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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.
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
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.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards