Getting the US Airways card this week is almost a no brainer … but I’m not doing it

The Barclaycard US Airways card is going away after this week when the US Airways and American frequent flier programs merge, and everyone that has one is going to be issued a new American Airlines card.  But Barclays will no longer have the rights to issue *new* American cards, so this is your last chance to get it.

Use AA miles to book Etihad first class

Use AA miles to book Etihad first class

In an effort to ramp up applications before they’re shut out, they’ve increased the sign up bonus from the typical 40,000 miles to 50,000 (after paying $89 annual fee).  The other benefits include things like free checked bag, zone 2 boarding, etc.

Getting it now, before it goes away is almost a no brainer because:

  • It doesn’t preclude you from getting any sign-up bonus on a Citi-issued card at a later date (or even today).
  • The card is going away, so it’s truly your last chance this week.
  • The 50,000 miles requires no spend at all (just payment of annual fee).
  • Barclays usually pulls your Transunion credit report, which almost no other bank uses (for credit card purposes), so it’s a “free” credit pull.

So, essentially, you’re just buying 50,000 miles for $89–a cost of 0.18 cents per mile–since you’re not really incurring much in the way of an opportunity cost as it pertains to other methods of earning AA miles.

Here’s the Application Link: US Airways Mastercard

However, I’m still not applying for the card.  

The reason is that Barclays has really tightened up lately as far as their credit analysts being willing to extend more credit to folks who have or have had multiple cards with them.  To that end, I think they are a bit unique in that their credit analysts seem to actually care whether you’re abusing the bank for repeated mileage bonuses whereas the analysts for banks like Chase, Citi, etc only seem concerned with the simple question of “can we extend you $X amount of credit?” while the actual card product doesn’t really matter to them.

This matters for two reasons:

  1. I’m putting a high value on Lufthansa Miles & More miles lately.  For one, other than transferring SPG points (which I don’t want to do), the M&M credit card is the only way to earn M&M miles.  This is the only way to book Lufthansa first class in advance (the availability for which is fantastic, by the way).
  2. I want to be able to apply for a second Lufthansa M&M card whenever the next 50,000 mile bonus comes around–which I expect to be soon given the loss of the co-brand relationship with US Airways.

Not only that, though, the US Airways card isn’t even the cheapest or best way to earn 50,000 AAdvantage miles!  The 50,000 mile bonus offer on the Citi AA business card is.  It’s even more of a “free” 50,000 miles because:

  • You can apply for it multiple times and get the bonus every time.
  • Business cards don’t report to your personal credit reports, so it has a much smaller impact on your credit.
  • The first year annual fee is waived so it’s truly a “free” 50,000 miles.
  • You get most of the same benefits (free checked bag, priority boarding, etc)
  • Citi is extremely generous with retention offers to keep credit cards (so I’m looking at this as more like 55-60k miles)

Application Link: Citi Business AA Mastercard

The only catch is that this card requires a $3,000 spend in 3 months vs. no spend requirement for the US Airways card.  That said, it’s a small price to pay since I’m going to spend $1000/month anyways (and could manufacture some spending if I needed to).

Either way, because of Barclays tightening up, being my sole source of Lufthansa M&M miles, and the fact that this card isn’t even the best way to earn 50,000 AA miles, I won’t be applying for the US Airways card this week.  AA miles remain extremely easy to earn in large quantities.

Travel the World For Free!

Comments

  1. With the Barclays Miles and More card….do you know if you can use their Rewards Boost shopping portal to earn miles faster?

    • We Fly Free says:

      In general the “shopping malls” have direct relationships with their earning partners–i.e. not with Citi for AA miles, but rather with AA directly.

      So: as far as I know, the Rewards Boost portal is only for earning proprietary currency like Arrival miles. In this case–because Arrival miles are basically just cash to be used on travel, you should always compare the bonus through Rewards Boost with actual cash back from portals like Big Crumbs, eBates, Top Cash Back, etc to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

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  6. Now, would it be worth it to get the US Airways MasterCard?

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