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One of the big questions surrounding the American and US Airways merger has involved their credit card partnerships. American’s co-branded credit card is issued by Citi, while US Airways’ co-branded credit card is issued by Barclaycard. I think it goes without saying that Citi will be the “primary” card issuer going forward, however you’d like to define that.
That’s why I’ve long recommended picking up the US Airways Premier World MasterCard®, which offers a 40,000 mile sign-up bonus after the first purchase, with an $89 annual fee. That’s a great sign-up bonus, especially for a card that may not necessarily be taking new applicants for much longer.
Anyway, I just received the following email regarding the credit card, which I found kind of interesting:
With your US Airways Dividend Miles® MasterCard®, you receive 10,000 Dividend Miles every year on the anniversary of your account opening.
We’re happy to let you know that once the US Airways and American Airlines loyalty programs combine in 2015, you’ll continue to receive this benefit in the form of 10,000 AAdvantage® miles.
Plus, we’re excited to announce two great benefit changes when you use your US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard:
- Now receive a 25% in-flight savings on food, beverage, and headset purchases on US Airways and American Airlines flights.² This savings will appear as a credit on your statement.
- In addition to earning 2X miles for every dollar you spend on US Airways purchases, you’ll also earn 2X miles on American Airlines purchases.
The last two points aren’t really that interesting to me. Great, a 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases is nice, but not a game changer. And even with 2x points per dollar for American Airlines purchases, I’d still rather earn 3x points per dollar on the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card.
But what I find most interesting is the first part of the email. For a long time when this card was issued they’d offer a 10,000 mile anniversary bonus (new applicants don’t receive this anymore). It’s interesting that the email confirms:
- The AAdvantage and Dividend Miles programs will be combining in 2015, which matches the rumor from yesterday
- This benefit will apparently apply long term, which suggests the card is here to stay
As you might remember, one of the new benefits they announced as of next year was a 10% rebate on awards. This matches what American offers on their mid range co-branded cards, whereby you receive a 10% refund on award tickets, up to a total refund of 10,000 miles per year.
So will the US Airways MasterCard offer a 10,000 mile award refund and 10,000 mile anniversary bonus? That would be pretty awesome, for just an $89 annual fee.
For now I’d mark this mostly as “developing.” Though if you don’t have a US Airways MasterCard there’s really not a reason not to pick one up, in my opinion. It’s a great sign-up bonus with low minimum spend requirement and the card can have some potential long term value. With the first year’s annual fee you’ll also get the sign-up bonus and a 10,000 mile award rebate (assuming you redeem at least 100,000 miles out of your newly combined AAdvantage account in 2015).