For almost two years now, Barclays has been offering an additional 15K bonus miles for spending $750 every month for 3 months after a period of inactivity once you complete your first purchase (usually 2 months or so) on a new US Airways Premier World MasterCard. I received the offer three times over the last two years for a total of 45K bonus miles, but several readers have been emailing in the last few months that they have not received their offer. They all note that they’ve either curtailed or completely stopped spending on their new card.  I too had not seen a similar offer from Barclays since early summer. Well, today a reader has forwarded on the offer he just received. Of interest, the spend requirement has been dropped to $500…and the letter is now from Suzanne Rubin from AAdvantage:

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Offer is valid for select cardmembers and is not transferable. You will earn 15,000 bonus miles after you charge over $500 in net retail purchases (purchases that are not returned or rescinded) each month from September 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014. If you do not spend over $500 in any of the 3 months of the promotion, you will not be eligible for any bonus miles as part of this offer. To receive your bonus miles, your account must be open and in good standing. Purchases made during periods when your account is delinquent, your balance exceeds your credit line or your account is otherwise not in good standing as defined in your Credit Card Cardmember Agreement do not qualify for this offer. Your bonus miles will appear on your statement up to 6-8 weeks after the end of the promotion. Net retail purchases do not include such things as the purchase of money orders, traveler’s checks, foreign currency, lottery tickets, gambling chips, wire transfers, person-to-person money transfers or using the account to obtain a cash advance.

Let’s continue building those future AAdvantage balances. The US Airways cards are still churnable (a little more work than they used to be) and there is even a business version. Check out this previous post for results of my experiments in US Airways MasterCard churning and tips on proposed timelines and best available offers.

1) 40K 30K after your first purchase, annual fee of $89, up to an additional 10k when you transfer a balance within 90 days (1 mile per $). Full landing page and promo details.

  • Earn up to 40,000 bonus miles on qualifying transactions
  • EXCLUSIVE: Redeem flights for 5,000 fewer miles
  • Zone 2 boarding on every flight
  • Enjoy 2 miles per $1 spent on US Airways purchases
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent everywhere else
  • Annual companion certificate good for round-trip travel for up to 2 companions at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
  • First Class check-in
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details

4) Business Card - 25k after your first purchase, up to 10k for balance transfer within the first 30 days (1 mile per $), $79 annual fee. Note this link will also give you the option to select a business card with no annual fee and 5k miles for signing up.

Related - Building Up US Miles for the AA Merger – Time to Take AAdvantage, Full List of Offers!

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In last week’s “Arrivals” newsletter, AA management provided employees with the latest status of the fleet repainting for both AA and US. Here are those details which will see the final new livery repaints (B737-800) occurring at the end of 2017:

AA Repaint Schedule

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10K bonus miles for canceling my card and receiving the now 40K sign-up bonus all over again? Yes please! During my last app-o-rama, I mentioned how I received an approval for a new US Airways personal card after canceling my former card two months earlier. Well, at the time of cancelation the 10K anniversary bonus had already hit my account (about 7 days earlier, before the annual fee was even charged) and I was curious if Barclays would reverse the bonus. It’s now over six months and the bonus miles are still sitting pretty in my US account!

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This doesn’t mean that they won’t try to pull them back later, but I would highly doubt that at this point. Now, not all applications included an anniversary bonus, but if you were one of the cards that did, I’d wait for these to post prior to canceling (these normally post 7-10 days prior to the annual fee being charged…perfect timing). In other news, since the last app-o-rama post, I’ve been approved for another US card and I’ve heard from multiple readers who have all recently had success applying for another US Airways card while in possession of their current card. It seems things have loosened up quite a bit since the merger became official…coincidence?

The US Airways Premier World MasterCard® - This one was very important to me. After receiving the sign-up bonus and then an additional 15K bonus on my last US card in July, I wanted to apply for another non business version of the card. Automated APPROVAL! Here’s hoping the 15K additional bonus now returns for this card as well. Current best offer (updated 4/30/14). 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee. That’s 40,000 more AAdvantage miles for me (or perhaps a fuel surcharge free BA ticket)! See Building Up US Miles for the AA Merger – Time to Take AAdvantage, Full List of Offers!

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The Justice Department disputed several criticisms of the AA/US merger and said millions of passengers would benefit from low-cost carriers obtaining assets at congested airports in a 51-page submission to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who must decide if the agreement between the government and the airlines is in the public interest. Thanks to Meagan at DJ & Company for sharing. Check out the full article here.

