What Is Possible With American And US Airways Miles Now?

Yesterday was “customer day one” for American and US Airways, and we saw them add quite a few new benefits for frequent flyers, including:

  • The ability for AAdvantage and Dividend Miles members to earn and redeem miles across either airline’s network
  • Select Elite member benefits, including First and Business Class check-in, priority security and priority boarding, complimentary access to Preferred Seats, priority baggage delivery, and checked bags at no charge, consistent with the current baggage policies for each carrier
  • Club benefits for members of the American Admirals Club or US Airways Club, including access to airport lounges

The topic I’ve gotten the most questions about in the past 24 hours involves mileage redemptions across both carriers. So I figured I’d write a quick post clarifying what exactly is possible using American AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles now:

New Options for redeeming American AAdvantage miles

  • You can now redeem American AAdvantage miles for travel on US Airways.
  • You can book an award either exclusively on US Airways, or on a combination of US Airways and other American partners, including all OneWorld carriers.

Redeem-AAdvantage-Miles-100

You can also book an off peak AAdvantage award for travel on US Airways, which can be a pretty great value.

  • For example, a one-way off peak award from the US to Europe is just 20,000 miles in economy, and you can have a stopover at your transoceanic gateway.
  • So for 20,000 miles you could do something like Honolulu > Phoenix > Philadelphia, stopover, and then Philadelphia > Munich.

Redeem-AAdvantage-Miles-101

Since US Airways isn’t yet in OneWorld, you can’t include US Airways on one of American’s Distance Based OneWorld awards.

New Options for redeeming US Airways Dividend Miles

US Airways has published a Dividend Miles award chart for travel on American Airlines. Note that this chart applies exclusively for travel on American, and you can’t redeem US Airways miles for travel on OneWorld carriers yet.

  • While you can mix American and US Airways on a single Dividend Miles award, you can’t mix American with Star Alliance partners.
  • This is different than American, where you can redeem AAdvantage miles for travel on a combination of US Airways and OneWorld carriers.

This award chart basically matches US Airways’ Star Alliance award chart, which is good news, since there are a few sweet spots.

One of those sweet spots, for example, is that US Airways charges the same domestically for two cabin first class as they do for three cabin first class.

Redeem-AAdvantage-Miles-102

So if you want to fly American’s new A321 three cabin first class between New York and Los Angeles you can book it for only 50,000 miles roundtrip, while the same award through American would cost 65,000 miles.

Redeem-AAdvantage-Miles-103

Similarly, one of the other sweet spots on the award chart is for travel between the US and North Asia, so you can fly American between the US and North Asia in business class for just 90,000 US Airways miles or first class for 120,000 miles now. To be honest that’s not really something I would do since there are better Star Alliance options to Asia that you can also book using US Airways miles, but it is an option, at least.

Redeem-AAdvantage-Miles-104

Redeeming other OneWorld miles for travel on US Airways

Aside from American AAdvantage miles you can’t redeem miles from other OneWorld carriers for travel on US Airways. This means you can’t redeem British Airways Avios or other OneWorld points currencies on US Airways. Chances are that this will be possible by March 31, 2014, at the latest, which is the date that US Airways is scheduled to join OneWorld.

Redeeming other Star Alliance miles for travel on American

Aside from US Airways Dividend Miles you can’t redeem miles from other Star Alliance carriers on American. Chances are this won’t ever be possible, as US Airways’ ties with the Star Alliance will be cut as of March 30, 2014, when they leave the Star Alliance.

Transferring miles between programs

It’s also worth noting that while you can now earn and redeem miles across the American AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles programs, you cannot transfer miles between the two programs at this point. So if you have US Airways miles you will follow the Dividend Miles award chart and rules, while if you have American miles you will still use the AAdvantage program for redemptions. I would not anticipate being able to combine either redeemable or elite-qualifying miles until later this year, at the earliest.

Comments

  1. Ethan says

    Hey Ben– any thoughts on what’s going to happen with the combined Million Miler program?

  2. Rachel says

    I was hoping when you booked American flights with Dividend Miles you would get the 5,000 reduction if you’re a US Airways cardholder, but unfortunately that didn’t seem to be the case when I checked this morning. I checked DCA to RDU as it is operated by both US Airways and American.

  3. says

    Thanks for this info. I haven’t seen this written anywhere, but if I missed it, I was wondering what the best way is right now to have US Airways travel credited to AA? I am AA EXP and have two trips coming up that I booked awhile ago on USAirways and have that number in the profile. A phone call? At the gate? How are they wanting us to let us know? Thanks!

