Credit Card Review: US Airways Dividend Miles Premier World Mastercard

For my credit cards, I generally prefer cash back rewards – as much as I travel, cash is just as easy to use towards my travel, plus it’s a lot less hassle. However, I made an exception to this rule for the US Airways Dividend Miles Premier World Mastercard, as it offers some unique perks beyond just earning miles.

The real decision maker for me was that I realized that I travel so frequently, it was time to try to consolidate all of my airline travel to one airline, and start to reap the rewards of elite status such as free first class upgrades.  I live in Phoenix which is a hub for US Airways, so they have lots of flight options, and I’ve generally had pretty decent experiences flying with them, as well as a decent amount of miles racked up, so I made the decision to commit to US Airways for 2011. I’m not quite at the first tier of elite status yet, but I don’t envision it taking that long (25,000 miles to hit Silver status).

My favorite perk of this credit card is Zone 2 boarding group. The only people that board before you are First Class and Zone 1 – and Zone 1 is just anyone with elite status (generally they’re in First Class anyway). Now that every airline charges to check bags, I always bring my trust carry-on bag which is about as large of a carry-on as they’ll allow…as such, it’s important to get on the plane early, so there is plenty of overhead space to stash my bag. Zone 2 makes it really easy to find space for my bag, get my seat, and relax while everyone else boards.

The other cool perks include a free companion pass per year, free flights for only 20,000 miles (versus 25,000 miles without the card), and usually a pretty hefty mileage bonus after your first purchase (I think I got 20,000 miles after my first purchase), so you pretty much get a free flight upon signing up.

After using the card a few months, I’m happy with it. Their online banking/account management is a little old school compared to the interface of someone like AMEX, but hey, it gets the job done, and I can pay my bill online, which is all I really care. My initial credit limit was pretty decent, nothing amazingly high but nothing insulting low like the credit limit traps that Capital One loves to play.

The only downside is the annual fee of $89. If you’re not going to be flying a lot, and you’re not planning on sticking to US Airways as your primary airliner, then I wouldn’t recommend this card. But if you’re going to be flying a decent amount on US Airways, it’s totally worth it. Even for just 5 round trips per year, that’s 10 headaches you’re saving yourself with the early boarding, and the free miles for signing up are worth the $89 themselves.  Covering yourself with LifeLock before activating your credit card will insure no one else is capable of stealing or opening a card in your name which could cause epic headaches.

So there you have it – I can honestly say I’m happy with it, which is more than I can say with a lot of other credit cards I’ve had, and my frequent flyer miles have skyrocketed since I signed up – at the time of writing, I have a little over 65,000 miles at my disposal, and I’m 10% of the way to Silver status (only 1 month into the year…).

33 Responses to “Credit Card Review: US Airways Dividend Miles Premier World Mastercard”

  1. Pamella April 27, 2011

    DO NOT, I repeat do not subscribe to US Airways Mastercard. All customer service is handled in Manilla, Phillipines. They do not speak clear english & constantly tell you “I’m sorry there is nothing I can do”. I qualified for the waiver of $25 processing fee, however, US Airways & Barclay’s told me there is nothing they can do to help, I have to pay it, even though mileage & payments records prove I earned it. They have not transferred my miles in two months, again Barclay’s will do nothing except tell me it’s US Airways problem. US Airways (also in Manilla) say’s call Barclay’s they are responsible. I finally called to cancel my account. They try & get you to stay by waiving the yearly fee. I still refused & they hung up on me! It’s finally closed, however, the goof up they made in March for not transferring the miles, they informed me becuz i closed the account (before the $79 yearly fee) i will lose over 3200 miles! Their customer service is horrendous, stay with American Express for good USA customer service

  2. Thanks for your perspective Pamella – I haven’t used Customer Service for my US Airways Mastercard yet, but I will say that most credit card companies I have dealt with are like this. I wrote this post: on how awful Capital One is, and hundreds of others have chimed in with similar issues.

    I think to an extent, all credit card companies are going to have sub-par customer service – just part of the downsides of globalization. AMEX does a good job at differentiating themselves and providing great customer service, which is why I keep that card, but to me I still value my US Airways Mastercard for the benefits as a frequent flyer with US Airways. However, I’m sorry to hear that, as I’m a big customer service advocate myself (which is part of the purpose of this blog – call-out those providing exceptional service in the travel industry, and likewise scold those who are not).

