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New Barclays AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard: Will you still get the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus if you upgrade?

The new Aviator Red MasterCard

The new Aviator Red MasterCard

I wanna dig into this a little, in part because it’s a topic I don’t know the answer to (spoiler alert!), and in part because I would like to upgrade.

As part of Barclays’ discontinuation of the US Airways credit card products, they’ve sent out materials for which version of the Aviator existing cardholders should expect to receive.

I was selected to get the AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard.

Barclays' mailed communication about the product change

Barclays’ mailed communication about the product change

Note that they mention the 50% bonus miles promo at the bottom of the page.

They also included a page of FAQs:

Aviator Red FAQ page

Aviator Red FAQ page

But what about the anniversary bonus?

I’ve done a little digging, and Barclays has confirmed that cardholders will continue to receive the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus if they keep the product they are selected to receive. Which is great news. (I barely eked my way in at the last minute into the card with the 10,000 bonus miles.)

But what about if you want to upgrade from Red to Silver? That’s where the murkiness is coming in, and I’ve read reports that if you upgrade (or downgrade) from what’s been pre-selected for you, you will forfeit your 10,000 mile anniversary bonus. Which is not-so-great news.

The other side of the coin is that since this product is so new, and in fact hasn’t even been sent out yet, we still don’t know exactly what will happen.

So here’s my dilemma.

I want the Aviator Silver

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Get Me to NOLA – Part Three: Get Me Out of NOLA

Also see: 

When last we left this saga, I’d made it to New Orleans. US Airways fulfilled their carriage contract and got me to my destination safely, which is all I ever want, really.

What this little “series” is mostly about is the way US Airways/the “new American” handled not just one situation (which I would’ve totally overlooked), but several, in a row, and how that reflects on their overall operations and company culture. That is really at the root of what I’m attempting to get at in what is hopefully a snarky, self-deprecating, maybe even funny, way.

This particular entry showcases my lack of forethought on this whole topic right in the title. I expected to write a one-off post, but when I started going over 1,100 hundred words I was like, holy crap, this is serial – and left the original title.

The Tumi T-Tech saw it all

Shoutout to the Tumi T-Tech that saw it all

Anyway, the return flight from MSY-CLT was fine (how’s that for anti-climactic?). We got to the airport extra early this time, as I wasn’t sure what US Airways had really done with my return flights – I’d be reticketed and reassigned and transferred so many times, I didn’t even know what my confirmation number was any more. Plus, I didn’t want to chance it (again).

I was still a little miffed about losing a layover at DFW – I really wanted the EQPs and to visit the Centurion Lounge again – but I had to miss out on all of that.

This segment was so by-the-book that it was nearly forgettable, which, in this case, is a good thing. Because I remember all of the other segments too well, unfortunately.

In fact, when I got to CLT and to the Admirals Club (see my review here), I kinda had the feeling that it was almost too easy, purely based on my previous experiences with US Airways.

And then the delays starting rolling in.

Air traffic

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Get Me to NOLA – Part Two: A Middle Seat in Economy

Also see: 

This is gonna be a histrionic, text-heavy post, I can just feel it. 

Faced with the prospect of spending 2 hours at EWR, I made my way to the Admirals Club – thank god there was one. Well, it was really a US Airways Club with the branding replaced. Everything about Terminal A in EWR is “US Airways.”

I thought maybe I could get some additional help with my routing and getting down to New Orleans in the Admirals Club. I explained that my check-in had flubbed and that I’d been separated from my companion. Not only that, but the plane had just left with my seat still available. And now, what were my options?

I said I was on standby for the next flight already. Was there anything else I could do? Any way to get a confirmed ticket – I’d even be willing to connect somewhere?

“The next flight to Charlotte after that one is at 1:15pm.” (7 hours after my original 6am flight, mind you.)

“I don’t want to wait that long. Could I connect somewhere else? Philadelphia, O’Hare…?”

“After the 1:15pm, we’re sold out for the rest of the day. You can try again tomorrow.”

Really. So at this point I was not feeling too great. So I grabbed some OJ, a yogurt, and a coffee, and wanted the Departures board like a hawk.

Before boarding, I made my way back to the gate agent before they got too overwhelmed for the flight I was hoping to get on.

“Just wanted to see if I’m having any luck getting onto this flight.” *presented my boarding pass*

The agent furrowed her brow and said, “Mmm. Hmmm. Ahhhh. Not looking too good.”

OK. “What can I do if I don’t get on this flight?”

While she plugged away at her computer, I pulled up flights on the American app. There was a 9:45am from LGA. I noted it mentally.

“Well,” she said finally. “You could always take the train to Philly. Yeah.” I’m not sure what kind of look I had outwardly, but I was thinking to myself, “You have got to be freaking kidding me.”

“You just take the AirTrain to [station] and transfer at [other station].”

“And how long does that take?”

“Two hours. If you leave right now…”

“But what if I get on this flight? And what about this 9:45am from LGA?” I read her the flight numbers.

