The Barclays USAirways credit card is a gem – here’s why:
- 40,000 Dividend Miles after first purchase – even something as small as a bottle of water at a Duane Reade. Literally, $1 can get you 40,000 miles.
- Free Checked bag – savings of $25 each way.
- Companion Certificate – up to two guests can travel for $99 (space-allowing) when the cardholder purchases a ticket of above $250.
- Priority Boarding – I prefer to spend as little time as possible on the plane, but some people enjoy boarding early to stow their (oversize) checked bags.
- 2x miles earned on American Airlines/USAirways purchases.
- Check-in at the First-Class counter.
- 5,000 Dividend Mile discount on award tickets.
- 10,000 Dividend miles for each year of card membership renewal.
I was able to use 30,000 Dividend Miles (instead of the normal 35,000 – see number 7, above) for a off-peak trip to Amsterdam and Belgium last February with my father and sister. We each saved at least $700 by using miles instead of paying for a cash ticket.
The only downside is that there’s now an inescapable $89 fee for each year of card membership. When I received the card about a year ago, the fee was only for the second year on. Usually, I’m not one for paying annual fees, so when I saw that it had come due on my latest statement, I called the number on the back of the credit card and asked to speak with someone in the retention department.
I mentioned to the retention rep that I enjoyed the card’s benefits, but I was worried about the annual fee and wondering if Barclays could help. I prefer to make my language as vague as possible to not seem like a whiny snot on the phone. The rep, at first, said he couldn’t do anything about the annual fee and went over the laundry list of benefits. We talked about a couple of them and I mentioned that I had used some of the miles for an award trip. After about 3 minutes of just talking about the card, the rep, for whatever reason, told me that he was going to waive the annual fee.
I then asked if there were any other offers available because I’m absolutely shameless. The rep informed me that if I spent $1,000 in the next 90 days, I would receive a 5,000 mile bonus. More great news. I thanked him profusely and hung up, elated.
The 10,000 miles accruing to me for the second year of card membership were now free and I, with the help of manufactured spending, would now be getting an additional 5,000 miles. How lovely. So, don’t be afraid to call up the number on the back of the credit card and ask for a fee waiver – I spent less than $1,000 on the card in my first year of membership and got my fee waived. Hopefully, you can, too.