Big Changes Coming to the US Airways Credit Card

US Airways Premier World MasterCard®

When US Airways and American are finally combined into a single airline, it will no longer be possible to get the US Airways cards. These cards will become American cards, and existing cardholders get to keep them. But no one new will be able to apply for the Barclaycard offering.

That also means we know that the last chance for the 50,000 point signup bonus after first purchase will be when the two frequent flyer programs become one. My advice is to get the bonus points if you can, it’s an opportunity that will go away, and the points will add on nicely to American AAdvantage balances (this card doesn’t conflict with getting signup bonuses for Citibank-issued American AAdvantage cards).

We do not know when the airlines will actually combine. There’s a strong economic incentive to make it as soon as possible, but they haven’t set a date officially because they’re smart enough to hold off if they believe the IT challenges aren’t done.

We are learning, though, about what will change with the card when the programs do merge. The US Airways card’s benefits will be more like American co-brand card benefits.

Here’s what will go away in 2015:

  • The $99 companion certificate will go away. If you get the card now, you’re still entitled to one, but come 2015 they won’t be issued any longer.
  • Miles towards elite status will go away. Only the pricey $450 annual fee Citi Executive card generates elite qualifying miles at American — 10,000 qualifying miles after $40,000 spend. So it’s not surprising we won’t be able to generate those same miles for only $25,000 spend with this less expensive card.
  • Annual club lounge pass and club membership discount. These benefits aren’t offered by the Citibank co-brand card.
  • First class check-in

They’re adding benefits next year to align with what Citibank offers:

  • The card will entitle you to an annual rebate of 10% of the miles you spend on award tickets (presumably up to 10,000 total miles returned to you, like the Citibank cards). I expect this is going to make the card worth keeping in my wallet (10,000 miles for an $89 annual fee is 9/10th of a penny per point).
  • Cardmembers will also get 25% off inflight purchases plus a $100 flight discount after $30,000 spend each year on the card

In essence they’re converting the card from one I want to put money on (for the elite qualifying miles) to one I want to keep but not use (for the annual rebate on awards).

Interestingly, they’re also promising “Enhance your award travel experience with redemption for one-way travel and First Class upgrades.”

As I commented elsewhere, to promise one-way awards is “almost like confirming that the New American will fly “planes” or that the airline is not going to shut down its passenger operation to focus on its core “american way” magazine business.”

Of course when the airlines combine they are going to offer one-way awards as American does now (and United and Delta and joint venture partners British Airways and Iberia and Finnair offer). Although it’s one thing that US Airways members haven’t had but will benefit from.

There’s no mention yet of the fate of the 5,000 mile discount for cardmembers booking awards entirely on US Airways (not including partner awards). I have to imagine that this benefit will disappear because it isn’t something offered by the Citi product. And because US Airways itself will disappear. But no word as yet.

US Airways Premier World MasterCard®

(Note that cards in this post offer credit to me if you’re approved using my links. The opinions, analyses, and evaluations here are mine. The content is not provided or commissioned by American Express, by Chase, by Citibank, US Bank, Bank of America, Barclays or any other company. They have not reviewed, approved or endorsed what I have to say.)


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I have a few of these cards that were issued back when they offered 10K bonus miles each year upon renewal, which I’ve been getting every year. I noticed in their recent emails that there is no mention of whether this will continue or not.

    Any thoughts?

  2. +1 to John’s question. I’m not holding my breath, but I’d much rather keep the 10k renewal bonus than get 10% back on redeemed miles. I redeem on many different airlines, meaning I simply don’t redeem 100k AA miles every single year.

  3. So, 10% on Barclay and another 10% on Citi gives us 20% off whatever the award chart becomes (up to 10k for Citi)? Any word on a limit to the 10% for Barclay?

  4. We do not know what will happen to the 10k annual bonus. That’s not actually a feature of the US Airways card, per se, it is a feature of the specific offer that people took advantage of for that card. So it’s natural for them not to make a broad-based announcement about it. I do not know if they are going to change that/take it away from folks that have that benefit, we’ll have to wait a bit to find out I think.

    My *guess* is that it won’t be possible to get a 10k annual bonus AND 10k rebate for award redemption (20k annual bonus without spend). And since we get the latter if I had to guess I would be surprised if anyone keeps the former. But that’s just speculation on my part.

  5. I previously had one of these, but canceled it about 4-5 months ago. Any anecdotal evidence that the 40K miles are still offered to previous holders?

  6. I don’t accrue miles on USair when I fly I accrue them on AA to get elite status. would there be a benefit to get the 10,000 elite miles on USair by doing $25,000 spend in 2014?

  7. I recently received a new US Airways card but have not received my welcome packet and companion certificate. Does anyone know what the blackout dates are for November 2014?

  8. I am going to miss Companion cert. That was ONE benefit that has saved us money year in and year out 🙁

  9. @Carlos it is CONCEIVABLE that US Airways and American elite miles earned in 2014 will be combined towards 2015 — it all depends on when the programs themselves get combined and the airlines themselves don’t know that yet.

  10. I spoke to Barclays Social Media Team, who got a “Rewards Specialist” on the phone, who confirmed I would still get the 10k anniversary miles for my 2014-2015 anniversary (which they confirmed is in February 2015. On the other hand, this is Barclays, so who knows.

  11. I am also one who gets the 10K anniversary bonus miles. I really hope it doesn’t end, thank you PainCorp for posting this information.

  12. @PainCorp The caveat is well understtod, but thank you for the data point; hope it holds true. Did you happen to get clarity on whether that would be the last one you’d receive?

  13. Say you have multiple AA cards that give the 10% rebate, which I know is limited to 10,000 miles per year. Do you get a multiple of that benefit depending on how many cards you have? 2 cards 20,000 miles saved, 3 cards 30,000 miles saved, etc.

  14. @JDN, thanks. You did so well on that one, how about blackout dates for February 2015. 🙂

  15. You refer to Delta having “one-way awards.” I just checked and their new chart effective June 1st continues with the deceptive one-way pricing but when you attempt to book a one-way saver it still prices at 25,000 miles instead of 12,500 like their competitors offer. To me this makes them uncompetitive, so I have been boycotting them until they become competitive again. I also didn’t like their attitude when I wrote them about this, saying effectively “take it or leave it.” So I left them, even flying roundabout to avoid booking a more straight-line Delta ticket.

  16. @Greg point about Delta is that they are going to have true one way awards starting 2015, sorry for lack of clarity

  17. Good to know, Gary. I may go back to flying Delta then since otherwise they’re competitive with AA and maybe better than UA.

  18. Gary – I agree that it seemed (seems?) pretty obvious that the new AA will offer one-way awards, but the fact they they put that in there as a “benefit” makes me think maybe it will be limited somehow to credit card holders and elites the way that United only allows standard awards for card holders and elites?

    Thoughts?

  19. I don’t earn the 10k anniversary bonus… I just get the $99 companion cert. My fam & I were hoping to go abroad this year, but then I discovered USAirways doesn’t get us there. The new first-bag-free incentive is great, but… where does USAirways fly that I should convince friends to go? And, since the companion certs are going away next year, I can’t think of a reason to keep the card.

  20. With regard to the 10k anniversary bonus, the mailer that arrived to me yesterday has a “Q&A” section which reads, in part:

    “Q. Will my credit cards terms be changing? A. The terms of your account, including your annual fee, remain unchanged.”

    Could this statement be taken to mean, that if one’s cardholder agreement were include the ‘annual anniversary bonus of 10,000 miles’, that it would not go away since it’s a perk of one’s particular offer, rather than “the card” in general?

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