Here is why we think the 50,000 US Airways World MasterCard is a great offer!
Table of Contents
- 1 The Card
- 2 The benefits
- 3 How to use the miles?
- 4 1) 30,000 Miles Round-Trip in Business Class within South & Central Asia
- 5 2) 90,000 Miles Business Class Round-trip from Mexico & Central America to South East Asia
- 6 But wait – how do I get so many miles before Q2 2015?
- 7 3) 110,000 miles Round Trip to Africa in Business Class (Qatar)
- 8 4) More options?
- 9 How can I complete the minimum spend?
- 10 What if my application was denied?
The US Airways MasterCard has been around for some time, but never with an offer this good. While Barclays is no American Express in terms of customer service, they have invested heavily in their website and phone customer service. All my recent interactions with Barclays have been impeccably friendly and knowledgeable.
The card has a $89 annual fee which is NOT waived for the first year.
After approval, card activation and your first purchase, you will get 50,000 US Airways Dividend miles without a minimum spend.
We show you how to use the miles before the end of Q1 2015. But even if you can't make the deadline, the miles will become AAdvantage miles on a 1:1 basis. AAdvantage miles are our second favorite mileage currency right now.
You will also get the first checked bag free (on American and US Airways flights) as well as a yearly companion pass certificate.
How to use the miles?
What is the best value using US Airways Dividend miles? This answer has shifted over time, but here are my favorite redemptions based on the US Airways award chart:
Keep in mind that US Airways does not charge fuel surcharges and also has no concept of one-ways. Additionally, each outbound or inbound should be now more than 4 legs and you can have one stopover OR an open-jaw.
Also keep in mind that the option to redeem US Airways awards will go away once the merger goes into its final phase in Q2 2015.
1) 30,000 Miles Round-Trip in Business Class within South & Central Asia
US Airways has an interesting definition of this zone – here is what the award chart reads:
South & Central Asia includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Chagos, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
Until recently, even Mauritius was part of this zone (but this has changed unfortunately).
The best way to take advantage of this is to plan a trip from, say, Manila or Bali all the way to Male in the Maldives.
I'd travel to Bali on a different ticket, then take Qatar to the Maldives via Doha and Cathay Pacific back to Saigon via Hong Kong.
That is more than 10,000 miles flown in Qatar Business Class and Cathay Business Class for just 30,000 miles and taxes. I reviewed Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class (which is now all lie-flat suites) last year.
Qatar Airways (pictured above) has just gotten some fantastic lounges at the new Doha Airport and their business class product on their newer planes (777-300, 787 and even A320) is fantastic as well.
With the 50,000 sign-up bonus, you can almost book two tickets for a $89 annual fee. Incredible value!
2) 90,000 Miles Business Class Round-trip from Mexico & Central America to South East Asia
This award used to be available from North America as well, but now you need to start south of the border.
From Mexico City, you can route via Dallas (on American) and then with Qatar to Doha and onwards with Cathay Pacific or Qatar.
This will give you a chance to try different business class products and try the brand new Qatar lounges at Doha Airport.
Again, the South Asia zone is huge. Consider flying into Indonesia – one of my favorite countries!
Since there are no fuel surcharges, you will just pay the airport taxes.
But wait – how do I get so many miles before Q2 2015?
There is another lesser-known way to build up US Airways Dividend miles. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan (on a 1:1 basis) and from there on a 1,000 to 1,191 basis to US Airways Dividend miles using points.com.
This is an easy process, but you have to allow a couple of days for this transfer to come through.
3) 110,000 miles Round Trip to Africa in Business Class (Qatar)
This fantastic redemption will take you from the US to Africa, all the way to the magical island of Mauritius.
There is not a lot of availability with Comair (a British Airways affiliate) from Johannesburg to Mauritius (the flight operates only on Saturdays to begin with), so plan this one carefully. Qatar Airways also flies to Entebbe (Uganda) and Nairobi (Kenya).
4) More options?
US Airways Dividend miles will get you to Europe for 100,000 miles in business class. This is good value too, but not my favorite redemption, since the best Oneworld partner airline (with the best Premium cabin availability) charges high fuel surcharges – yes, I'm talking about British Airways. Availability on American Airlines and US Airways to Europe can be sparse to non-existent.
You can use Dividend miles on Oneworld partner LAN to South America, though I feel AAdvantage miles will give you a better deal there.
How can I complete the minimum spend?
There really is no minimum spend with this card 🙂 Don't expect such a great deal from other credit cards.
What if my application was denied?
Did you know that almost all my applications get initially denied and eventually approved when calling the right reconsideration numbers?
Disclaimer: Mighty Media LLC may receive compensation if you use our sign-up links.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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