Bet You Didn’t Know: Getting a second US Airways Mastercard

By Julian, author of Devil’s Advocate

 

UPDATE: As of 2/13/2015 there are mixed reports as to whether Barclaycard has reprogrammed their computers to reject applicants who already have existing US Airways cards. At least one applicant reported receiving a computer reply that they already had “max # of this product.” However, other reports on FlyerTalk indicate additional cards are still being granted via instant approval or soon thereafter. I recommend monitoring the relevant FlyerTalk thread here for the most recent data points and following the steps in this post below before applying.

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Barclaycard will soon cease issuing the US Airways Mastercard to new users, since Citibank will be the official U.S. bank for American once their merger with US Airways is complete. However, Barclaycard will be allowed to continue to service their existing US Airways cardmembers with a new American-branded card called the AAdvantage Aviator.

This has led Barclaycard to get rather aggressive in trying to acquire new US Airways cardmembers while they still can before their window closes. In recent months, we’ve seen the standard offer on the US Airways Mastercard rise to 50,000 miles with no spending requirement — all you have to do is use the card one time. There’s also an offer available for 50,000 miles plus an additional 10,000 miles on the first anniversary of keeping the card, but there’s been recent reports of that offer only working for the US Airways Preferred members so it depends on how much risk you want to take when applying. (By the way, if you recently signed up for a US Airways Preferred Status Trial as part of the #30ktoNowhere mileage run, you are definitely eligible for the Preferred offer).

Either way, it’s a pretty terrific signup offer and I wanted it. I’m a lazy, overentitled American, and if I want it, I should be able to have it, right?

us airways mastercard

This is lazy, overentitled me assuming I deserve fantastic signup bonuses.

Except I had one problem.  I already have a US Airways Mastercard.

Now, I could cancel my current US Airways Mastercard and then reapply. That’s exactly what my friend did last week. He cancelled his current card, then reapplied for a new one 3 days later. Instant approval.

But I didn’t want to do that because my current US Airways Mastercard is an old version (which is no longer available) that gives me 10,000 bonus miles on every single anniversary. Barclaycard has already announced that they intend to keep that perk going even after the merger and I don’t want to lose that benefit, which I would if I cancelled the card.

That meant if I wanted the signup bonus again, I’d need to somehow get Barclaycard to approve me for a second US Airways card while I was still holding the first one.

This actually used to be super easy. In the not too distant past Barclaycard would approve you for as many cards as you wanted, even on the same day. But they’ve tightened up considerably in the last couple of years and now it can sometimes be difficult getting any new Barclaycard cards, especially if you already hold a Barclaycard that you haven’t used very much or very long.

But it’s not impossible.

Much of what I’m going to lay out here has been reported on FlyerTalk, but I’m also writing from recent personal experience and from other reports around the web. As with everything we do, some people are more lucky than others, and what works for one person may not work for another every single time. The best we can do is to maximize our chances. So while I believe your odds of success will improve if you take the following steps, as the kids say, your mileage may vary.

The key to getting approval on a second US Airways card is to get Barclaycard’s computers to give you an instant approval when you apply. Their computers are not programmed to check if you already have a US Airways card, so if you satisfy all their other requirements, you’re home free. But their human agents are programmed to check, and they will most likely notice your existing card and deny your application.

us airways mastercard

The Barclaycard phone agents are programmed better than the Barclaycard computers.

That means if you don’t get an instant approval but instead your application goes “pending,” you’re likely dead in the water. Calls to Barclaycard’s reconsideration line usually fail if you already have the card you’re applying for.

So how can you maximize your chances of an instant approval (or of being reapproved for a recently cancelled card as my friend was)? By following these 3 steps before applying…

1) Wait six months between Barclaycard applications… if you can.

While there’s some recent reports of 90 days being long enough between Barclaycard applications, there appears to be a much higher success rate for folks who waited at least 6 months. Obviously if you applied recently for a Barclaycard, you probably can’t wait that long since the US Airways card is likely to be gone in a lot less than 6 months from now. So in that case, you may want to take a stab at it at 91 days out since it’ll probably be your last chance.

But if you applied 4 or 5 months ago, it may be worth waiting to hit that 6-month mark to go for your application (though there’s no guarantees that the card will hang around that long, so you’re taking a risk). Personally, I waited 9 months after my last Barclaycard approval, but 6 months should be enough.

