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The merger began in January 2014, when American Airlines and US Airways started recognizing frequent flyers on both airlines and began combining their flight schedules. Then, US Airways joined the oneworld alliance on March 31, 2014.
But the 2 airlines are still operating separately. Normally, it takes 18 to 24 months for an airline merger to complete, so we’ll see the process finish some time in 2015.
What Happens to Airline Credit Cards When There’s a Merger?
When US airlines have merged in the past, the credit card offered by the airline brand that’s eliminated in the merger typically gets phased out by the banks towards the end of the merger process. In this case, because the new combined airline will be American Airlines, it’s the Barclaycard US Airways credit card that will no longer be offered.
This happened when Delta merged with Northwest in 2009. US Bank phased out the old Northwest WorldPerks credit card. Delta’s credit cards are all issued by American Express, so Northwest frequent flyers had to apply for American Express cards if they wanted to keep earning miles on the new Delta.
And when Continental merged with United Airlines in 2010, it was the Chase Continental OnePass card that was discontinued. That was a smoother transition, because Chase also issues the United MileagePlus card.
When the American Airlines & US Airways merger is complete, their credit cards will primarily be offered by Citi. Citi has been quite aggressive in promoting its relationship with American Airlines, most recently with the 100,000 mile sign-up bonus offer on the Citi American Airlines Executive card.
That said, the Barclaycard US Airways card with a 40,000 mile sign-up bonus is still available! But I don’t know exactly how long it will last!
Why Still Consider the Barclaycard US Airways Card?
Link: US Airways Premier World MasterCard
After the merger is complete and this card is no longer available, the US Airways miles in your account will become American Airlines miles.
So by using this card, you’re really getting (eventually) American Airlines miles. You can read my post about all the other ways you can get American Airlines miles, too.
With this card, you get:
- 40,000 miles after your 1st purchase (no minimum spending requirement) and payment of the $89 annual fee
- 2 miles for every $1 you spend on US Airways
- 1 mile for every $1 you spend on everything else
- Priority check-in and boarding
- A free checked bag for you and up to 4 traveling companions on domestic flights
- A free US Airways Club lounge day pass each year and a membership discount
- 5,000 mile discount on US Airways award tickets
- Companion certificate each year for up to 2 guests
- 3% foreign currency fees
- $89 annual fee, NOT waived for the 1st year
What Will Happen to Your Card After the Merger Is Complete?
Because American Airlines has an agreement with Citi, Barclaycard is unlikely to continue to offer American Airlines cards to new cardholders. But existing cards will be switched to the new Barclaycard American Airlines Aviator MasterCard. This card will have different benefits, including:
- 10% mileage rebate (so, for example, if you spend 25,000 miles, you’ll get 10% or 2,500 miles back)
- 25% off onboard purchases (like food and drink)
- $100 flight discount each year you spend more than $30,000 on the card
- Priority check-in
These are very similar to the perks already offered on Citi American Airlines cards.
But some of the perks on the old Barclaycard US Airways card will NOT be offered on the new card, including:
- Companion certificate each year for up to 2 guests
- 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after you spend over $25,000 a year
- US Airways Club lounge pass and membership discount
These benefits will stop at the end of 2014. For me, the new perks have much more value, so I’m not upset about losing the companion certificate, elite miles, and lounge pass.
I’d prefer getting 10% of my miles redeemed back! That said, the companion certificate could be helpful for some folks.
You can get lounge access from the Citi American Airlines Executive card anyway!
The Barclaycard US Airways card will eventually be discontinued after the American Airlines – US Airways merger is complete some time in 2015. But until then, you can still apply for the card.
If you don’t have the card already (and don’t have a lot of Barclaycards), this could be a good way to earn what will eventually become American Airlines miles.
If you already have the card, you can continue to use it. It will be changed to the Barclaycard American Airlines Aviator card in 2015, with some new benefits.
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