Exploit the American Airlines-US Airways merger to earn bonus miles

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Whether you fly American Airlines or US Airways, their merger provides a unique opportunity to rack up a pile of extra frequent flyer miles in their future, combined program.  In addition to the 50% mileage bonus AA is currently giving out for US Airways flights, there’s one simple thing that members of either program can do right now – while the airlines are merging – to earn a pile of free miles.  And it couldn’t be easier:

Make sure you have credit cards for both programs.

It’s that simple.

As you probably know, airlines award large up-front mileage bonuses to new credit card holders.  These vary, but typically are in the 25,000 – 50,000 mile range.  Because AA and US Airways are merging, the miles in each account will eventually be combined, and the credit card offerings paired back for the new program.  But for now, the programs are still operating separately.  This means that if you don’t already have a card in one or both of these programs, you still have time to receive this large mileage bonus in the individual programs – before the programs merge.

Past mergers between Delta-Northwest and United-Continental have shown that the ability to move miles between the American and US Airways programs is probably coming soon, which means you’ll likely be able to benefit from this even before the programs are merged sometime next year.

While there are many ways to earn frequent flyer miles, there are few to earn so many so quickly.  Take advantage of this pre-merger period and rack up as many bonuses as possible in each program.  Here are three tips for success:

  1. Make sure you have personal credit cards for both the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles programs.
  2. Open up a business credit card in each program, as they offer separate (and equally large) bonuses.  Best of all, you don’t need a real business to do this.
  3. Link your accounts as soon as AA and US Airways offer the option to do so, then move miles back and forth to redeem at will.

Following this strategy will help you rack up tens of thousands of bonus miles that you would have missed out on otherwise.  And if you’re spending miles the right way, every 10,000 miles should net you $500 – $1,000 in value.


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Ryan has been a travel expert for more than ten years. His journeys have taken him to all six inhabited continents, including living in the Middle East and backpacking across Australia, Asia and Europe.

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