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Should I Get a US Airways or American Airlines Credit Card?

by on April 6, 2014 · 22 comments

in American, Barclays, Citi, Credit Cards, Sunday Reader Questions, US Airways, Video Blog Post

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TPG reader Mike needs a new credit card. He’s a US Airways flyer, but is thinking ahead to the merger with American. Here’s his question:

“Wondering if you would post about which credit card to get (US Airways or American). I have lot of upcoming travel and typically fly US Airways up and down the east coast. Does it make more sense to get an American credit card since US Airways will be migrating over to their loyaltu program? I don’t want to get the US Airways card and then find out it’s obsolete in a few months. Either way it sounds like I should wait until they combine.”

Though their merger has been underway for a while and flyers on both American and US Airways can earn/redeem miles on both airlines and US Airways recently joined Oneworld, at present, US Airways and American are operating their frequent flyer programs completely separately, and could do so well into 2015. So while that’s the case, my simple advice would be to get both cards now so that you can bank two sign-up bonuses that will then become one large mileage balance when the carriers’ two programs finally merge.

The American US Airways news is only the latest in a string of high-profile airline mergers.

The airlines are merging, but their mileage programs will remain separate for some time yet.

If you’re only going to get one card, though, make it the US Airways Mastercard. Issued by Barclaycard (which will continue to issue it for some time), the sign-up bonus is good at 40,000 miles with your first purchase, the annual companion ticket can be valuable, the annual fee of $89 is reasonable – and is waived the first year on this offer of 30,000 miles with first purchase and 10,000 bonus anniversary miles – and you get 10,000 Preferred-qualifying miles when you spend $25,000 per calendar year. Barclaycard will continue accepting applications for this card for a while, and though the card will remain in existence after that, chances are eventually the US Airways card and miles will be folded into AAdvantage and the Citi cards will be the only choices – that’s probably sometime in 2017, but it never hurts to have a long-term strategy in place, and if you’re flying US Airways mostly, then it’s a great choice.

My current top pick for an American Airlines co-branded credit card is the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard thanks to its currently historically high bonus of 100,000 miles when you spend $10,000 in 3 months. The card also confers Admirals Club membership on cardholders and allows you to earn 10,000 elite-qualifying miles when you spend $40,000 in a calendar year. It’s also got some other great benefits like access to reduced-mileage awards. However, it has an annual fee of $450 (not waived the first year), so that’s a big consideration.

In terms of that elite-mileage earning benefit, you have to spend a lot more on the Citi card for AA EQM’s. That being said, if you want a card with a huge up-front sign-up bonus and want the extra elite-style perks it gives you, you might still go for the Citi card and not mind paying that annual fee.

If I were you, though, I’d consider getting both cards – after all, between the two of them, the minimum spending requirement is $10,000 – so it’s kind of like getting two cards with a a $5,000 minimum spending requirement each. The greatest advantage of getting both cards – as long as you have good credit and will be responsible about paying your bills each month – is that you’ll have a much bigger mileage balance and can travel more and enjoy more benefits when you do!

Have other questions? Let me know by messaging me on Facebooktweeting me or emailing me at [email protected]

And see these related posts:

Should I Get the Barclaycard US Airways Mastercard in Anticipation of the Merger?

A Rundown of Things To Come With the Post-Merger American Airlines

How To Prepare for a US Airways American Airlines Merger

Maximizing a Potential US Airways American Airlines Merger

American Chooses Citi As Post-Merger Credit Card Partner

Barclaycard Contract With US Airways and American Extended Through 2017

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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  • Tom E

    Brian, I didn’t think that the 10% award mileage credit applied to the Executive. Could you please double check on this.

  • heather

    Are you sure the $89 is waived for the first year on the US Airways card?

  • jbatt

    Yes, I believe you are incorrect about the 10% award mileage credit. It certainly should be the case but I have carefully read the terms of my card and nowhere does it mention that. That is why I am putting that card to rest after I earned the bonus miles. AA needs to reconsider and include that as a benefit.