  4. S. says

    To Rachel: You will get the 5,000 miles reduction if you are a US Airways cardholder, and the flights are solely operated by US Airways or American.

  5. David says

    Not so sure if you will get first class in the 3 class AA 321. I tried to book MIA-LAX on the 777 3 class plane and despite there being saver award space for first, when I tried via US Airways it errored out and said that first was unavailable and that I would be placed into business. It might be a similar result on trying to get into first on the JFK-LAX/SFO routes.

  6. chasgoose says

    Why do you think US (and CO for that matter during the UA/CO merger) lets the transcon F/J flights be the same price? They are capable of showing having three award classes on 3 class international flights so its not like they don’t have the capability to program 3 class planes. Is it because at least before the merger they already were dealing with 3 class international flights, whereas, disregarding the fact you could use US miles on UA’s P.S. service before, the 3 class transcons are somewhat new?

    Also, @ David: I had the same problem when checking a couple flights. Even though there was F space available on AA it put me in business. Then I noticed that there was also saver business space available on those flights. When I tried to book a flight that only had saver F seats available it put me in actual F. I could be wrong, but it seems as though when both business and first are available they push you into business (this would also be consistent with CO’s system during the CO/UA merger).

  7. says

    Thank you for the helpful post. FYI I called this morning and US Air Confirmed that Silver Trial Preferred can accrue during the Trial period to both US Air and American Metal.

  8. Erik says

    Is it reasonable to assume that companion vouchers earned through the USAir Barclaycard will be usable on the combined entity?

  9. says

    @ Ethan — It’s anyone’s guess. If I had to guess I’d say the new American will have four elite tiers, and you’ll get lifetime status at 1MM, 2MM, 3MM, and 4MM. Could be totally off, though.

  10. says

    @ David — I’ve been bookings confirmed using US Airways miles for three cabin first in the market, so it should definitely be possible.

  11. says

    @ chasgoose — I really don’t have a good answer for that, as there’s no logical explanation. I definitely think they’re capable of it, someone just doesn’t seem to be giving it much thought. I assume they were just matching their old award chart, but why they didn’t previously have separate three cabin first class award prices is beyond me.

  12. Gil says

    Thanks for the heads up Ben. I booked JFK-SFO-JFK roundtrip in F on the 32B for 50K US miles = $30. I did notice that some of the flights were in U, so I was sure to choose Z.

  13. Marcus says

    Ok, I will bite. You state that while you can use US air miles to claim an AA award on F from US to North Asia there are other better Dtar Alliance options. What are the better options from SFO to NRT using Dividend Miles?

    I have flown F from SFO to NRT via LAX and while the connection is a hassle and fog at SFO always an issue I found the experience much better than Say BA F. Thx

  14. says

    @ Marcus — If you can find the space, I’d say ANA first class is a far superior product. Also, if you’re willing to make a connection, Asiana first class is spectacular.

  15. says

    @ Chris — You can’t typically book one way awards using Dividend Miles, at least not at half the price of a roundtrip. You can book on American presently, but not on other Oneworld carriers.

  16. Christopher says

    Ben, is it possible to use Dividend Miles to purchase upgrade on AA revenue ticket? Thanks.

  17. James says

    So, say I have an upcoming flight on AA with a zero balance in both my AAdvantage and Dividend Miles accounts (I’m a Delta guy). Which miles program should I use:

    a) AA
    b) DM
    c) Really doesn’t matter

    Assuming that I could start traveling soon from Boston to Chicago, Houston, or San Francisco, does the answer change?

  18. says

    @ James — Well American and US Airways are both offering 50% bonus miles when you credit miles from one airline to the other:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2014/01/13/american-us-airways-offering-50-bonus-miles/

    So generally you’d be better off crediting American flights to US Airways so you’d get 50% bonus miles.

    Answer wouldn’t really change based on those city pairs. Aside from Boston to Chicago on American, one carrier isn’t really better than the other in those markets (American vs. US Airways, that is).

  19. msd says

    Ben, would you be able to use Dividend miles on Oneworld partners after March 31st when US Airways joins oneworld? If so, what chart would apply? the US airways chart or the american chart?

    Specifically I’m looking at booking SEA-HNL-SYD and back using Hawaiian airlines (which I can now do with aa miles)

    Thanks

  20. says

    @ msd — Once they join OneWorld you should be able to redeem US Airways miles for travel on OneWorld. That being said, we don’t know what the award rates will be, or which chart will be used.