  3. Daniel Schreiner May 16, 2011

    I hate this card. I absolutely hate it. Worst customer service ever.
    They say they will waive the annual fee. They won’t. They charge it. You’ll call and ask if you can get that money restated faxing in proof that they said they’d waive. You’ll get your money back….7 months later and after calling them every month. This happened to both me and my wife two years in a row.
    Then, they’ll just close your account unexpectadely without verifiying that with you and you’ll be unable to reopen it. They just closed it – probably because I was always saying, “this is the worst credit card I’ve ever had”.
    I hate this card – its the bane of my existence.

  4. Sorry to hear that. I never tried to get the yearly fee waived, I figured that was just part of the price you have to pay to get all of the perks…sounds its not worth trying to do so either given your experience.

  5. Doug Speer May 20, 2011

    The benefits of the card are significant if you use it a lot. I received 20,000 in preferred miles last year using the card. However, the customer service issues are very real also. I was recently in Santa Fe on a short trip. After using my card more than once in Santa Fe the previous 2 days, I was told after presenting it at a restaurant where we were entertaining friends for dinner that the card was turned down. I had to give a second card and then called immediately to find out what the problem was. The rep told me that it was turned down because they were suspicious of the card being used in another state other than the one I lived in. I told her that I’d used the card more than once on the trip and she said the policy is that if you leave your home state, you have to call them and tell them where you are going so they will honor the card. I was appalled, pointing out that this is a card issued by an AIRLINE. She insisted that was the policy and there was nothing wrong with turning down the card. I countered with this example: I live on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It’s a 5 minute drive across the river for me where I frequently go to buy gas because it’s cheaper there. I asked, do I have to call every time I go across the river to buy gas? She said yes! I’m sure she was reading from a script because she kept repeating the exact same thing over and over. My position now is that if it happens again, I’m dumping the card. Until then, I’ll keep using it.

  6. Wow, that is crazy…and a really funny example story you gave them. I haven’t had that issue yet, and I have used it while traveling – maybe they’ve relaxed the policy a little bit? Customer Service people can be such robots. Still, that sucks, and totally absurd for a credit card designed for frequent travelers…

  7. Linda June 8, 2011

    Pamella is absolutely right! Barclays stinks.

  8. Miki Vuckovich June 12, 2011

    US Airways is absolutely THE worst airline my company has ever used. An employee missed a critical meeting not so much because of a cancelled flight, but because US Airways promised to place him on a partner airline’s subsequent flight, but never actually did. They led us to believe he was taken care of when they knew he was not. We could have booked a flight on Delta, we had confirmed that they had plenty of seats available, but didn’t because US Airways assured us that they had done so, that he was booked on that very flight. But when it came time to check in, our employee and 20 other passengers who were told the same thing by US Airways, in fact had not been booked to the Delta flight. Ultimately, after having him spend the night at an airport hotel (at our expense), we sent him home and cancelled the meeting, affecting dozens of people’s schedules and delaying one of our company’s major projects. Flights get cancelled, but it was US Airways’ incompetent handling of the situation and dishonest lip service that kept us from solving the problem ourselves. I won’t put our company and our employees in that position again. We will not fly US Airways under any circumstance. Even if another carrier is twice the price, it will be a much greater value to us.

  9. That is an interesting opinion, but I think if you fly enough you’ll have similar bad experiences with every airline. I’ve said the same thing about Jet Blue after a bad experience, but when I needed to fly to NYC on short notice and they were $500 cheaper than the next available option – I flew them again. It’s a price sensitive market, and consumers will put up with totally awful service for the right price, which allows airlines to occasionally screw you over. It’s all part of the game, which sucks, but I guess it’s just the way it is. USAirways has treated me well to date, so I’ll keep flying them until I have a compelling reason not to. Until then, having a credit card that helps me fly more comfortably with them just make sense.

  10. I just got approved with a $2200 limit. Can you explain some of the benefits and tricks. I understand boarding zone 2, and how much the annual fee is ($89) I understand i get miles for my first few purchases, but then what?
    How do you get bumped to first class? Do you have to use miles, or if you have like 50,000 miles in your dividend account do they consider bumping you up, or is it only when its full. Thanks so much for your info I’d appreciate more in depth stuff though. Trying to get some “free” flights to Europe!
    thank you!

  11. Well you earn miles on all purchases, not just your first few. Regular purchases $1 = 1 mile. Anything you buy through USAirways (tickets, drinks/snacks on-board, etc) are double miles, so $1 spent = 2 miles.

