US Airways Joining OneWorld March 31, 2014

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.

My speculation

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?

Comments

  1. If we can redeem US miles on OW and they haven’t changed their chart, having QR as an option for the 90k RTW is definitely a game changer…

  2. “Customers can immediately combine rewards miles from the two airlines”? – Doug Parker

    ti.me/19vRqv8

  3. @ Paul — Hmm, that’s really odd, especially given that it seems nothing will happen till January 7. Curious what he means by that. Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

  4. @lucky and @Paul

    I’m thinking how UA and CO pre IT cutover allowed you to transfer miles between then two programs?

  5. Hi Lucky, I was one of the people fortunate enough to get the AA Elite Status Challenge, whereby I can become a Gold Elite by doing 6000 miles on AA. I have until Dec. 31st.

    Question – What status exactly – would this get me with One World? Is it even worth doing? If so, are there any runs you could suggest out of DEN?

    Thanks for any info.

  6. @ Nick — Well this late in the game it’s probably going to be tough to find fares, and the fact that you’re in Denver makes it even tougher, since the middle of the country isn’t good for mileage runs on a cent per mile basis.

    I think the value of it really varies based on how much travel you have planned on American next year. If you won’t fly them a lot you won’t get a lot of value out of the status. If you will fly them a lot, maybe just do a challenge next year with the flying you’d do anyway?
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2013/11/14/us-airways-trial-preferred-status-challenge/

  7. Lucky, I think you’re going to need to put together a post for those of us who have been US Airways elites and Star Alliance fliers for the last few years, and have no idea how to do anything OneWorld related! i.e., instead of using the ANA search tool for award availability, what do I use? And, a primer on lounge access rules…etc!

    It would be much appreciated!

  8. I should probably know this already, but have they said yet what the date will be for reciprocal elite benefits?

  9. Lucky — it appears that US Chairman will get one world emerald, but have you seen anything yet to confirm that Chairman will get Exec Plat status on 3/1? I’m trying to decide whether to do a mileage run before the end of the year to get up to Chairman. Getting the SWUs would surely be worth it, but this seems to be one gap in the oneworld press release.

  10. Thank Lucky — do you have any guess about frequent flier status based on similar things in the past? It’s tough to understand how all this might work. Are there still going to be such things as “USAirways” flights and “American flights” where having status on one means nothing on the other? That would be weird. Or is that all still up in the air?

  11. And what about this blurb in an article:

    In addition, US Airways said that it will continue numerous relationships with airlines in Star Alliance after it leaves at the end of March. Flyers will be able to continue earn miles on the following airlines: Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca, Ethiopian Airlines, Eva, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TAM, TAP, and Turkish Airways.
    http://www.frequentbusinesstraveler.com/2013/12/us-airways-to-leave-star-alliance-march-30-join-oneworld-march-31-begins-integration-of-frequent-flyer-accounts/
    What does it mean to you?

  12. @Lucky
    If I am currently a US Airways Chairman which will expire February 2014, Have no status with American Airlines, and will only requalify for Silver for 2014 – where do you think US Airways will place me? Soft landing? No soft landing? Keep the same status while they are merging?

  13. hi lucky,

    i got an email from us airways saying “We’ll exit Star Alliance on March 30, 2014 and, as of today, we’ll no longer offer codeshare flights for sale on United Airlines. ”

    do you think that also means, as of today, we can no longer use our us airways miles to book a united flight/star alliance flight?

    thanks!

  14. As of March 31, 2014 (or so), you can redeem US Airways miles for travel on OneWorld airlines

    —————

    What about fuel surcharges on BA? 90K miles in J to Hong Kong on CX sounds good!

  15. Any thoughts if/when crediting EQMs to Alaska on a US operated flight might be possible? All the talk so far focuses on alliance and not non-alliance partners…

  16. @lucky
    I just had a strange experience with changing an US award ticket that makes me wonder when a ticket is actually savely ticketed:
    I had the outbound ticketed a month ago because it’s so hard to get, although the return flight was too far away (+360 days) to book it till last week.
    So I called last Friday and added the return. They asked for the credit card information and tell me everything is fine.
    Today I checked the flights in my reservation and my stopover on the return had shrinked from one week to one day. I thought they had messed it up while booking it and I didn’t catch it when they re-read the dates and flight numbers to me, so I immediately called back and asked. After a long hold for one hour they said this to me:
    – the routing for the return had been invalid because I did choose a longer route with 2 more segments to get to my 1 week stopover on the return
    – I would have to choose the most direct route instead, which is (and was) only available in Y (otherwise I would have gladly taken that most direct route anyway!)
    – because of a glitch in their billing system, the change fee to add the return was not processed, so they did not charge my credit card. This means they actually did not ticket the added return (although it seemed to me like it was ticketed and the agent who booked it told me he ticketed it). They also cannot ticket it now because it’s not the most direct route…

    This leads to three questions:
    1.) How can we ever make sure a change to an award ticket actually really went through? They priced it, they asked for my credit card, they said they ticketed it. I look it up online and see all the flights and a ticket number. Two days later I find out (by calling them) it wasn’t properly ticketed…

    2.) What to do if you have an award ticketed, want to make a change and the agent + his supervisor tell you it’s not valid so they cannot change this routing but they also cannot keep it like it is? (maybe it’s only a problem because this one was never actually really ticketed – is a proper ticket save so we could stay with it and just not do a change, or could we actually loose a ticketed award this way)?

    3.)If you want to add a change to a ticket and have very hard to find awards seat available but the agent think it’s not valid to use the new routing, can you hold these award seats somehow (can they put them to the same PNR without actually doing the change, or can they be put to a new PNR that another agent could merge with your ticket to really do the change if that other agent will allow the routing)?

    Thanks in advance for your answer!
    Cheers,
    Rainer

  17. Hmm… If that article is correct and we can still earn miles from some of the foreign Star Alliance airlines, does this mean we would be able to use them for award travel as well?

  18. Hi. Any idea what I should do in this situation? I fly out of bodton, so I gave miles all over place as we are not dominated by any one carrier. I’m an American lifetime gold,, which gets me nada with so many other above me. I was us air silver this year which got a few upgrades and almost always upgrades on the shuttle. I’m a few flights shy of silver again, and was thinking of buying the difference. Should I buy the silver upgrades? Of will the American lifetime gold fill that void next year? Thx.

  19. @ ML — Reciprocal upgrades should be offered starting early next year, though we don’t know how they’ll be prioritized yet. If the buy up fee isn’t too high I’d probably lock in US Airways Silver in your shoes.

  20. I got a question. Since AA and US are merged, they decided to keep the name as AA. It means the name of US will become history. Then, why bother joining One World since the name will disappear?

  21. @ Mulder su — They won’t be operating under the same name for at least another year or so, so they’re joining OneWorld so that they have an alliance in the meantime.

  22. who will fill the void created for star alliance for flights us airways did?
    would be great if jetblue becomes a full member.

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