One of the Best Cards
On my page, Top 5 Credit Cards for Beginners, I listed the Barclay’s US Airways Mastercard as one of the best cards for beginners (or anybody) to get.
Application Link: US Airways Mastercard
You will earn 40,000 miles after your first purchase. That’s it. One and done. Of course, Barclay’s would appreciate it if you would use their card often. And you really should put one or two purchases on each of your cards every month, just to keep the banks happy.
As you can see, in addition to the 40,000 miles, you will also get two companion certificates allowing 2 people to travel with you for only $99 each plus tax. You also get Priority Boarding, a free checked bag and a US Airways Club day pass. The $89 annual fee is not waived for the first year. But $89 for 40,000 miles that can get you to the Caribbean or Hawaii – that’s a no-brainer. You can also travel from the US to Europe in their off-peak season (Jan 15-Feb 28) for only 35,000 miles. I have traveled to Europe in the winter many times and yes it’s chilly, but the sites are still there and the crowds are not. It’s actually quite nice.
All Good Things Must Come To An End
Unfortunately. Yesterday I received a card in the mail from US Airways announcing changes to the program and the credit card after the merger with American Airlines. These changes will most likely come in early 2015.
- No more companion certificate. Final companion certificates will be issued soon for current cardholders and they must be booked within 9 months and travel within 12 months. If you apply for a card today, you will get your companion certificate after your first purchase.
- Miles earned through credit card spend will no longer count towards Preferred Status. When you spend $25,000 or more, they will convert 10,000 miles into Preferred Qualifying Miles toward 2015 status. You must complete this spending by the end of 2014, as this will no longer be offered after the merge.
- US Airways Club day pass and Membership Discount. You will receive a Club day pass valid for 12 months to visit a US Airways Club. But you will not receive a $75 discount coupon towards Club Membership.
- First Class check in. Continue to enjoy First Class check-in until the end of 2014.
It’s Not All Bad News
There are some positive changes coming to the US Airways award program that are aligned with American’s AAdvantage Program. These new benefits will be implemented in 2015.
- 10% of your miles back. This is a feature of American’s program that I really like. When you redeem miles for award travel, you’ll receive 10% of your miles back into your account. Currently US Airways offers a 5,000 mile discount on award bookings if you hold the credit card, (i.e. 20,000 miles for a domestic ticket rather than 25,000) but only if you fly completely on US Airways metal. I have never been able to do that. Seems like American operated flights come up more often than not.
- 25% off in-flight purchases. Save 25% on your in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card.
- $100 flight discount. As a cardmember, you can earn a $100 flight discount each year in which you spend $30,000 or more in purchases and you maintain your card membership. Not a great deal, in my opinion.
- Additional redemption flexibility. Enhance your award travel experience with redemption for one-way travel and First Class upgrades.
No mention of those off peak awards that both carriers currently offer. I have used the American AAdvantage off peak awards several times to travel to the Caribbean in the fall.
Do It Now
I can’t stress enough how great of a deal this US Airways card is. Just do it.