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TPG reader Chris asked me on Facebook:
“The US Airways Premier World MasterCard says my account must be open for miles not to expire. If I pay the annual fee, earn the bonus, and then cancel the card shortly thereafter, will I lose my miles?”
Wording on credit card applications and marketing material can be confusing, and I’m constantly getting questions like this one. Airline credit cards often say that as long as you have the card open, your miles won’t expire. Another common wording is that if you cancel your card, your miles are “up for expiration.” However, that does not mean that your miles will expire the minute you cancel your card.
TPG reader Chris is worried that after he gets the US Airways Premier World MasterCard, pays the $89 annual fee, and makes a purchase to earn the sign-up bonus of 40,000 Dividend Miles, he will lose the miles if he cancels the card.
Chris, don’t worry, because even if you cancel the card, your miles are still eligible for 18 months. However, my suggestion to you is to not cancel the card right away. Keep it open for at least six months to one year. Then you can call and see if they’ll waive the next year’s annual fee or give you bonus miles, as they often really want to retain you as a customer.
The US Airways Premier World Mastercard has a lot of ongoing perks, like a companion ticket (which is actually going away in 2015, but you may still be able to use it). So don’t cancel this card right away, as it happens to be one of the top cards on the market right now–I actually just got it myself.
Anyway, this card (along with the United MileagePlus Explorer card) uses verbage to try to make you think you will lose miles if you cancel, but you won’t. The miles you get from opening a co-branded airline credit card go into your personal frequent flyer account. Assuming your US Airways account is in good standing and you aren’t doing anything against the terms and conditions of the frequent flyer program, you won’t lose them.
Remember, there are lots of ways to keep your account active and prevent those miles from expiring at the 18 month mark, like just buying something from a shopping portal. You can find more information on keeping those miles from expiring here.
The standard sign-up offer for these co-branded cards is 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, so the current bonus is a significant step up. TPG values United miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so this 50,000-mile sign-up bonus gets you $750 in value.
- Special offer: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
- Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $100 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
- Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
- No foreign transaction fees
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Your miles don't expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn
- Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United-operated flight at the MileagePlus Standard Award level
- $95 annual fee