American and US Airways are officially merging today, which in reality means a whole lot of nothing in the short term. What’s on my mind the most is the implications of any changes on award redemptions. I love both the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles programs for different reasons, so the more we know about key dates, the better we can maximize both award charts while they’re still around. Previous reports suggested that US Airways would leave the Star Alliance on March 31, 2014, though it looks like we have some updated information as of today.
Via a OneWorld press release, it seems as if US Airways will be leaving the Star Alliance on March 30, 2014, and joining the OneWorld alliance as of March 31, 2014:
Their entry into oneworld with effect from the first flights on 31 March 2014 will follow immediately upon their exit from the Star Alliance with the final flights on 30 March 2014. All parties are taking every effort to ensure that the alliance transition is as seamless as possible for customers.Until the full integration of American Airlines and US Airways – which will see the combined airline retaining the American Airlines name – US Airways and its regional carriers will operate as oneworld affiliate members, under the American umbrella.They will offer oneworld’s full range of services and benefits – although some may be phased in shortly after US Airways joins. US Airways, American and their oneworld partners are working to provide the most popular benefits and services on an accelerated timeline.
Furthermore, as you’d expect, US Airways Chairman Preferred members will get OneWorld Emerald status, Platinum Preferred and Gold Preferred members will get OneWorld Sapphire status, and Silver Preferred members get OneWorld Ruby status.
Based on the above, my guess is that they’ll actually make a “clean cut” from Star Alliance as of March 30, 2014. When British Midland left Star Alliance there was a “cooling down” period, where benefits and mileage accrual were still possible on Star Alliance partner airlines for a couple of months, though given the scale of the merger and the speed at which they’ll be transitioning alliances, I would guess that’s not the case here.
Furthermore, as of January 7, 2014, it will be possible to earn and redeem US Airways miles for flying American, and vice versa. I would guess, however, that it won’t actually be possible to transfer miles between programs for quite a while. So based on what we know now, here are my updated predictions:
- US Airways will make a “clean cut” from Star Alliance on March 30, 2014 (as I said above)
- Through March 30, 2014, you can redeem US Airways miles for travel on Star Alliance, and as always you can make bookings up to 11 months in advance
- As of March 31, 2014 (or so), you can redeem US Airways miles for travel on OneWorld airlines
- You probably won’t be able to transfer miles between programs for quite a while (I would guess March at the very earliest, though it’ll probably be even longer than that)
These are some exciting times in our little world, eh?