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US Airways MasterCard Benefits Changing In 2015

by on May 19, 2014 · 58 comments

in Barclays, Credit Cards, US Airways

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I recently wrote about the signup bonus of 40,000 Dividend Miles for the US Airways Premier World MasterCard, encouraging readers to sign up before the card becomes obsolete after US Airways and American Airlines complete their merger.  Now there’s added incentive to do so, as TPG reader Oldmanbob and twitter follower Ahmad sent me tips that certain card benefits will be changing in 2015.

As part of the merger settlement - American must divest slots at DCA and LGA.

US Airways MasterCard benefits, they are a-changing.

The US Airways MasterCard (from Barclaycard) presently comes with 40,000 Dividend Miles after first purchase, setting it apart from many other credit card offers that require thousands of dollars of spending to earn bonuses. Though the card carries an $89 annual fee that is not waived the first year, it offers an impressive array of perks and benefits, including free checked bags, a yearly $99 companion pass (good for up to two guests), discounts on US Airways award redemptions and more.

The card itself will transition into the American Airlines AAdvantage MasterCard from Barclaycard, and while your account may survive into the new year, some of the existing benefits will not. As of 2015, the following benefits will no longer be available:

  • Annual $99 companion pass
  • First Class check-in
  • Free annual club pass and $75 discount toward US Airways Club membership
  • 5,000 mile rebate for US Airways award redemptions
  • 10,000 Preferred Qualifying Miles after $25,000 in spending on eligible purchases

The news isn’t all bad, as some new benefits will be introduced:

  • 10% discount on award redemptions
  • 25% off in-flight purchases
  • Annual $100 flight discount after $30,000 in spending on eligible purchases
  • One-way and upgrade redemptions
The Companion Pass will be history in 2015, but there is hope!

The Companion Pass will be history in 2015, but there is hope!

On the whole, these changes don’t appear to be devastating. The 5,000 mile rebate on award redemptions is more or less offset by the new 10% discount, and could even be an improvement when redeeming for more expensive reward flights. The 10,000 Preferred Qualifying Miles can’t be applied to an American AAdvantage account, so unless those miles were going to put you over an earning threshold for elite status, you won’t miss them. Losing First Class check-in and the free annual club pass stings a little, but the ability to (finally!) use Dividend Miles for one way redemptions and upgrades is a massive improvement.

The most disappointing change is the loss of the annual $99 companion pass, which represents huge potential savings when used to its full capability. Fortunately, those who sign up for the card soon will still receive the companion certificate (within 6-8 weeks of first purchase), and will have plenty of time to use it before the benefit expires at the end of the year.

Ultimately, if you don’t already have this card and are thinking about applying, do so sooner rather than later to maximize your ability to use the companion pass before the benefits change.

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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  • disqus_HOgdQuoqe8

    I currently get 10,000 miles on the card anniversary. Any ideas if that will still hold? TIA

  • Miles

    TPG, where did you see/hear the 5000 mile discount is being discontinued? It’s not in the list of benefits explicitly being discontinued, at least that I can see.

  • Guest

    I will definitely miss the companion passes. I have already redeemed my 2014 companion passes to book a trip for this fall. Round trip for 3 people came out to be ~$500 ($300 for my ticket + $99 x 2 for two companions), so I saved around $400 which more than made up for the $89 annual fee. I would have loved to keep using the companion pass program annually.

    Brian – I wonder if this “American Airlines AAdvantage MasterCard” will be considered a new product, i.e. if I close my current US Airways Premier World MasterCard in 2013 before its converted over, if I can then apply for the American Airlines AAdvantage MasterCard in 2015 (that is, if they will issue to new customers).

  • http://batman.com Bruce Wayne

    I will definitely miss the companion passes. I have already redeemed my 2014 companion passes to book a trip for this fall. Round trip for 3 people came out to be ~$500 ($300 for my ticket + $99 x 2 for two companions), so I saved around $400 which more than made up for the $89 annual fee. I would have loved to keep using the companion pass program annually.

