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Barclays US Airlines Dividend Miles World MasterCard – Not What It’s Cracked Up to Be?


Ah, the Barclays US Airlines Dividend Miles World MasterCard, this one was offered a few years back from Bank of America and suffered a major blow when Barclays took over. Existing card members were not amused and screamed their displeasure across the credit world, however, now several years later things seem to have leveled out, the outrage has subsided, and, at least people who frequent US Airways, are starting to wonder if this card is a good choice or not.

What do you get with the Barclays US Airlines Dividend Miles World MasterCard?

The offering for the Barclays US Airlines Dividend Miles World MasterCard is pretty standard for airline credit cards. You get one mile per dollar spent in general, and an addition mile per dollar on all US Airway purchases. As of December 2013, new applicants can also take advantage of a few bonus incentives for signing up including:

-15,000 bonus miles after your first purchase or balance transfer upon paying the first year’s fee.
-1 mile for every dollar transferred to your card within the first 90 days.

This card also comes with three perks, which is far fewer than the Barclays US Airways Dividend Miles World Premiere MasterCard. Card holders enjoy:

-Lower award requirements. The US Airways Dividend Miles World MasterCard allows frequent flier redemption beginning at 20,000 miles rather than the standard 25,000. This makes it easier to earn free flights.

-An annual companion airfare ticket at $149, plus fees and tax. It isn’t free, but it’s something, and could potentially save you a bundle depending on where you’re flying. However, according to the terms and conditions, there are blackout dates on this offer and your flight must be within the continental U.S or Canada, so plan carefully.

-A $75 certificate towards a US Airways membership. Your card perks don’t even cover the entire membership, but they do give you a discount once a year. (The entire membership ranges from $325 to $450) The US Airways club is similar to most airlines “clubs” being you get a cool lounge with WiFi and refreshments, some perks such as express boarding, possible seat upgrades, special offers, etc.

What does the Barclays US Airlines Dividend Miles World MasterCard cost?

Given the skimpy rewards and perks package, it’s not surprising this Barclays US Airlines Dividend Miles World MasterCard comes with a lower annual fee of $49. The interest rate associated with this card is 15.99 or 24.99 percent based on credit worthiness, but new card holders received an introductory zero percent for the first year, this does apply to balance transfers.

You may notice I said “or” up there in regards to interest rate rather than a range. This card does not offer a range of rates, applicants receive one rate or the other, and according to many other reviews, it takes a tip-top score to land that 15.99 percent, so unless you’re sitting pretty in the above 780 range, you may want to just plan on the higher rate or not apply at all—I didn’t.

There is a three percent foreign transaction fee and an above-industry standard four percent balance transfer fee (this fee is only three percent in the first year, which seems quite silly). The late fee on this card is $35, again standard for the industry.

Is the Barclays US Airlines Dividend Miles World MasterCard worth it?

In my opinion, no, perhaps if the card had no annual fee, rather than $49. I base this opinion on a few points.

First, if you look into US Airlines, according to the Wall Street Journal, they have the lowest availability of seats to award for frequent flier miles—meaning they are the hardest airline to redeem your miles with, and with this card you can’t use your miles on another airline. They also have extensive blackout dates. What’s the point in earning miles, if you can’t use them? Right?

Second, the benefit package is meager and easily matched by other cards that are not airline specific but offer equally attractive miles benefits. The perks associated with this card are barely sufficient to even cover the annual fee unless you take advantage of that companion airfare on a high dollar ticket. Couple that with the high probability you’ll be locked into that high interest rate, and there really is no reason to recommend the Barclays US Airlines Dividend Miles World MasterCard. Even the next step up in the premiere version of this card is pretty lack luster and comes with a higher annual fee.

Finally, no decent traveler’s card comes with a foreign transaction fee. Period. You could argue that the card would be fine for those who don’t travel internationally I suppose, but personally, I feel if you’re going to make a card designed to reward air travel, it is both greedy and stupid to tack on this unnecessary fee. Most other travel cards have dropped it, whether they are targeting international travelers or not. I think that they aren’t even willing to offer more than a discount to the US Airways club backs up that “greedy” definition well enough, being it’s a US Airways card to begin with.

So, who would benefit from the Barclays US Airlines Dividend Miles World MasterCard?

No one. I’m sad to admit I cannot think of a situation in which this card would be a wise financial suggestion. Perhaps that’s why Bank of America let Barclay take it over in the first place.

The approval requirements are suggested to be steep and there is a very fair chance of a high interest rate making this a poor choice for beginners in the credit world. The card has foreign transaction fees and abysmal perks making it a poor choice for travelers who could easily reap better benefits elsewhere, possibly at a lower cost. It isn’t the only MasterCard in the travel card category. You don’t have to use it to gain frequent flier miles for US Airways.

The bottom line on the Barclays US Airlines Dividend Miles World MasterCard?

Unless you have some untold loyalty to US Airways, there are better cards than the Barclays US Airlines Dividend Miles World MasterCard, and you can even stick with Barclays and find superior options.

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