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TPG reader Bjorn tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy—”What will happen to the US Airways Companion tickets after the merger? My wife and I still have one each.”

In just a couple months, US Airways and American Airlines will finally merge their frequent flyer programs. This step has a lot of implications for both programs, as well as their co-branded credit cards.

You currently get a $99 companion ticket with the US Airways Premier World MasterCard from Barclays. This card will soon convert into the AAdvantage Aviator Red card, which will no longer offer a companion ticket, but each existing companion ticket will be valid until the date specified on it. You will get other perks to make up for it, like up to 10,000 miles rebated to your account each year, which I think is pretty valuable.

The Silver Aviator card-coming soon!
The Silver Aviator card-coming soon!

Barclays will also offer some targeted accounts the option to upgrade to the AAdvantage Aviator Silver card. I’ve already been pre-selected for the Aviator Silver card, and starting this month I’ll be able to use the card benefits, although I won’t have the physical card until the programs merge.

The Silver card does still offer two $99 companion tickets (similar to the ones offered now) when you spend $30,000 annually. The card has an annual fee of $195, but there are many more perks like 3x miles per dollar spent on all US Airways and American Airlines purchases (which is better than what’s currently offered by any of the Citi AAdvantage cards).

The Silver card also comes with the 10,000 mile annual reimbursement, which is worth about $170-180 to me, as I value AAdvantage miles at 1.7-1.8 cents apiece. That alone mostly takes care of the $195 annual fee. One final perk I love about the Silver card is that you can earn elite qualifying miles: you get 5,000 EQMs for $20,000 in spending, another 5,000 EQMs for hitting $40,000 in spending annually. I stack those with the EQMs I get from my Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, and I’m well on my way to re-qualifying for AA Executive Platinum status.

Get this card now and upgrade to the Silver card later
Get the US Airways MasterCard now and upgrade to the Silver card later.

Keep in mind that in order to get either of the Aviator cards, you have to first apply for the US Airways card, and you’ll still get that companion ticket if you do so before the card changes. Down the line, you can then upgrade to the Silver card.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®

 

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More Things to Know
  • For a limited time, earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases.1
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
  • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back — up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.24% - 24.24%* (Variable)
Annual Fee
$95, waived for first 12 months*
Balance Transfer Fee
3.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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