  • PittDaddy

    I just received this card last month. My main reason for getting the card was the 1st class check in (I live in Philadelphia so this is a big perk with US Airways) and free bags. The $99 companion fares are important as well. It looks like this card will be out the door in 2015.

  • Oldmanbob

    TPG.. the card I received listing changes does mention reward travel for 5k less, but it is listed under “enjoy exclusive benefits” .. it is not listed on the page that says “discontinued in 2015″. All other d/c benefits you list seem to be on target with the mailer I received from Barclays US Air card.

  • AndrewAbroad

    So you’ll have to have the US Airways MC to be able to book one-way tickets? That is a terrible benefit considering it should just be part of the program.

  • PF1

    Can the companion pass be used on AA operated codeshare?

  • Chris Hampson

    Surely this is worth getting just for the eventual merger of AAdvantage and Dividend miles?

  • Jared

    Does the 5,000 mile discount work each way? Any reason you cant sign up for this card and the citi aadvantage card?

  • Miles

    Right now, you can only book round trips.

  • Drew

    My US Airways card is still issued by Bank of America. Does anyone know if that will change? I must part of a very select few that still has an account at BofA.

  • LAKnight

    Nope… Not on codeshare

  • LAKnight

    I will keep this US Airways MasterCard until end of this year… I guess…

    I see this card will have no different than the Citi AAdvantage Card but $6 cheaper in terms of annual fee. Sad to see the companion pass will be discontinued. :(

  • thepointsguy

    Probably not since the card will become Citi AA and they don’t do anniversary bonuses.. but here’s to hoping!

  • thepointsguy

    I think so, though I would say that US miles are more valuable than AA at this point, but having one large balance down the road could be beneficial for people trying to redeem for big awards

  • thepointsguy

    Agree… but sadly this is what mergers are all about- less options for consumers in the end

  • thepointsguy

    I’m sure it will change because Citi will become the sole issuer of AA cards. My guess is that Bank of America will try to convert it into a Travel Rewards card when the US Airways program ceases to exist in 2015

  • thepointsguy

    Roundtrip only

  • thepointsguy

    Nope..US operated only

  • thepointsguy

    No- what they are saying is that once the US Airways program becomes AAdvantage you will be able to book one-way awards

  • thepointsguy

    AA offers discounted awards on select routes- I bet that is what they’re saying you’ll get 2015 onward

  • thepointsguy

    In 2015 when Dividend Miles does not exist, your US Airways card will become a Citi AA card, which does not have the 5,000 discount on all awards- only on select rotating routes. So technically it isn’t gone, but it will be much more limited

  • Drew

    Gracias Brian

  • Stratos

    Brian, you mentioned in a couple of replies here that the card will become Citi AA. That makes no sense to me; the frequent flier programs are going to merge, not the financial institutions backing the cards! By having the card I am a Barclays customer, and I cannot see how because the Dividend Miles program will be discontinued that will turn me into a Citi customer…

    In any event, the 10k anniversary bonus is the most important feature for me. This year it posted on Jan. 10, so hopefully it will post one more time before the card goes away!

  • Evan

    The Barclaycard will NOT become a Citi card nor will Citi become the sole provider of AA cards. You are providing miss information in your comments Brian.

  • thepointsguy

    I will update- the contract goes through 2017 but Barclaycard won’t be issuing new AA cards after 2015 http://thepointsguy.com/2014/01/barclaycard-credit-card-contract-with-us-airways-and-american-extended-through-2017/

  • thepointsguy

    You’re right- existing cards will remain Baraycard until at least 2017.. Will clarify http://thepointsguy.com/2014/01/barclaycard-credit-card-contract-with-us-airways-and-american-extended-through-2017/

  • Ryan

    For me…this benefit will be the decision point. I’ll probably be cancelling the card if this benefit does go away…

  • trav

    After reading the article and then the comments, I’m trying to understand what will be happening to existing cardholders. If I have the US Airways Barclays card right now, and that relationship with Barclays will be continuing until 2017, what does that mean for card benefits if I hang on to the card until 2017? Does that mean that it will remain a Barclays US Airways card, but it will have the modified benefits to match what the Citi AA card will have?

