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Video SRQ: My Thoughts on the US Airways/American Airlines Merger

by on June 9, 2013 · 10 comments

in Airline Industry, American Airlines, Sunday Reader Questions, US Airways, Video Blog Post

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TPG follower Thomas tweeted me this week asking what I think about the upcoming airline merger:

“What are your thoughts about the upcoming US Airways and American Airlines merger? Are your travel patterns and plans changing at all because of it?”

US Airways and American Airlines actually moved one step closer to a merger this week when American agreed to have Citibank as their credit card issuer going forward. This eased Citi’s objections, which could have thrown a big wrench into the plan going forward. Once the agreement was made, the judge sent the plan to the creditors for approval which should take about a month or so before there is a final approval for the merger late this summer.

In terms of my plans, I’m an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member and I’m looking forward to having more routes that I’ll be able to fly and can to bank to my American AAdvantage account and elite status. I’ll also have more options for redemptions because I’ll be able to use my American miles on US Airways flights. Not only that, but I suspect that the new airline’s elite status system will look more like US Airways, with four tiers instead of American’s three.

You only need 90,000 miles for a roundtrip business class ticket to North Asia.

You only need 90,000 miles for a roundtrip business class ticket to North Asia.

On the flip side, you US Airways flyers out there are likely to experience bigger, more dramatic changes to your airline experience. Right now you can redeem on Star Alliance partners at some really great rates like 90,000 US miles roundtrip in business class to North Asia. This past winter I used 110,000 US Airways miles to take what would have been an $8,000 flight in business class roundtrip to South Africa – pretty amazing. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that you will no longer be able to do get deals like this because US Airways is probably going to hack away at those really valuable redemptions and adopt an award chart that looks like American’s.

On the positive side, you’ll most likely be able to use your US Airways miles for one-way redemptions, which you can’t do now. American’s website is also drastically better than US Airways’ where you basically have to call and speak to a representative for everything. There are of course going to be positives and negatives for flyers of both airlines, but overall as an American flyer I don’t think I’ll lose much.

AAUS

One concern I do have is whether after Doug Parker, who is CEO of US Airways, takes over that American will continue all the really great service improvements, including bringing a new fleet of planes online, that American has been working on this past year. While US Airways claims that won’t happen, I’m not sure I wholly believe it.

Right now there are too many things up in the air about the merger still, but I’m not worried about it and I don’t think there’s anything that you should be too concerned with at the moment. Stay tuned because I’ll be keeping up to date with all the upcoming changes and writing about them here as they happen!

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  • PM63124

    Do you think lifetime American Platinums will end up as second tier or third tier should the new program have four tiers?

  • tassojunior

    Service on US plummeted after America West and Doug Parker took it over. Many of the planes still have AW interiors and US and AW pilots are still not allowed in the same cabin.

  • Grant

    I think you are right Brian. Hopefully AA only gets better with the merger.

  • Allison Braddock

    Love the Red pants! ;-)

  • Joseph

    Do you think we’ll get a new card offer with a nice bonus when the merger completes?

  • Matt P

    This is a bummer for those of us who are regular United flyers. I often travel on the East coast and there tends to be a lot more flight options with US Air. In the past, this wasn’t an issue, since they are a Star Alliance partner, I could still rack up my United points and earn towards elite status. Now, with this merger, there aren’t any other domestic airlines on the Star Alliance, which I think diminishes its value.

  • http://www.CheersandGears.com Oldsmoboi

    If you’re a US Airways CC holder now, when would you bother to apply for the Citi card? For the time being, I’m staying firmly planted with Star Alliance for my flights because I just barely maintain gold status each year based on segments.

  • jamar0033

    At least you fly enough to do that. I wouldn’t be able to have any sort of *A status if it weren’t for Aegean.

  • Pingback: Update on Booking US Airways Star Alliance Awards Post Nov 1, 2013 | The Points Guy

  • Pingback: Should I Buy Up to US Airways Chairman Status to Convert to AA Executive Platinum After the Merger? | Hack.Travel

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