US Airways anniversary miles (and affiliate bloggers acting shamelessly)

I've long said that the only question that mattered - and the one that was being studiously ignored by affiliate bloggers - about the Barclaycard US Airways MasterCard is what will happen to the card's anniversary miles.

Applications for the card before the US Airways-American Airlines merger was completed offered 10,000 Dividend Miles that post on each account anniversary. Affiliate links released since the merger, that is to say, the applications you see on sites like Boarding Area and The Points Guy, have not included those anniversary miles.

Meanwhile, "zombie" applications continued to be available which did offer the 10,000 anniversary miles, and which were studiously ignored by bloggers who were paid for those referrals.

The difference matters because, while the newer applications tend to have higher up-front signup bonuses, those anniversary miles can make the card worth keeping after the first year, especially since Barclaycard is notoriously generous about giving annual fee waivers upon a quick phone call.

It has now been confirmed by Barclaycard that those of us who applied under what I call the "and every anniversary thereafter" version of the offer will continue, for now, to receive our anniversary miles.

Affiliate bloggers have no shame

I get things wrong sometimes. That's not something I relish, but it's something I've come to terms with, and when I do, I admit my mistakes, accept criticism, and try to mend my ways.

When affiliate bloggers get things wrong, they write gleeful posts ignoring their humiliating mistakes, which has never been demonstrated as clearly as their reactions today to the news that they have been screwing their readers for months by linking to inferior, non-anniversary US Airways offers.

Remember I shared a working link to an "and every anniversary thereafter" offer on April 30, 2014.

Here's a Mommy Points post on April 30, 2014 linking only to the non-anniversary version of the offer. And here was her priceless reaction to today's Barclaycard announcement:

Note the word "My" in her tweet: her card will award her 10,000 bonus miles because when it comes to her own cards, she looks out for her best interests. Of course, when it comes to her readers she also looks out for her own best interests.

Likewise on April 30, 2014, The Points Guy wrote up the same offer, again without linking to the "and every anniversary thereafter" offer (an oversight we proceeded to debate on Twitter).

After the announcement today, he wrote blandly that "current cardholders will continue to receive the annual 10,000 Dividend Miles." This is, of course, not strictly true, since anyone who followed his advice and signed up using a non-anniversary application will not receive the anniversary miles.

Finally, again on April 30, 2014, the same day I conveniently provided a link to the "and every anniversary thereafter" offer, Gary Leff wrote up his affiliate link without mentioning the existence of the other application.

And – prepare yourself – his post today celebrates the anniversary miles he'll continue to receive, without acknowledging that he deliberately kept his readers in the dark for months about how to earn them.


I don't think a person who needed a quick influx of US Airways miles would necessarily have been wrong to privilege a 40,000-mile offer that charged the $89 annual fee up front over a 30,000-mile, waived-annual-fee offer that offers anniversary miles.

But the shameless promotion of money-making links, the shameless concealing of other, potentially better offers, and then the inevitable denial that that's exactly what took place, does drive me nuts. It shouldn't, but it does. And today's examples were among the most egregious I've seen in some time.


Incidentally, it would be interesting to know whether those who applied under the no-anniversary-miles version of the card application received the same e-mail confirming the continuation of anniversary miles. It doesn't seem likely, since Barclaycard has relatively good IT in my experience, but I think there's a non-zero possibility Barclaycard incorrectly classified at least some of those applications. So if you recently applied for that offer, leave a comment and let me know if you've heard from Barclaycard regarding anniversary miles.