    As far as the first class upgrades, you can either spend your miles on them, or you can hope they’ll bump you up for free. In my experience, you won’t have a chance of getting bumped up for free unless you are at least a Silver or Gold level Preferred Status, which your credit card miles won’t really help you achieve (qualifying miles have to be actually flown, not earned through a CC).

    Regardless, you’ll rack up miles a lot quicker with the card, which you can use to book award fare to Europe.

    Hope that helps!

  12. Jack Stone July 9, 2011

    We signed up in September 2010 on a flight to the Caribbean and stopped using all our other cards to accrue as many points as possible within the next 12 months so we could at least get one round-trip ticket with points. The deceptive advertising included earning enough points on the flight we were on to get a free round-trip for the same flight. Yeah, right. Ten months later, we still don’t have enough points. With 25,000 points, assuming all the Dividend Miles seats aren’t already sold out, you can buy the round-trip ticket. In every month except September, our chosen route required 60,000 points. Unless you travel and purchase extensively, this card is not worth it, particularly with its $89 annual fee. Any issues regarding the card must be answered by Barclays Bank. USAirways staff only sells the card on its flights; however, it offers absolutely no service and will not intervene if there is an issue with deceptive advertising or customer service.

  13. So much hate in the comments for US Airways…haven’t tried the customer service for the card, but makes you wonder if the aggressive in-flight marketing of this card brings in people who wouldn’t normally otherwise try one.

  14. I have had the US card for several years and earn enough miles to fly at least once a year to the Caribbean. I have never had the Customer Service issues. The only time I had to call them, everything was handled well.

    I experimented with the Capital One Venture card for a while as well. The $1 = 2 miles sounds good until you realized the ratio. You have to multiply the ticket amount by 100 to calculate the miles needed to pay for the ticket. I can get a low season round trip ticket for 30k miles on US Air. That would mean spending 30K on the US card, but paying for the ticket and then applying Capital One miles usually requires spending at least $6k more.

    The tipping point for me was also the free perks with the US card.(upgrades, specials, etc….)

  15. Hey Nick,

    Thanks for the post – I have seen these other disgruntled postings elsewhere on the web. It sort of seems like these individuals are out for US Airways blood. Can’t really blame them, I guess. It would be great if US Air could sort out their general customer service problems – they have been named the worst airline in the pack (I think as recently as this year) and I must say I have had my problems with them in the past. All of that aside, they have generally good prices and this card seems to have some nice perks. A family member actually recommended it to me, so I’m going to give it a try. Let us know if you have any customer service issues.

  16. Happy to help John! I still haven’t had any problems with this card, nor have I needed to contact customer service for any reason. IMO all airlines have a lot of detractors & disgruntled customers, it’s just part of the game. If I had a nickle for every friend who has said “I’ll never fly XYZ again”, I’d have a lot of nickles…but they always end up flying them again, as it almost always come down to price over reputation…

  17. Nick: I agree with your assessment, but also echo the customer service concerns. To those that want to get the annual fee waived ; good luck. It can be done, but it can be a tremendous pain. I have two of these cards and annually charge about $200,000 -$300,000 per year – one might think they’d be a bit more friendly as to the waiving; they’re not.

    I travel enough that I don’t need the miles, per se, but one perk that Nick neglected – if you charge $25k, then 10K of your miles become Elite Qualifying (25k required for silver) a nice boost towards the goal, be it silver, gold, plat or chairman status.

    For those loyal to the cash card, loving my Amex Blue Cash. Once you break the $6500 charge limit the cash back is wonderful!

  18. Interesting, I didn’t know about the $25,000 mark getting you 10k of qualifying miles, that is good to know. Maybe I’ll start using this card more.

    I too have an AMEX Blue Cash for most of my charges and then just use this for expending travel…

  19. Since you wrote this both United and Delta now offer credit cards with priority boarding…for those who don’t live at a US Airways hub.

    For now the United card gets you boarding with elites on Continental flights as they haven’t yet coded their system to have separate zones.

  20. Cool, thanks for the update!

  21. Mary Ellen January 26, 2012

    I like Nick fly often across country and feel like the benefits of the card are worth the fee.
    I have had the card turned down several times…when traveling out of state and when making large gift card ($200+ in $50 increments) purchases at places like MacDonald’s and Burger King for a non-profit I work with. Having had a wallet “lifted” in the past, I try to look at these measures as also protecting me. With identities being stolen and credit card fraud rampant, I think that we will be seeing these uurber security measures becoming more the norm. Usually by the time I arrive home, I have a call from Barclay’s on my answering machine asking me to call them to verify that I attempted to make these purchases.
    They have now noted in my records that I will periodically be traveling to certain states and making large gift card purchases at fast food places. I have not had a problem since. I am also proactive now about calling them in advance to let them know when I will be going to states I don’t normally travel to, or out of the country.