2) Lower your existing Barclaycard credit lines.

This sounds counterintuitive, right? Based on the conventional wisdom about applying for credit cards, most people think you should never close or reduce a credit line unless it’s to avoid an annual fee. That way you can move existing credit lines around when dealing with reconsideration.

I’ve disputed this idea in general in my Devil’s Advocate column on Travel Codex (see “Close That Unused Credit Line!“), But in this particular instance, we’re not going to be calling reconsideration because we can’t have any humans involved. We need the computer to give us a credit line, and the best way to do that is to reduce our already-existing Barclaycard lines so that the computer has available credit that it still wants to give us.

So call Barclaycard and tell the representative that you want to reduce your credit lines. If they ask why, you can say you’re trying to reduce your overall open credit, or you’re about to apply for a mortgage and your bank wants you to reduce your existing credit lines. If you don’t want to call, some folks have done it by secure message on the Barclaycard website, but my phone representative was more than happy to knock down my credit lines on both my existing US Airways and Lufthansa cards and the reductions took effect instantly.

3) Put some spend on your existing Barclaycard cards.

This doesn’t have to be thousands of dollars, so no need to go out and buy a boat. But Barclaycard likes to see some activity on existing cards. So spread the wealth a bit.

It also doesn’t have to be months worth of activity (and probably can’t be since we’re likely close to the end of the US Airways card). I put about $750 in total on my existing cards for a little more than a month, and that was enough.

Finally, if all else fails…

If you try all these steps before pulling the trigger, you’ll have a decent chance at an instant approval. But if you get unlucky and your application goes pending, the best advice at the moment is to NOT call reconsideration. There’s a few reports of folks eventually getting approved even after their application was flagged as pending. But those people appear to have been successful because they did not call reconsideration and may have avoided having a human being put eyes on their existing Barclaycard accounts.

Keep in mind that, as always, the worst that can happen if you apply and get denied is that you’ll have an extra inquiry on your credit report (which, by the way, is usually TransUnion with Barclaycard so even that’s not such a big deal). So follow the steps, give it a shot, and see if you can bank another 50,000 miles while you can! Good luck!

Did you know the best way to get a second US Airways Mastercard?

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Find all the “Bet You Didn’t Know” posts here.

About Devils Advocate

The Devil's Advocate learned the ins and outs of travel loyalty programs while flying more than 200,000 miles a year as a TV producer and director for World Wrestling Entertainment (and yes, of course it’s all real). He now splits his time between New York and Los Angeles and loathes New York winters only slightly less than Los Angeles traffic.

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  1. I was fortunate enough to get a 2nd card, but I think i only did #3 (putting spend on other Barclay cards). I got my 1st card in early August 2014, and got instant approval when I applied in early December 2014. I made my 1st purchase already, paid the annual fee, just waiting on the 50K bonus.

    • I have an update: 50K miles on the 2nd card posted yesterday. I was a little concerned, as I would notice my Barclays reward balance went back down to zero without any notification of whether I earned my 50K miles, indicating that miles were being transferred to my Dividend Miles account. Once I checked my Awardwallet acct, I did see the message: “Miles earned last statement: 50,105”. $105 was my purchase (made around 12/20), and I paid the annual fee in early January when it showed up as due. So it took about about 3 weeks to post after paying my annual fee. It does seem like it took longer this time around, than when I earned it for the first card, but it’s all good now with 50K more miles in my account!

    • While other banks may sometimes do that, it generally hasn’t happened with Barclays. If you get approved, you should get the bonus again.

  2. I was approved for a second usairways card automatically, which is great. But the annual fee on my first card has come due again. I don’t think that card offers the 10k bonus miles on renewal and so I’d rather not pay that fee. However, although the first statement has closed on the new card, I have not received the 50k bonus miles yet. I have two questions:

    1 should I be worried about the bonus miles for the second card yet?

    2 do I risk the bonus miles on card 2 if I call and cancel card 1 before the bonus miles from card 2 post?

    • I wouldn’t be worried about the bonus miles on the second card yet — it usually takes a bit of time. I don’t believe you’d be risking the miles on card 2 by canceling card 1, but in the past Barclays reps have told me that you have 60 days after the membership fee is billed to cancel the card and still get a refund. You may want to call Barclays and confirm that’s still the case, but if it is, it couldn’t hurt to wait a bit to be super safe.

