40,000 Miles After First Purchase With US Airways MasterCard

by on April 30, 2014 · 37 comments

in Barclays, US Airways

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The US Airways Mastercard has had a number of different sign-up bonuses within the last year- usually in the 30,000 to 40,000 range, but often the full  bonus required a balance transfer, which negated much of the value of the miles received since balance transfers come with a $10/3% transfer fee.

There will likely come a time when BarclayCard no longer offers this product, because US Airways will cease to exist as an airline when they completely merge with American Airlines and the Dividend Miles program is folded into the American Airlines AAdvantage program. BarclayCard.  When the programs merge, you most likely will be able to combine your US and AA miles, but I wouldn’t bank on that happening in the near future. US Airways 40k First Purchase
The Offer
Their current offer on the product is 40,000 miles after the first purchase and you pay the $89 annual fee. The miles are usually awarded in the billing cycle when you make the purchase, so they should post pretty quickly if you ask them to rush the card. US Airways miles are very valuable, though you can often purchase them directly from US Airways at ~1.9 cents a piece (or even as low as 1.1 cents via their occasional 100% Share Miles promotions). At 1.9 cents a piece (which I have personally taken done on many occasions), 40,000 miles is worth $760. Subtracting the annual fee and you’re looking at $671 in value without taking into consideration any of the other benefits:

1) Free checked bag for you and up to 4 companions on US Airways operated domestic flights
2) Yearly companion ticket for up to two guests to fly for $99 each (plus taxes and fees) on US Airways operated flights between the US and Canada.
3) 5,000 mile discount on US Airways awards
4) 10,000 Preferred-qualifying miles every calendar you spend $25,000 or more on purchases
5) Waived Award Processing Fees after $25,000 spent within a year: They are currently: $25 per domestic ticket; $35 per Mexico or Caribbean ticket; $50 per Hawaii or international ticket.
6) Zone 2 boarding
7) Preferred/First Class Check-in
8 ) 2 miles per dollar spent on US Airways purchases
9) A US Airways Club Day Pass that includes up to two guests

Worth It?
Clearly it depends how you value these perks and how much you can leverage them, but they can add up to significantly more than the $89 fee, which could make the card worth keeping- especially if you value the elite miles. They explicitly state that the elite miles will not count towards AAdvantage Elite Qualification, but that will change as the two frequent flyer programs become closer and closer to become one unified program (likely sometime in 2015, though I expect more information within the next couple months).

If you’ve had this card before you are likely not eligible for any of the sign-up bonuses per the T&C “Unless otherwise stated in the offer, these bonuses and /or awards are intended for persons who are not, and have not previously been, US Airways MasterCard Cardmembers”

Maximizing US Airways Miles
There are a lot of sweetspots in the US Airways award charts and as I wrote about yesterday, you can currently book British Airways awards without their steep fuel surcharge. I don’t expect this to last long since these fees are collected when redeeming for British Airways flights on all of their partners, but there could be a technical glitch between programs, because British Airways does not charge fuel surcharges on US Airways transatlantic flights, but they do for other oneworld partners like American and Finnair.

US Airways has amazing awards to Australia, like my recent 140,000 mile roundtrip first class award (it is only 1110,000 for business class and
See Also: Maximizing US Airways Awards see also this lengthy Flyertalk thread with tons of examples of maximized itineraries.

Better Offers?
There used to be offers that waived the annual fee, but per this Flyertalk thread there are no current links (to my knowledge). If you’ve got a better offer, feel free to share, but as for now I think this is a solid offer- especially since there is no spend requirement and the miles post quickly.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • KP

    Will the PQM and EQM stack with the Executive AA card and this one?

  • thepointsguy

    Potentially, but as of now the answer is No. Depends how they combine the programs and there are very few details on that right now

  • Peter K

    No one knows the specifics of the merger at this point. If you have both cards at this point (like I do), you will get the PQM/EQMs from both programs, but to separate FF accounts.

