New Barclaycard Targeted Flights Cents Trial Program

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I’m kind of crushing on the creativity of a new program being piloted by the AAdvantage Aviator Mastercard to targeted accounts. They are introducing a new Flight Cents pilot program beginning October 1st where, if you are targeted and opt in, you are essentially buying American Airlines miles with each purchase you make on the card that isn’t a round dollar amount at a rate that varies based on the offer your account was targeted for. Confused yet? Let me try to explain…

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

I have seen reports of two different versions of this targeted offer, one that awards a 50% multiplier and one that awards a 100% multiplier. Let’s use the 100% multiplier in our example as it is the version that is much more likely to be worth it.

Let’s say you purchase a coffee for $3.10 on your eligible AAdvantage Aviator card. Usually you earn one mile per dollar charged to the card unless the charge is in a bonused category, and that is the end of it.

However, with this pilot program, the purchase would be rounded up to $4.00 and you would earn one mile per cent for those 90 rounded up cents to get to the next whole dollar amount. In this 100% bonus case that would mean you earn 90 American Airlines miles at a cost to you of the 90 rounded up cents. That is the same as buying American Airlines miles for one cent each.

Using miles purchased at one cent each to fly up front can be worth it

If you opted in to the version of the trial with a 50% bonus then you would be getting half the number of miles for the same amount of money, meaning that you are paying two cents per mile, which is not a very good deal.

However, at one cent per mile, many savvy users of American miles will come out ahead, depending on how you redeem your miles. Only you know if it is worth it to you to stock up on additional American miles at that rate, but it is probably at least worth considering if you were targeted for the 100% multiplier Flight Cents pilot program.

I was not targeted, but based on what I have seen, there is a cap of $500 per month for the round-up threshold, though you can set that monthly maximum lower. If you had $500 in rounded up “cents” from your transactions with the 100% offer, then you would have purchased 50,000 American Airlines miles for $500 in that month. Of course you need to obviously factor in if you have the money in your budget to purchase AAdvantage miles each month.

My understanding is that you must enroll by September 30, 2017, to participate in the trial, and I don’t know how long the pilot is scheduled to run – though if you have that info, please feel free to share.

Were you targeted for the Barlcaycard Flight Cents pilot program on your Aviator card? If so, I’d love to hear the multiplier you were offered and whether you intend to try it out. Also remember that you can sign-up for a Advantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard right now and get 60,000 bonus miles upon the first purchase and payment of the $95 annual fee.

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. 100% multiplier. –

    FLIGHT CENTS

    You’re enrolled in Flight Cents.
    Your threshold is currently set at $100.
    Flight Cents will end on 03/31/2018

