Monday, January 6, 2014

The USAirways Companion pass from Barclaycard

My wife, Christine, and I both got the US Airways Card from
+Barclaycard US  a few months back. We both got a bunch of miles as a sign up bonus, 40k if I recall, and I really really like the card, and will hold at least one of them long term (as long at they exist) even with the annual fee for several reasons that more than make up for the fee.
  • 1) 5k discount on awards tickets
  • 2) Card holders get a bag free
  • 3) Some Lounge passes
  • 4) Annual companion pass for 2 additional travellers at $99 fares
  • 5) Barclaycard gives free FICO scores in its web login. 
  • 6) They emailed me an opt in link for some category bonuses

This picture is from MommyPoints, who also used it successfully

Here is my experience using the companion pass:

I am going to Miami for Spring Break / Holy Week (4/12 - 4/19). The purpose of getting to Miami is mostly to scuba dive at Key Largo, see the Everglades, and take advantage of a 9k RT +British Airways Avios award to Turks and Caicos on AA metal I found using the AA award map, which is great. Unfortunately, this is a really expensive time to travel to south Florida, unless of course, you are somewhere sunny already. My buddy took advantage of a Virgin America SFO - FLL $344 ticket to meet us there. The EWR - CLT - MIA US Airways ticket I wanted was $744. Less convenient times were around $600, even on other airlines. Using the companion pass, I called up the airline and got the other two tickets for $99 plus tax each. It came out to about $340 a ticket and we all got to put in our US Airways FF numbers (no partner earning allowed). I had to avoid a 4/13 blackout date, but didn't have to worry about any the following weekend.

The only better thing would have been an open jaw on the destination side, so I could start by going to Key West, drive up to MIA to hit my Turks and Caicos flight on the 15th, and then connected in MIA on the 19th for the return trip to EWR.

I used the Barclaycard to pay for the fare just to make sure I would get all the benefits associated with being a card member on the flight. I had to mail the pass in though, and I xeroxed it and sent it certified just in case, as they say they are not responsible for lost certs. The ticket took a few days to show up on the Barclaycard, but when it did a few days later I assume it means they got the certificate. They made some claims as to the urgency of sending it, and since I booked on a Saturday, it went out with the Monday mail.

Unfortunately the Barclaycard is going away. People say to sign up for it right away. Scott at Milevalue writes about what will likely happen to card holders; and I agree with Scott. If they try to switch me to the arrival, I will cancel the card. I like Barclaycard though; I am currently working on an LH signup bonus, and look forward to Frontier and/or Arrival signup bonuses.

Here is where I need some help:

I need to use another pass by May 14. The flight should be for a weekend, depart from NYC or PHI, and the regular fare should be between 250 and 300. Denver, New Orleans, Austin, etc all seem nice, but I am really not sure. Direct flights would be nice, as well as late departures on a Sunday. Any ideas?

Btw, I am hoping to convert all the links to affiliate links using FlexOffers, awaiting their approval.