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A Charlotte based US Airways pilot refused to let three American pilots sit in the jumpseat of his aircraft.  From The Street:

In a letter sent to members Thursday night, leaders of US Airways’ Charlotte domicile informed members of the incident. They added that the pilot in question twice hung up the phone when contacted by union leaders. “This captain’s immature actions have put our jumpseat privileges with American Airlines in jeopardy,” they wrote. Later, they referred to him as a “rogue pilot. “We knew going into this merger that there would be disagreements regarding seniority,” the letter continued. “There is a process to handle this and it will work out in the end. There are three places that we should never let politics interfere: safety, training and the jumpseat.”

The letter concluded on a conciliatory note: “If you see an American pilot please take the time to introduce yourself and apologize on behalf of the US Airways pilots for this senseless selfish display of power and let them know they are welcome on our flight decks.”

Full story here.

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I’ve met a lot of BoardingArea readers who travel thanks to their audit jobs and so this may be of some interest –  the new American has selected KPMG over E&Y for audit services.

Pre merger AA had used Ernst & Young  since the firm was formed in 1989 after the merger of Ernst & Whinney and Arthur Young. Even prior to that, Arthur Young had been American’s auditor for years. US Airways has been a KPMG client for over 10 years

The SEC filing:

Item 4.01. Changes in Registrant’s Certifying Accountant.

On December 9, 2013 (the “Effective Date”), US Airways Group, Inc. (“USG”) became a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group Inc. (formerly known as AMR Corporation (referred to as “AMR” prior to December 9, 2013) and referred to herein as “AAG”) as a result of the merger (the “Merger”) of AMR Merger Sub, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of AAG, with and into USG. Also on the Effective Date, AMR, its principal subsidiary, American Airlines, Inc. (“American”), and certain of AMR’s other direct and indirect domestic subsidiaries (collectively, the “Debtors”) consummated their reorganization pursuant to the Debtors’ fourth amended joint plan of reorganization (as amended, the “Plan”) under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Prior to the Effective Date and continuing through the completion of audit services for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013 and the filing of the 2013 Annual Reports on Form 10-K for AAG, American, USG and US Airways, Inc. on February 28, 2014, Ernst & Young LLP (“E&Y”) was engaged as the principal accountant to audit the financial statements of AAG and American (AAG and American are referred to herein together as the “American Entities”), and KPMG LLP (“KPMG”) was engaged as the principal accountant to audit the financial statements of USG and US Airways, Inc.

Subsequent to the Effective Date, the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of AAG (the “Audit Committee”) conducted a process to select a single registered accounting firm to conduct the audit of AAG and its subsidiaries, including USG and US Airways, Inc., commencing with the fiscal year ending December 31, 2014. On February 25, 2014, the Audit Committee approved the appointment of KPMG to act as the registered accounting firm of AAG and its subsidiaries commencing with the fiscal year ending December 31, 2014. On February 28, 2014, AAG advised E&Y of its determination and that it would be terminating its engagement with E&Y effective as of the date of E&Y’s completion of audit services for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013 and the filing of the 2013 Annual Report on Form 10-K of AAG. Also promptly after the Audit Committee made its determination, AAG engaged KPMG as its new independent registered public accounting firm to perform audit services beginning with the fiscal year ending December 31, 2014.

KPMG logo

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Straight from an internal employee message, American has announced a decision on seating configuration for US Airways aircraft. They will be going with legacy American’s practice of providing extra legroom with their Main Cabin Extra product. Management declined to comment on whether they’ll be pushing existing rows closer together or using a slimmer seat design to make room for Main Cabin Extra, I’m going to guess they are pushing the current rows closer together…

AA Main Cabin Extra

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New legal action against American Airlines is being planned according to a statement released today by a group of former TWA employees. At issue once again is the severance dispute with the previous TWA Israeli employees. As per Frequent Business Traveler:

The tension between the former workers and the airline began when American acquired TWA’s assets in 2001 and discontinued service to  Israel.  According to newspaper reports at the time, the move left over 75 people without jobs and pension benefits.  The situation spurred a nine-year legal battle between the former TWA employees and American, which was settled four years ago in court. The merger, along with the fact that an American Airlines-branded carrier will operate flights to Israel, has brought the issue to the surface, and the former TWA employees have gone public, claiming that they have not received the settlement that was due. Meir Knobel, a former TWA station manager in Israel, said that a failure on the part of American to address the outstanding issues with former employees could result in a “negative public campaign” against American.

