdvantage® Aviator™ Mastercard® purchases to the nearest dollar, and turns that rounded up amount into American Airlines AAdvantage® miles – boosting your miles balance on top of what you already earn.

Cardholders appear to be getting one of two offers.

The first offer (which I’ve got on my account) effectively sees people purchasing AAdvantage Miles at 2 cents each:

a close-up of a credit card

But others have an offer that will allow them to purchase miles at just 1 cent each….and that’s interesting.

As things stand you can’t buy an unlimited number of miles in this way as Barclaycard has set the roundup threshold at $500….but cardholders can choose to spend any amount up to that figure each month – they set their own threshold in their online accounts.

Put simply, the maximum number of miles you can earn per month with the 2 cents/mile offer is 25,000 and it’s 50,000 miles if you’re fortunate enough to have been targeted for the 1 cent/mile offer.

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To see what offer you’ve been selected to receive (if any) you should log in to your Aviator account and it should pop up straight away. If for some reason this doesn’t happen then look for this box on the main account page:

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The enrolment period runs to 30 September 2017 and the program runs between 1 October 2017 and 31 March 2018.


I love that Barclaycard is still looking to innovate with its AAdvantage cards but there are a number of things to consider with this promotion before you dive in.

If, like me, you’ve been offered the 2 cents/mile promotion it probably isn’t worth it – AAdvantage miles are getting harder and harder to use economically and there are frequent and regular mileage sales in which you can buy AAdvantage miles for under 2 cents each.

More importantly, because of how hard it’s getting to use AAdvantage Miles I value them a lot lower than 2 cents – more like 1.2 cents – so you’d almost certainly be overpaying for a devaluing currency.a blue and white circle with a plane in the middle

If you’ve been targeted for the 1.0 cent/mile offer then things look decidedly better. At 1 cent/mile even I’m interested in AAdvantage Miles but it’s still not a promotion without its weaknesses.

The Aviator cards don’t come with any bonus categories (other than American Airlines spend) so if you were to use your Aviator card to buy things like groceries, gas or a host of other every day things you’re potentially passing up on bonus points/miles that other credit cards would get you – that reduces the value you’re getting from buying AAdvantage Miles.


How does everyone else see this offer? What were you targeted for and are you enrolling or not?