American & USAirways announce combined frequent flier program plans

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The merger between American Airlines & USAirways has been gradually taking place, with even more integration scheduled for 2015. Today, the combined airline announced its plans for the merger of the 2 airlines’ frequent flier programs, AAdvantage & Dividend Miles.

Some of the announcement can be found below, but for the full details you can visit their website here. Having read through it all, the consensus is that there are no huge surprises, which is always a good thing when dealing with airlines. The news that makes me the happiest is the confirmation that there will be no changes to the frequent flier mile award redemption chart, at least not through 2015.  I’ll leave the more detailed analysis for the experts out there, so if you’d like their thoughts as well, check out Hack My Trip, Milevalue, View from the Wing, and One Mile at a Time.

For the most part the combined program will look like American Airlines AAdvantage does today. USAirways Dividend Miles currently has 4 elite tiers, while AAdvantage has 3. The 3 level program will continue once the combination is complete. The graphic below shows the details of those tiers from the perspective of those coming from USAirways:

usairways american frequent flier program merger 500x271 - American & USAirways announce combined frequent flier program plans

While the frequent flier programs are scheduled to be combined within the new American by the 2nd quarter of 2015, the airline’s reservation systems will not be combined until later in the year. This will result in 2 different methods of being upgraded on flights, depending on which airline is being flown.

Here are the details if you are on American:

american airlines upgrades 500x202 - American & USAirways announce combined frequent flier program plans

win a free trip 1 - American & USAirways announce combined frequent flier program plans

And here are the details if you fly on USAirways:

us airways upgrades 500x166 - American & USAirways announce combined frequent flier program plans

Most fliers will want to know what is new, so here are the details of the scheduled new perks for frequent fliers on each airline:

Dividend Miles Preferred
Right now

  • Complimentary snacks and drinks in the Main Cabin for Chairman’s Preferred members on all US Airways and American flights

January 2015

  • Enjoy complimentary same-day confirmed flight changes on American, a new benefit for Chairman’s Preferred members
  • Redeem all your Special Dividends by early 2015; qualification ends in December 2014

Second quarter of 2015 (when programs are combined)

  • Move to three elite status levels in the AAdvantage program – Gold, Platinum and Executive Platinum
  • Qualify for elite status based on elite-qualifying miles, segments and points
  • Receive a 100% elite mileage bonus for eligible flights if you’re a Dividend Miles Gold (currently receive a 50% elite bonus) or Platinum (currently receive a 75% elite bonus) member who becomes AAdvantage Platinum
  • Redeem miles for AAnytime awards and mileage upgrade awards on both American and US Airways marketed and operated flights
  • Upgrade on American marketed and operated flights before day of departure

AAdvantage elite
Right now

  • Executive Platinum members now enjoy a complimentary snack and drink in the Main Cabin on US Airways

January 2015

  • Move to 120 segments to qualify for Executive Platinum status for the 2016 membership year
  • Complimentary confirmed flight changes for Executive Platinum members flying on American
  • Increased class of service bonus for Business Class tickets from 25% to 50%

Second quarter of 2015 (when programs are combined)

  • Enjoy complimentary upgrades on flights 500 miles or less on flights marketed and operated by American
  • Complimentary upgrades will be auto-requested on flights marketed and operated by American and US Airways
  • Complimentary upgrades on flights marketed and operated by US Airways before day of departure
  • Redeem miles for upgrades on flights marketed and operated by US Airways
  • Use systemwide upgrades on flights marketed and operated by US Airways
  • Redeem miles for AAnytime awards on flights marketed and operated by US Airways
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Overall, this is a great announcement. Those who may have been expecting a lot of negative changes will be relieved to see that a lot is staying the same. Yes, there will be a few new processes to get used to, particularly if you’re a USAirways frequent flier, but there’s nothing here that should make people to want to flee the program to take their business elsewhere.


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