USAir is notorious for poor customer service but their Mastercard deal only adds insult to injury.
I rarely, if ever, sign up for these cards but I noticed on a recent business trip on USAIR, an associate was not paying baggage fees and was being upgraded on his loading zone, etc. I asked why and he told me about the Mastercard deal.
On the flight, the attendants did their usual pitch and I decided to sign up on the flight to qualify for the multitude of benefits you'd get if you signed up right then and there. The benefits included: instant Silver preferred upgrade, two free tickets anywhere in the US, 10,000 bonus miles and a few other odds and ends.
Several months later, I still hadn't received notification that any of my status changes were put into effect and none of the promised bonuses had been delivered. The last USAIR flight I took, I still had to pay baggage charges to and from the destination because I hadn't received Silver status yet. Note that you can't discuss any of this with people at the ticking counter because they'll tell you right away, they can't help with any of the promised benefits of the card, so you just have to shut up and pay (and that's about how they put it...at least the counter attendants in Philadelphia, anyway...).
Today, I finally called USAIR Mastercard to find out what the deal was and here's what I was told: You don't qualify for any of those benefits unless you upgrade your annual fee to $80.00 at the time you sign up. If you go with the standard, $45.00 fee, you get nothing...just a credit card that earns miles on USAIR and an incredibly high interest rate.
When I asked if I could upgrade my annual fee to the $80.00 to take advantage of all these wonderful benefits promised on the flight, I was told that, due to new Federal Rules, they were not allowed to upgrade my account at this time, so I get nothing. Of course, they're going to let me know when it's OK for me to upgrade to the higher annual fee...which, I'm sure, will be well after the terms have expired for receiving any of the promised benefits.
So, if you DO decide to sign up for one of these cards, under the guise that you'll be receiving the sun, the moon and the stars, be sure to read the fine print and ask lots of questions. Otherwise, you'll end up being just as disappointed with this as you are with the rest of USAIR's crappy customer service.
As an aside...I was in Europe recently on vacation and received word that my wife's mother had been hospitalized with a serious health issue. We had one more day left on our vacation but my wife desperately wanted to get home to the states to be with her mother, in case the worst should happen. When I called USAIR to inquire about moving our flight up by one day (the same fight, but a day earlier), I was told that because there were only a very few seats left on that flight, they were holding them for a higher price. So, if I wanted to make the change, it was going to cost me $3000.00 per ticket
, after all of their change penalties! This was more than double what we paid for the tickets we originally purchased from USAIR!
Ultimately, we booked two one way tickets through AMEX Travel which ended up costing us half as much (still, $3000—total, not each) but at least we made it home.
Once again, another sterling example of USAIR's customer friendly service.
I'd never fly USAIR if I didn't live in Philadelphia, but since it's their hub, the flight options on other airlines for direct flights just don't match.