US Air MasterCard
One of the ways to earn a “hit” in the 2011 US Air Grand Slam is by using a US Air debit or credit card during the Grand Slam promotion from September 14 to November 14, 2011.
You can earn 1 hit for each different card type.
But even if you are not participating in the Grand Slam this year, you may want to consider the US Air MasterCard in your next set of credit card applications.
40,000 miles is not that high of a sign on bonus (at least compared to the Citi AAdvantage 75,000 mile cards or the other cards which are offering 50,000 mile bonuses), but it is the highest I’ve seen offered for the US Air MasterCard.
More importantly, Barclaycard pulled my credit report from TransUnion, which is seldom used by the other big banks. Now the credit bureau used varies by state, but here are a few ways to see which credit bureau banks will use.
Emily and I both have the US Air MasterCard credit card from an earlier offer this year with a 30,000 mile sign-up bonus.
Even though Emily’s credit score was higher than mine, she was approved for the Platinum card with a lower sign up bonus (10,000 miles), and I was approved for the Premier MasterCard with the higher sign-up bonus.
We called and wrote letters, but Barclaycard would not give Emily the higher bonus.
However, an alert reader pointed out that Barclaycard has now changed their policy and offers the higher sign-on bonus regardless of which version of the MasterCard (Premier or Platinum) you are approved for.
US Air MasterCard:
1. Bonus Miles. You earn 40,000 US Air Dividend miles after the first use. 40,000 miles is not as much as we are used to seeing from Chase, American Express, or Citi, but it is the highest I’ve seen offered for the US Air MasterCard.
More importantly, there is no minimum spending required to get the sign-up bonus!
2. Anniversary Miles & Annual Fee. You earn 10,000 bonus miles on the anniversary of your account opening date every year.
This makes paying the $89 annual fee (waived for the first year) after the first year a no-brainer, because even if you value 10,000 US Air Dividend miles at $100 (1 cent a mile), you still come out ahead!
3. Two $99 companion tickets annually. This sounds really good, but is not the great deal it appears to be because of:
- $250 minimum base fare (before taxes and fees) on the first ticket
- Blackout dates
- 14 day advance purchase requirement
- Valid only for roundtrips within the continental US (excludes Hawaii and Alaska) and Canada
However, this may be a good deal for flights to Canada which usually cost more than $500 or for flights to expensive US destinations.
4. 5,000 Mile Award Discount. You get a 5,000 mile discount on award travel for any round trip or open-jaw itinerary operated by US Air.
This means that you can get an off peak award to South America or Europe for 30,000 miles in coach or 55,000 miles in business class.
Unfortunately, Star Alliance partner itineraries are not eligible for the 5,000 mile discount.
5. Priority check-in and boarding. Cardholders get Zone 2 boarding so you can board the plane early and store your luggage before overhead bin space runs out.
And Preferred check-in may help save time at the airport.
6. Free Club Pass. You get a free US Air lounge day pass which may be useful if you’re at an airport with a US Air lounge.
A day pass costs $29 when booked online together with a ticket or $50 if you buy it at the airport.
7. 10,000 Preferred Miles & Award Processing Fee Waiver. If you spend $25,000 on the card within a calendar year, 10,000 miles are converted to Preferred or elite qualifying miles and the award processing fees are waived.
8. 10,000 Bonus Miles For Balance Transfers. Earn up to 10,000 bonus miles for balance transfers within the first 30 days.
This is not a good way to earn miles, because even though the balance transfer APR is 0% for the 1st 12 months, there is a 3% fee (4% after the 1st year) which is NOT capped making this very expensive.
For example, on the maximum balance transfer of $10,000, you would pay a $300 fee ($10,000 X 3%) or 3 cents per mile.
You can currently buy US Air miles for half that price or 1.48 cents per mile!
There was a cap on the balance transfer fee when Emily and I were approved for the card, but that seems to have been replaced with a higher sign-on bonus.
9. $75 Off US Club Membership. Get a $75 off certificate towards the purchase of a new US Air Club membership.
10. Foreign Transaction Fee. There is a 3% foreign transaction fee making this an expensive card to use outside the US.
If you are initially denied online, call the Barclaycard reconsideration backdoor number (866-408-4064) and explain to the rep why you want the card.
The US Air MasterCard is worth considering, even if you are not playing in the 2011 Grand Slam, because of the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus each year (which makes keeping the card virtually free) and the 40,000 mile sign up bonus.
I wouldn’t apply for this card instead of other cards with higher sign up bonuses (get the higher bonus cards first!), but would keep this in mind if I was running out of options or needed to apply for a credit card which used the TransUnion credit reporting bureau.
What’s been your experience with the US Air card?
Disclosure: I don’t get any commission or payment from Barclaycard or anyone else for the US Air credit card.