Lucky first reported huge changes coming to the benefits of The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®, which currently offers 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase.

To me, this is the most intriguing card on the market because we know that the last chance to apply for The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will be some time in the next year when the American Airlines and US Airways mileage programs combine. At that time, Barclaycard is losing the right to issue new US Airways cards and existing cards will convert to American Airlines cards.

The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® offers by far the highest sign up bonus of cards with no minimum spending requirement. For now, you can use US Airways miles on the US Airways award chart, which is the best in the world. If you don’t use them by early 2015, they will be converted to American Airlines miles, which is a roughly fair conversion.

  • What are the upcoming changes to the US Airways card’s benefits?
  • What killer benefit is it adding?
  • Will the US Airways card lose its main benefit?

One Mile at a Time reports this mailer being sent to cardholders:

MAXIMIZE THESE BENEFITS THEY WILL BE DISCONTINUED IN 2015

Companion certificate

If you have not already received your companion certificate, on your account anniversary in 2014 you will receive your final companion certificate for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways flight for $99 each (plus taxes and fees). You must purchase your tickets within 9 months of issuance and travel within 12 months.

Miles towards Preferred Status

When you spend $25,000 or more in 2014, we’ll automatically convert 10,000 of your existing miles into Preferred-qualifying miles – which will count towards your 2015 Preferred status.

US Airways Club day pass and membership discount

If you have not already received your club day pass, on your account anniversary in 2014, you will receive your final complimentary day pass to visit a US Airways Club, valid for 12 months.  You will not receive another $75 discount coupon toward an annual US Airways Club membership in the mail. However, you may still be able to take advantage of this discount through September 30, 2014 by calling 800-828-8522 or by visiting any of the domestic Clubs.

First Class Check-in

Continue to enjoy First Class check-in until the end of 2014.

EXCITING NEW BENEFITS ARE COMING

In 2015, the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer prorams will be integrated.  Your card will become the American Airlines AAdvantage MasterCard® issued by Barclaycard and will offer new benefits, including:

10% of your miles back

When you redeem your miles for award travel, you will receive 10% of your miles back into your account.

25% off in-flight purchases

Save 25% on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card.

$100 flight discount

As a cardmember, you can earn a $100 flight discount each year in which you spend $30,000 or more in purchases while maintaining cardmembership.

Additional redemption flexibility

Enhance your award travel experience with redemption for one-way travel and First Class upgrades.

Look for more details coming soon.

Losses

  • $99 Companion Certificate: I never used mine, but for some it is a solid benefit.
  • Status miles: You can currently earn 10k status miles by spending $25k on your US Airways card in a calendar year. 2014 is the last year to do that.
  • Free US Airways Club Day Pass and $75 Off US Airways Club Membership: I used my day club pass and got about $10 worth of value from getting internet, a snack, and a drink, so this is a minor loss.
  • First Class Boarding: The American Airlines card offers Group 1 boarding, so I expect priority boarding to be restored at some point to holders of the US Airways card.

Gains

  • 10% rebate on award redemptions: This is the monster benefit of the current American Airlines card, and the US Airways card will get the same benefit when it becomes an American Airlines card. You currently get a 10% rebate on the first 100k American Airlines miles redeemed per year, so you can get back 10k miles per calendar year worth almost $200 to me. I am really looking forward to having this benefit with my US Airways card.
  • 25% off inflight food purchases: Hopefully this saves you no more than $10 per year.
  • $100 flight discount if you spend more than $30,000 in a calendar year: This works out to a 0.33% rebate on spending. That’s not great, but it’s a nice boost if for whatever reason you’re putting a lot of spending on the card.
  • “Additional redemption flexibility”: This one is not a change to the card per se. It just means that American Airlines miles will continue to allow one way redemptions for half the roundtrip price, which US Airways miles don’t allow.

???

The unanswered question is what will happen to the current killer benefit of The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®, the 5,000 discount on all awards booked entirely on US Airways planes?

It’s this discount that makes off peak award to Europe cost only 30,000 miles roundtrip!

I have to assume this benefit will not carry over to awards booked entirely on American Airlines planes once the integration is complete. But if this benefit somehow continued in addition to the 10% rebate on awards booked that was just added to The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®, that would be one incredible card.

The bottom line for me is that I like the new benefits of the US Airways card, but they don’t move the needle much.

The reason to get this card continues to be its massive 40,000 mile sign up bonus after first purchase in this age of ever-increasing minimum spending requirements.

Application Link: The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®

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