In much older (and less confirmed) news, exMiami, a website “chronicling Miami’s Transformation” reported last March (well before the merger was approved) that a well-placed source at US Airways confirms that American will add flights to Tel Aviv from both Miami and New York’s JFK airport.

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AA announced today that they are cutting their Charlotte (CLT) to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) flight in early 2015. They will however maintain their CLT to Sao Paolo (GRU) flight and highlight that customers can still connect via AA’s DFW, JFK, and MIA flights. The Charlotte Observer adds:

Michelle Mohr, spokeswoman for American, said the decision to discontinue the Charlotte-Rio flight was made as part of the “constant evaluation” of routes that the airline is undertaking as it combines the American and US Airways networks. The flight will end in early 2015, but an exact date hasn’t been set. US Airways started its Charlotte-Rio flight in 2009 and alternates between a Boeing 767 and Airbus A330 jet, depending on seasonal demand.But travel industry industry analyst Henry Harteveldt of Hudson Crossing said the dropping the Charlotte-Rio flight points to the fact that in a combined route network, some flights will be more profitable to operate from American hubs than former US Airways hubs. “As American did its route analysis, I’m sure that Charlotte to Rio surely was not performing at the level that would justify keeping the plane on the route,” Harteveldt said. “These are expensive airplanes, and they have to be paid for.” A comparison of the number of passengers flying from Charlotte to Rio and Miami to Rio in June shows the larger size of Miami’s Brazilian travel market. Including connecting passengers, Department of Transportation statistics show 3,305 people flew from Charlotte to Rio on US Airways, while 8,884 flew from Miami to Rio on American.

This was a pretty easy post-merger prediction to make give the existing AA flights – see The Motley Fool prediction from December.

CLT GIG US Airways Flight

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In case you missed the news earlier in the week, American Airlines entered into service the first legacy US Airways Airbus A319 painted in the American Airlines livery. The newly dressed plane, tail number N700UW, first flew from Charlotte (CLT) to New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) on flight 2060 with its new paint job on January 30th. This is of course the first of many US Airways (and legacy AA livery) aircraft to be painted in the new American livery and took 13 days for the makeover.

US to AA Paint Job 1 US to AA Paint Job 2 US to AA Paint Job 3 US to AA Paint Job 4 US to AA Paint Job 5 US to AA Paint Job 6 US to AA Paint Job 7 US to AA Paint Job 8 US to AA Paint Job 11

From the press release:

“Today marks an important next step in our airlines’ integration and is a tangible way for customers and employees to see the result of our progress first hand,” said American Airlines president, Scott Kirby. “The integration of our airlines, including painting the rest of the US Airways fleet, will take many months as we work to deliver value through this merger for our employees, our customers and our investors.” The Airbus recently spent 13 days receiving its makeover. In anticipation of the new coat of paint, the existing paint was gently removed, the aircraft sanded and washed. Following the metallurgical exfoliation, the seams were sealed, the aircraft masked and 80 gallons of specially chosen paint applied to the exterior. A final detailing was completed to ensure the highest shine before sending the plane out the door and back to work.

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American Airlines Group management told the new joint workforce at AA and US that they can earn up to $150 each month if they beat Delta, Southwest, and United in on-time arrivals, baggage handling, and customer satisfaction. Winning in all three will result in $150 per employee, winning two will earn them $100, and winning one will get each “New AA” employee $50. If they don’t win any category but have at least 70% of their flights depart on time, they will still earn $50. The USDOT statistics will be used to judge performance.

Chief Operating Officer Robert Isom said the following in his message to employees:

D0 (departing on-time) will be at the core of everything we do at American Airlines. Departing on time leads to consistent on-time arrivals and baggage delivery. But in order to excel at D0, we must be ready. That means no matter your job, you’re there on time, in position, in uniform, with your tools and equipment, trained, rested and ready to go out there and excel. In doing so, we’ll be safe, reliable, and well on the road to restoring American as the greatest airline in the world.

Former US employees had a similar program that awarded incentives for performance in the same three categories. Will legacy American employees be able to achieve the same? We’ll have to see, but I’ll bet customer service will be the hardest category to win in. Customer service at AA wasn’t so great prior to the merger and as we all know, things seem to go downhill during the post-merger integration period.

Related - No TV and Poor Service on AA 777 Dallas (DFW) – Tokyo (NRT) in First

AA Cancelled Flights2

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