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US Airways Might Leave Star Alliance March 1 – What You Should Do With Your Miles

by on November 21, 2013 · 11 comments

in star alliance, US Airways

With the US Airways – American Airlines merger back on, Frequent Business Traveler reports from sources at US Airways that the airline might exit Star Alliance March 1, 2014, as it starts aligning more closely with American and possibly joins Oneworld as soon as April. No one has officially confirmed those dates, but previously, US Airways indicated that it would leave Star Alliance by the end of the first quarter of 2014, and after the recent settlement with the DOJ, Scott Kirby, who will be the COO of the new airline, told FBT that the airlines plan to take the first steps towards becoming a single airline January 7, 2014, meaning that flyers might be able to earn and redeem miles on both American and US Airways.

ANA pulls most Star Alliance award availability in the online search engine

Say goodbye to redemptions on these airlines post-merger.

So what does that mean for you?

First, the bad news. Unfortunately US Airways exiting Star Alliance will mean the end of booking awards on its 27 partner carriers including carriers like United, ANA, Air Canada and Lufthansa.

A merger also means the likely disappearance of US Airways’ famous award chart “sweet spots” that include flying to certain parts of Asia in business class for just 90,000 miles, or the South Pacific (including Australia and New Zealand) or South Africa for just 110,000 miles.  Instead, flyers will likely be stuck at American’s higher levels of 100-110,000 to Asia, 125,000 miles to the South Pacific and a huge 150,000 miles to Africa (and chances are you’d have to transit through London and pay huge taxes and fuel surcharges on top of it!) – that is, if the airline doesn’t jump on the devaluation train after the merger and hike up its award pricing as Delta and United have done recently.

US Airways flyers should say goodbye to award chart sweet spots like these and hello to higher fuel surcharges.

US Airways flyers should say goodbye to award chart sweet spots like these and hello to higher fuel surcharges.

In terms of flexibility, US Airways is great when it comes to maximizing stopovers, open jaws and round-the-world possibilities, On each award itinerary, you can have either one stopover or one open-jaw giving you the flexibility to hit a few different places on your trip, but that’s likely going to end with the merger as well.

So the bottom line is – if you can book your Star Alliance award travel now and have the miles to do it, I would do so sooner rather than later because there’s no exact date for US Airways to exit the alliance and airlines tend to spring surprises on flyers. So plan ahead!

You should be able to book up to 330 days beyond the airline’s exit from Star Alliance, and then if you have to cancel, I think you’ll probably just get your miles back at that point and will have to use them on American and/or Oneworld partners once the airlines have merged, so at the worst, you’re giving up a Star Alliance award and having to rebook on Oneworld (though possibly at higher mileage levels and fuel surcharges).

A Window of Opportunity

One interesting facet here is if US Airways and American merge their frequent flyer opportunities (so you can earn and redeem miles on both airlines) if not their actual programs just yet as early as January while US Airways is still part of Star Alliance. Then theoretically, you could use your US Airways miles to fly an award on American but also on Star Alliance carriers. Many carriers who have merged have given a certain period where members can link their accounts and transfer back and forth. That is the case with Airtran and Southwest and was the case with Continental and United – although that was probably smoother (if you can call that transition smooth at all!) since both carriers were already in Star Alliance.

For more information on the merger, check out these posts:

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

How To Prepare for a US Airways American Airlines Merger

Maximizing a Potential US Airways American Airlines Merger

The Potential Winners and Losers of an American Airlines US Airways Merger

American Chooses Citi As Post-Merger Credit Card Partner

Top 10 Reasons I Don’t Want a US Airways American Merger To Go Through

US Justice Department Suing to Block American US Airways Merger

DOJ Settles With American: Merger Moves One Step Closer to Approval

The US Airways – American Merger: Winners and Losers

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  • Conor Scholes

    One note on awards to at least parts of Africa…you will no longer have to transit through London and pay surcharges with Qatar Airways being part of OW…we are going to Ethiopia in January, and QR was the cheapest airline to fly to get there…and if you booked business class award tickets, no London, no surcharges (at this point).

  • Geoff

    Any chance that we could use Avios on US metal domestically since AA is partner currently?

  • Richard

    Do you think we will have another cheap miles promo before they merge?

  • RakSiam

    Isn’t it just speculation at this point with regard to the award chart and so forth? Just because US leave *A doesn’t mean that their program will disappear at the same time, right? At some point the program will merge with AA but that isn’t likely to happen right away. So we’ll still have two separate programs. Unless they move to harmonize the award charts (which they frankly should do) as soon as the first merger steps happen. If US joins OW and keeps its own program in place at least at first then the only thing that will change is which airlines you can book on. And since US’s agents are notoriously clueless about partners and geography maybe it won’t be so bad until things get farther down the track.

  • Beegee

    How long do you think it will remain possible to apply for the US Airways card?

  • alvaro

    Which would you recommend I burn before upcoming changes for a business class to Europe, us airways miles or chase/United miles if I only have the time off for one trip?

  • George

    Tried to book award flights on Star Alliance last week using US Air miles and it was impossible. My trip was for next March flying from NYC to ATH Greece. While I found a number of flight on the United web site with multiple airlines, when I called US Air and gave the operator exact flights there was nothing available. Called a few times so I spoke to different agents with no luck. I have Gold status with US Air and times like these I wish I had accumulated miles/status with United instead.

  • http://www.digmydata.com/ Adam Wride

    Cheap mile promo is running right now (3 more days).

  • Chris

    Just got an email from united. Us airways leaving star alliance March 30

  • Mmf

    Does any one know what happens to your US airways gold status once the merger goes through? will I be able to keep my star alliance gold status until it expires?

  • Jonathan

    so if I book a flight on turkish airlines today, mid March to travel Mid April (Madrid-Tokyo) I will not earn any US Airways miles?

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