Credit card planning in light of the AA / US Airways merger

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Now that the AA / US Airways merger seems to have cleared the last major hurdle, we need to think about how to prepare.  Citibank will continue to carry American Airlines branded cards and so Barclaycard’s US Airways cards will, at some point, go away.  Clearly, if you don’t already have a US Airways card, it makes sense to go for the signup bonus before its too late.  A reader contacted me with the opposite situation, though: he has a US Airways card, but not the Barclaycard Arrival card.  Will the US Airways card be replaced with the Arrival card?  If so, should he cancel the US Airways card now so that he’ll be eligible for the Arrival card signup bonus later?

I thought this was an interesting question.  It does seem likely that Barclaycard will replace the US Airways card with the Arrival card (see, for example, this post by Rapid Travel Chai).  Assuming that’s true, how do we ensure that we don’t lose out on the current 40K signup bonus for the Arrival card?

The question assumes that having one Arrival card (transitioned from a US Airways card) means that it would be hard to get a signup bonus for a second one.  That’s not necessarily true, but I do think its reasonable to assume that getting a second one is harder than getting a first one.  Given that, I suggested that he either: 1) sign up for the Arrival card now; or 2) cancel his US Airways card now (or soon) so that he can sign up for the Arrival card later when he’s ready to.

I’m in a similar situation.  I have two US Airways cards, but don’t yet have the Arrival card.  I think I’ll sign up for the Arrival card before the end of the year and then wait to see what they do with the US Airways cards.  Maybe they’ll offer an incentive to stay a Barclaycard customer?  We’ll see.

Both of the Barclaycard cards, in question, have good signup bonuses, so it would be a shame to miss out on either.  Given that, here’s my recommendation for what to do, based on your situation (and assuming that you want to secure both signup bonuses):

If you have neither card:

Sign up for both the US Airways card and the Arrival card.  Barclaycard can be tough with approvals so signup first for the US Airways card.  You could try again next year for the Arrival card if you’re not approved for that one.

If you have the Arrival card, but not the US Airways card:

Sign up for the US Airways card before it’s too late.

If you have the US Airways card, but not the Arrival card:

Sign up for the Arrival card before your US Airways card is converted to an Arrival card, or cancel your US Airways card before it is converted so as to give you more time.

If you already have both cards:

There’s no reason to do anything at this point.  You could try getting a second US Airways card, but Barclaycard has become increasingly stingy with approvals in these cases so it would likely be a wasted credit inquiry.

What is your strategy?  What are you going to do?

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LUCHEX

I recently got my 35k US Airwyas card with 6k credit line. If I were to try to put 25k spending before the end of the year paying of the balance several times within 1 month, is that somehow breaking the rules?

FrequentMiler

There’s no rule against that, but it could bring your account under scrutiny. With Amex cards, doing too much of that could trigger a financial review. I’m not sure whether there is any risk of negative outcomes with Barclays

Charlie

In my experience you can get the bonus on the US Airways card repeatedly. I usually apply for this card twice a year, one year I got the card three times. I have been denied for this card a couple times as well (only card I have ever been denied). I usually cancel the card and then sign up again after about 3 months. Keep the card for three months or so and then cancel again, etc. etc. I usually only make one purchase for less than $5 get the points and put the card away. I have gotten the 15,000 point targeted offer a couple times but not recently. In general this is a good card to add to most “app parties” because of the low spend requirement and waived annual fee.

justSaying

When United announced their partner devaluation I immediately got the Barclay’s Lufthansa card……..then in a couple of months I plan to close my US Scareways card and transfer the credit limit over to the Lufthansa card (if they play the game the way ?Chase plays it)………….

Jonathan

oops i meant 35k us airways points. soon to be aa points.

Jonathan

Ive never had the US Airways card but I’m debating whether its worth getting or if I should just save my Barclays request for a different card in the near future (non specifically come to mind, though new offers always come up). I have 2 barclays card, that I received this year (nfl and arrival), and 35k united points doesnt seem like much, when Im sure I can get a better offer (for other types of points) in the future. It seems like you need to give Barclays some time between apps, so I’d be forfeiting a future offer for this one. Plus Ill be qualifying for the southwest companion pass in jan (110k+ southwest points) and will have 200k delta points to burn for me and my wife next year as well. All that to say, 35k for a credit inquiry and forfeiting another near future Barclays card doesnt seem worth it. Thoughts?

Glenn

@FM,

Not sure why you’d recommend applying for the Arrival card now. Seems like we should have adequate notice of the conversion coming and have the ability to cancel our existing US Air cards before the conversion if we want, or to apply for the Arrival at that point before. Certainly that was the case with the Virgin America card Rapid Travel Chai cited.

I’d rather try for another US Air card while they’re still available. I’m going to do another round in late January, and it seems unlikely the US Air card will disappear before then. I’ll try and put some spend on my existing US Air card to see if I can overcome the issues. I’ll certainly have too many pulls which may make it impossible.

FYI, I *never* got the 15K offer. Waited patiently for almost six months and nothing. Ditto the wife. Given that the T&C’s when I applied mentioned that they might cancel your card and reclaim your bonus miles (not that I’m aware of this ever happening) if you didn’t put spend on it for 6 months, I gave in and started to put some spend on it again just in case. Given that I’ll probably put some additional VRs on it before January.

Lothar

I just applied for the US Airways card last week purely for the signup bonus. Considering the possibility that Barclays might convert it to the Arrival card and I’d miss out on that bonus, I had planned to dump it as soon as the miles posted. Any downside to that strategy? Has anyone heard of Barclays rescinding miles if you cancel too soon?

jesse

FM,
I am confused. I have always thought that after the merger, the us airway points will be converted into aadvantage points. But you are saying that may not be the case. The points will be converted into arrival points. Is that what you mean in this article?

FrequentMiler

jesse, no you were right before. US Airways miles will become American Airlines miles. But, the US Airways credit card is likely to become the Arrival credit card.