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When the American Airlines and US Airways merger was approved in late 2013, we knew it would only be a matter of time before the frequent flyer programs would be unified. Last October we got the news of what the program would look like, but were told only that the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles programs would merge in the second quarter of 2015, and the reservations systems “later in 2015.”
Today, American sent an email notifying members that the frequent flyer programs would officially merge within the next 30 days. We still don’t have an exact date, but here’s what you need to know:
1. The ability to redeem US Airways miles will go away this month, several days in advance of the actual merger of miles. This means you need to take advantage of the amazing US Airways chart now. For example, you can still book awards to Australia or South Africa in business class for only 110,000 miles round-trip, and US Airways has extremely flexible routing rules. More on those here.
That being said, US Airways isn’t the most flexible program, either. You can’t book one-way awards at half the price, and you can’t change award travel after you start, which is a big annoyance for someone like me who appreciates the flexibility to change trips based on better award availability/routing.
2. Dividend Miles will transfer into AAdvantage miles at a 1:1 ratio. Just make sure to link accounts by March 20, 2015. You should be prompted when you log in to your account, but I had ignored it, so I had to go into my USAirways.com account -> Dividend Miles, and there was a prompt.
I simply entered my AA number and it worked, though some people have to update their profiles to make sure information is consistent between the two accounts.
3. All lifetime status from both carriers will combine. There should also be no disruption to existing lifetime status and benefits.
4. US Airways elite activity from 2015 will transfer to American. If you have US Airways Chairman’s Preferred upgrades, USE THEM NOW. You’ll get AA EVIPS when the accounts merge, but use your upgrades for future travel before they go away.
5. You will no longer be able to apply for Barclaycard US Airways Premier World MasterCard, and I believe that cut-off date is March 20, 2015 and not the actual merger date. If you haven’t gotten in on the 50,000 mile offer, now is your last chance.
6. All Barclaycard US Airways cardholders will convert: some will update to the Aviator Red card, while those who were pre-selected will get the Aviator Silver card. Use your 5,000 mile US Airways award discount while you can!
The benefits change to align more closely with the Citi AAdvantage cards, including:
- $100 flight discount on your account anniversary each year with at least $30,000 in annual purchases;
- 10% of your redeemed miles back (10,000 miles maximum per year).
I’ll post when a specific date is announced, but book those US Airways awards now before we lose them forever! If you have any questions, post them below and I’ll do my best to answer.