A few weeks ago, American Airlines and US Airways finally announced that their merger would be complete by March 30th, 2014. And today we are starting to see the beginnings of that merger.
I received an email from US Airways explaining the new developments. Here are the highlights from the email:
|Earning and redeeming miles|
|You can now earn and redeem Dividend Miles when flying on American or US Airways with your Dividend Miles number. All miles and segments earned when flying on either airline will count toward elite status qualification in the program of your choice.|
Elite members of each airline can now enjoy select reciprocal benefits when flying on either airline, including First and Business Class check-in, complimentary checked bags, priority security and boarding, and many more.
|More lounge access|
|In addition to the US Airways Clubs, club members can now access 35 Admirals Club® locations in major airports worldwide.|
|Same great benefits with the US Airways MasterCard® and Visa® card|
|Credit card benefits will remain unchanged and cardmembers will continue to earn Dividend Miles for all purchases on their card without disruption.|
|On March 30, 2014, we’ll exit Star Alliance. Until then, you can continue to earn and redeem miles on Star Alliance partner airlines. We’ll join the oneworld® alliance on March 31, 2014, which offers new opportunities to access the best destinations around the globe. Stay tuned for more details about the world of benefits from the oneworld alliance.|
|Coming soon, you’ll enjoy access to our enhanced network through our codeshare with American, which allows you to seamlessly book travel on either airline.|
The big news is that you can now earn & REDEEM miles from the two loyalty programs. Fantastic. Let’s dive in.
New Award Redemption Options
As of late last night, you can start pulling up American Airlines award availability on US Airways.com and US Airways award availability on American’s website. Nifty.
This is pretty cool since both award charts have their gems and options are always good. Remember that US Airways is leaving the Star Alliance by March 30th, so if you’re looking to burn Dividend miles for Star Alliance, you better do it sooner than later.
US Airways flights on AA.com
American Airlines allows you to book one-way tickets for half the cost of a round-trip ticket. Sounds basic, but this isn’t the case with US Airways award flights. This means you can now burn 12.5k AAdvantage miles for a US Airways domestic one-way flight. Here’s a flight from Phoenix to Seattle on US Airways for 12.5k American Airline miles one-way.
Yeah, it’s not the greatest domestic redemption out there, but it’s still a new option you have when looking to burn award miles domestically. Personally, I try to only burn Southwest points and British Airways Avios for domestic award flights. You can fly American Airlines with Avios on the cheap since they’re partners. This means that eventually you will be able to burn Avios on US Airways routes. However, US Airways flights weren’t showing up on BA.com as of this morning.
Another great gem in the American Airlines award chart is their 20,000 one-way non peak trips to Europe in economy class. A fantastic value. You can now burn your AAdvantage miles for US Airways flights, too.
It would cost you 20,000 AA miles to fly from Philadelphia to London on US Airways.
And the great thing about this is that US Airways doesn’t have hefty fees, so you’re looking at $2.50 out of pocket. Balling.
The same route on British Airways would cost you $250 more US dollars!
I think it’s easy to see that flying US Airways metal with AAdvantage miles is the better option.
Booking American Airlines Flights on US Airways.com
You can now book American Airline flights on US Airways.com too. Cool, but remember you must book a round-trip ticket because one-way award redemptions with Dividend miles price out at full price.
I wouldn’t rush to book any AA flights with US Airways Dividend miles since they will be able to be combined soon, and AA.com generally has the better award chart. However, US Airways Dividend has a sweet spot of 90,000 miles for a round-trip business flight to Asia. This is 10,000 miles cheaper than you can book on the AA site. You can also get away with highway robbery when making an award booking with US Dividend agent since they aren’t the most geographically savvy. But I’m not here to judge.
Here’s an example of an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Tokyo in business class for 90,000 Dividend miles and $95.
It’s great to see the ability to burn miles for both carriers on both of their websites. This gives us a couple more options when looking for an award flight. Eventually, we will be able to combine our miles. I can’t wait for that day!
This is just the start of the two airlines becoming one. Expect even more new features soon.
If you’re looking to burn your Dividend miles on Star Alliance flights, I would start looking NOW if you haven’t already. For me, I’ll be hanging on to my Dividend miles to burn on One World and American Airlines flights.
— Geoff Whitmore