US Airways Card Post-Merger Plan Emerging

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I love a side of miles and points ‘gossip’ with my morning coffee, and this time I got two doses, both times about the The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard.  This card is really making a big push right now, as just last week we learned the 10k anniversary miles will continue as AA miles after the merger for those who have that benefit, we started to see new targeted 50,000 mile offers with no minimum spending requirement, and now we are talking about the card yet again.

The big new news today was via The Points Guy as his US Airways MasterCard account was targeted with an invitation to become a new AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite MasterCard issued by Barclaycard.  They are only upgrading accounts to this new product, and not opening up the product to new applicants (you know, being an American Airlines branded card and all), but this will be a good option for some frequent American/US Airways travelers.

The benefits of the AAdvantage Aviator Silver card are said to be:

  • 3x miles on US Airways and American purchases
  • 2x miles on hotels and car rentals, 1x on other purchases
  • 10% of redeemed miles back annually, up to 10k
  • First checked bag free for you and up to 8 traveling companions (I love it when companies aren’t stingy about how many people the free checked bag applies to!)
  • Companion certificate each year for two guests at $99 each with $30,000 in purchases by each anniversary date (ouch!)
  • 5,000 elite qualifying miles for each $20,000 in annual purchases (up to 10,000 maximum EQMs per year)

The card will come with a $195 annual fee beginning in 2015, and you can read full details at The Points Guy.  He also shares that AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard will be the base level card that most US Airways MasterCard holders are likely to transition to after US Airways and American merge in 2015.

The Red version of the card is said to come with benefits that include:

  • 2x miles on US Airways and American purchases, 1x on other purchases
  • 10% of redeemed miles back, up to 10k miles annually
  • Those that had the 10k anniversary miles with the US Airways card will get to keep them
  • First checked bag free, up to 4 traveling companions
  • $89 annual fee

It is great to get a clearer idea of what will happen to the the US Airways MasterCard going forward, but what stands out to me the most in all of this is how big of a push US Airways is making to get and keep American Airlines customers before that window closes.  The base level $89 annual fee card issued by Barclaycard will have the 10% of redeemed miles back perk like some of the Citi AA cards and the 10k anniversary miles perk for some accounts that already had that perk.  That combo will make it impossible (aka stupid) to get rid of the card as long as they keep those perks going.  Assuming you max out the 10% of redeemed miles benefit and are eligible for the 10k anniversary miles, that is the equivalent of getting 20,0000 American Airlines miles each year for the $89 annual fee, which is a very solid deal at less than 1/2 a cent per mile, not taking into account all the other perks of the card.

Despite what the landing page says, I have also now heard a couple of recent reports of non-elite US Airways travelers who were able to get the version of the card listed here that includes the 10,000 anniversary miles!

In the middle of all of this I got a mailer for my US Airways MasterCard (that hasn’t been getting much love in my wallet recently) for 5,000 bonus miles for $500 in spending in November, December, and January, for a total of $1,500.  That will mean a total of 6,500 miles for $1,500 in spending, and that is on top of a promo my account was targeted for that is awarding me 3x point on dining, among other things.  Counting both promos, this means I am earning up to 9x on some purchases on that card this fall.  That kind of promo stacking really makes rewards add up in a huge hurry!

Bonus US Airways Miles

On that targeted bonus mailer, it says “Make Your US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard the only card for everyday spending.”

Well, as a miles maximizer/addict, that will never happen, but I very much appreciate the effort that Barclaycard is making to get us in the habit of using the card now, and making it a very attractive card to keep after the merger.

I have no clue what kind of rabbits are up Barclaycard’s sleeve as the window to get new US Airways MasterCard customers closes, and the transition to American occurs, but I sure am enjoying with they have to offer so far!  My best advice is stay very much on the lookout for mail coming from Barclaycard about the US Airways MasterCard as you may end up with targeted offers to either use your card more, or get a new card with an increased bonus.

No matter what, I would not want to miss the opportunity to get the US Airways MasterCard at some point before it’s too late, as it is clear it is a product that Barclaycard is not just going to “forget about” after 2014.

