I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking about applying for each airlines rewards cards before the merging is complete in October, so I thought I would tackle it in a two-part series.
Part 1: US Airways Mastercard Options
If you don’t get out much, you may not know that there’s a merging happening between American Airlines and US Airways. I blogged about this yesterday and in the first day of the merger we already saw some changes. The old “Chairmans” “Employee Only” 40k US Airways offer expired. Coincidence? Don’t worry, there are still good US Airways options.
We know that eventually US Airways and American Airlines will be combined, and the AAdvantage program will absorb Dividend Miles. That means it’s “bye bye” to the Star Alliance and US Airways Dividend Miles, and “hello” to more One Wold opportunities.
Some people will like this, some will not. Eventually (most likely), Dividend Miles and AAdvantage miles will be transferrable. We saw this capability with previous mergers, such as United and Continental.
So when looking at acquiring Dividend Miles, you can see them as AA miles if you would like and vice versa.
Should you burn your current AA & Dividend miles? My answer is always earn and burn, but I’m actually hanging onto mine for the time being because I already have a handful of trips booked. I might try to squeeze in one more US Airways Star Alliance booking before Q3, but I’m not opposed to topping off my AAdvantage balance. I have Star Alliance rewards pretty much covered since United is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards.
Onto The Cards
Barclays issues the US Airways Cards and CitiBank issues the American Airlines cards. If one bank is left standing after the merging, it will be CitiBank. That’s why applying for the US Airways cards now make sense, especially since it appears they are pulling offers.
There’s also the possibility of the new merged airline issuing totally new cards. Dreams would come true. So, if you don’t have a specific AAdvantage card, then it may be in your best interest to apply for it before the merger is complete, too (part 2 of this series). Patience.
US Airways Card Offers
Beware: Barclays will approve you for a lesser card (on most applications) if you don’t meet their specific credit criteria.
The US Airways cards have been “appable,” meaning you could reapply for them over and over again. Some people have been doing this every 90-95 days, but that’s pushing it a bit for me. I have two US Airways cards, but I applied for them 6 months apart. Currently, it appears that the best practice is to cancel before re-applying. If you hold onto your current card, you can still get the second by explaining you needed two cards to separate spending.
US Airways reconsideration phone number: 1-866-408-4064
(edit) It appears that the affiliated offer has been changed to 30,000 Dividend miles (without notice) on first spend, so it’s clearly not the better offer.
The affiliated card comes with a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Dividend Miles on first spend. Gotta love that, but the $89 annual fee isn’t waived. There’s no anniversary bonus, but that shouldn’t matter, because I can’t imagine these cards being around in a year.
There’s also a few US Airways offers for 35,000 on first spend that have the annual fee waived for the first year, and 10k bonus every anniversary (moot point). These links were listed in the US Airways Mastercard Flyertalk thread by kdoughboy. You have to scroll in the t&c’s to see the offer, because it’s not listed on the landing page.
https://www.barclaycardus.com/apply/…&cellNumber=31 (click link at top of app for T&Cs)
https://www.barclaycardus.com/apply/…&cellNumber=36 (T&Cs at bottom)
There’s also a business version for 25,000 Dividend miles and $79 annual fee.
These are all the offers that I know of, but please let me know if you know any others.
I will probably cancel one of my current US Airways Mastercards and reapply again in a month. I’m a big fan of receiving 40,000 miles on first swipe. I will probably go with whichever offers has the biggest sign-up bonus even if there’s an annual fee. I’m all about padding my US Airways balance before the merging and buying 5,000 Dividend/AA miles for $89 which is currently the difference between the two offers. Just makes sense to me. However, it may not to you, so only do what you’re comfortable doing. Also, make sure your credit is in tip-top shape so you don’t get approved for the lesser card. Boo. I hate that Barclays does this.
I will probably sit out applying for the business version. I will most likely be applying for other business cards that have a higher sign-up bonus than 25,000.
I love that Barclays pulls Transunion on your credit report when seeing if you’re credit worthy for approval. Amex, Citi, and Chase generally pull Experian, so I welcome any Transunion inquiries.
I hope this helps as you weigh the pros and cons of applying for a US Airways rewards card before the merger.
[Disclosure: I receive a referral credit for the affiliated US Airways card, but not the three other personal, or business cards]
— Geoff Whitmore