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According to, the US Airways MasterCard from Barclaycard will accept applications through early 2015.

Then, for existing cardholders, the card will become an American Airlines co-branded card.

At that point, there will be two banks servicing American Airlines co-branded cards, Barclaycard and Citi, but only Citi will be able to issue new American Airlines co-branded cards once the Dividend Miles and AAdvantage programs have merged.

What did I get right about the demise of the US Airways MasterCard? (Not much.) What did I get wrong? (A lot.) How can you earn maximum new American Airlines miles from credit cards in the next year and a half?

Applications for US Airways Card Will Be Accepted through mid-2015

I had previously predicted that the US Airways MasterCard would no longer accept new applications in the coming weeks. That appears wrong; applications for the US Airways MasterCard should be accepted through mid-2015.

“We have a unique opportunity before the brands merge for us to go out there and continue to acquire new card members for the US Airways Dividend Miles program,” [managing director of Barclaycard co-brand partnerships] Nealon says.

…planned integration of the AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles frequent flier loyalty programs by mid-2015…”

Big Sign Up Bonuses on US Airways Card to Come?

We might even see some juicy sign up bonuses on the US Airways card between now and then, since Barclaycard knows it is their last chance to get people to open a US Airways/American Airlines card.

“Our goal over the period between merger and frequent flier program integration is absolutely to maximize the number of new cardholders that we can bring in,” [Nealon] adds.

Existing US Airways Card Accounts Will Be Converted to Barclaycard American Airlines Card Accounts in mid-2015

I had previously predicted that US Airways card accounts would be converted to Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases accounts. That appears wrong. Existing US Airways card accounts will be converted to a Barclaycard American Airlines account when the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles programs combine.

“We are not planning to rebrand any US Airways card member to Arrival,” Nealon says. “They will become American AAdvantage card members and they will have all the benefits that come along with that.”

There was actually a hint that this might be the path for US Airways card accounts in an email sent to cardholders by Barclaycard last month. I picked up on one line from that email:

“We … look forward to working with the premier global airline as they move toward combined operations. Through the merger integration and beyond, we will continue to bring you the exceptional benefits and rewards you have come to expect, and more. (emphasis mine)

I raised the possibility, but I certainly didn’t predict that Barclaycard would be able to convert its US Airways cards to American Airlines cards in my analysis of the email:

I certainly have not heard any suggestion prior to this email that Barclaycard would be involved with the New American “beyond” merger integration. If Barclaycard really means that–the sentence is vague–I’m not sure what it could mean. Are we 100% sure that Citi and Barclaycard won’t both offer American Airlines cards after the integration? Or should we not take the line about working with the New American beyond the merger integration at face value?

Only Citi Will Be Able to Issue New American Airlines Cards Now and in the Future

Barclaycard will convert its US Airways cards to American Airlines cards, but it will not be able to issue new American Airlines cards to new customers. There will be no application for the Barclaycard American Airlines card. Only Citi will have the right to issue American Airlines cards, which is also currently the case.

Following the planned integration of the AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles frequent flier loyalty programs by mid-2015, Citi will exclusively issue new credit card accounts in support of the combined American frequent flier program, John Gerspach, the chief financial officer of New York-based Citi, said during a Jan. 16 investor call to discuss fourth quarter 2013 earnings.

Getting the Most American Airlines Miles from Credit Cards in the Next Year

The sound advice is still to get the US Airways MasterCard before it disappears. For now, we have a tentative date of mid-2015. We’ll surely get a firm date in the coming months.

Before I would have prioritized getting this card over other Barclaycards because I thought it was disappearing much sooner. But now, if you prefer the Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1k in the first three month or The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in the first 90 days, you can get one of those first and the US Airways card later.

There’s no change in strategy toward the Citi American Airlines card. It sounds like there are no plans for it to change going forward.

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