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The End is Coming!

No, not that end, but the end of the greatest rewards credit card in the history of rewards, credit, and cards. Except for the fact that it has an annoyingly small bonus, an annoying annual fee, annoying roundtrip requirements and annoying booking fees even when you book online.

The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®

Of course this card has been on its deathbed for over a year now, ever since US Airways was seen taking American Airlines out to dinner. As early as  June 2013 the US Airways card made one blogger’s list of ‘Top Nine Credit Cards Offers That Are About to Disappear’. It reminded me of the last time something this catastrophic happened. I’m talking, of course, about Y2K when the world nearly ended because Al Gore forgot to figure in numbers larger than 1999 when he invented the internet.

Y2K is “a crisis without precedent in human history.” — Edmund X. DeJesus,  “Year 2000 Survival Guide” BYTE (July 1998)

“Failure to achieve compliance with the year 2000 will jeopardize our way of life on this planet for some time to come.” – Arthur Gross, Chief Information Officer, IRS

And the best one of all (drum roll) “Italy is going to crash, and we are going to be crucified'” – headline in THE TIMES, London, May 14, 1999, over a story on lack of Italian Y2K preparation.


It looks like this. Notice it also expired, coincidentally, at the moment of Y2K impact.

US Airways Mastercard

This airplane has since been painted Primer Gray with stripes that look kind of like an American Flag on the tail. But don’t worry, the seats are still really old.

If that doesn’t make you want to go apply for one right now, I don’t know what will.

One-way award bookings require the same number of miles as roundtrip, so these miles are not nearly as flexible as others that allow you to book each direction using a different program.

Unless you have elite status, you have to pay a booking fee of at least $25 on each ticket, no matter how simple.

US Airways has routing rules that make really cool international trips possible. So this card is good for topping up an an account that already has a lot of miles in it. Getting started and aiming for family travel, not so much.

Also it has a companion certificate that could work really well if you don’t have miles or if there are no award seats on a domestic flight. With the certificate, one person can fly at regular price and bring two more people along for $99 each, plus taxes and fees. I love taxes and fees and buying tickets at regular price! Hawaii is not included.

Barclays often sends offers for 15K extra miles if you spend $750.01 on this card each month for 3 months, which is a pain because you have to go find it in the sock drawer and add it to your Amazon Payments account, but it’s pretty smooth sailing from there on.

Anyways, since the US Airways Dividend miles program has definitely settled on a ‘sometime in 2015’ rumored ending date, now is probably the second-to-last or maybe even the last time you can get a US Airways card assuming Barclays continues to allow them to be churned every 6 months or so. There were 2 offers floating around on Flyertalk: the one Bonnie got recently which gave 30K miles for spending $1.30 at Redbox and might or might not give another 10K miles shortly before we cancel it just before the fee would otherwise post, and the one on all the blogs that offers 40K miles for the first purchase but has an $89 fee that is not waived the first year. And no anniversary bonus. Unfortunately the 30K version with no fee expired last week, but be sure to check the Flyertalk thread for new no-fee offers if you are looking to apply for one of these.

Actually if you email the affiliate link people and tell them you’re thinking about commenting on a blog post about a rewards credit card, they’d probably give you your own US Airways card affiliate link, which you could use and then force all your friends to sign up with as well. But don’t do that to your friends.

Opening a new Barclays card every 6 months or so, right after closing the one that is now 11 months old, has worked well for us. Not everyone has been so fortunate. Barclays reps sometimes like to go on power trips or grill you just for the fun of it, so be ready for a conversation a lot less pleasant than your typical American Airlines Executive card application processing with the folks in South Dakota.

After many difficult years, we emerged from Y2K. Tough as it seems, we will survive this one too.

Disclosure: There are very few serious statements in this post besides this one: Please do not apply for more credit cards if you currently carry a balance on another card. Even I have a link to the US Airways card that pays me a commission. It’s under the ‘Credit Card Links’ tab at the top of the page, but I don’t plan to use it. Or put links to it in a post.


