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I’ll be the first to admit that I primarily got the US Airways MasterCard for two reasons. First, I was hoping for an easy hit in the 2012 US Airways Grand Slam that never happened. Second, I wanted the 40,000 US Airways miles that were awarded after the first purchase with the card. I didn’t really intend to put a substantial amount of spending on the card throughout the year, but it turns out that that this card is really the surprise dark horse of spending bonuses.
A few months after I got the card (and barely used it) I was targeted for a promotion that awarded 15,000 bonus miles if I spent $1,250 on the card each month for three consecutive months. I met the requirement, and the miles posted within a couple of weeks. Shortly after that I was targeted for a promotion that awarded 5x miles on the first $500 in spending over the summer at gas stations, drug stores, and amusement parks. I finished with that promotion recently and am waiting on those bonus miles.
Then a few days ago I received another targeted promotion that again awards 5x miles on the first $500 in spending, but this time in restaurants, department stores, and electronics stores over the next few months. In all, that will be a total of 20,000 bonus miles on that card for a very reasonable amount of spending over a 12 month period. It’s not quite as lucrative as a sign-up bonus, but it’s not too bad either.
This is in addition to some of the other perks, like the current 2x elite and redeemable miles promotion if you pay for US Airways flights with this card through 10/31 (registration required). The US Airways MasterCard also saves you 5,000 on each US Airways award ticket on US Airways flights. I booked two award tickets on US Airways metal this year, so that is another 10,000 miles that this card saved my family. I have to admit that I didn’t use the $99 companion tickets this year. The companion ticket can be a really good deal, but it didn’t work out very well for me since it has to be used for US Airways flights, and for me that meant that a connection – something I didn’t want to do with my family when their were direct flights available on United.
These spending promotions were targeted, but many people who have this card seem to be targeted in a similar pattern. From what I have gathered, it makes sense to get this card and then not use it heavily after making your first purchase. This seems to increase the likelihood of getting targeted for similar offers to encourage you to use the card.
This is a card that has historically been “churnable”. In fact, it was common for people to have more than one US Airways MasterCard active at one time. Barclays seems to have clamped down on this some, and it is getting harder to justify the need for a second card. I don’t think it is impossible, but there are many more problems reported with getting a second card than in the past. That is important because it may mean that you need to cancel your current US Airways card and wait a bit before applying for another if you want to churn this card. In other words, it’s become a “slow churn” instead of one that you can just crank out over and over again. I’d love to hear recent experiences with this!
As long as they continue to give me a good chunk of bonus points for spending and category bonuses (as well as the other standard benefits) I am likely to hang on to this card for a while even with the $89 annual fee. I will probably drop it at some point so I can get it (and the sign-up bonus) again, but I’m going to at least keep it through the second year. I don’t like to establish a pattern of dumping everything at the one year mark, and the surprise spending bonuses are enough to keep me interested for another year.
Have you been receiving any targeted promotions for this card? What are you plans for the card after getting the sign-up bonus?