Extra Pack of Peanuts reader extraordinaire Forrest just alerted me to a new offer that popped up for the Barclays USAirways card that offered 40,000 miles after the first purchase.
Of course, my original thought was “Awesome, it’s back! Time to tell the EPoP faithful.”
Since the best offer I currently knew about was only offering a 35k mile sign up bonus, this new 40k offer was obviously better, right?
Well….not so fast. Here’s the details after sifting through the fine print.
The Three Major Differences in the Offers
Sign up Bonus
The first major difference in the offers is that the 35k offer gives you 35k miles after your first purchase and that the 40k offer gives you, you guessed it, 40k miles after your first purchase.
Obviously, the 40k offer is the clear winner here. Who doesn’t love an extra 5k miles.
The 35k offer waives the $89 annual fee for the first year, while the 40k offer DOES NOT waive the $89 annual fee the first year.
The 35k offer gives you 10k miles as an anniversary bonus each year you keep the card open. So, even though you’ll have to pay the $89 annual fee after the first year, the 10k makes up for it, and then some.
The 40k offer doesn’t offer any type of anniversary bonus. That means that keeping the card open past the first year doesn’t make any sense if you get the 40k offer.
Which Would I Choose?
I would definitely choose the 35k offer over the 40k offer even though, on the surface, it looks worse. To me, 5k USAirways miles is not worth $89, and especially not when you consider that you won’t receive 10k as an anniversary bonus.
Personally, I have 2 of these cards and I keep them both open, year in and year out, because the 10k bonus is worth at least $150 to me and the annual fee is only $89. I’m coming out ahead.
Why The USAirways Card is So Great
There are a few reasons that this card, even with a relatively small 35k sign up bonus, is such a a great card.
1. This card comes packed with a ton of extra perks, like lounge passes, a $99 companion pass, and 5k off award tickets.
2. There is no minimum spend requirement. Simply swipe the card once to make a purchase and you’ll receive your miles.
3. The card is “churnable.” I was able to get a 2nd USAirways card 5 months after I got approved for my first one without ever even closing the first one (however, I was denied when I applied for it a third time). You should be able to get a 2nd one easily as well.
4. Once the USAirways and American Airlines merger happens, USAirways miles will almost assuredly become American Airlines miles. That means that you should get as many of these USAirways cards as possible before the merger, as they’ll disappear after that.
While I prefer the 35k sign up bonus, ultimately, you have to decide which card works best for you.
I’ll be keeping the 35k offer on the Best Current Deals page and the Airline Credit cards page, but here are the links to both offers:
PS- If you haven’t yet voted in the Credit Card March Madness Sweet Sixteen, hop on over and vote now. Polls close at the end of today, and there are some really close matchups!