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TPG reader Christina sent me a message on Facebook to ask:
“I have a question regarding the 110,000 mile US Airways round the world ticket in business class. Do I have to complete my travel before the merger with American Airlines, or do I simply need to book my ticket before then?”
Some time during the second quarter of 2015 — my sources tell me mid-May, but don’t bet the farm — the US Airways Dividend Miles and American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer programs will fully merge. Once this happens, Dividend Miles will no longer exist.
Christina is smart to be thinking about this, as mergers have a way of bending the rules of space, time, and ticketing. Fortunately, you just need to book the US Airways award ticket before the programs merge, and you’ll have until one year after you book to use it. If you have US Airways miles, think about booking award tickets before the merger. AAdvantage is a more customer-friendly program, with one-way awards at half price, but US Airways has a better award chart and better routing rules if you know how to maximize them.
For example, 110,000 Dividend Miles round-trip will get you to Australia and across both oceans, meaning you can stop in Europe on your way and then route home across the Pacific. You can also use Dividend Miles for a 110,000 mile round-trip award to South Africa, which is drastically lower than what you might spend by flying there on American. So use your Dividend miles, and let’s all get as much value as we can out of them before the merger.
Just like all good deals, this one will soon come to an end, but on the flip side, once the merger is complete, you’ll see some large AAdvantage balances when all your miles are combined.
If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.