Category Archives: US Airways

US Airways MasterCard – How do you keep me hangin’ on?

Set me free, why don’t you baby?
Get out of my life, why don’t you baby?
‘Cause you don’t really love me
You just keep me hangin’ on

– Said The Supremes (and Barclaycard)

Yes, this song pretty much describes my relationship with the US Airways Premier World MasterCard. I never planned on maintaining a long-term relationship with this card. When I applied for it, I fully intended to take a very mercenary SWAT-team like approach to owning the card – swoop in, meet my minimum spend, collect my bonus miles and cancel the card before the next year’s annual fee kicked in. However, Barclaycard had other plans for me …

So why collect miles on an airline I never fly?

US Airways is the primary carrier for a lot of people – just not for me. To this day, I’ve never set foot on US Airways metal. However, at the time I originally applied for the US Airways MasterCard, the airline was, along with my primary carrier United, a member of the Star Alliance. This fit in very neatly with my “miles & points accumulation & redemption” (aka Pointing) objectives. In addition, US Airways’ Dividend Miles frequent flyer program offered a number of “sweet spots” on its award chart (e.g. only 90,000 miles to China, Hong Kong, Korea or Japan) and historically the program regularly offered 100% bonuses for either purchasing or transferring miles. I looked on the Dividend Miles program as a way to diversify my Pointing efforts and protect myself against potential devaluations (like United’s earlier in the year!).

US Airways Chairmans Offer

Note: This offer is no longer available.

In the end, as I outlined in an earlier post on this subject, I opted for a signup offer that not only gave me 40,000 miles after my first purchase but also 10,000 miles after the first anniversary of account opening, an additional 10,000 miles on each subsequent account opening anniversary AND waived the first year’s annual fee. Barclaycard had me hooked.

For the times (and airline alliances) they are a-changin’

However, a few months after receiving my card, US Airways and American airlines announced plans to merge. Upon hearing this news, I naturally assumed that the days of the mileage gravy train I was riding were numbered and that within a year or so I would lose these great benefits. Sooner or later I’d have to say buh-bye to my US Airways MasterCard. However, it looks like I have a reprieve.

The argument for holding on to my card

This week, I received an email that officially announced the news that US Airways & American Airlines would be merging their frequent flyer programs in the second quarter of 2015. The companies provided a timeline for the key integration events.

US Airways American Airlines Integration

Once the programs merge, my existing Dividend Miles will be converted into American AAdvantage miles. This upcoming event is what served as the catalyst for me to encourage (umm … push) my Partner F to simultaneously apply for both a Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantageWorld MasterCard and the US Airways Premier World MasterCard. I go into more detail on this particular Pointing strategy in my earlier post: Combining American and US Airways Miles – Taking Advantage of Reaping Dividend Miles. Post-merger, the US Airways MasterCard will become an American Airlines AAdvantage MasterCard and will be closed to new applications. Therefore, the clock is ticking on this particular offer.

However, the US Airways MasterCard isn’t going away quietly. I received another email this week that provided me with a pretty lucrative bonus mile offer.

US Airways MasterCard 15,000 Bonus Miles Spending Offer

By spending a minimum of $500 per month on the card over the next three months, I’ll receive 15,000 bonus miles. The timing is “perfect” (for BarclayCard that is) in that my annual fee will be coming due in the middle of this period. That creates quite the incentive for holding on to the card for another year.

Finally, rounding out this AAdvantage / Dividend Miles charm offensive was a third email.

US Airways 10,000 Mile Anniversary Bonus

BarclayCard will be continuing my anniversary bonus and provide me with 10,000 AAdvantage miles annually.

Taken together, these developments build a pretty compelling case for holding on to my card. The value of the bonus miles that I’ll be receiving justifies the cost of the annual fee. In addition, the big bump I’ll be receiving in a major loyalty “currency” like AAdvantage miles fits into my broader Pointing strategies and provide me with another option for mixing and matching awards.

The Moral of the Story

These are factors that I considered in making the decision to keep my US Airways MasterCard. All of these changes also emphasize the importance of regularly monitoring the shifting landscape of the miles and points world. You need to be prepared to assess how much value you’re receiving from your cards and make adjustments to “what’s in your wallet” as appropriate.

How about you? How do you decide whether to “keep or cancel?”


Disclaimer: Please bear in mind that I am NOT a professional financial advisor by any means.  My discussion of credit card strategies or other financial matters are based on my own personal experiences and financial situation. In addition, I am not an employee of any of the financial institutions that issue the cards discussed nor do I receive any compensation for discussing these products. The reader is solely responsible for any financial actions that he/she may choose to undertake. Make sure you read of the “fine print” in the Terms & Conditions for all of the offers mentioned.