  • Flying Penguin

    I believe the $89 is only waived for the 30,000 point sign-up bonus. They advertise it as “up tp 40K” because the last 10K comes only if you do a balance transfer of 10K. Unless it has changed recently, the 40,000 points with first purchase (with 10K more possible with balance transfer so it’s advertised as a 50K offer) does NOT waive the $89 fee.

  • cthej

    No free bags with the Barclay’s US Airways card. AA Citi Card has free bags.

  • DewittBBenn

    They advertise it as “up tp 40K” because the last 10K comes only if you do a balance transfer of 10K. http://qr.net/sz6j

  • Mike Jeske

    The terms and conditions for the $89 card do not say the annual fee is waived for the first year. Any way to confirm that the annual fee is waived?

  • John D

    Yes. I’ve had the US card for 3 years. First year was waived

  • John D.

    It’s my third year with card. First year was waived. Now I have the US Air card and AA executive card.

  • Juno

    You have to click on the right offer links. The standard offer is 30k plus 10k from balance transfer… But there is an offer, which I used, that offers 40k after first purchase and 10k for balance transfer. However the $89 first yr is not waived for that card.

  • http://travelwithgrant.com/ Grant

    You are both right. The Citi Exec Credit Card does not offer the 10% rebate on miles redeemed. I asked the Citi Rep and he verified with others that there is no rebate for this card. Some other AA cards offer this feature, but not the Citi Exec Credit Card.

  • joeypore

    I wonder why this is the case…
    Seems weird that they would keep a great feature like the 10% rebate from their top-tier card…

  • SeaBee3

    Not on the one mentioned in the post. Go to the card application to see. There are different links available, this one does not offer the annual fee waiver

  • jbatt

    You are absolutely correct. Having to spend $10,000. and not getting a feature that is offered on their other cards??

  • Tony

    Just saw today in card account a pop up that there is now a free checked bag for being US airways card holder (domestic only). I believe it said starting april 30th.

  • dbldog

    Sorry but since this was put up on the 6th trying to apply on line they tell me that the offer has expired: newbie so be kind. My current top pick for an American Airlines co-branded credit card is the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard thanks to its currently historically high bonus of 100,000 miles when you spend $10,000 in 3 months. The card also confers Admirals Club membership on cardholders and allows you to earn 10,000 elite-qualifying miles when you spend $40,000 in a calendar year. It’s also got some other great benefits like access toreduced-mileage awards. However, it has an annual fee of $450 (not waived the first year), so that’s a big consideration.

  • dbldog

    Sorry, but I tried to apply on line for the 100k bonus mile Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard and was told that the offer was no longer valid: I’m wondering if I’m using an old link but, have been unable to find a different on. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated (be kind I’m a newbie at this milage game) My current top pick for an American Airlines co-branded credit card is the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard thanks to its currently historically high bonus of 100,000 miles when you spend $10,000 in 3 months. The card also confers Admirals Club membership on cardholders and allows you to earn 10,000 elite-qualifying miles when you spend $40,000 in a calendar year. It’s also got some other great benefits like access toreduced-mileage awards. However, it has an annual fee of $450 (not waived the first year), so that’s a big consideration.

  • http://www.CheersandGears.com Oldsmoboi

    The F/As on US Airways are pushing the barclay card super hard lately… harder than they normally do.

  • cthej

    Yes, Tony, I opened up my email today to find an announcement of the same thing! Yes, free bags start with the Barclay Card MC on April 30th. Nice to get that perk.

  • briangarr

    Can the Companion Ticket from the US Airways Barclaycard be used for AA flights?

  • joan

    fyi, the companion fare deal is disappearing after 2014. I received the notice within the last 30 days,

  • rudy

    AA and US points will merge in 2015. It’s on both of their sites. I have the xiti AA platinum card and just got an offer for 50k dividend miles with US with their credit card. So I’m going to sign up for that one and by next year that should be a nice lump of points for me to add to my AA miles.

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