  • H

    The 5,000 discount: if A has the miles and the credit card, and the award be for pax B?

  • DM

    When I applied for this card last week (while it was advertised as a 50K bonus, but the extra 10K only comes if you take their bad balance transfer offer), the rush shipping charge was something like $29. If this card works like every other one I’ve had, the annual fee won’t be assessed until the end of the billing cycle, so you won’t get your miles any faster. The rush fee is not worth it, and you should only pay if for some strange reason you wanted to start spending on the card faster.

    Even if you’re not interested in US Air miles, IMO a good reason to get this card is to earn the bonus and wait for the miles to be folded into the AA program. When I applied for the Citi Platinum Select AA card (50K offer), I got denied because I already have the Citi Executive AA card (100K offer). Looks like Citi is clamping down on more than just the repeat 100K applications.

  • JCW

    At least for the flights I searched, you can’t use the points for Coach class. So seems somewhat useless for me.

  • thepointsguy

    You can absolutely use US miles for coach. Just note that almost all partners don’t show online so you need to find space on under saaver and then call US to book

  • TA

    There is a general consensus out there that if you apply for the Citi Platinum select AFTER the Executive they usually deny you the 2nd card. However if you go the other way and get the platinum first followed by the executive they are pretty lenient about it.
    I have both the gold and the platinum now . I got the gold first and then the platinum.I got 75k miles from both of them and they are considered different products. I Plan to get the executive in 2-3 months time, if the 100k offer is still out. a

  • Ryan

    Over the past several years, I’ve put all my efforts into collecting United Miles and have about 150K currently sitting in the bank…but, I’m thinking of venturing out! In terms of the 5K reduction for US flights….I just searched on and found fares BOS to HNL on US metal leaving Oct 24 and returning Nov 2nd at 17.5K a pop on US metal. This totals 35k. When calling up US to book would they then reduce my fare to 30K? The first purchase seems tempting..but do you think it’s worth snagging this card when US will no longer exist in a bit? I guess I just get nervous none of the associated “perks” will transfer over to AA….

  • Chance Bradford

    How much of a PITA is it to use US Air points to book on partners such as AA? If easy enough, this card is a no brainer.

  • thepointsguy

    AA awards show online, so very easy. Partners you need to call which comes with a $25 fee but considering US’ award levels are way lower than most other programs, it’s worth it in my opinion

  • pizzamd

    Is the 99 dollar companion for domestic only? Need to book a trip to brazil and us airways has many flights…

  • thepointsguy

    US and Canada only

  • Koa

    Does CDW benefit of Visa Signature card also apply for authorized user of my card who doesn’t live in US holding foreign driver license?Thanks

  • Dirk

    When applying for this, is there a risk of getting approved for a lower version of this product and only receiving 15,000 miles?

  • TIS

    The link you provided does not really have the “10,000 Preferred-qualifying milesevery calendar you spend $25,000 or more on purchases” benefit listed. Are you sure it is included if I apply now?

  • thepointsguy

    Yes it does- click on the FAQ/terms of the offer- it is listed

  • Martin

    IF you had this card before, say over 6 months ago, can you still apply and be approved for it? Has anyone lucked out on this?

  • Darla

    Is there a business card that I can apply for or can I have 2 personal cards Thanks

  • Wildcat1

    These elite miles would help you with status across OneWorld though right TPG ?

  • Chance Bradford

    Got the card using your link big boy — Now I just gotta find out how to use it! :)

  • SeaBee3

    The biggest problem with the new requirement that the annual fee be paid first is that the miles no longer post quickly. Since annual fees are normally assessed at the end of the statement and the billing cycle could be 3 – 4 weeks for the first one, you will not see the miles post for at least 4 weeks (because of the requirement to first pay the annual fee).

  • Riddle350

    Can anyone clarify US rewards for me? The site says 25K is what it will take for off peak(sep2014) travel to the Caribbean but when using the flight search it shows 45K+ needed for round trip during that time. Is this a quirk in the website or is the reward chart worded poorly?