“Oh, yeah. I see that. American flights,” and she chuckled to herself.

“Yes, American flights,” I confirmed.

“Oh, well that might work. Take a seat. But it’s not looking good.”

Moment of truth

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Barclays US Airways MasterCard holders: did you get a 50% bonus?

Very cool. Barclays is offering a 50% bonus on all spend for March through June for up to $20,000 in spend. This equates to 1.5 miles per dollar, which is a pretty nice rate of return for an airline cobranded card.

I value all my miles at 2 cents per dollar, so this is effectively 3% back if you value your miles the same way. At 1.5 miles per dollar, this matches what you’d earn by meeting the minimum transactions on an Amex EveryDay card for non-bonused spending, and obviously exceeds cards where you only earn one mile or point per dollar

With the merger between American and US Airways happening quickly, these miles will be incredibly useful on American pretty soon.

I’ll still give preference to my cards with category bonuses (groceries on the Chase Freedom this quarter, phone bill on the Chase Ink Plus, etc.), but will probably filter some spend onto this card after I max out the bonus I recently got on my US Bank Club Carlson Visa, which also begins in March – and it’s great to see credit card companies rewarding ongoing spending!

To check if you were targeted look under “Barclaycard extras” after you log in to the Barclays website:

The offer will show up here, if you're targeted

The offer will show up here, if you’re targeted

Then just check the box and click “Submit” – easy peezy.

Screenshot 2015-02-25 00.52.19

I’m just happy I made a screenshot before I clicked

Boom - enlarge to read T&Cs

Boom – click to enlarge to read T&Cs

Bottom line

It seems like a lot of US Airways MasterCard holders are being targeted for this offer without regard to account age, so if you’re new to the card or have had it for a while, it might be worth checking.

Were you targeted for this bonus? Will it encourage you to shift spend over to this card for a while? 

HT to Frequent Miler.

Get Me to NOLA – Part One: No Boarding Pass for You!

I need to vent.

If you don’t like to read about people bitching/whining, I don’t blame you. It can be annoying. But I gotta get this out. It’s also pretty text heavy. So feel free to skip this one. #disclaimer

A mess fit for a King (Cake)

So as you guys know, I went down to New Orleans this week for Mardi Gras. I spent most of it pretty indisposed, which explains why I had to brush away cobwebs around here just now.

With near-record lows in the Northeast lately, I was ready for any type of warmup, even if it was just up to the 50s (beats single digits!).

On Sunday, I was originally scheduled to fly LGA-DFW-MSY, which I was really looking forward to.

I wanted to gain some EQPs toward my AAdvantage Platinum Status Challenge, visit the Centurion Lounge @ DFW, and get to New Orleans before the Krewe of Bacchus – all of which would’ve been accomplished by this routing. Oh, and it was all on American metal.

So my heart sank a little when I got this email:

They're succinct, I'll give 'em that

They’re succinct, I’ll give ’em that

But life goes on.

I got re-booked to EWR-CLT-MSYall operated by our friends US Airways. But whatever, I wanted to stay optimistic, and maybe it would all be fine. At that point, I just wanted to get out of the city. Was not looking forward to EWR, or to CLT to be honest, and I knew I’d be giving up EQPs. But on I went. I would still make the first parade in plenty of time.

Then the beads hit the fan

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Barclays no longer approving 10K Anniversary Bonus for non-preferred members

That… was a long title.

My partner applied for the Barclays US Airways Premier World MasterCard on December 14th – the version that offers a 10,000 mile anniversary bonus for each year of card membership. He found out today, January 15th, that he was denied.

Reason? No Preferred Status with US Airways.

Here is the letter they sent him today:

Rejection letter from Barclays (click to enlarge)

Rejection letter from Barclays (click to enlarge)

The kicker is that I applied for the offer in early December when it was 40,000 miles after first purchase and with the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus and got an instant approval. Shortly after, Barclays even bumped my bonus to 50,000 miles and deposited an extra 10K Dividend Miles into my account. I have no status whatsoever with US Airways.

Here’s the new offer with 50K miles after first purchase and 10K anniversary miles…

...but don't touch it if you don't have status!

…but don’t touch it if you don’t have status!

Bottom line

More of a cautionary tale than anything, and I didn’t want anyone to miss out on the current referral bonus (that runs until January 18th) over the allure of the 10K bonus… because if you don’t have any type of status with US Airways, you’ll most likely be denied.

Interesting to note that the letter explicitly mentions that the credit wasn’t even ran. They must’ve detected the status level via the Dividend Miles number and instantly rejected it. Also interesting that it took them over a solid month to get the decision letter out. Transitions indeed.

Anyway, if anyone would like to be referred to the current 50K offer, I have some invites left. Just shoot me an email at zynner@gmail.com and I’ll get it to you.

If and when the card is upgraded to Aviator Silver, you’ll get Global Entry fees reimbursed.

But no transaction fees, effective immediately, even with this one. And any spend you put on it will carry over if/when you upgrade to Aviator Silver.