Combining American and US Airways Miles – Taking AAdvantage of Reaping Dividend Miles

I’ve never flown on a US Airways flight. It has been two years since I’ve stepped foot on American Airlines metal.  Why, then, am I collecting miles on airlines that I never fly?

Well, a good Pointer, umm, makes it a point, to diversify their balances across multiple loyalty programs.  I’m already directing my daily spending towards accumulation of the major points currencies. However, another element of my Pointing strategy is to participate in selected frequent flyer programs that align with my broader award redemption goals.  For example, I’m a member of Lufthansa’s Miles & More program because I’ve developed a somewhat unhealthy fascination with the airline’s First Class service (oh, and the Rubber Duckies that are available in its First Class Terminal). Similarly, amassing American and US Airways miles provides me a way to access awards available through another one of the major airline alliances.

combining american and us airways miles

Most of my awards to date have been redeemed on such major Star Alliance carriers as United, Lufthansa and Thai Airways. However, both American and US Airways belong to the OneWorld alliance whose fellow members include such airlines as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qantas. In addition, the ongoing merger between American and US Airways has provided a window of opportunity to collect (and eventually combine) a lot of frequent flyer miles pretty quickly.

Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage World MasterCard 50,000 Bonus Miles Offer

Currently, an offer for 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles (after making $1,000 in purchases within three months) is available through both the American Airlines and Citi websites for the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard.  However, a better bonus offer is out there! For example, my Partner F recently received a targeted credit card promotion in the mail from Citi that offers 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months of cardmembership.  The same offer (along with the full terms and conditions) is available online at this link and a summary is listed below.

Citi AAdvantage 50000 Mile Offer

Both offers waive the $95 annual fee for the first year.  You’ll just have to decide which of the spending requirements you’ll need to meet in order to receive the mileage bonus best aligns with your budget and purchasing patterns.

US Airways Premier World MasterCard 40,000 Bonus Miles Offer

Another Pointing opportunity is available by applying for the US Airways Premier World MasterCard issued by BarclayCard. This offer (along with full terms and conditions) may be found at this link and a summary is listed below.

US Airways MasterCard 40000 Mile Offer

Although the $89 annual fee is not waived for the first year, what makes this offer stand out is that you’ll receive your 40,000 bonus miles after only your first purchase.

Why Apply For Both Cards?

American Airlines and US Airways are in the process of merging.  Both carriers have started to align the various elements of their frequent flyer programs.  Although American’s AAdvantage program and US Airways’ Dividend Miles program are currently operating as separate entities, it’s now possible for you to redeem awards for travel across both carriers.  In addition, the airlines are also members of the OneWorld alliance which further widens the award redemption possibilities. However, things start to get even more interesting once the two programs combine.

Given that you only need to make a single purchase on the US Airways MasterCard to receive your bonus miles, this allows you to direct the rest of your spending to meeting the bonus mile requirements on your AAdvantage MasterCard. It’s anticipated that the Dividend Miles program will merge with the AAdvantage program in 2015.  Although an exact date has not been announced, many sources anticipate that the consolidation of both frequent flyer programs will occur during the first quarter of 2015. Once this happens, you’ll have a nice balance of 90,000 miles in your account.

What Can You Do With Those Miles?

Well, if all those miles are burning a hole in your virtual wallet (and you don’t wish to wait for the merger of the programs), you can start redeeming them for round-trip domestic Economy awards for as low as 25,000 miles per person.  Getting to Hawaii on American in Economy is possible for as low as 35,000 miles round-trip per person while on US Airways it will cost you 40,000 miles. In addition, holders of the AAdvantage MasterCard earn 10% of their redeemed miles back while US Airways MasterCard holders receive a 5,000 mile discount on awards flown on US Airways metal.

If you do wait for the combination of both programs, you’ll have a great head start toward having enough miles for an international premium cabin award. In addition, both American and US Airways are Starwood American Express transfer partners.  Therefore, you’ll be able to turn your Starpoints earned on that card into airline miles should you need to “top off” your AAdvantage and/or Dividend Mile accounts.

For more information on the different award possibilities, check out each of the airlines award charts found in the links below:

American Airlines Award Chart

American Airlines OneWorld Partner Award Chart

US Airways Award Chart

US Airways OneWorld Partner Award Chart

However, a major caveat to waiting for the program merger is that CHANGE WILL BE INEVITABLE.  Although, I’m not expecting a major bloodbath like the United Devaluation earlier this year, it’s certain that there will be changes to the various award charts once the programs are combined.

Where Do We Go From Here?

However, it’s just this type of uncertainty in the Pointing world that reinforces the need to hedge my bets.  The diversification that I exercise in my various miles & points accumulation strategies not only protects me from future devaluations but also creates options for some really exciting award possibilities.  In fact, in an upcoming post, I’ll talk about how this type of “mixing and matching” of award programs allowed me to craft a pretty awesome First Class Round-the World award. Stay tuned and be prepared!

How about you? Have you given any thought to simultaneously applying for multiple credit cards in order to earn the extra bonus miles?

Disclaimer: Please bear in mind that I am NOT a professional financial advisor by any means.  My discussion of credit card strategies or other financial matters are based on my own personal experiences and financial situation. In addition, I am not an employee of any of the financial institutions that issue the cards discussed nor do I receive any compensation for discussing these products. The reader is solely responsible for any financial actions that he/she may choose to undertake. Make sure you read of the “fine print” in the Terms & Conditions for all of the offers mentioned.


A Tale of Three Credit Card Offers – 30K or 40K Miles for the US Airways MasterCard?

US Airways MasterCard

In one of my earlier posts I talked about how credit card spending fuels my Pointing activities.  In other words, it’s not the amount of time my behind has spent in an airline seat but rather my credit card spending that has allowed me to rack up significant point totals. On top of that, the sign up bonuses associated with opening new credit card accounts have provided healthy boosts to my mileage balances.

Over the past few days, the latest credit card deal circulating through the travel blogosphere is the announcement of improved sign up bonuses for the US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard.  The bonus on this card is pretty “easy” to earn since you receive the miles by making only a single purchase of ANY size. There is NO required “minimum spend” (which you see on most credit card offers) in order to receive your bonus. The annual fee is $89 and the most common publicly available offer is available on the US Airways website.

US Airways Standard Offer

However, a number of the leading travel bloggers have reported the following signup promotion which would provide you, under generally the same terms, with an additional 10,000 miles.

US Airways New Offer

In order to take advantage of these deals you need to access the application through the links provided by the blogger.  The following are two bloggers who have posted some useful background information on the current round of US Airways deals.

View from the Wing

Mommy Points

Note: You will be accessing the application through these bloggers’ “affiliate links” which will not cost you anything.  However, they do provide the blogger with a “referral bonus” should your application be accepted. I DO NOT receive any compensation from the credit card companies. However, whenever I apply for a new card, I try to do so through the links offered by my favorite bloggers.

Nevertheless, a third offer exists which provides an even more generous set of incentives.

US Airways Chairmans Offer

This offer provides not only the 40,000 miles of the previous deal but also waives the first year’s fee AND provides you with an annual bonus of 10,000 miles on the card’s anniversary date in subsequent years.  You can access the application via the following link:

Chairman’s Preferred Offer

While technically this set of bonuses is targeted to members of US Airways’ top tier Chairman’s Preferred frequent flyers, several travel bloggers have reported that applicants still receive these benefits.  In my case, I applied for this card in late November, received instant approval and already have my bonus miles.  In addition, the hard copy of the Terms & Conditions which accompanied the card state that I am entitled to the benefits outlined above. However, access to this particular may be changing since a curious new requirement to enter your “US Airways Employee Number” has appeared on the application in the last couple of weeks. I’m not sure if this means that the opportunity to capitalize on this particular signup bonus has now ended.  However, you should be aware that you run the risk of not receiving the full range of these benefits if you apply via “Chairman’s Preferred” route.

So, why am I collecting miles on airline I’ve never flown on?  I have to admit I’m somewhat intrigued by US Airways’ frequent flyer program.  Their Dividend Miles program offers some pretty interesting redemption opportunities. For example, US Airways is a member of the Star Alliance which provides you access to the award availabilities of not only the foreign partner airlines but also that of United which is one of the Alliance’s major anchors.  There are also surprising “gems” in the Dividend Miles Award Chart.  For example, a roundtrip Business Class award ticket to North Asia (China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan) is only 90,000 miles vs. 120,000 miles on United.  In addition, on such an award you can potentially make one stopover, arrive and depart in different cities and even route your itinerary through Europe. US Airways also regularly offers 100% bonuses for either purchasing or transferring miles. These various earning and redemption options are what drew me to the Dividend Miles programs and served as the inspiration for adding the US Airways Premier World MasterCard to my arsenal of Pointing tools.  Hmmm, I think I’m going to need a bigger wallet …