With so many programs and credit cards changing benefits and removing benefits lately, I was pleasantly surprised to read an email I received from Barclaycard tonight. Starting April 30th US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard cardholders will have the added benefit of receiving your first checked bag for free.
This will benefit will apply to all domestic US Airways operated flights and covers you and up to four companions. Initially this will not get you free checked bags when flying on American Airlines. However, once the two frequent flyer programs are merged the US Airways card will become a Barclaycard American Airlines AAdvantage MasterCard and this benefit will stay with the card.
This is the logical direction for Barclaycard to go with this card as the merger progresses. Right now Barclaycard is trying to build up its US Airways customer base and maintain existing customers as US Airways transitions into American Airlines. Considering the existing Citi AAdvantage cards offer a free checked bag, it only makes sense for Barclays to offer this now giving US Airways cardholders one less reason to run off for a Citi AAdvantage branded card once the programs are merged. At that point Barclaycard will no longer be allowed to issue new US Airways accounts and will need to maintain the ones they have.