Consider this a data point as well as a further glimpse into everything that’s going into this merger.

(I also love when my “bottom lines” are longer than the actual text of the article. Just love that.)

A Canadian Geography Lesson from US Airways

Thought this was cute.

We know that US Airways isn’t the best when it comes to geography when booking award flights.

When I fly, I like to flip through and look at the maps in the in-flight magazines, just to see all the routes and codeshares – I find that interesting.

Yellowknife and Whitehorse, Canada are on my list of places I’d like to visit, so I always pinpoint it on the map and imagine getting up there one day. This particular map, published in the US Airways in-flight magazine, made me do a double take:

US Airways map of Canada

US Airways Magazine map of Canada

They managed to squeeze Whitehorse into British Columbia and Yellowknife into Alberta instead of Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories, respectively.

Here are their correct geographical locations:

Whitehorse is in Yukon Territory

Whitehorse is in Yukon Territory

Screenshot 2015-01-08 21.13.47

Yellow Knife is in Northwest Territories

The provinces where the two cities are supposed to be are completely empty. Good to know US Airways threw out the map and made up one of their own!

At least they didn’t try to squeeze Iqaluit above Winnipeg…

Thoughts on the new American after US Airways flights

On Monday, I flew MEM-CLT-LGA on US Airways. I’m Platinum with American for a couple more months unless I can boost my paid flying really quickly (prolly not gonna happen). As an aside before I begin, I think American is the only airline/status worth mileage running with/for at this point.

Checking in

I got a regular ol’ economy fare to fly home after Christmas (don’t remember what fare bucket). MEM-CLT is an hour and twenty minutes, while CLT-LGA is a tad over an hour. Suffice it to say I knew I’d survive.

When I went to check in on the US Airways mobile site, I saw something very curious as I verified my seat selection: First Class seats available for an extra $0. Of course I excitedly clicked it before I could get a screen shot. Then I saw this: Read More

Get into the habit of earning more points

Yesterday, I was out with a friend for lunch. When the check came, I threw down my Chase Sapphire Preferred to get double points on dining. He put down a Barclays US Airways World MasterCard. I was kind of surprised, since I didn’t know he was into points and miles.

“That’s a pretty good card,” I said, thinking about how I’d just gotten it the week before.

“The points are useless,” he replied. “I never earn enough to actually go anywhere.”

Ummm… I definitely don’t have this problem.

Also see:

My habit loop

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Barclays bumped my US Airways card bonus to 50K miles!

Last week, I finally bit the bullet and got the US Airways MasterCard with 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase and payment of the annual fee.

I made my first purchase, and then the annual fee hit. I paid it. And while waiting for my 40K miles, I saw that a new, better offer had come swimming along: 50,000 bonus miles after first purchase and payment of the annual fee.

Grrr. Hate when that happens.

Now, in the past, Chase has always been so kind about things like this. I wanted to see if Barclays would match me to the new 50K offer.

I spent maybe 2 minutes logging into my account and writing them an email.

Screenshot 2014-12-08 23.34.26

They replied with a few hours and said they would match me! Here is what I wrote them and their reply:

Screenshot 2014-12-08 10.15.38

How cool is that? I wrote on the night of 12/4, got a reply back on 12/5, and guess what happened on 12/6?

Screenshot 2014-12-08 11.31.51

Bottom line

I value all my points and miles at 2 cents each, so this extra 10,000 miles is worth $200 to me. It’s almost enough for a free domestic one-way or 1/3 of a round-trip off-season award ticket to Europe or South America (when they eventually become AAdvantage miles). Not bad for typing a few sentences and asking.

Sometimes the best way to get points and miles is simply to ask for them. If you’ve gotten this card recently (past ~90 days), it’s worth a shot to get an extra 10K miles. Anyone else been able to bump their bonus?

Review: US Airways Club @ CLT / Charlotte

I had the opportunity to go down to Charlotte, NC on US Airways earlier this week. Even though my Amex Platinum Card doesn’t get me into American’s Admirals Clubs or US Airways Clubs any more, I was still able to get in thanks to a recent award redemption with American’s Business Extra program.

I flew JFK-CLT and had high hopes for the US Airways Club at CLT since it is one of their hub airports. I was not disappointed.

I checked into the Club at around 8:20am. It was pretty empty. I really only had time to grab a to-go coffee and slap on a tie. But I returned at around 3pm and got to hang out for a couple of hours and snap some photos. Both times, check-in was a breeze and the agents couldn’t have been more friendly.

The lounge

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My US Airways Flight Attendant Interview

This will have to be a text-only post, as there was really no way to discreetly take photos of anything I experienced. But talk about a recon mission!

The application

I found a link to apply for the US Airways flight attendant position while trolling Craigslist as part of my side hustle gig. I clicked through out of curiosity. The application was quite short, and I thought for an instant that it could be really cool. After all, this was before American started to devalue and I knew the position would soon be part of the “new American.” And I think about the travel industry so much anyway that I was like… why not work for the travel industry? Five minutes later, I’d applied.

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