Executive Summary -
An affinity card for US Airways that is blessed with one of the better companion ticket certificate benefit that allows you to book tickets for two companions at a reduced price. A great perk for those who fly with their families on US Airways. In the first part of this review, we'll highlight the cards' key features.
US Airways used to have their affinity card issued by Bank of America. But that relationship ended and US Airways in 2007 teamed up with Barclays Bank1 and relaunched their affinity card. When their relationship was with BOA, their card was a Visa. It is now a MasterCard with Barclays.
The cards retained the good features from the old version. For example, you still get a $99 companion certificate for two every anniversary after you have paid your annual fee. But they have also added a few other perks which were not present in the old card.
The first is that you are given zone 2 priority boarding if you are a card member. Secondly, you also check in at their first class counters and get one pass a year for their club lounge. Card members can also use 5,000 less miles when they redeem a flight (based on their award charts).
One things to note about this card is that there are two versions. The first version is the Premier World MasterCard version which has more and better features. The regular version is the World MasterCard version. If you are not approved for the premier version, you will get the regular version. So let's with going through the details of the "premier" version.
The premier version of this card is the one that you want to get. In fact, when you first apply for this card, this is the version which they will first approve you for if you qualify. They have more benefits and better perks than the regular version. So here is the run down of their features.
Like most affinity cards, you can earn double miles for every dollar that you spend on US Airways tickets. In contrast, the regular version only allows you to earn one mile per dollar on all spending (including US Airways tickets). And there are other differences as well.
For example, the "premier version" has a better sign up bonus. If you are approved for the card, you will get 30,000 bonus dividend miles after you use the card the first time (this could be either a purchase or balance transfer). In contrast, the regular version only allows you to earn 15,000 bonus miles. So right off the bat, you get 15,000 more miles. When you transfer a balance within 90 days of your approval, you will earn one mile for every dollar that you transfer over up to 10,000 miles. That means that transferring a total of $10,000 in balance from another credit card within 90 days gets you an extra 10,000 bonus miles. That makes it possible to get 40,000 miles as sign up bonus.
The companion certificate is one of the key highlights of this card. Each year, you will get one $99 companion certificate that is valid for two people. Most other cards that offer this feature only allow for one person to use the companion certificate. It is also better than their regular version, which gives you a $149 companion certificate is that is only good for one other person.
Card members of the Premier version also get to check in at the first-class counter (which means shorter check-in times especially on international flights). You will also get one US Airways complimentary day pass for their club lounge. You will also get a $75 discount coupon for their annual lounge membership if you choose to buy it. While the regular version of this card comes with the $75 discount coupon, it does not have the one-day free day pass for their lounge. So this is an extra benefit for "premier members".
Another benefit that card members will get is that you get a 5,000 miles award saver when you use your miles to redeem flights. That means you require 5,000 less Dividend Miles. Let's use an example. You need 30,000 miles for a flight. With the award saver, you only need 25,000 miles instead. To be eligible for the award save program, you need to meet their eligible criteria. This includes criteria like having your account in good standing, making at least one purchase in your calendar year, having the primary cardholder pay for the tickets, the trip has to be round trip or open-jaw and has to be operated by only US Airways flights.
Another great benefit of this card is that if you spend $25,000 a year on the card, 10,000 of the miles you earned will be converted to preferred miles (ie miles that actually count towards elite status). Aside from this, you actually have to earn them from flying. Once you meet the annual $25,000 spending criteria, the 10,000 miles will be converted to preferred miles between 4 to 8 weeks.
Furthermore, 10 days after this spending requirements have been met, any award ticket processing fee will be waived for the next 12 months. That means you do not have to pay for the $25 per domestic ticket; $35 per Mexico or Caribbean ticket; $50 per Hawaii or international ticket processing free when you use your miles for flights (for the next 12 months).
Now that we have gone through the key features of the "premier version", let us now look at the features of the regular version.
The regular version has a lower annual fee at $49. But it comes with less perks. For example, you can only earn one mile for every dollar that you spend on the card (including spending on US Airways tickets) whereas regular frequent flyer affinity cards allow you to earn double miles.
The sign up bonus is slightly less than the premier version. You get 15,000 bonus miles after using your card for the first time. It does not matter whether you buy something with your card or transfer a balance. Any balance that is transferred over from another card within 90 days earns you one miles per dollar that caps out at 10,000 bonus miles. That means that in total, you can earn 25,000 bonus miles when you use the card and transfer $10,000 from another card (you could space this out over a couple of months).
The companion ticket certificate is also slightly different for the two versions. For the regular version, cardholders get one $149 companion certificate.
You will also get a $75 discount voucher which you can use to purchase an annual club lounge pass.
Now that we have looked at the details for the regular version, let's now look at a more detailed explanation of their companion ticket certificate feature.
1. US Airways and Barclays Bank Launch Affinity MasterCard
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