  21. Sam says

    I have booked this ticket using US Airways.
    DFW-IAD (UA)-FRA (LH C)-BKK (TG F)-KIX (TG F)
    On the return
    KIX-PEK (NH C)-LAX (Air China F)-DFW
    I have to keep outbound as is since I am travelling with another family member upto BKK.
    On return or beyond BKK, I can change whatever I want.
    Question 1: After 3/31, Can I keep outbound as is and change the return to CX F if available?
    Question 2: What are the best options here from the available for way back?
    A. PEK-LAX Air China F
    B. HND-FRA ANA F on 777-300ER, FRA-DFW LH C
    C. HND-BKK TG 380 F, BKK-FRA TG F, FRA-DFW LH C

    These are the only 3 I saw available. What other first possibilities?

    Thanks

  22. says

    @ Sam — Regarding question one, we unfortunately don’t know what the rules will be for changing existing tickets. I would guess the answer is yes, but can’t guarantee it. Of the options mentioned, I’d go with ANA first class connecting to Lufthansa business class.

  23. Sam says

    Thank you Lucky. Hopefully last questions.
    1.ANA flight says ‘subject to receipt of government operating authority’. Will us have problem booking this seat? Is there a risk choosing it ?
    2. Since Us will not be part of star in August, there is no way to upgrade LH fra/dfw 2 weeks prior even one opens up, right?
    Thanks

  24. says

    @ Sam — They shouldn’t have trouble booking that. And correct, you can’t change to a Star Alliance product in August after they’ve left the alliance. That being said, you can’t book Lufthansa first class with US Airways miles either way, as they block all Lufthansa first class award space.

  25. Paul says

    Here’s my situation. I am flying a US Airways flight that is operated by AA. I use my linked United Star Alliance account with US Airways and I always receive the miles/status in my United account with no issues. However, I am a bit worried that since my upcoming US Airways flight is “operated” by American that it somehow won’t recognize my Star Alliance account. Should I be worried that I won’t get credit? Could I possibly call US Airways and see if I would get credit on the Star Alliance network? Any help or thoughts are appreciated!

  26. says

    @ Paul — If it’s operated by American then you definitely won’t get Star Alliance credit, even if it’s marketed by US Airways. You’ll want to put your US Airways mileage number or OneWorld frequent flyer number on the reservation.

  27. Paul says

    Thanks for answering my question so quickly! I had a feeling that was going to be the answer but just wanted to check.

  28. pppham says

    Can I use my ff miles from US Airways to book an AA.com? If so, how do I go about?

    I need to go from CLT to LHR.

    Thanks in advance.

  29. says

    @ pppham — No, you can redeem US Airways miles for travel on American, though those bookings have to be made through US Airways (either on usairways.com or by calling US Airways).

  30. pppham says

    Thanks for the response. I tried on usairwas.com and didn’t see nor options to choose AA. Example: using USairways.com, will cost 120k round trip from CLT to LHR (non-stop). Using AA.com will cost 60k with one stop. I hope this make sense.

  31. says

    @ pppham — Right, that’s because as of now American and US Airways still have access to different partners. American belongs to OneWorld while US Airways belongs to Star Alliance. That will change on March 31, 2014, when they will both be in OneWorld.

  32. pppham says

    Thanks again lucky. So, should I wait till April to book this trip using ff miles thus give me a saving of 60k miles?

  33. says

    @ pppham — Have you tried calling US Airways? They don’t display most partner space online, so they might see space you can’t find on their website. I’d recommend doing that.

  34. Mer says

    It is a TOTAL SCAM and lie that you can use dividend miles from American flights…. I am looking to go to Antigua for my honeymoon and while there are at least 15 – 20 different flights I could redeem AA miles for there are ZERO flights for dividend mile redemption (which is what I have). I called USAir in an attempt to just use my miles for one of the MANY flights available for mile redemption on AA and USAir said there are ZERO flights available for me to use my dividend miles on – for either a USAir flight or AA. They said just because AA airlines has flights for mileage members, does not mean there are seats available for a DIVIDEND mile member… WHAT?!?!?! They couldn’t offer me ONE single flight to Antigua for the ENTIRE MONTH OF AUGUST for any amount of dividend miles… SCAM ALERT!!!

  35. says

    @ Mer — Was the American award space available at the saver level or the standard level (which costs double as many miles)? If there’s space at the saver level it should also be bookable through US Airways.

