US Airways MasterCard Benefits Changing In 2015

May 19, 2014

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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.

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