Once again, with exclamation point. I’ve mentioned many times that everyone should consider getting US Airways Premier MasterCard before it goes to credit cards’ graveyard after the AA merger is complete.
But what if you have absolutely no use for future AA miles? You don’t live near an AA hub and just don’t like that airline or One World alliance, period. Or let’s say, you have a family of five (or more) and only travel during peak periods within USA. You are a die-hard Southwest fan. Well, my friend, you should still consider this card. Why? Hotel and car rental awards.
Normally, it’s considered travesty to use your miles for this purpose. And I agree with that. But remember, if you forego this card, you will have a 40,000 miles opportunity cost. This is a “use it or lose it” kind of thing. But is it worth it to even bother with these type of awards? What kind of CPM (cents per mile) are we talking about? Let’s find out. First, you have to select “Car and hotel awards” on AA.com
I didn’t see any worthwhile deals on car rentals, though, I’m sure they exist. So, I will focus on hotels instead. Let’s take a look at some random dates in January for the Holiday Inn Celebration Area. We actually stayed in this hotel a few times, and our last experience was quite positive. I will have a review on it at some point. As you can see, it costs $91.74 (plus tax of 11 %) through IHG.com or 9,975 miles per night through AAdvantage program. BTW this hotel goes for 20,000 IHG points.
So you would be getting a little over 1 cent per mile. Your sign-up bonus would be worth about $311 (40,000 miles valued at $400 minus $89 annual fee). Of course, you could have gone through the shopping portal and used a coupon, so let’s say the number is actually $300. This amount is a bit below my threshold, but could be enough of an incenttive to tempt you.
I looked at other hotel options during March and they started at 5,667 miles per night. Some properties had so-so reviews, but others were pretty decent, like Champions World Resort below. You would have to do some research and find the best value for your specific situation. On average, I found you can get between 0.75-1 cents per AAdvantage mile by going this route.
This option is currently available through AAdvantage, not Dividend Miles program. So, you would have to wait till second quarter of next year in order to be able to use your miles for this type of redemptions. Of course, I’m making an assumption that AA will keep it, and I’m guessing that they will, since no announcement was made to the contrary.
Of course, I don’t advise anyone to use miles for hotel awards. My point with this post was to show that even if you have no interest in AA miles whatsoever, you should still consider US Airways Premier MasterCard before it’s gone for good. Look at it as your back-up plan.
My affiliate offer comes with a 40,000 miles bonus after paying an $89 annual fee. I no longer have any direct links for Barclaycards, but still make commission on them via my main affiliate link. If this sounds confusing to you, email me and I’ll explain.
There is also a non-affiliate offer (marketed to Preferred status members, not enforced) that gives 10,000 miles on your first anniversary after paying an $89 fee. It’s your choice on which bonus to go with, in case you decide to apply. Obviously, I can’t vouch for non-affiliate offers, but you should be fine. Be aware, some have gotten a targeted offer of 50,000 miles. See my “Best credit card deals for family” for more info.
Also, as promised, here is an update on my husband’s application for this card: Rejected. Asking him to call the reconsideration line would require a huge bribe, like a new Apple laptop. Gracias, no. Strangely, the reason for rejection was “sufficient credit line with Barclay’s.” Say what? He has zero cards with them at the moment. Barclay’s, you are quirky just like me!
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.