  36. Mer says

    No saver was not available, but Economy anytime was… 35K each way, 70K total. There are 4 pages of options for flights on AA with the 35K miles…. How is it possible that you cannot book a single flight to Antigua using your dividend miles – even if for a higher redemption price?? It wasn’t just one city either, I checked from major cities, including NY and Miami… it’s unacceptable and I do believe it is a lie. I don’t think you can represent that you can use dividend miles on AA flights if AA has 4 pages of flights you could redeem for AA flights and you cannot use your dividend miles (any amount of them) for not one of those flights.

  37. Mer says

    I should also note that I was able to speak to an AA representative who was friendly and apologetic in less than 3 mins wait time… USAir on the other hand I had to call back twice and wait a combined total of nearly TWO hours before I spoke to someone who told me I can redeem USAir miles on AA, that they just have zero flights available to use such miles in the entire month of August (I didnt press further if any flight would actually be redeemable). She was rude and unhelpful. Good riddance to USAir.

  38. says

    @ Mer — Ah, that explains it. In general, you have to have saver award space to book using partner miles. That’s true for most airline partnerships, not just American and US Airways. Sorry that was such a frustrating experience though!

  39. pppham says

    Hi Mer, if I read your last comment correctly is that USAir will let you redeem USAir miles on AA? I just talked to a rep. from USAir, she told me that I cann’t do that. She said, let’s wait till Mar 31st to call back and see what will happended. Currently, if I am using USAir from CLT to LHR roundtrip will cost me 120k. I looked on AA.com the round trip only 60k total.

    Any help is appreciated.

  40. pppham says

    Forgot to mention – USAir CLT – LHR is non-stop. AA.com CLT – MAN (US) then MAN – LHR (BA).

  41. Mer says

    Thanks for the insight. I do believe that they should not say that you can use USAir miles for AA flights if you cannot use any miles. Even your blog post should read… you can use SAVER miles towards AA flights. Because of course if you had AA miles you would not be limited to only redeeming them for saver award flights….

  42. Mer says

    @pppham I would say do not hold your breathe. Per @lucky, you will only be able to redeem USAir miles for AA flights that have an economy SAVER option. Does that particular AA flight have that option? I’d be interested to know if an AA saver option is actually redeemable on USAir, sometime tells me it’s all a scam.

  43. Meryl says

    I would like to add that I just checked for other flights available for economy saver miles on AA to antigua (dates in July) and then went to USAir website and they show no availability for milage redemption on those same dates… I am not sure if you would get a different result via telephone, but again more lies and misrepresentations by USAir as their website says you can redeem USAir miles on AA flights via telephone OR online.

  44. says

    @ pppham — Sounds like the non-stop US Airways flight is a standard award, which requires more miles than a saver award. You should be able to book the CLT-MAN flight using US Airways miles as well, though unfortunately you can’t use US Airways miles for British Airways flights yet.

  45. says

    @ Meryl — Sorry to hear you’re having issues. I’ve booked American flights using the US Airways website recently, so it is theoretically possible. I’d double check to make sure the flights and dates match exactly and see if that helps. Or if all else fails we’re more than happy to help you with your award ticket as well, if you submit a request with us at pointspros.com

  46. pppham says

    lucky, you are absolutely correct.
    Meryl, you mentioned you have booked AA using US website – can you share how? While I am using US website, it doesn’t give me any options. May be I am looking at the wrong page.

  47. Mer says

    @pppham – no, I had the exact same problem. That’s why I think it’s a scam. I know lucky says he was able to… but does not work for me. And @lucky it was the exact same time and dates for the saver AA flight. I am a smart and sophisticated traveler.

  48. Dharma says

    I can book open jaw ticket on AA web site, but not on US Airways. Moreover, mileage requirements change and they do not know if and when I can transfer miles from US Airways to American.

  49. Paula says

    Hi I fly both AA and USAir. Just lost my status on Us so thought I would try using aa info in the us record. Now the us website won’t recognize me because the dividend miles info is not in the record! Further, my AA gold is not getting me priority seating on us so even tho my advantage is on record. Is this happening to anyone else? I hope they merge these programs soon. Any rumors on when?

  50. David says

    Hi, I need some help. I just booked a flight on British airways. I’ve never flown with them before. I have many usair points and mostly fly usair. Should I use my usair account to get credit for my BA flight or should I fly under BA account getting Avios points. Also, can I use my usair points to upgrade on the BA flight and if I can how do I do that?

    Thank you

  51. says

    @ David — You can’t use US Airways miles to upgrade British Airways. That being said, you can credit the miles to US Airways, and in your shoes that’s what I would do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *