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Thread: USAir Mastecard and miles questions

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    Senior Member DiviDiviFan's Avatar
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    USAir Mastecard and miles questions

    I know Rob O just mentioned this on another thread but if anyone including Rob or Cindy can help me out I'd appreciate it. My husband and myself both signed up for this USAIR Mastercard on our way home from Aruba in December. After sitting thru many pitches for this card each year we finally got sucked in and thought (or hoped) it would work out as advertised for a free roundtrip ticket for each of us. I tried using this to book my trip but found out we have to wait 4-5 weeks after our first purchase on the card to get our actual miles. I paid our annual fee and purchase on line the next day. I tried calling USAIR with questions more than once as this is so new to us and I was confused on the details. The first lady was so "rude" to me I apologized to her for sounding so stupid (the way she made me feel) I called a few days later this lady was nicer but still left me with unanswered questions. I did find the chart to let us know how many miles we would need, for our November trip it looks like we would need 65,000 miles not the 50,000 miles we are eventually going to receive and was told when signing up on the flight the 50,000 would totally be enough for our next roundtrip ticket. Customer Service left me feeling like there may not be available seats for us to use the miles? Do they only open us so many seats per fight? I think they should be more clear on the selling points of this card. I saw a good price for our flight so ended up purchasing the tickets myself and to get the same flights I get ever year. Now I am wondering if we will be able to get the "free 1st bag checked free" and "zone 2 " seating. When reading the small print it sounds like it may be for domestic fights only? Does anyone know if perhaps when I get my miles I can use them to upgrade to first class or use them for Aruba 2016? I don't know if they expire or not. Sorry for all the questions but I feel the people of this forum are more helpful than customer service at the airlines. If anyone has experience using this card and would like to comment it would be greatly appreciated. We fly out of Bradley in Hartford in November to Charlotte - Aruba.

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    Senior Member hatteras's Avatar
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    I can help you a little, based on our experiences with United, which is probably somewhat similar. We joined United about 8 years ago. We've used them on many flights, mostly to Aruba. When we first started using them, we could fly one way to Aruba for 17,500 miles per person. Now it is 37,500 miles. I believe that they open up seating 335 days before the flight. They usually just have a few seats open that can be used by miles. They generally have more seats open in the standard award category, which is for first class. They are usually double the amount of the saver award (economy seat). In the past, we have upgraded to economy plus (more leg room) and once purchased the first class because that was all that was available. Our miles use to expire, if you didn't use your card by or miles by a certain time. I believe that they have changed that. Frankly, we got fed up with this years ago, and starting earning our miles with Capital One. We still have a few United miles hanging out there. Right now, we have enough for one person to fly one way. We will probably use them after our next trip. We don't get our first bag free and we don't get zone two boarding, unless we pay for that. Hope this helps a little. I'm sure US Air does some things differently, but the basics are probably very similar.

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    Senior Member DiviDiviFan's Avatar
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    Thanks for your info Hatteras. I think but not sure that USAir needed us to book roundtrip and not sure if one way was an option. Like my husband says if it sounds too good to be true there must be a catch. I'm hoping it will work out someway for us in the future even if it means booking a trip in the states perhaps. Seems like whatever I asked the reps on the phone they could not give me an answer it was usually "depends on availability" which made me nervous so I just booked on my own to get the good price instead of waiting 5 weeks finding out I did not have enough miles and the price jumping way up. Feels good at least to have my flight and room booked and of course Bully too!

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    Senior Member hatteras's Avatar
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    I'm not sure about having to book round trip. I know that US Air used to be part of a group called Star Alliance, along with United. A few years ago, I was able to book a one way flight from Aruba with US Air, using our United miles. I know that they dropped out of Star Alliance when they merged. My advice would be to familiarize yourself with their flights by spending some time on their mileage web page. That's what I did, to figure out how the system worked. You can always use them later. Like you mentioned, you've got everything set up for your next trip, and you've got Bully, so you can sit back and look forward to your trip. Mine is in less than two weeks. Bully and I have been emailing back a forth a lot this week, finalizing our restaurant plans. I can't wait!

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    Senior Member rob o's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiviDiviFan View Post
    I know Rob O just mentioned this on another thread but if anyone including Rob or Cindy can help me out I'd appreciate it.
    I will try....

    We signed up for the U.S. Airways cards (one for each of four family members) in October. Immediately made a minor purchase on each and went on-line to pay for the annual fee and for the purchases. It still took about eight weeks for the points to post.....but we got all 50,000 each as promised.

    Went on line and found RT flights, Providence to Aruba and back, for 55,000 points in late September. When I clicked on it, the summary of costs popped up and there was a 5,000 point bonus reducing the total point requirement for the tickets to 50,000 points plus taxes.

    I think that the amount of points needed is directly related to the price of available tickets, and will vary just as prices do. As to whether the number of available seats with points is limited.....with US Airways (or SouthWest) I think not; with American, I think yes. What happens next quarter when the U.S. Airways and American programs merge is anyone's guess.

    BTW, there is an option to select travel dates not fixed, in which case you get a full calendar of dates and points required; this may be helpful if you have some flexibility.