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  1. We got the same offer but ours was a little sweeter with 15k bonus miles for spending $500 each month in Oct, Nov & Dec. Not hard to do with two new licensed drivers and a higher car insurance bill!

  2. My husband just got an offer of 15K bonus miles on his US airways card if he spends 500 a month for Nov-Jan – which is great since he opened the card a year ago and never got that elusive offer. We can definitely get $1500 of spend on that card to get an extra 15K miles – that’s a no brainer.

  3. Any idea whether the 10% of redeemed miles back (up to 10k miles/year) is incremental to those received as benefits of the Citi AA card? Wondering whether they monitor this at the FF account level or the card level. My guess is the former, because despite having several Citi AA cards, I seem to be capped at 10k miles per year.

  4. @Matt B – that was my first question as well. If it isn’t incremental (you only get the 10% once regardless of how many cards you have from any issuer), it sounds like the Barclays card may be the keeper now instead of the Citi card. However I have had good luck getting the annual fee waived with Citi – not as much with Barclay though – gotta throw that into the calculus too.

  5. MP, I don’t have the card and have received a couple offers in the mail for 50,000 miles as a sign up bonus, instead of the usual 40,000. Would it make sense to get it now or to wait?

    • Marie, personally I would jump at 50k miles for the card. At the very least I would note when the ending date for that offer is and make sure to pull the trigger before then if nothing better comes along. I can’t imagine it would go higher than 50k with no spending requirement, but never say never I guess.

  6. CLP, very untrue. I indeed shared the anniversary miles offer as long as it was the highest offer. In fact, I talk about it in detail dating all the way back to when I got it in 2011. The link is even still there in that post, although it obviously (sadly) no longer works. The only working offer for the anniversary miles that I know of now is for US Airways elite members, though you can certainly give that a try….
    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credit-card-programs/1539492-usairways-cc-special-offer-40k-10k-bonus-af-not-waived.html
    Elizabeth, awesome! I got the 15k offer the first year I had the card, but haven’t seen it since that I can remember. Well done!
    Nadine, very cool!
    Matt, I don’t know for sure yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was one per AA account, but too early to say for sure.

  7. You are going to get 10% back from either the AA card, or the US card, but not both. The rebated miles come from AA straight to your AA account, based on your redeemed miles, unrelated to your level of spend on any particular cc.
    AA wants to keep you carrying an AA branded card to increase your loyalty to AA. But having you carrying two different AA branded cards, rather than one, and splitting your spend between them, wouldn’t increase the odds of that. No way they are giving you 20,000 free miles for having 2 cards.
    For myself, as long as it’s still possible to get 40K to 50K miles by applying for new ccs, with no first year fee, I won’t find 10K miles for $89 all that appealing.
    Especially with AA’s new award scheme where one way Anytime FC awards price in the multiple Hundreds of Thousands. At 10K a year, it takes 6 years to acquire enough miles for a r/t Saver Economy award to Europe. And by that time the price will either have doubled, or Saver awards may not even exist anymore.

  8. Has anyone had luck getting a second personal US Airways card with Barclays recently?

    I’d like to get the 50K mile card, but I have an existing card (as does my wife).

  9. I got an offer in my email from Barclays. Spend $750 in November, December and January and get 15,000 miles. Easy! Hope my husband gets the same.

  10. So an extra $100 per year annual fee but only a very modest uptick in benefits unless you’re a big spender–especially in the bonus catergories. I’ll pass on the silver.

  11. @Mommy Points, a recurring 10,000 point anniversary bonus would go a long way towards convincing future Aadvantage holders to keep their Barclays cards…how likely might this be, in your opinion?

    • Win, last week it was announced that the benefit would continue for the cardholders that have that benefit, so if you have it now you will have it after the merger in the form of 10k American anniversary miles.

      • @Mommy Points, thanks you for the quick response; my question should have been clearer – for those without the benefit, what is the likelihood that Barclays offers the recurring 10,0000 point bonus to improve retention? They seem to be going all out to increase their installed base…

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