    • I currently have two cards open and applied for a third three weeks ago. I received a pending decision notification and then received a denial letter a week later in the mail. I was denied due to “reaching the current credit limit with Barclays”. I have a 815 FICO and less than 4 inquires in the last 6 months..

      • There are reports of some people getting 3rd and even 4th cards, but it’s not easy. Following the steps in this post may help, but you’re definitely at the mercy of the Barclays computers to give you an instant approval.

    • I haven’t seen many successful reports of 30 days. There may been a couple but I’d think that’s pushing it. Still, if your previous Barclays approval is the only card you’ve gotten and you’re concerned about the card ending soon, you could take a stab at it.

  3. @steve yes .Both me and my wife.Cancelled before reapplying.1 year and then 8 months between applications.No spending on cards other than the 1st purchase

  4. Good recommendation on calling to reduce existing credit lines, I tried for a 3rd US Air card for my wife and I (both without Barclay applications in over a year)

    Both went pending and ultimately failed, but the official response I got was that I already had sufficient credit with Barclays.

    I may try to reduce my credit lines and give it one last shot if the card still exists in a month or so.

  5. Since I don’t have the version of the card that you have (with the anniversary bonus,) would you recommend closing and re-applying, or just trying for a second card?

    • If you don’t get an anniversary bonus and have no need for the card otherwise, I’d probably cancel the open card first and then reapply. At the very least, there’s no need to pay the $89 annual fee on a card that you’re not getting anniversary miles for and not using.

  6. I also have 2 open us airways cards, both come with 10k anniversary bonus, do not want to close them, both are over 1 year old. I do not have other Barclay cards. The credit limits are not high to begin with, $7500 and $5000, how much can I lower them to in order to get a third one?

    • If it’s a World Mastercard (which I believe most of the $89 US Airways cards are), then the minimum credit line is $5,000. So they probably won’t let you go below that.

      • I called to lower mine a while back. The rep told me my DM World MC could have a limit as low as $500, but she could have easily been wrong.

        • No I did not, as mentioned earlier the limit for the two cards are low 5000 and 7500.
          I do have recent activities on card2, no activities on card1 for 2 years, also I have no other Barclay cards, the card1 and card2 were both instant approval ,hope it helps

  7. I succeeded in getting card #2 after receiving the pending notice. Did not call. But I wonder if the 50K bonus is prospective. i.e., in the T&C it states “This offer is available to new Cardmembers only.” Possible they don’t award the bonus even after first charge and paying annual fee?

    • Even though the T&C’s do officially state that, in reality almost everyone who has been approved multiple times has gotten the bonus multiple times.

  8. My application for the exclusive preferred offer was approved – although in not a preferred. They should honor the year 1 bonus since that is what I signed up for, right?

  9. I’m on my 4th card, but always close the current one before re-applying. Always have been automatically approved, so can’t speak to any other experience. But it’s been pretty straightforward every time, and I certainly can’t complain about the 120k miles I’ve gotten from Barclay 🙂

  10. In my mid-Dec app-o-Rama I applied for the US preferred version of the card and was told I didn’t have the status and was told I would have to apply again. I only have the Arrival card. How soon should I apply again give that my previous app-o-Rama (~6 CC) was just a few weeks ago?

    • The minimum time Barclays requires between applications is 30 days. If they didn’t pull a credit report because the application was rejected for not being Preferred elite (which is often the case) then you might be good to go after 30 days. I’d still try to reduce any open credit lines and do a little spend on existing cards if I could though.

  11. My previous experience with Barclays (from like 2 years ago) is that they don’t like to give you a third card. At that time, I applied for an Arrival card when I already had 2 other Barclay cards open. I was denied, and the same thing happened to my wife. We soon closed one of those cards, and was approved for the Arrival card. I recall reading similar discussion indicating the same thing.

    So I currently have a US Airways card and an Arrival card. Has anyone gotten approval for a second US Airways card with this fact pattern? Seems better to close the US Airways card first. But my problem right now is that I use the Zone 2 boarding privilege frequently. So I don’t want to risk being without it.

      • I had both a US Airways card and a Lufthansa card open when I got the second US Airways card. So I think you’d be okay with two open Barclays cards.

