US Airways Premier World MasterCard Review

USAir MasterCardThe US Airways Premier World MasterCard is the official rewards credit card of US Airways.  Thanks to the recent merger between US Airways and American Airlines, this credit card is much more useful since the combined airlines have almost 7,000 flights per day to 300 destinations. It is issued by Barclays which has a reputation for acceptable customer service and relatively aggressive balance transfer periods for new cardholders (currently 0% on balance transfer for 15 months).

For frequent fliers of US Airways or American Airlines, the Premier World MasterCard delivers plenty of meaningful perks. Cardholders are given priority boarding, free checked bag and a day pass to the US Airways Club or Admirals Club.  New cardholders get a signup bonus of 50,000 bonus miles.  Each year US Airways provides cardholders with a companion certificate that allows up to two people to accompany you on a flight for just $99 each.

Like almost all airline credit cards, the value of the benefits offered with this US Airways Premier World MasterCard depends on how often you fly with the same airline and how much you spend on travel.  Accumulating miles with an airline you rarely use doesn’t make a lot of sense.  US Airways has hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. The airline counts Washington DC as a “focus city.”  If you live near one of these four cities or by a regional airport with frequent flights into and from these hubs you will get more value from the US Airways Premier World MasterCard.

The Facts  

Below we’ve broken down the specifics of the US Airways Premier World MasterCard to help when deciding whether it’s worth signing up.

The Good

Significant signup bonus:

The signup bonus for this card is one of the best in the industry.  After you pay the $89 annual fee and make your first purchase, you’ll earn 50,000 miles.  Most rewards credit cards require a minimum spend amount before you can earn promo rewards – this card requires only making one purchase (of any amount). A better deal.

Priority Boarding:

Every time you use the Premier World MasterCard to purchase your US Airways or American flight (through US Airways) you enjoy Zone 2 priority boarding. This is something that isn’t offered on all cards and is something that can make traveling a little easier.

One free checked bag:

As a cardholder, you are eligible for one free checked bag when traveling on any domestic US Airways operated flight.  This also applies to up to four traveling companions (on the same flight record).  US Airways typically charges $25 for the first checked bag on domestic flights. This benefit alone can pay for the card’s annual fee if you fly two round trips per year.

Balance Transfer Promotional Period:

New cardholders are able to transfer a balance with 0% interest charged for the first fifteen months.  The only stipulation is that you must transfer your credit card balance within 45 days of opening your new account.

The Bad

Weak Rewards:

When compared to other airline credit cards, the US Airways Premier World MasterCard doesn’t offer the most aggressive mileage rewards on purchases.  Cardholders earn 2 miles per dollar spent on US Airways flights. The rewards given for all other purchases made with this card are only one mile per dollar. Some cards offer 1.5 miles per dollar spent on general purchases or when making purchases from specific categories or merchants.

One Companion Certificate:

This can be a great benefit for small families or people that want to treat a relative or two on a nearly free flight. But you can’t just redeem the certificate for a pair of tickets and hand them over. You actually have to travel with the two friends or family members on the same flight. The companion tickets cost $99 plus taxes and fees, which really eats potential savings on shorter flights.

The Ugly: 

High annual fee and not waived the first year:

The $89 annual fee makes the US Airways Premier World MasterCard one of the more expensive airline credit cards to own. The $89 annual fee isn’t a problem if you’re a frequent flyer, but it can be a problem for those that don’t fly a lot and those who don’t spend enough on this card to earn a meaningful amount of miles.

Many cards waive annual fees for new cardholders, but the US Airways rewards card does not. That means you better be sure the $89 annual fee for the US Airways Premier World MasterCard fits into your rewards plan well before signing up for it. The annual fee is not refundable if you change your mind.