All signs point to the ultimate success of the US Air / AA merger, which brings up a host of questions about the airline carriers’ combined, mega-miles program. When will you be able to access all the conglomerate’s flights? And what should you do to maximize your rewards – cash in now or wait for the dust to settle?
Timeline for the Merger and Loyalty Programs
Presuming all goes according to plan, August 31 is the official start date for the merger. US Air / AA will put up signs to avoid confusion, and a safeguarding system will be put into place in case of any accidents. Basic stuff. The merger will not start to benefit travel arrangements until shortly after the merger, when you will be able to combine itineraries. Combining flight crews will start six months after the start date, but full integration will require one year.
Your AAdvantage Miles and Dividend Miles will continue to build up as though the airlines were separate, and you can redeem your miles only for their associated carrier. After US Air is fully ingested by American (late August, 2014), your points will be applicable to flights on either carrier with a 1-to-1 ratio. Upgrades will also change for AAdvantage Members
AAdvantage Upgrades Made Easier for Platinum and Gold Members
Currently only Platinum Executive Members are given access to free upgrades under the AAdvantage program. That differs from the industry norm, which typically awards upgrades to all members for free. American plans to resolve the conflict diplomatically.
Under the new program, Gold and Platinum members will receive four 500-mile upgrades for every 10,000 qualifying miles earned. Executive Platinum members will retain unlimited upgrades, but there will be more competition for those great seats.
If you subscribe to our program and spend $5,000 at participating merchants, we add 25,000 miles to your program. That translates to 10 free upgrades under the new AAdvantage Program. Consolidation pays, doesn’t it?