The bank name will change this month on many US Airways Dividend Miles credit cards, and their logos will shift from Visa to MasterCard. But other aspects of the cards, popular here because of the airline's dominance at Philadelphia International Airport, should be unaffected, say bank and airline officials.
Morgan Durrant, a US Airways spokesman, said the shift was occurring because Bank of America Corp. sold about two-thirds of its Dividend Miles credit card accounts to Barclaycard US, a Wilmington subsidiary of Barclays P.L.C., the British financial-services company.
The shift in banks has actually been going on since US Airways' 2005 merger with America West.
Before the deal, Barclaycard issued cards linked to America West's FlightFund program. As that plan was merged into Dividend Miles in 2006, Barclaycard began issuing new US Airways cards.
Barclays spokesman Kevin Sullivan said the transition entered its final stage last August, when Barclaycard bought many of Bank of America's remaining Dividend Miles Visa accounts, while contracting with Bank of America to continue managing them until this month.
Although Bank of America will retain some Dividend Miles accounts - neither bank would say how many or why - only Barclaycard will issue new Dividend Miles cards, Sullivan said.
Neither the banks nor US Airways would say how many Dividend Miles credit cards are in use. The Dividend Miles program has about 30 million members, according to WebFlyer.com, an online trade publication.
Sullivan said the switch would be completed June 23, when the Visa accounts will be closed and the new MasterCards will be activated. Affected cardholders should already have been notified.
"We really want to make this experience as seamless as possible for people who are making the transition," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said that Dividend Miles cards usually carry an annual fee of about $50 to $90, but that Barclaycard also offers some no-fee US Airways cards - a feature Bank of America has not offered. He said the no-fee cards typically build miles at a slower pace: half a mile per $1 spent for non-airline expenditures.
"For the most part, consumers are coming over with similar terms and fees," he said. "If the consumer would like to hear about any other price points, they can contact us, but we're trying to meet their need with the product they have today."
Some US Airways cardholders have voiced concerns about whether the changeover could affect their credit ratings.
"How will my credit be affected?" asked Carol Doyle, of the city's Wynnefield Heights section.
Sullivan said there was no cause for concern.
"It should not have an impact," he said, because the transition will preserve consumers' account histories.
Barry Paperno, consumer operations manager for FICO, creator of the common credit-scoring model, confirmed that such a switch would protect cardholders' credit.
"If a card with the new account number appears on the consumer's credit report with the same history and open date as the card with the old account number, the consumer would not see any change in his or her FICO score," Paperno said.
Sullivan said institutions such as Barclaycard, a relative newcomer to the U.S. card business with 6.8 million accounts, "are accomplished in making sure the transitions go smoothly" to keep new customers happy.
He said Barclaycard specialized in co-branded cards, not just with airlines but with smaller banks and retailers such as L.L. Bean and Barnes & Noble. As a result, he said, "we tend to have a credit profile that skews toward the upscale."
Contact staff writer Jeff Gelles