  12. Holy Schmoly. Thanks for the heads up on this. I’ve had this card for several years and was very excited to get the email to get 5,000 miles for everyone who signed up through my referral. I thought that was as good as it was going to get.

    I got approved right away for a second USAirways MC. I just got approved for both Citi AA 50K personal and biz cards yesterday.
    I got a couple of the Citi Exec AA cards last year.

    Now to be vigilant enough to get upper class Saver seats so one trip doesn’t take all of those miles.

  13. Slightly off topic, I was denied for a 2nd (1st still in use) US Air card for Max allowable # of this product with Barclays. No credit pull. But wife approved for 2nd as US Air elite instantly, same financial info as mine as a housewife and slightly lower FICO, so I think Barclays have 2 application paths.

    I also applied Citi AA Platinum on same day as US Air, denied as well. Reason, offer was for first time members only, obviously shows I already have a Citi AA account ( 100kWEMC). BTW, wife was approved for TY Priemer. WTF!!!

    My question is: Does anybody have any insight into whether a public app link (ie blogger link, I try to contribute a little back to these guys when possible) are really that different than a link from my AA account link? I will apply shortly from within my AA account link to see if I get approve. Greatly appreciate any comments.

    • I don’t know for certain, but I’d guess that Barclays’ internal criteria for giving out cards is probably the same whether it’s a blogger link or a public link or a Preferred link. But the likelihood of getting an instant approval could easily be different between yourself and your wife based on each of your open credit limits, spend on existing Barclays cards, and so on. That’d be my guess as to why the varying results, but of course there’s no way to know for certain.

  14. Question: How long did it take for anyone’s bonus miles to post? I just paid Hubby’s first statement and bonus miles haven’t posted yet.

    • The bonus miles usually post at the close of the statement containing the annual fee, which is usually the first statement but not always. Was the annual fee charged in the statement you paid?

    • Since you’re aiming for an instant approval from the computer, I’d say as long as the computer sees the lower credit line on your other card, you should be fine regardless of how many days you wait (though I probably wouldn’t do it the same day I lowered them). You can double check that your credit lines have been lowered by signing into your online Barclays account. Of course, following the other steps may also help in getting the computer to say yes.

  15. This is a huge YMMV. I am on my 4th and my wife has had 3. She was denied for one but then later reapplied and was approved. The time she got denied, we did call in and have her talk to a rep so that I agree is probably a bad idea.

    Both of us have 3 open, active accounts.

  16. Confirmed – my 2nd card app went to pending and a day later – “approved.” I will let you know when I get the bonus points… I also did a self-referral so I sent myself a referral via an alternative email. I did call the night before an app to lower my credit limit in half. I am curious as to how many points this will end up. Great post!

  17. In submitting a 2nd app, did anyone have to use use a private browsing session or another browser to avoid Barclays possibly denying the app?

    I neglected using a 2nd browser and my app went to review, displaying the message “expect an answer in no more than 30 days, usually sooner.” Hopefully I’m not completely out of luck with this …

  18. I got denied for the Usairways card on October 25th. Should I wait until January 26th to reapply? Btw I have arrival and I spend a lot on it. Btw chase started pulling TU in Michigan. And I got my arrival card miraculously through Barclays recon! (I guess I’m part of the 1% that are successful)

  19. This is a GREAT suggestion to get a 2nd US AIR MC with 50K points paying only $89. Both my wife & I have one existing US AIR MC with the 10K anniverasry bonus. We want to keep those when they get switched to AAdvantage Aviator Red Credit Card. We both have very good credit & high FICO scores on Trans Union (830 plus). I am in the process of dropping credit lines. My wife’s has been reduced from 20k to 10K (she only has this one Barclay’s US AIR MC). I reduced my Ameriprsie card to 10K and my US Airways card to 10K. I am thinking if we put some quick spend on her card she has a very GOOD chance of beng auto approved. What your thought on my chnaces assuming spend on both cards (already is on both cards) & a combined Credit line across both Barclay’s cards of 20K? We have high income to justify double digit 10k or higer)credit lines. Should I reduce credit lines further before applying?

  20. Just tried for it after halving my existing USAir credit line. I also currently have an Arrival card. Didn’t get instant approval so will have to wait and see if it goes through =/

  21. If I’m planning on getting a 2nd US airways card (got my first on Nov 2nd) should I first close my first one or keep the first one and just reduce that credit limit? Which would have a better chance for approval? Thanks!!

