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American Airlines and US Airways have officially started to merge from a consumer perspective, announcing a slew of reciprocal benefits today. Dubbed “Customer Day 1,” the two airlines have been training their employees extensively about these new benefits, which include:
- AAdvantage and Dividend Miles members can earn and redeem miles when traveling across either airline’s network. All travel on eligible tickets on both airlines will count toward qualification for elite status in the customer’s program of choice.
- Elite members of each airline can enjoy select reciprocal benefits of both the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles programs, including First and Business Class check-in, priority security and priority boarding, complimentary access to Preferred Seats, priority baggage delivery, and checked bags at no charge, consistent with the current baggage policies for each carrier.
- Members of the American Admirals Club or US Airways Club will have reciprocal club benefits, providing them access to the 35 Admirals Clubs and 19 US Airways Clubs. In addition, American AAdvantage Citi Executive cardholders will have access to US Airways Clubs.
- Airport and Web check-in timeframes will be aligned for both US Airways and American.
- Boarding announcements will align to accommodate elites of both carriers.
- Airport ticket counters and gates at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport are now co-located.
Award availability for both airlines is now showing on each airline’s website, which is a surprise to me because US Airways does not show any partner award availability online. This is great because American has very generous off-peak award windows, like October 15- April 15 for Europe at 20,000 miles each way vs. US Airways Jan 15 – Feb 15.
USAirways.com shows AA awards, which is great because US to Asia in business class is only 90,000 US Airways miles roundtrip vs. 100,000 AA miles.
There are still a lot of benefits to come, like combining miles, elite miles and reciprocal elite upgrades, but this is a good first step. I’m glad they are still able to roll out these merger “enhancements” during the difficult weather/operational environment. More to come!