  22. Paulina Niechcial September 13, 2012

    Hi there,

    Can you tell me more about the companion tickets? What has been your experience with them? How do they work? Are there black-out periods?


  23. I’ve only used a companion pass once, and come to think of it I still haven’t gotten refunded for that second ticket. I’ll have to call them tomorrow to see what’s up.

  24. I made an application for the US Airways credit card on a flight in December 2012. The attendant took the completed application and now Barclays Bank can not find it. The application required a considerable ammount of personal financial information including my social security number. The application was lost who knows where. This lack of sercurity is terribly irresponsible and I will never make a credit card application in this manner again.

    I can’t tell you whether the application was lost by US Airways or Barclays Bank but I would not trust either of them with your personal information!

  25. That’s awful to hear Kevin, thanks for the comment.

  26. I should have read the fine print more closely. I always take my wife on travel, but it turns out only “The primary cardholder will be invited to board with zone 2”.

    I buy her preferred access for $31 which would allow her to board with first class, but she waits for me with zone 2.

  27. @Tovli – if you’re traveling together, you can board in whatever zone is first between the two of you. For example if she were Zone 1 and you were Zone 7, you could still board with her in Zone 1 as long as one of your tickets say Zone 1 and you’re flying together…

  28. Kristin Major March 25, 2013

    They just lost my application as well. I am not feeling at all good about it. Handed it to flight attendant. Have my half of the application (just standard info) and kept my boarding pass. Called USAIways. They are looking into it. Regretting this decision a I now have a document out there making it really easy to steal my identity.

  29. Is there a regulatory agency or consumer group I can complain to – I never received my companion passes or free visit to the lounge.Ii also was promised the first annual fee would be waived but was charged this. I have sent 3 emails and made 4 phone calls – they always say the passes will be remailed but have not received them. This jhas been going on for about 9 months. I want to file a formal complaint with someone besides the card company – help – J

  30. George May 20, 2014

    The worst card ever. Worst customer service. Disputing a charge is really difficult. And now! Merger with American gives you nothing. 1st bag checked free. Big efin deal. Ever wait in Philly for your checked bag? No thanks. Now, Zone 2 boarding? Are you kidding me? They board at least 50 people ahead of Zone two. Now no more companion flights. No more First Class Check in if you do want to check a bag. No more Club Day passes or membership discounts. But they kept the annual fee. Thanks a lot. Now by far the worst Airline Card card out there.

  31. Michele April 23, 2015

    I know this an old thread…but had a question and when I gooled it, I came across these comments. Last time I traveled to Europe was 18 years ago, so need advice. Does this credit card work fine in Europe, specifically Italy and France. I have heard most European countries use the cards with the microchip, and mine does not have microchip. I just got the card in January. I was told I will get a new card when merger is done with American Airlines, but I don’t get new card till July. I am leaving in May for 2 weeks. I also read a lot of merchants can still do the swipe cards, that’s what US Airways said when I called and asked them. I have never had a miles card before, but so far pleased. We signed up when we did a flight to Cancun, both my husband and I opened a card, got bonus points right away, enough for a free ticket to Europe, can’t beat that. Had to work the system, he booked a one way flight for my daughter, and I another one way to get her ticket at no cost. But, for a free ticket, worth figuring it out. So far, my reps when I called have been helpful, most have been here in the US. The reps are the one who told me how to do this. They gave me all the info, then advised for me to log in and book myself to save $30 fee on each ticket. Actually, that was the us airways, not credit card, but didn’t have an issue when I called credit card cust service with question. Any advice will be helpful. I have backup card with chip and ATM card, but US Airways has no transaction fees.

  32. Hi Michele – unfortunately, I’ve never traveled with this card abroad so I really don’t know. You’ll have to check with Barclay’s…

  33. Michele April 23, 2015

    thanks for responding. Barclays gave me the standard answer of it most likely will work, and I saw where often stores can manually swipe cards since most US cc don’t have the microchip yet. but was hoping someone knew. hopefully it will work and I can get all the benefits!!

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