Reader Wants to Understand… US Airways Credit Card, American Status Buy Up, and What it Means for Upgrades

Reader John moratto asks,

I have two US Airways Barclay elite world MasterCard. How could I get a credit cards that will give me companion coupons and Prefered elite miles just for purchases? Also if I buy up to platinum status will I receive 500 mile upgrades for platinum(50,000 miles) or only for the miles that I flew.

Up through 2014, the US Airways Premier World MasterCard from Barclays bank offered 10,000 elite qualifying miles for spending $25,000 in a year on the card.

That benefit is no longer available on the card.

  • US Airways and American are merging frequent flyer programs
  • The Barclays-issued US Airways card is becoming an American card
  • The base-level American card issued by Citibank does not offer elite qualifying miles for spending.

Citibank issues their ‘Executive’ card with a $450 annual fee, which comes with American lounge access and allows you to earn 10,000 elite qualifying miles after $40,000 spend in a year.

Allowing Barclays to continue to offer 10,000 miles after less spend and as the $89 price point would have undermined the Citibank premium card offering, even to the extent that the Barclays card won’t be available to new applications once the US Airways and American programs merge.

Nonetheless, Barclays will still have the cheaper and easier option for earning qualifying miles on American based on spend.

The AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite MasterCard comes with a $195 fee and let you earn 5,000 elite qualifying miles for each $20,000 in annual purchases (up to 10,000 per year). So it’s cheaper than the Ciitbank card, and lets you earn qualifying miles in chunks rather than only after $40,000 in spend. It doesn’t come with lounge access, though.

In addition, the Aviator Silver card will come with a companion certificate each year for two guests at $99+tax each (like the old US Airways Premier World MasterCard) but only with $30,000 in purchases during a cardmember year.

You can’t apply directly for the card at this point, it’s available by invitation only, although it may be able to request conversion of an existing US Airways card at some point soon.

As for the other question, no, if you buy up to American AAdvantage Platinum status you will not receive 500 mile upgrade certificates as though you flew 50,000 miles. But 500 mile upgrades will no longer be required on flights less than 500 miles. US Airways elites will start out with 500 mile upgrade certificates in their account when the programs merge, as well.

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, 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 just got hit with my annual fee. I actually don’t know what the “annual” means in this case. I only want it to get EQMs on AA, but I haven’t been “invited”.

  2. I somehow missed that spending $25K for 10K EQM/PQM was ending Dec 31 and spent $25K in 2015 prior to March 28 swithover. Am I out of luck? Can I not get EQMs or PQMs for that $25K spend? If I later switch to platinum or black, will the exisitng spend count towards the $40k or am I starting from scratch?

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