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Rumor: US Airways Joining Oneworld – Book Awards Sooner Than Later

by on July 26, 2013 · 28 comments

in US Airways

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Although there are still a few hurdles to clear, it looks like the American Airlines/US Airways merger will continue to proceed pretty smoothly over the coming months, and although the official merger announcement back in February included news that US Airways would join Oneworld, the rumors have been heating up on this FlyerTalk thread that the actual join date will be November 1, 2013.

US Airways offers tempting fee waivers for Dividend Miles Preferred members.

Come November, US Airways might be joining Oneworld officially.

At this point, it’s still pretty much speculation, but the fact of the matter is, US Airways will eventually join Oneworld and I suspect it will happen before the end of the year and once it does, US Airways’ award chart is likely to align more closely to American’s. So it’s time to start getting your award planning in order if you hope to use your US Airways miles on its 27 Star Alliance partners or to take advantage of sweet spots in its award chart like needing just 90,000 miles to fly roundtrip business class from North America to Asia, or just 110,000 miles to fly roundtrip business class from North America to the South Pacific (including Australia) and South Africa (like I did back in January) before it shifts alliances to the much smaller Oneworld.

With that in mind, I personally decided to take advantage of the current targeted 100% bonus on purchased US Airways miles in order to buy 100,000 of the miles I’ll need for a business class redemption from North America to Australia early in 2014. Although buying miles can be costly and usually only make sense with a specific redemption in mind, given the fact that this could be one of my last chances to get in on a 100% bonus on purchased US Airways miles and I know what I want to use them for, it seemed like a good decision for my circumstances.

With the bonus, I was able to purchase 50,000 miles and get 50,000 bonus miles – the price per mile dropped to 1.75 cents apiece – for a the grand total of $1,881.25 including the 7.5% recovery tax and $30 processing fee. While $1,881.25 is a chunk of change, compared to what business class tickets to Australia cost, it’s a pittance.

I bought 100,000 miles for just under $1,900.

I bought 100,000 miles for just under $1,900.

Not only that, but thanks to US Airways’ flexible routing options, I can fly through Asia on my way and try out a few different airlines I’ve been meaning to, including Asiana and EVA, which recently officially joined Star Alliance and whose business class product looks quite nice (I mean, they serve Dom Perignon- enough said!).

A quick search of ExpertFlyer and United.com helped me piece together a great award itinerary that would suit my needs perfectly where I fly from New York to Sydney via Taipei and Bangkok on EVA and then Thai Airways and then return via Seoul on Asiana.

US Airways Australia milesAll for the grand total of 110,000 miles and $204 in taxes and fees – bringing my total out-of-pocket cost since I bought the miles to about $2,266. Not exactly cheap, but when you compare what this itinerary or comparable ones would cost around the same dates I’m looking at flying in February…

Screen shot 2013-07-25 at 2.13.25 PMAre going for around $7,700, so I’m saving well over $5,500 – not that I’d ever pay that much for an airfare, but then again, I can’t survive long flights like these in economy thanks to my height, so I have to fly business class or not at all.

Although a ticket like this still cost me a couple thousand dollars, it’s money that I’m willing to spend because in the end, it saves me several thousand more to fly the way I want to a destination I’ve been dreaming of visiting for as long as I can remember – not to mention the fact that this might be the last opportunity to buy miles from US Airways at a 100% bonus before the merger goes through and/or it joins Oneworld officially and high-value redemptions on its award chart disappear.

Are any of you planning to book Star Alliance awards using US Airways miles before the merger? If so, which ones and why?

For more information, see these posts:

Official American Airlines US Airways Merger Announcement and What It Means For Consumers

Top 10 Potential Positive and Negative Changes of the US Airways American Merger

Maximizing A Potential US Airways American Airlines Merger

How To Prepare for a US Airways AA Merger

American and US Airways Board Approve Merger – The Potential Winners and Losers

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • miffSC

    I’m just curious as to when you actually booked this… yesterday we were trying to book flights to/from Germany, to/from Bangkok/Singapore and the US agents were not seeing the seats even though they were showing on United and ANA.

  • Steve Gempeler

    I’m excited for US Airways miles to become AA miles so I can use them to book British Airways short haul flights from DCA!

  • Johnson

    What will happen if you buy a US award ticket for next year with UA miles?

  • thepointsguy

    It’ll be honored like usual

  • Sam

    I’m confused. BA does not fly to DCA, nor do they offer short-haul flights within the US.

  • thepointsguy

    You can use BA avios to book oneworld partner (like American) flights. Once/if US joins onewod you’ll be able to book us flights w avios too

  • Sam

    Ah ok that makes more sense. Thanks!

  • Jon

    thanks for clearing that up =)

  • Bender

    Do you think there will be a period of time when I can book 90K US – N. Asia biz tickets on oneworld just after the change is made or do you think the award chart will change very quickly once US Air moves over? Would love to get into Cathay on this ticket.

  • thepointsguy

    Anything is possible, but I highly doubt it

  • Vitaly

    Planning to book 2x90k awards to North Asia for next year, but just over 10k miles short and not eligible for miles purchase bonus. Will wait until early August to see if there is a new promo, and if not, will proceed to buying missing miles and booking

  • Harold

    Same thing with flts to Spain. United showed LH availability and crappy USair said they did not see it. Called back 3 times same story, they had some availability on the way back but not going. This was for economy. Ended up using my United miles.

  • Ncjerseymike

    As a united platinum with the ability to status match with American, is now the right time to take the match?

  • Mileswhore

    The sky is falling!

  • Gary (Dad to GO)

    Well it looks like my planned trip to Australia just got bumped up by a few months. :)

  • UA Gold

    I have some paid flights booked for later in the year (including one on December 31st) on US Airways that I am planning to credit to my United FF account (I need the PQMs to maintain status). If they join OneWorld between the time of purchase and the time of flying do you think it’s possible I’d still be able to get United PQMs? There must have been people in the same boat when Continental left Skyteam and joined Star Alliance a few years ago. Does anyone remember how that worked?

  • KMC

    Thanks for this post! I am in the same position. Will be going to Adelaide, Australia in February for a friend’s 30th birthday celebration and I have enough points for the trip on US Airways. Guess I will be booking now! Thanks for the heads up!

  • tomg63

    Here is what steve meant to say:
    I’m excited for US Airways to join OneWorld so I can use British Airways Avios to book short haul flights from DCA!

  • Colby

    Does it make sense to purchase Chairman status on US Airways to convert to Exec Platinum?

  • John Beeler

    Likewise, I’m waiting for my US miles to roll into my AAdvantage account for 2 transatlantic BA tickets in First ;)

  • travelsaurus

    I also have the same question…definitely need the PQMs from some US Air flights for United FF status this year. Anyone know how that is handled?

  • Joan

    We’re flying with US business class award tickets on TACA & COPA late November to GUA with a stopover in PTY on the return. Are our tix safe?

  • Johann

    For the sake of your argument, maybe also mention what would have been the cost in Economy? I bet it’s not much less than what you’ve paid to fly business using dividend miles…

  • Mark

    Hi all, I’m a bit of a noob at this and I am thinking of buying miles and applying for the US Airways Barclays card to get the 35k bonus miles. I currently have around 17k miles with them (the most out of any of my accounts, minus Hawaiian) and am hoping to travel from Boston to Europe (France, Italy, Greece) and back next summer. The award chart starts at 60k from NA to Europe and 20k within Europe, but was unsure of how this worked with their partners. Do you think buying miles is a good idea for me?

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  • Jason

    Will U.S. Airways still join One World now if the merger is blocked?

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