    As for one-way tickets, I've never had a problem purchasing these, though you ultimately have to be able to show evidence of having a return flight before you're allowed to depart. The return trip can be on a separate reservation or airline.
    Last edited by rob o; 01-17-2015 at 02:19 PM.
    Please contact via e-mail at arubarennowner@gmail.com



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    Senior Member DiviDiviFan's Avatar
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    Thanks Hatteras have a wonderful trip!Rob O thanks for your helpful info. I unfortunately procrastinated and activated our cards a couple of weeks ago, then did not know what the heck I was doing (lol). I should have got the ball rolling immediately like yourself, then I would have had time to research and figure things out. Lesson learned. I still do not know if we will have to pay for our checked bags or not I hope we got something for at least using the card this year. I did use the card to book my airfare. My travel dates are not flexible I booked our hotel already on Cyber Monday. Will see what happens with the merger later this year.

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    Senior Member arubabob's Avatar
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    Ah, the frequent flyer mess. We had American Air Citibanc for over twenty years, still have South West Air Visa and have a Delta skymiles AMEX. They are all good programs if you use them correctly. I assume the other airlines operate in similar fashion. They tell you the initial points will be enough for a round trip ticket. That may or may not be true depending on 3 factors. Where you are going, when you are going and how many seats are available at that time. On AA you would put in your destinations and dates of travel and a chart comes up showing how many points you need for that date and a couple of weeks on each side of those dates. At the time, you could get a RT ticket to Aruba for as few as 25,000 miles or as much as 70,000 miles depending on dates. Recently the minimum has gone up to 35,000 points. With SW when you put your travel info in it shows you the cash price each way with an option to show how many points are needed for the same flight. With Delta you have to specify miles or cash but with Delta you can use miles to lower the cost of your cash purchase ticket. This year we found a bargain price on first/business class tickets to Aruba and used 80,000 miles to knock $800 off the total cost.
    FF miles programs are different with each airline. The number of miles needed changes often, the availability changes as well. The best rule to follow when wanting to use miles is, book early. If you can book 6 months or more in advance, you will have a much better chance of getting what you are looking for. We are very flexible on travel dates so it makes it a lot easier for us to get FF tickets.

  8. #8
    Member joec3535's Avatar
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    we found that you have to be really flexible for it to work. we let them sucker us in too, and turns out we can not get a round trip for 50,000 miles. This whole thing seemed like a scam to me. On the other hand, I opened a United card and have had nothing but success with it. The cheapest rt flight I found on US was 75,000 miles not 50,000.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ArubaMike's Avatar
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    BTW, I read the small print as well, First free bag is for domestic flights only. I called USair a few days ago and they confirmed this, they transfered me to the credit card debt. I declined but I may get it when I book our tix for our next trip. It maybe worth it. I have about 10,000 miles now from regular bookings, and typically I use them for magazines since they seem to expire. I have to do some research on this.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ArubaMike's Avatar
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    Sorry for the double post, but I too am interested in miles and I just did some research and I want to share my action plan based on American Airlines and US. Air (ya I know they combined, but they still operate their mileage programs separately until later this year).

    1) A quick search of U.S. Air's website allows to you to see a calender with points needed to book. I found that if you are semi flexible you can book a round trip tix to Aruba for about 38,000, worse case was about 70,000 or so. You had options every month. Maybe go Tuesday to Tuesday for the lowest point exchange. Yes with tax and fees you pay about $100.

    2) I hope to book air on U.S. Air very soon <30 days. At that time I will apply for their Credit Card and charge my tix to that card, thus getting 50,000 miles and 2x the miles for that Air purchase. I selected tix and clicked through as if I was going to buy and this was the deal. Annual fee is $89 a year (that is my total exposure/investment). Okay you say, no big deal, here is my play....

    3) I then plan to Open an American Airlines card that will also give you 50,000 miles (after you charge $2K in 3 months which I will pay off right away) and NO annual fee for the first year. Both of their web sites say they will merge Point programs later this year and you will not lose your points. So I hope that later this year the points will merge over to U.S. Air and then before the 12 month I will cancel my American Airlines Credit Card. From what I read canceling the card will not lose the points you earned. You lose points after 18 months of no activity. If some how I am wrong, there is no risk here since there is no annual fee.

    4) So thats 100,000 miles plus miles earned when I book Air. Surely I can get 1 maybe 2 tix with that total. Also, both web sites offered discounted point purchase (like Cindy or Rob spoke of), spend 55,000 points and save 10% in points. I did not focus on that detail.

    5) I am thinking I should have my wife do that same (assuming she agrees). Since there are four of us, my wife and I could book two tickets each and our kids could go for free too. Our children and little still so they cant have their own cards.

    6) I dont like to open credit cards, but it looks like we have a good possibility of receiving 4 tickets free (excluding apx $400-500 in taxes and fees). Typically this would cost us at least a few thousand dollars for four tix.

    Sorry if this is way off topic or just sounds crazy. But if it goes as planned we will get to Aruba free someday and maybe some of you will too. I have been thinking about joining a miles program and after reading Cindy/Rob posting and doing my own research it seems like the time is now. In the past I thought it would not be worth it and I would waste miles on free magazines (you know that offer that comes in the mail, lol).

    Last bit, there are several ways at no cost to you to keep your miles from expiring even if you cancel your cards (just read the details on their sites). You can register one of your existing credit cards on their restaurant program and earn miles that way. I checked in my area and there are a ton of establishments that we frequent quite regularly.

    Wish me Luck!!

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