  • TW

    I’m confused, did the companion tickets change? I was under the impression that the companion ticket could be used for one guest twice a year before? Now the site shows it’s for up to two guests only once a year. Could it still be used like before, for one guest but for two separate trips?

  • Lw

    Does us flights include Carribean flights? Can companion tickets be used for Carribean flights. Was presented to us on flight to sign up but didn’t add up. Didn’t seen like would be enough points to fly back next year on points? Family of 4 was said to be able to fly back with companion tickets to Carribean ?

  • Doug

    I had this card back in 2008 and 2009 and the short answer is yes. When I applied online, I was rejected. When I called them up and asked why I was rejected, they said it was because I had it in the past (twice). I asked them to reconsider my application based on the fact that A) it was nearly 5 years ago, B) I just got an Arrivals Card the month before, and C) I have a very good credit score. The guy asked my permission to check my credit score (which I gave him) and then came back a few minutes later and said I was approved with the full 40,000 point bonus offer. I just received and activated my card today . . .

  • danie

    When I go to book can I book for two people, even if only one person has the card and 40,000 points? And if I can book for two people would it subtract the 40,000 and then we pay the difference?

  • Oldmanbob

    Just got notice in mail the other day that companion cert and free annual club pass and first class check in are discontinued as of end of 2014.

  • Mark

    If I apply for the US airways card now, will I still be eligible to apply for any AA cards after the companies are fully merged together next year? Or will this card eventually be rolled into one of the AA cards?

  • Becky

    I want to travel to Rome Italy and return to Columbus Ohio from a different city. Can I do this with my frequent player miles? Also, can I use the companion certificate for 99 dollars for this trip?

  • Jon

    Can I book a flight with the 40,000 bonus miles and buy cpmpanion pass for 99 with that?

  • djrobsd

    NO. The companion pass clearly states the first ticket must be $250 BEFORE taxes and fees to qualify for the $99 companion fare.

  • David

    Well this stinks, I got the card in January when it was 25,000 miles after the paid fee + some balance transfer miles. Now it is 40k just by paying the fee?

  • BB

    It’s never a great deal to pay for “benefits” on a credit card, but as the author mentions, I guess it’s how you value the benefits and how often you use them. Keep in mind that the slick announcement on the plane that you’ve already qualified for a free Caribean flight with your 40K points for signing up isn’t true. You can’t even get domestic coach flights for 40K points in their awards system to relatively popular destinations if you travel during “normal” times, and you have to pay for the privelege of using the points, which by the way, you’ve already paid for. Amex Blue Cash has always generated a much higher return for me than any airline reward card could; maybe not for others…

  • btheb

    just got this card and my 40,000 miles. Tried to book a one way for 27,500 miles. Website directed me to call customer service. They informed me that a one way ticket will be charged the same as a round trip. In other words 55000 miles. I was informed I could buy the extra miles at a mere $30/thousand. Meaning the cost of the trip one way would be $450 plus the $89 dollar annual fee. Are you kidding me? I got an Alaska Air card for $75. and a one way flight same destination was

  • Krissy

    Will I still be able to book flights on Oneworld partner airlines after the switch in 2015? I can’t find actual flight redemption amounts online (they direct you to call), but it sounds like it’s possible.

    Looking to book a roundtrip Bangkok > Bali in Summer 2015, and it looks like that will fit within the award redemption rates, based on the current redemption chart.

  • EJ

    Question about the “Their current offer on the product is 40,000 miles after the first purchase and you pay the $89 annual fee”- I got my card a couple weeks ago, made my first purchase, and just got my first statement today – however can’t figure out how to pay the annual fee now so I can get my points ASAP – there is no provision on the billing statement, and I called the folks at Barclaycard and they don’t seem to know. Do I need to wait for something else? Thanks for any info you can provide…

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