{ 15 comments… add one }
  • gbert June 29, 2014, 8:45 am

    This is the only post that made me consider clicking on a US Airways affiliate link. I’m guessing the interwebs will provide me another 30 chances to do so every day from now until the card is actually dead.

    • Kenny June 29, 2014, 8:49 am

      Don’t do it! 🙂 Unless you want the card, I guess. I expect you’ll need to revise your estimate northward.

  • Barb June 29, 2014, 8:51 am

    Well played Kenny! Love your blog and your fresh perspective on this beloved game of ours.

  • Elaine June 29, 2014, 11:32 am

    Still haven’t called recon on this card, which was part of H’s AOR last week. Was ready to do it yesterday until I saw on FT that recon lines aren’t open on the weekend, which frankly led me to breathe a sign of relief. At least until Monday. At first your comments made me think: just forget recon. Not miles you need.

    Except for this: many folks expect that US miles will have more value after the merger, since while we’ll probably lose the award chart sweet spots, we’ll probably gain the ability to fly one way awards. So when I acquire US miles I just think of them as more AA miles. With the way CITI is giving away AA miles, there must be a devaluation on the way. So a few more US >>> AA miles for very little work – except perhaps an annoying and often unsuccessfully recon call if you don’t get approved immediately – may be of value to some folks.

    • Kenny June 29, 2014, 11:55 am

      I hate to see a hard pull with no rewards, so hopefully it gets approved. The US Airways card is good if it works well with your strategy, just overhyped in my opinion. Good luck!

  • Milesforfamily June 29, 2014, 3:54 pm

    Well, Kenny, I’ll have to disagree with you here. I promoted this card for 10 months before it started paying me anything. No, not because it’s a superb offer. It’s not. The reason: This card is on life support and these miles will be merged into AAdvantage at some point.
    As you know, it’s very hard to earn AA miles. You have 2 choices. The first: CITI cards, where you never know when they will end the gravy train and cut off repeat bonuses for good. Not to mention: The earning rate is 1 mile per dollar (yawn).
    The second way of getting AAdvantage: SPG points, the hardest to earn points in the universe. So, yes, I’ll take the future 40,000 AAdvantage miles for $89 fee, thank you very much. 🙂

    • Kenny June 29, 2014, 4:04 pm

      It’s a decent offer but far from one of the best offers out there which is what it’s often promoted as. Sure, Citi could stop churning but they’re showing no signs of doing so 😉 From where you live with all the OneWorld options I’d be earning whatever OneWorld airlines’ points I could.

  • Hua June 29, 2014, 4:29 pm

    I feel like the companion fare, annual 10,000 miles, and discount on US Airways award tickets are actually pretty decent benefits.

    • Kenny June 29, 2014, 4:47 pm

      Each of those can be useful, but let’s take one at a time.
      Companion fare: we have no problem earning enough miles to take care of all of our domestic travel on Southwest for free rather than minimum $450 for 3 passengers plus miles or money for the fourth.
      Annual 10K miles helped make up for a low signup bonus on 30K and 35K offers, but you don’t get it for a year. And the 40K offers available now don’t have it.
      The discount on US award tickets is great if they open enough award seats for you for an all-US roundtrip itinerary. I can’t even get that to happen for a simple weekend trip to Charlotte.
      Again, it’s not a bad card at all.

  • Nony June 29, 2014, 7:53 pm

    I think I’ve seen it somewhere on other blogs but can’t remember or find. How can one do a recon call for husband or wife?

    • Kenny June 29, 2014, 8:07 pm

      I get on the phone and ask for whatever I need – reconsideration or card closure or payments or whatever. When they ask for the name I tell them, and say I’m calling on behalf of my wife. Usually they ask to talk to her, then she confirms her identity and asks that I finish the call. It has never been a problem, but your spouse probably does need to be available to confirm any details if they ask.

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