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The US Airways Mastercard has had a number of different sign-up bonuses within the last year- usually in the 30,000 to 40,000 range, but often the full bonus required a balance transfer, which negated much of the value of the miles received since balance transfers come with a $10/3% transfer fee.
There will likely come a time when Barclaycard no longer offers this product, because US Airways will cease to exist as an airline when they completely merge with American Airlines and the Dividend Miles program is folded into the American Airlines AAdvantage program. BarclayCard. When the programs merge, you most likely will be able to combine your US and AA miles, but I wouldn’t bank on that happening in the near future.
Their current offer on the product is 40,000 miles after the first purchase and you pay the $89 annual fee. The miles are usually awarded in the billing cycle when you make the purchase, so they should post pretty quickly if you ask them to rush the card. US Airways miles are very valuable, though you can often purchase them directly from US Airways at ~1.9 cents a piece (or even as low as 1.1 cents via their occasional 100% Share Miles promotions). At 1.9 cents a piece (which I have personally taken done on many occasions), 40,000 miles is worth $760. Subtracting the annual fee and you’re looking at $671 in value without taking into consideration any of the other benefits:
1) Free checked bag for you and up to 4 companions on US Airways operated domestic flights
2) Yearly companion ticket for up to two guests to fly for $99 each (plus taxes and fees) on US Airways operated flights between the US and Canada.
3) 5,000 mile discount on US Airways awards
4) 10,000 Preferred-qualifying miles every calendar you spend $25,000 or more on purchases
5) Waived Award Processing Fees after $25,000 spent within a year: They are currently: $25 per domestic ticket; $35 per Mexico or Caribbean ticket; $50 per Hawaii or international ticket.
6) Zone 2 boarding
7) Preferred/First Class Check-in
8 ) 2 miles per dollar spent on US Airways purchases
9) A US Airways Club Day Pass that includes up to two guests
Clearly it depends how you value these perks and how much you can leverage them, but they can add up to significantly more than the $89 fee, which could make the card worth keeping- especially if you value the elite miles. They explicitly state that the elite miles will not count towards AAdvantage Elite Qualification, but that will change as the two frequent flyer programs become closer and closer to become one unified program (likely sometime in 2015, though I expect more information within the next couple months).
If you’ve had this card before you are likely not eligible for any of the sign-up bonuses per the T&C “Unless otherwise stated in the offer, these bonuses and /or awards are intended for persons who are not, and have not previously been, US Airways MasterCard Cardmembers”
Maximizing US Airways Miles
There are a lot of sweetspots in the US Airways award charts and as I wrote about yesterday, you can currently book British Airways awards without their steep fuel surcharge. I don’t expect this to last long since these fees are collected when redeeming for British Airways flights on all of their partners, but there could be a technical glitch between programs, because British Airways does not charge fuel surcharges on US Airways transatlantic flights, but they do for other oneworld partners like American and Finnair.
US Airways has amazing awards to Australia, like my recent 140,000 mile roundtrip first class award (it is only 1110,000 for business class and
See Also: Maximizing US Airways Awards see also this lengthy Flyertalk thread with tons of examples of maximized itineraries.
Better Offers? With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
There used to be offers that waived the annual fee, but per this Flyertalk thread there are no current links (to my knowledge). If you’ve got a better offer, feel free to share, but as for now I think this is a solid offer- especially since there is no spend requirement and the miles post quickly.
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.