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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard 

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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.