  • Edward Russell

    My companion pass is issued each August. Will I receive my 2014-2015 companion pass this year? If so, will it only be valid through the end of 2014? Thanks!

  • UMA

    I want a new points card. I am considering this one US Airways Premier Wolrd MasterCard) because you wrote about it OR the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard?
    I don’t travel for work, only for pleasure. I also am not loyal to one specific airline, I also only travel once a year overseas. Most of my travel is domestic, but I am sure that if I was able to earn enough points to do more overseas, I would. Thoughts?

    ~ Thanks, Uma

  • g

    No – it will remain Barclay

  • ChesterSprings

    Agreed. Also live in Philly and since US Air never has good seats available with miles, the companion ticket was the best part.

  • Komal

    Thanks, Brian, very helpful. If I use the companion pass on a USAir flight, can I book the flight miles to my AAdvantage account?

  • ChesterSprings

    Yes you will receive it and no it will not expire until 12 months after issued. Look at the pic above in the article.

  • Uma

    Dear Chester,

    I see you have replied to a few posts. Could you read my question?

    “I want a new points card. I am considering this one US Airways Premier Wolrd MasterCard) because you wrote about it OR the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard?I don’t travel for work, only for pleasure. I also am not loyal to one specific airline, I also only travel once a year overseas. Most of my travel is domestic, but I am sure that if I was able to earn enough points to do more overseas, I would. Thoughts?”

  • ChesterSprings

    I got both earlier this year and think they work well together. I use the Arrival Card for all of my bills and accumulate points that can be cashed in for statement credit for travel expenses. I also got the US Airways card because I live near their hub in Philly and the benefits of the companion ticket, zone 2 seating, free checked bags, etc were worth it. I don’t travel too much and don’t do the big high point international trips that a lot of the posters around here do. I use my miles mostly for domestic flights and I have noticed that is can be hard to find a decent US Airways flight for the cheapest miles bucket so primarily use the Arrival but have the US Airways card for buying flights and taking advantage of whatever features are left after the merger.

  • yourPFpro

    Go Arrival, sounds like you’re new so that card’s points are a lot easier to use/redeem.

  • yourPFpro

    Sorry, how did you use two companion passes for one paid ticket?

  • Uma

    Thank you! I have a southwest card, but I’m ready for something else.

  • Jkgca

    I have had a US airways Barclay for a few months. I received a mailing stating that in 2015 the card will become an American Advantage card as you have been saying. My question is, could I cancel this card before that occurs and then sign up for the American Advantage card a few months later and get a new sign up bonus? If so, will they notify us in advance when this will occur so I can cancel in time?
    Thanks in advance…

  • Oldmanbob

    Hey TPG.. one more thought and please correct me if I am mistaken, but before anyone gets their last CC (comp cert) and then plans to immediately cancel the card, use caution. If I remember correctly, you must remain as an active card member in order to use the CC; thus if they cancel after receiving the CC but before they actually use it, it will likely have become invalid. With these discontinued benefits, a higher number of card cancellations are likely, but one has to make sure they use all benefits entitled too before they cancel.

  • http://batman.com Bruce Wayne

    Sorry I meant I used 1 Companion Certificate which can be redeemed for 2 $99 companion tickets. So I paid full price ($300) round trip and then 2 people came with me for $99 each.

    Here’s the blurb from US Airways: Companion Certificate: The Primary cardmember is eligible to receive one companion certificate valid for up to two $99 companion tickets.

  • Rick Van Frank

    In 2015 the Barclay card will remain a Barclay card. It will just be re-branded Barclay’s Aadvantage card and will pretty much have the same benefits of the Citi Aadvantage card. All the US Airways card benefits ($99 companion pass, annual lounge pass, 1st class check-in and 10000 PQM with 25K in spend) will sadly be gone. IT WILL NOT be converted into a Citi Aadvantage card. This information comes directly from information provided to me by Barclay’s.
    So with that said, you can apply for a Citi Aadvantage card and receive another sign-up bonus. In fact, if Barclay’s in 2015 fails to give me the 10000 annual bonus miles I was promised when I signed up for the card three tears ago, I will cancel and apply for the Citi Aadvantage card. Although the annual fee for the Barclay’s card is $6 less per year than the Citi card, Citi is usually willing to waive the annual fee.

  • Andy

    Had been looking at this card for the CP, now not so sure. If I apply now, when will I lose the ability to use the CP? 1 year from issue date (6-8 weeks after getting approved)?

  • Lori Angstadt

    TPG–I’ve had the basic USAirwaysbiz card from Barclaycard since 2008, and just learned of the benefits of the Premier card and why I should be using that one, especially since it’s only $10 more annual fee. Can I simply upgrade to this card if approved? Or must I apply, and then transfer my balance? Do the points transfer?

  • Heather

    Since Us Airways is merging with American does that mean they are no longer part of the star alliance and any US Airways points cannot be used to buy a ticket with those partners?

  • Zoomer

    Can you tell if the business version of this card will also lose the 10K preferred miles? Without the 10K preferred miles to me I will just go back to my Capitol One card that gives me 2%

  • jtsj16

    That is correct. They are now part of OneWorld.

  • P Murthy

    I had this card before. If I want it now should I first call Barclays and check with them if I would get the 40,000 bonus miles?

  • Rltycheck1

    I carried two of the cards for the companion pass and the 10k Elite miles (I get top status anyway, but it makes the race easier to win for those who charge heavy). There’s no incentive to carry 2 now and as an elite, the free bag and first class were a moot point anyway. I’m now trying to look post-merger to determine of the $400 annual fee on the AA card is worth the effort. That’s a big jump from $89, for what appear to be similar benefits…

  • Brando

    So once you get the 40,000 miles, can that be used on AA also or just US Air flights? I know right now any miles I earn on US transfer over to my AA account.

  • Han

    Do I need to pay with the card to receive the benefits (first-class check-in, priority boarding, free checked bag)? Thx!

  • claireb

    i also live in the Philadelphia area and got the card when I traveled often with my old job. I am really upset about the removal of the companion certificate. I use mine every year and was the reason I got the card and flew USAirways. My husband is canceling his card for this very reason. We will probably end up taking US Airways a lot less as a result. One thing that I think is an absolute slap in the face to loyal members is the removal of first class check in. Come on people…it is a little thing but is not costing you any money. Why can it not be kept? I understand needing to make other changes for cost reasons but I do not understand the reasoning on this one. I do enjoy the one free checked bag per person and I hope I am able to use the other modifications for it to make sense to keep this card.

  • Mia

    Hi, I know it is very late, but I just realized I need a credit card like this and considering this card. Does it means if I get a card now, I wont be able to use the $99 companion fares for a trip next year, even if I just got it in November? I am also wondering is the free bag benefit apply to every time I travel with US airway or just the first time? Thanks!

  • Rick Van Frank

    For those who have the US Airways Master Card that offers the 10,000 annual bonus miles, I received an e-mail from Barclay today confirming that the 10,000 annual bonus miles feature will remain after US Airways and American complete their merger in 2015. Once the merger is completed the 10,000 annual bonus miles will be Aadvantage miles. The e-mail also confirmed that starting now American Airlines purchases on the US Airways Master Card will earn double miles.

  • Dorothy

    I am 81 years old and standing in line for 1/2 to an hour to check in is difficult! I got this card for the first class check in. Do not understand why this is being discontinued!! Does not cost the airline a penny! I will be done with the card if this is not available.

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