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…).