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As you likely know, US Airways and American Airlines officially merged today. Of course, nothing changes immediately for passengers so today doesn’t mean too much by itself, but it does get us closer to days when things really will change (for better or worse). Here are some of those dates that we know, as well as a reminder on some things you should consider doing sooner rather than later.
January 7th: Some reciprocal frequent flyer benefits begin
March 30th: US Airways exits Star Alliance
March 31st: US Airways joins OneWorld Alliance
Of course there are lots of other changes to be made as the two airlines become one that aren’t reflected in those dates, but those are some key fixed points to at least be vaguely aware of…especially those last two dates since that will dramatically change how you can redeem US Airways miles, and where you can credit US Airways miles when flying on paid tickets.
Things to do soon in light of the merger:
If you want to redeem US Airways miles to take advantage of the current award chart and things like the off-peak economy awards with an additional 5k discount for US Airways cardholders, or 90k round trip for business class to North Asia with a stop in Europe, or 110k for business class to Australia then I wouldn’t wait any longer than necessary to make that redemption. Also, if you simply want to fly on Star Alliance partners like United with your US Airways miles, then those redemptions also have to be made by March 30th.
As I have said before, you also want to consider getting some of the current Barclays US Airways cards and/or Citi issued AAdvantage cards while they still exist in their current form. At the very least, it is widely assumed the Barclays products are going away, and it is possible the Citi cards may get revamped the way that the Chase United cards did after the Continental and United merger.
My husband just got a US Airways and American Airlines card for that same reason, and I will be following in his footsteps in the near future.
Options Increase with British Airways Avios:
Also keep in the back of your mind that many more routes will become fair game with British Airways Avios (a OneWorld airline) as of March 31st when US Airways joins OneWorld alliance, pending reward availability of course. For example, at current rates thanks to the British Airways distance based chart, Houston to Charlotte will be 7,500 Avios each way and Phoenix to Orange County will be 4,500 Avios each way. What may be really neat for some is that Phoenix – Honolulu should be just 12,500 Avios each way! Of course, British Airways could change their award chart between now and March 31st when you could book these routes, but it is something to keep in mind.
How does this merger impact your miles earning and redemption strategies?