What Smart People Will Do to Prepare for American and US Airways Merger

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Thanks to everyone for your email, prayers, and advice regarding my situation in PNG. On Wednesday afternoon I got a call saying that I was approved to leave the country. Within two hours, I was on a flight out of the country. I love PNG and the people of that wonderful country, but I was happy to leave! I was at home by noon on Thursday (Valentine’s Day), so it was an extra special blessing for myself and my family.

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On February 14th, it was announced that American Airlines and US Airways will merge.

The focus of this article isn’t to analyze if this is a good or bad move for frequent flyer mileage collectors.  We won’t focus on that because the fact is that the merger will happen.

While there is much that is up in the air, here is what we do know:

  1. They will keep the American Airlines name. (Bye bye, US Airways.)
  2. American Airlines AAdvantage miles will be the currency of the merger.
  3. Mergers take a long time – a couple of years for the merger to be fully integrated with several intermediate steps along the pathway to complete merger.

Three Mileage Strategies for the American and US Airways Merger

1.  Book Unique Award Flight Opportunities Soon

For the time being, both airlines will keep their award charts in place.  If there is a particularly good award you’ve been eyeing for some time, this would likely be the time (over the next couple of months) to pull the trigger and make the booking.

As an example, I had been interested in booking a US Airways business class flight to Europe.  That would have cost 55,000 US Airways miles.  Unfortunately, that disappeared (without warning) a few weeks ago.  However, there is still a 35,000 off-peak option from North America to Europe.  If a person were also a US Airways card holder, they could receive a 5,000 mile discount if all the flights were on US Airways metal.  That would reduce the total mileage requirement to 30,000 miles per person.  The best you can get off-peak with American is 40,000 AAdvantage.

When they merge into one award chart, you’ll likely see the disappearance of some of the unique US Airways redemption options.

Perhaps, in the future, I’ll post some of the trips where you’ll see a difference between the two award chart options.

2.  Maximize Your US Airways Mileage Earning Opportunities

With the merger, I expect we’ll see the disappearance of the US Airways Barclay card offerings.  In the future, both mileage programs will be combined, so any miles you can earn with US Airways will become American miles.  It’s important to note that Barclaycards is one of the more liberal credit card issuers when it comes to getting multiple sign up bonuses.  Some people have reported success getting approved and getting the bonus again for the US Airways credit card even when they already have the card.  Others have reported success canceling their existing card and waiting a month or two and getting the card again.

While the US Airways personal card has a $89 fee, you also have the opportunity to get 30,000 miles after the first purchase.

3.  Do Nothing Rash

During mergers (as we’ve seen with Delta/NWA and Continental/United), customers are typically given a very detailed game plan as to how the merger will happen. It’s fair to expect that we’ll have the opportunity to transfer miles back and forth for a period of time.  We’ll also likely be notified of the final date when you can apply for a US Airways card.

I’m just saying that there is no need to get worried about what will happen with your miles.

My prediction is that the American Award chart won’t undergo any major changes over the next year or so. (Just a prediction.)  They’ll merge everything first, and then in the future consider making those types of changes.

In the meantime, this is open season for taking advantage of earning as many US Airways and American miles as eventually those two accounts will be combined into one.

Comments

  1. says

    I would definitely agree with racking up Dividend Miles with the Barclaycard and I think award chart changes will happen in the 1.5-2 year range.

    I wrote up about how based off of United/Continetnal and Delta/Northwest mergers you can expect to see a new American Airlines credit card in about 12-14 months to earn some freshly printed AAdvantage miles

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