The Barclays USAirway Card is Offering a 40k Sign Up Bonus Again…But Is It Better Than the 35k Offer?

Posted By Trav

Barclays USAirways card offer

Extra Pack of Peanuts reader extraordinaire Forrest just alerted me to a new offer that popped up for the Barclays USAirways card that offered 40,000 miles after the first purchase.

Of course, my original thought was “Awesome, it’s back!  Time to tell the EPoP faithful.”

Since the best offer I currently knew about was only offering a 35k mile sign up bonus, this new 40k offer was obviously better, right?

Well….not so fast.  Here’s the details after sifting through the fine print.

The Three Major Differences in the Offers

Sign up Bonus

The first major difference in the offers is that the 35k offer gives you 35k miles after your first purchase and that the 40k offer gives you, you guessed it, 40k miles after your first purchase.

Obviously, the 40k offer is the clear winner here.  Who doesn’t love an extra 5k miles.

Annual Fee

The 35k offer waives the $89 annual fee for the first year, while the 40k offer DOES NOT waive the $89 annual fee the first year.


Anniversary Bonus

The 35k offer gives you 10k miles as an anniversary bonus each year you keep the card open.  So, even though you’ll have to pay the $89 annual fee after the first year, the 10k makes up for it, and then some.

The 40k offer doesn’t offer any type of anniversary bonus.  That means that keeping the card open past the first year doesn’t make any sense if you get the 40k offer.

Which Would I Choose?

I would definitely choose the 35k offer over the 40k offer even though, on the surface, it looks worse.  To me, 5k USAirways miles is not worth $89, and especially not when you consider that you won’t receive 10k as an anniversary bonus.

Personally, I have 2 of these cards and I keep them both open, year in and year out, because the 10k bonus is worth at least $150 to me and the annual fee is only $89.  I’m coming out ahead.

Why The USAirways Card is So Great

There are a few reasons that this card, even with a relatively small 35k sign up bonus, is such a a great card.

1.  This card comes packed with a ton of extra perks, like lounge passes, a $99 companion pass, and 5k off award tickets.

2.  There is no minimum spend requirement.  Simply swipe the card once to make a purchase and you’ll receive your miles.

3.  The card is “churnable.”  I was able to get a 2nd USAirways card 5 months after I got approved for my first one without ever even closing the first one (however, I was denied when I applied for it a third time).  You should be able to get a 2nd one easily as well.

4.  Once the USAirways and American Airlines merger happens, USAirways miles will almost assuredly become American Airlines miles.  That means that you should get as many of these USAirways cards as possible before the merger, as they’ll disappear after that.

Final Word(s)

While I prefer the 35k sign up bonus, ultimately, you have to decide which card works best for you.

I’ll be keeping the 35k offer on the Best Current Deals page and the Airline Credit cards page, but here are the links to both offers:

Barclays USAirways 35k offer


Barclays USAirways 40k offer

PS-  If you haven’t yet voted in the Credit Card March Madness Sweet Sixteen, hop on over and vote now.  Polls close at the end of today, and there are some really close matchups!



  1. wrk4lvg says:

    Which CRA do they pull from in the Tn area?

    1. Trav says:

      @wrk4lvg- I don’t know, but I do know that Barclays pulls all three in the SE PA area. You can check creditboards.com credit pull database to get a rough estimation.

  2. Hutch says:

    how long before I can go back for a second card? I grabbed my first in Feb.

    1. Trav says:

      @Hutch- I’d wait at least 91 days. Personally, I waited about 5 months, but that was only because of other circumstances. 3 months should be enough.

  3. HikerT says:

    Nice job. I recall you mentioning you don’t have affiliate links and it shows. That said, there may be issues with the 2 links you posted.

    First, the 35K link is a redirected URL with browser specific info. Whomever you obtained the link from was a mac user (why does this not surprise me, lol). Assuming you intended to post the second URL that kdoughboy posted at FT the correct link is: https://www.barclaycardus.com/apply/Landing.action?campaignId=1695&cellNumber=31
    Note this will redirect to another URL with your browser info, etc.

    Also, the 40K link has someone’s referrer info embedded in the URL. I’m sure they will be delighted to be getting referrals, but you might want to take out the &referrerid= in the url so as not to give the impression you have affiliate links.

    1. Trav says:

      @HikerT- Thanks for catching the referral link in the 40k offer. I hadn’t even noticed that. I’ll take that out.

      As far as the 35k offer, I’m not sure how to post it without a mac specific info. Even when I go to the link you posted, it ends up with a link that redirects through a certain browser, which is strange. When you used the link in the post on a computer that was not a mac, did it not work?

  4. Erndog says:

    5,000 miles at $89 = .0178 per mile – a lot cheaper than buying 5,000 miles from USAir. You really think this card is going to be around in a year from now to claim the anniversary bonus? If so, why not take the 40,000 mile offer now and churn to the 35,000 card with the anniversary bonus as the 40,000 mile offer isn’t likely to be around for long . . . .

    1. Trav says:

      @Erndog- I completely agree that if you are going to buy 5k miles from USAirways anyway, then getting them for $89 is a steal. I just would never consider buying them from USAirways, and I think .0178 is a little high. However, if you need the extra 5k anyway, then yes, getting the 40k card for $89 is definitely the best way to go about it.

      As for whether the card will be around to get the anniversary bonus, I have no clue. I know most of the talk is that these airlines and programs will merge by Q4 of 2013, but I also know that these things sometimes take a lot longer than expected. If I knew that the card definitely wouldn’t be around in a year to get the anniversary bonus, I’d definitely recommend the 40k. However, I’m just going on the offer details as the situation currently stands.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Major difference #4 — The 35k offer gives you 35k on first purchase no matter what your credit limit is. The 40k offer gives you only 15k on first purchase if they approve your card with a starting limit below $5k.

    1. Trav says:

      @Elizabeth- Very true. Does it say when you’d get the additional 25k if you are approved for a card that starts under $5k?

      1. Elizabeth says:

        There is no additional 25k. You get 15k points total. Barclays is notorious for approving low limits. The 40k offer is not worth the risk or the annual fee. Here is the clause from the 40k offer:

        Bonus Miles: Applicants who are approved for the Premier World MasterCard will receive 40,000 bonus miles after the first use of the account for a Purchase or Balance Transfer (that are not later returned or rescinded) and have paid the Annual Fee on the account (and such fee is not rescinded). Applicants who are approved for the World MasterCard will receive 15,000 bonus miles after the first use of your account for a Purchase or Balance Transfer (that are not later returned or rescinded) and have paid the Annual Fee on the account (and such fee is not rescinded).

        1. Graydon says:

          Yeah this just happened to me. Applied for the 40,000 offer but got a ridiculously low credit limit approval. 15,000 miles only for bonus. Might try to recon the limit up but the card account has went live. My first Barclays card so no leverage. Might as well call and complain and perhaps I can get the 35,000 offer if I point it out to them.

          1. Trav says:

            @Graydon- Man, that sucks. Yet another reason why the 35k offer is better. No chance of getting a lower offer. I’d definitely call and complain. The worst they can do is say no. Let us know if it works, and good luck!

  6. Richard says:

    When you applied for a 2nd card 5 months after getting the 1st card, do you recall if you entered your USAir account number on the application, or did you leave it blank?

    1. Trav says:

      @Richard- Yep, I entered my USAirways account number on the 2nd application as well and it was fine.

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