American Airlines and US Airways begin to integrate frequent flyer programs

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Things are really starting to move quickly now with the merger between American Airlines and US Airways.  A sure sign of merger progress is when airlines begin to integrate their frequent flyer programs, which AA and US have begun to do.  Here are some details that you need to know:

You can now earn miles on one carrier by flying the other

This effectively makes the airlines “partners” for now, as the merger is still ongoing.  But as an AA flier, you can post US Airways flights to your AAdvantage account, and as a US flier, you can post AA flights to your Dividend Miles account.

You can redeem your miles for award tickets on the other carrier

Use your AA miles to book flights on US Airways and vice-versa.  This is an especially nice feature, as US Airways tends to offer good domestic award availability, especially in first class.

Reciprocal elite benefits are beginning

Your elite status on one of these airlines will now mean something when you’re flying the other.  Key benefits include:

  • Elite mileage bonuses
  • First or business class check-in
  • Priority securing and boarding lanes
  • Complimentary checked bags and preferred seating
  • Reciprocal access for airline lounge members

The one big item missing from this list is upgrades. As yet there are no reciprocal upgrade benefits between the two airlines, but this will be coming sooner than later.  Reciprocal upgrading requires a level of IT integration that simply doesn’t yet exist between the airlines.

But I’ve saved the best for last: From now through March 2, AA fliers who fly on US Airways, and post the miles to their AAdvantage account, will earn a 50% mileage bonus.  Be sure to register for this promotion.  These bonus miles are in addition to other bonuses (such as elite level bonuses) that you would normally earn.  What this means in practice is that AAdvantage Platinum and Executive Platinum members will earn 250% of the miles flown on US Airways (100% base miles, 100% elite bonus and 50% promotion bonus).  This is a very nice compensation for not being able to upgrade on US Airways yet.

Stay tuned for more news and analysis on this merger as it develops.


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