Yes, The American Airlines/US Airways Merger Will Happen–Your Best Play


According to Bloomberg, AA/US have reached a deal with the Department of Justice, so that the latter will stop objecting to the merger.

I’ve long maintained that I expected the merger to happen. In February of this year, I wrote a post called How to Exploit the American Airlines/US Airways Merger that still has great advice.

I’ll be on the lookout for the details on the combination of AAdvantage and Dividend Miles program, which I hope offers some short-term good news though I expect it to be bad news for us in the long term because the major airline programs will have less competition.What do you need to do right now to take advantage of the US Airways//American Airlines merger? Do you need to earn, burn, or earn and burn miles?

Barclay’s US Airways MasterCard Strategy

Citi will handle the credit-card issuing for the new American, so the Barclay’s US Airways Premier World MasterCard is on its last days!

In my experience, and other reports I’ve read, you can get at least two Barclay’s US Airways MasterCards. They can be open simultaneously, and you can get the 30,000 mile bonus twice. If you are ready to apply for a credit card, you should apply for a Barclay’s US Airways MsaterCard today.

You should be able to rack up at least 30,000 US Airways miles before in this way before the merger. You can use those miles on US Airways’ fantastic chart or, in the future, on the new American.

There is also a US Airways Business MasterCard with 25,000 US Airways miles after first purchase. I would consider this card too. Its sign up bonus isn’t huge, but it will disappear soon, and I don’t know of any better business cards offered by Barclay’s.

Citi American Airlines Card Strategy

Citi has several American Airlines cards. Until recently, you could get two at the same time.

Now you can get one personal American Airlines card and one business card a few days apart for 50k miles each after $3k in spending in the first three months on each.

  • Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®

You can’t get a new AA personal card every 91 days. You actually have to wait 18 months between applications. With the slow pace of airline mergers, you may be able to get AA cards now and in 18 months before the merger is completed.

To me, getting the AA cards is a bit less pressing but still a good idea. There’s some chance these products will disappear too, to be replaced by an entirely new credit card. That’s what happened to the United card in the United/Continental merger.

What Cards Will the New Airline Offer?

No one knows for sure. Since the US Airways brand is disappearing, we know its cards will too, making getting the US Airways Premier World MasterCard a more pressing matter. I hope both cards are discontinued, and a new one is released. A new card would mean a new sign up bonus we were all eligible for.

Time to Burn Miles?

I think we’ll be given several months notice whenever the status of our miles or an award chart will change, so I am not in burn mode for now. When we get that notice, we will probably be able to book under the old rules for a few months plus be able to book flights 11 months in advance. With all that lead time, I am in no hurry to burn. I will be booking awards at my normal rate for myself based on my travel desires, not a need to zero out my balances.

Hat Tip to Gary Leff

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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  1. I got the Barclay Arrival card 3 months ago to the day. It was my first Barclaycard. I have read that you can’t get a second card for at least 6 months. Is this true? Is it too soon to apply for the US Air card?

    • I have heard that too, but it’s so hard to know the exact rules. All the “rules” we know are our best inferences. You have the option to wait until you hear about when the card is disappearing, and if it’ll be around 3 more months, waiting until your six month day.

  2. I’ve had the citi AA visa signature card for over a year now. Am I able to get the citi AA mastercard that is currently offering 50 k, both personal and business even though I already have the citi AA visa card?

    • 18 months from last personal AA, you can probably get another personal AA. You can get the AA business card now.

  3. I would guess when credit card product you hold disappears and is replaced by a new product from the same bank you would be issued a new card with no sign-up bonus potential. What is your experience? It would seem canceling the existing card prior to any change-over would maximize the chance of having an opportunity for a new sign-up bonus.

  4. Re Barclays US Airways MC, last time I applied for my second account, I wasn’t instantly approved. When I called reconsideration, the rep wanted to know why I needed two MC accounts and agreed to approve a new account only if I closed the first account. What are my chances of getting approved for another card now?

  5. Freudian Slip?

    “You should be able to rack up at least 30,000 US Airways MasterCards in this way before the merger. You can use those miles on US Airways’ fantastic chart or, in the future, on the new American.”

  6. I got denied for my a second US Airways MC a few months ago.

    Applied online on 8-29-13 and wasn’t approved nor denied. Called general line and spoke with a rep who wouldn’t let me get a second US Airways Card while I already have that one.

    Called 866-408-4064 on 8/30 and spoke with another rep. He said I handle my credit very well and that’s not an issue, the issue is simply that they can’t extend the product to me since I already have one of the same. He said sometimes online if it gets automatically approved the system might let it happen, but when it has to be manually addressed, they can’t approve it. He also said they don’t downgrade cards. So the idea of downgrading my current card to an unrelated feefree card and then approving this new card – is not an option (because they don’t downgrade any cards ever, he says).

  7. for the AA 18 month rule, is that when you first applied for the card, or when you closed the card. so for example, if you open the card 1/1/12 and closed 1/1/13, is the 18 months on 6/1/13, or 6/1/14? right now i have the personal aa card but applied 2 years ago, i only kept it cause they keep waiving the fee when trying to cancel, cancelling now won’t give me 18 month window unless its from time i opened card

    • Disappears certainly, but that’s tied to paying an $89 annual fee which also disappears with the card.

  8. I was wondering if you could help me. I have tried two times to book a North Asia via Europe 90k US Airways award and have been shot down. They claim that since I am stopping in Europe, then I should be charged 100k instead. I always state that the destination is North Asia and that the stopover is Athens. What do you suggest I do?Thank you

    • I’ve heard some similar reports. They might have caught on to our little game. But two times is not enough to know. If you want to save the 10k miles, you might want to call back several times more.

  9. I tried two more times and no luck! Should I give up right about now? They say that the ticketing department goes with the highest of the two, which in this case is Europe.


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