US Airways emailed me the following yesterday:

It’s some slick marketing, but I won’t be taking advantage of any of the “new” benefits. I have a US Airways Premier World MasterCard, so you’d think I’d be excited, but I’m not.

Why won’t I be taking advantage of any of these generous-seeming new benefits? Let’s go through the “additional travel benefits”:

  • Zone 2 Boarding and First Class Check In: While nice, these aren’t new and have been benefits of the card for a while. If flying US Airways, I only carry on a bag, so I check in online anyway.
  • Redeem Flights for 5,000 Fewer Miles: This is a great, but not new, benefit. Remember that to take advantage all segments need to be on US Airways metal. US Airways flies extensively to Europe, Brazil, and the Caribbean, which are your best bets to get the discount. The best part about this deal is that it stacks with off peak awards. Combined, they are one of the best deals in miles. 30k roundtrip to Europe or Brazil anyone?
  • Annual Companion Certificate: This is a solid, and not new, benefit. I have never used my certificate, but a family of three could get pretty good value out of an expensive domestic transcontinental flight.
  • One Complimentary Pass to the US Airways Club Annually: This is a solid, but not new, benefit. I haven’t used it because I get free access to the US Airways Club with my American Express Platinum Card (which ends 3/22/14).
  • 10,000 Status Miles if You Spend $25,000 Annually: Not new and hard to see the value. If you spend $25k on this card, you get 25k redeemable miles and 10k status miles. If you spend $25k on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Expressyou’d have 25k Starpoints which are worth 31,250 US Airways miles (1 Starpoint to 1.25 mile ratio if you transfer smartly). I’d rather have the extra 6,250 redeemable miles than 10k status miles, but some people want the status.
  • Waiver of the $50 Award Processing Fee if You Spend $25k Annually: Not new, and of variable value. First, I’ll note that this fee is totally bogus. It doesn’t correspond to any US Airways cost–it’s just a money grab. But it exists for anyone below Gold elite with US Airways. If you’re below Gold Elite and book several US Airways awards per year, the savings could really add up. For me, I foresee one US Airways award booking in the next year, so I’d only save $50. Saving $50 is not worth redirecting $25k in spending to this card.

The bottom line is that several of these benefits are valuable, but none of them are new. Most of the automatic benefits have some solid value, but the need-to-spend-$25k benefits don’t have enough value for me to chase them. Instead of spending $25k per year on this card, that spending is far better directed toward minimum spending requirements or one of these three cards.

Furthermore none of these benefits are the reason I recommend everyone get the US Airways card now. The big reason I recommend the card is that I strongly believe the US Airways-American Airlines merger will go through. If that happens Citi will be the issuer of their credit card. That means the Barclay’s US Airways credit card and the bonus miles will no longer be available. Get them now while they last.

US Airways Premier World MasterCard® with 30,000 US Airways miles after first purchase.

  • Earn up to 40,000 bonus miles on qualifying transactions
  • EXCLUSIVE: Redeem flights for 5,000 fewer miles
  • Zone 2 boarding on every flight
  • Enjoy 2 miles per $1 spent on US Airways purchases
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent everywhere else
  • Annual companion certificate good for round-trip travel for up to 2 companions at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
  • First Class check-in
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details

Application Link: Barclay’s US Airways Premier World MasterCard

Hat Tip to Gary for pointing out the fee waiver is not new.

 

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