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The US Airways MasterCard’s $99 Companion Ticket from Barclaycard is about to disappear.
Barclays will stop issuing the card this Spring, so if you already received one this year it’s the last one you’ll receive. It’s a casualty of the American / US Airways merger, and cards will be converted to ‘American Aviator’ cards that don’t offer the Companion Ticket benefit.
But if you don’t have the card yet you can still get in on a voucher this year because when you open a new account, you’ll receive one as part of your welcome kit 2-4 weeks after your card is issued. It will be valid for bookings made within 9 months of the date of issue for travel. The most recent certificates are valid for travel up to December 31, 2015, but must be ticketed by October 31st.
The Companion Ticket is currently valid on all US Airways domestic and Canada flights (with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, as well as all flights operated by American Airlines). It lets you bring up to 2 companions for a fare of $99 each. All you have to do is buy yourself a roundtrip coach ticket of $250 or more.
The biggest caveat is the blackout dates restriction of the voucher. While you don’t have to book special fare codes or anything like that to take advantage of the $99 fare, you do need to avoid travel on specific blackout dates.
We cover all of the Q&A on the fine print here, but if you’re interested in the blackout dates on the voucher, here is a full rundown of them for 2015.
2015 Blackout Dates:
So when is the best time to use the Companion Ticket?
The cool thing about the certificate is that it’s not limited to just days when cheap airfares are available. A lot of companion certificates, like the ones from Delta, restrict you to flights where certain low fare codes are available, which makes it hard to use them, especially during popular travel times.
The US Airways certificate can be used on any flight you want in the lower 48 United States or Canada
As long as the flight doesn’t fall on a blackout date and the airfare you pay is more than $250 (which is just about any ticket) you’re good to go.
Since you can bring two people along as companions you can save a lot on your family’s vacation. But you’ll want to check to make sure buying three tickets on another airline doesn’t work out to be cheaper than buying one ticket on US Airways and paying $99 for each of your companions. Depending on the market you live in and demand conditions you might find that’s a cheaper alternative.
Here’s an example…
Let’s say you want to go from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles on a holiday weekend.
In this case the lowest U.S. Airways fare for a non-red eye flight ($803 roundtrip) is more expensive than the lowest overall fare on another airline ($470 roundtrip), but you still end up saving over $400 with the companion ticket versus buying three tickets.
US Airways Companion Certificate
Lowest other airline
And you’ll save more if you’re willing to book red-eye flights that are often cheaper on US Airways, but for a fair comparison we left those out above.
Another popular use is to head up to Canada where base airfares can be very expensive and the Companion Ticket savings can be substantial.
So if you’re thinking of family travel this year, pull up some US Airways airfares, and do the math to see if paying the $89 fee for the card this year is worth the savings of $99 companion airfare with the voucher. There’s still plenty of time to use it for travel later this summer.
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