Just a heads up to cardholder’s (the Sherpstress is one), after an unrelated call to the DMSC (Dividend Miles Service Center) I was told that the reps received notice today that there will be changes in the next ten days to the current “Mastercard”. As per the usual marketing banter, agents will “be excited to hear what’s next” from the Barclays card. For me, the timing is perfect because I am about to do another card signup round and the Dividend Miles offer out now is okay, but not lighting my hair on fire. That being said, the exciting news could be bad if you like some of the benefits that are unique to it now. For example, the Sherpstress, Little Sherpa and myself just used one of our two $99 companion tickets and it saved us $300 for an upcoming wedding we will attend. The card also comes with a one-time lounge pass, and 5,000 mile discounts on each award booking (when the whole ticket is booked on US/AA metal).
Here is some speculation, and it’s only speculation. I think that there is a possibility that they alter the mileage reduction to match Citi’s 10% off award requirements (for example 100,000 miles in business to Europe would actually only cost 90,000 though you have to first have 100,000 and receive the 10,000 back as a refund). I think they may also dabble in an enhanced card. To compete with Citi, I could see them offering lounge access at a higher annual fee, maybe even a card that comes with status, something hotel cards have often done, but airlines have not fully tried (some offer high spend in exchange for some EQM, but not full blown status). I also think that we may lose the companion passes in the future, and the one-time lounge pass. The companion passes are a great idea (and saved me some money personally) but are executed poorly. You have to call in to redeem them, pay a ticketing fee, then physically mail in the piece of paper to avoid paying the normal price at the airport. It’s kind of crazy to think that people should mail in a piece of paper when you have already verified that the code is unused, correct, and linked to the caller’s account. But the feature itself is great, so this might be an ideal time to get in on the card.
If you do want to get in on the card, there could not be a better time. By signing up now and waiting to activate the card, if you do not like the terms and conditions that will be changed you have the option to cancel within the first 14 days of receiving it. If the card does away with the features you like, you will have them locked in, and if it adds features, then you will have an enhanced experience.
Here is a sign-up link. Again, the only thing I can verify is that according to the DMSC rep that was reading her email to me, “exciting changes are coming” to the US Airways MasterCard next week. It should be noted that I do not vouch for any cards I don’t personally carry and following another blogger’s rule of thumb I would never recommend a card to a reader that I would not recommend to my family.