  22. Thanks for the suggestion – i just tried and got an instant approval for a second card. Did not do anything special other than using a different laptop and email address, and haven’t put much spend on the first card lately. Will report back if I don’t get the 50K bonus but fingers are crossed!

  23. Hi Julian,
    Thank you for the awesome summary! I have an active US airways open in May 2014 and an Arrival + open only 3 months ago. Because my US airways gives me 10k miles every year, I definitely want to keep it and apply for a new one for 50k bonus. Actually, many folks recommended me to close one account instead of reducing the credit limit. They’re saying having 2 or more active Barclay accounts often prevents an instant approval. But I also heard closing an account too early (3 months in my case) isn’t good. I never close my account within a year. However, I should consider closing my very young Arrival+ because this is the last moment I can get a US airways from Barclay. Do you agree that I can increase the chance of an instant approval if I close my Arrival+? And do you also think closing an account in 3 months is bad?

  24. This was great idea for me. I already had an Ameriprise World Elite MC with Barclays- lowered Credit Limit to $10k. Already had a US Airways MC with the annual 10K miles bonus (so did not want to cancel that one).. lowered that credit limit to $5k. Made sure I has spend on both cards the last few weeks and waited to pay off the US AIR MC when it statement cut on Jan 24th. My Barclays TransUnion FICO was sitting at 839. Applied Tuesday Jan. 27th & got instant approval! YEAH!!!!. It already shows up in my online account!. Now just need to wait until the card shows up and make a purchase to qualify for the 50K in miles!

  25. I have the arrival card, i just called and lowered my credit limit from 17,500 to 10k, which the rep told me would take effect immediately. a couple of minutes later i applied through the link on this blog and the application went pending and I got all sad 🙁 However, i just checked my barclays account after that and the new us airways credit cards shows up in my account with a 25k spending limit.

  26. Just got instantly approved for a second card. Thanks! Didn’t know I could do this prior to reading this post, so I guess I should be reading more often. ; )

    • Tiffany, Thanks for letting us know this still works. Since it’s coming down to the wire, could you say a little more? Did you lower your credit line on the first card? How long ago did you open the first one? Thanks.

  27. Hi Julian,

    Thanks for the tips…followed all the steps and my husband got approved for #1 and I for #2, last night.

    I want to apply for him, again, and me…we are a family of six and need lots of miles to travel! We don’t have 30 days for submitting a new app, since the offer is going away March 31st or beforehand.

    Any suggestions on the timeframe on when to apply?

    • Congrats on the multiple cards! It’s probably going to be extremely tough to get your husband a second card so close to the first approval and in the time remaining. The general recommended minimum between apps has been 3-4 months. Obviously you don’t have 3-4 months left so I suppose you could take a stab at it, but you’ll likely be wasting a hard pull. Of course, if Barclays pulls TransUnion for the application (and they usually do), that’s not the worst loss in the world.

  28. Hi,
    For the second application, should I use new dividend mile #? Or is it ok to use the same one?
    Thanks,
    LC

    • Hi Dellian. You can safely use the same Dividend Miles number. I used the same number on both my cards and had no problem — both sets of miles successfully ended up in the same US Airways account.

  29. Just signed up this morning for my first US Air MC card. Never had a Barclays card before. Instant approval for $22.5K. Wondering if it’s worth trying to do a second application for the same card today with separate browser. Ideally hoping it would only be 1 hard pull on the credit report. Any feedback if this would have any chance of working? Would it make sense to call Barclays first and see if they’d lower my credit line on the first card before applying for the second? Or should I just do it really quickly in hopes of the auto approval?

    • In case you were wondering, I said WTH and tried with a second incognito browser. It immediately recognized me and said something along the lines of “Duplicate Application: you’ve already applied. Please do not submit another application for another 30 days.” My guess is that it did not even do a credit check.

  30. Just another data point since this gig will (presumably) be coming to an end in the next few weeks. I applied for my second US Airways card yesterday and got instant approval. This is my third Barclays card – at time of application I had a Arrival+ card roughly 18 months old and a US Airways card roughly 15 months old. I did NOT reduce my credit limits before applying. To my surprise, not only did I get instant approval, I was given a huge credit limit on the new card (more than double the limit between my two previous cards).

    Hope this helps someone. I believe this was a TU pull.

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