US Airways and UK-based Barclays Bank have launched a new affinity credit card with generous incentives designed to lure away users of a similar card issued by rival Bank of America.
The new MasterCard offers 15,000 bonus miles upon activation, no interest for the first six months and Dividend Miles for purchases made on the card and balance transfers.
Bank of America already offers a US Airways Visa card, but both banks are allowed to offer credit cards linked to the airline’s frequent flyer program for the next two years as a result of the recent merger of US Airways and America West.
Barclays paid out $475 million for the merger in return for the right to offer the new card. Bank of America has sued US Airways, saying its deal with Barclays violated its contract with the carrier, but thus far, courts in Delaware and Virginia have refused to halt the launch of the new Barclays card.
Many of the card’s incentives are heavily loaded toward the first year of use. In that year, users will earn three miles per $1 spent on US Airways and US Airways Vacations purchases, and one and half miles per $1 spent on other purchases. The $79 annual fee is waived for the first two years.
Other card benefits include up to 10,000 bonus miles on balance transfers, preferred check-in and boarding, 10,000 miles towards Preferred status, one complimentary US Airways Club pass per year, and $75 off one annual US Airways Club membership.
For the card’s launch promotion, cardholders have the option to purchase 50-cent tickets to selected US Airways destinations throughout the month of February. The flights are available on a limited, first-come-first-served basis. To qualify, members must have signed up for the card during the month of January.
Although US Airways will also continue to support its current portfolio of credit cards, members who previously used America West credit cards are no longer earning FlightFund miles from those cards, and must now apply for the new card to continue earning miles for spending.
This spring, FlightFund and Dividend Miles will finally be combined into one program, and miles earned in either program will be combined into a single US Airways Dividend Miles account.