    Flight Cents Pilot Terms and Conditions
    This document contains the official Terms and Conditions for the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Flight Cents pilot and includes important qualifications and limitations. Enrolling in the Flight Cents pilot constitutes your acceptance of each of the terms described below.
    Program Definitions –
    Flight Cents purchase: number of cents rounded up from a transaction that occurs while the cardmember is enrolled in the Flight Cents pilot
    Flight Cents miles: number of AAdvantage® miles acquired from the cents rounded up in a Flight Cents purchase, up to the number of miles able to be acquired based on the monthly threshold set by the cardmember ($500 maximum)
    Enrollment – The enrollment period begins September 1, 2017 and closes on September 30, 2017. There will be no additional participants accepted into the pilot after the enrollment period closes. The pilot will start on October 1, 2017 and will conclude on March 31, 2018.
    Participation in the Flight Cents pilot is only available to the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Mastercard® account indicated on the invitation you received, and purchases made on that account by the primary cardmember or authorized users can acquire Flight Cents miles. Participation in Flight Cents is not transferable to an account other than the one indicated on the invitation, and purchases made on any other accounts for which you may be the primary cardmember or an authorized user during the pilot will not acquire Flight Cents miles.
    Eligibility – If, at the end of the billing cycle, the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Mastercard® is more than 2 payments past due or otherwise no longer in good standing, the Flight Cents miles will not be sent to your AAdvantage® account. Consequently, the Flight Cents round up amount will be credited to your credit card account and this credit will appear on the following billing statement. You will not be able to participate in the Flight Cents pilot if your account is subject to any of the conditions under which miles are forfeited, as defined in the Reward Rules for your Aviator account, or if you change your account to a non-Aviator product. For any period in which this is the case, you will not be eligible to acquire miles through Flight Cents.
    Round-ups – During the pilot period, purchases made on the account will be rounded up to the next whole dollar and the total rounded up amount at the end of the calendar month will be used to acquire American Airlines AAdvantage® miles, subject to the Aviator account remaining in good standing and to the monthly Flight Cents threshold set by the cardmember. The Flight Cents purchase and the corresponding Flight Cents miles will be posted to the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Mastercard® account by the fifth day of the month following the month in which the purchases were made. Flight Cents miles will be sent to the AAdvantage® account once per month at the time of the billing cycle. Please note that no additional miles (in addition to the acquired Flight Cents miles) will be earned on the Flight Cents purchase. If at the time of posting the Flight Cents purchase, there is inadequate credit line to post the full purchase, we will post the amount available up to your credit line. In the event there is no credit line available, we will not post any Flight Cents purchase for that month. In the event that the Flight Cents miles acquired at the end of the month are not a whole number, we will round up to the next whole mile.
    The Flight Cents purchase and Flight Cents miles will be reflected as a single line item on the billing statement. An itemized list of rounded up transactions will be available for viewing at the Flight Cents summary page on the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Mastercard® online account by the fifth day of the month following the month in which the purchases were made. This information will remain viewable for the duration of the pilot and for 90 days post-pilot.
    Monthly Threshold – Participants can adjust their monthly threshold through the AAdvantage® Aviator™ Mastercard® online account. The maximum round up amount per month is $500. The threshold as of 11:59 p.m. ET on the last day of the month will be used as the threshold for that month. If you would prefer to suspend your participation in the Flight Cents program at any time during the pilot, you can adjust your monthly threshold to $0.
    Returned & Disputed Transactions – Participating in this pilot does not interfere with any rights participants may have returning or disputing a purchase under the Cardmember Agreement. Regardless of the resolution of the dispute, the participants will continue to receive their Flight Cents miles on the disputed transaction.
    Fraudulent Activity – Participating in this pilot does not interfere with any rights participants may have regarding fraudulent purchases. During the pilot period, we will credit back any Flight Cents amounts from fraudulent transactions. Contact us at the customer service number on the back of your card if you suspect unauthorized use of your card or your card has been lost or stolen. Please allow up to 2 statement cycles for this credit.

  2. OK, but if you value AAdvantage mile at 1.2 cents like I do, it’s going to be an incredibly slow way to get value with this, compared to using a straight 2% cash back card.

    Even at 1.4 cents, which some still value an AA mile at, you’ll only be ahead when the digit(s) before the decimal point are low and the ones after are low also. For example, that $3.10 purchase will generate you 90 miles for 90 cents, whereas the miles are worth $1.26 to you, so you’ve gained $0.36. But to get the full $500 value in a month from the program, you’ll need to buy 1,388 cups of coffee at that price, thus spending $4,302 on coffee and probably not doing any favors for your health. OK, my example is a bit silly, but the point stands that it’s going to be hard to get serious value out of the program, especially after subtracting the opportunity cost of not using a 2% cash back card.

    Maybe someone has an MS method for making a ridiculous number of purchases at $0.01 and cashing them out without drawing too much attention, but for most I think the math makes it a very marginal benefit.

  3. Thank you for the heads up!
    No wonder I love this blog 🙂
    OK, I was fortunately targeted for the 100%.
    Before you can sign up, it requests you set up a threshold.
    Is there a reason I might not pick the maximum of $500?

  4. Is it assumed that if you get targeted for the 100%, then effectively you are deciding you are okay with spending $500 for 50,000 miles?

  5. I received an email yesterday from AA regarding the Flight Cents program. I have been targeted for the 100% rate.

    I will probably enroll in the program, and I will primarily use my Aviator Credit Card for my daily cup of McDonald’s coffee.

    A cup of McDonald’s coffee is $1.06 …so, I’ll get charged a full $2.00 bucks for this promotion. So, on a monthly basis, that means I am going to get charged about $28 bucks more a month for 30 coffees (ie, $1.06 x 30 days versus $2.00 x 30 days). So, on the cost side of the ledger, is gonna cost me an extra $28 bucks a month…

    …Now, on the benefits side of the ledger, I will earn 94 miles per coffee…which then works out to 2,820 miles per month (94 miles earned/ coffee x 30 coffees/ month).

    Finally, to get more “bang for the buck” on my earned miles, I would plan on using my miles for travel during low season. So, for example, I know that I can fly round trip from my hometown to Mexico / Caribbean for as low a 25,000 miles/points during the first two weeks of November.

    The way I look at it…even at $2.00 bucks for a cup of McDonald’s coffee, it’s still about half of what folks are paying for Starbucks coffees…and with this promotion, I can earn about 2,800 more miles than I otherwise would. Seems like a good deal…

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