A few hours ago I shared the good news that you would now be able to use American Airlines miles to book US operated award flights and vice versa. That is a big point in the merger, but it was not going to be the only milestone in the merger today. There are several other big steps forward.
- Monthly traveler and daily Wi-Fi passes are now valid on both American Airlines and US Airways flights.
- Reciprocal US Airways Clubs and American Admirals Club lounges access. Note that this will be valid for the AA and US lounges, not all the partner lounges.
- Earn and redeem miles for travel on both airlines (note that again that doesn’t mean on both alliances, it means on both airlines)
- All eligible travel on either airline will count toward elite status qualification in the program of your choice
- Miles and segments cannot be combined between the Dividend Miles and AAdvantage programs to qualify for elite status until the programs are fully integrated
- There are some elite benefits that you can now enjoy on either airline when you have status on at least one of them:
- First/Business Class check-in
- Priority security checkpoints
- Priority boarding
- Complimentary checked bags
- Access to Preferred seats
- Priority baggage delivery
- There is still a March 30, 2014 date for exit from the Star Alliance for US Airways and a March 31, 2014 join date for OneWorld
I will note that the biggest confusion I am hearing about this so far is misunderstanding between the difference of benefits being available on the respective US and American airlines, as opposed to the Star and OneWorld alliances. For example, just because you can book now US Airways operated flights with AA miles, that doesn’t mean you can book US Airways operated flights with British Airways points the way you can AA flights. US Airways is not yet in the OneWorld alliance, so things like that are on hold until at least March 31st.
Still big steps forward for American and US Airways travelers, though I’m sure elite travelers have some strategizing to do when it comes to choosing how to credit elite qualifying miles. You can get more information about the details of these announcements here for US Airways and here for American Airlines.
How do these changes impact you? Will you be taking advantage of the sweet spots in the respective award charts in the near future?