US Airways OneWorld Update

As I reported back in December, US Airways will be joining OneWorld on March 31, 2014, as part of their merger with American.

The thing most of us are of course curious about is which award chart US Airways will use for redemptions on OneWorld. Will OneWorld awards be bookable at the prices listed on the American or US Airways award chart? What will the routing rules be, and will US Airways impose fuel surcharges for award redemptions on British Airways?

Last week we got some more information from a US Airways spokesperson, courtesy of Australian Business Traveler:

US Airways will continue to run Dividend Miles as an independent program to American Airlines’ AAdvantage, with its current award chart used to determine redemption rates instead of adopting the American Airlines’ table.

“After US Airways’ entry into oneworld, US Airways will maintain its current award chart” the spokesperson advised, with bookings for Oneworld airlines available through US Airways.

So that seems like a pretty straightforward statement — US Airways will use their own award chart for redemptions on OneWorld… or will they?

Last night US Airways sent out an email to Dividend Miles members regarding their transition to OneWorld, which read as follows:

Get ready to say hello to oneworld®
On March 31, 2014, we’ll take the next step in our merger with American Airlines by joining oneworld, an award-winning global alliance that can take you to nearly 1,000 destinations around the world.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • All miles you’ve earned are safe, and you’ll continue to enjoy any Star Alliance benefits until our exit
  • Any existing reservations with a Star Alliance partner airline are safe; however, you’ll no longer earn miles for flights with Star Alliance partners after March 30, 2014
  • We’ll continue relationships with several airlines even after our exit from Star Alliance, which means you can still earn and redeem miles on these select partners

You can look forward to benefits of the oneworld alliance, including:

  • Seamless service to nearly 1,000 destinations in more than 150 countries
  • Earning and redeeming miles for travel on any oneworld member airline
  • Access to nearly 600 airport lounges worldwide when flying First or Business Class on any oneworld member airline

American-US-Airways-Merger

It linked to a page on usairways.com outlining their transition to OneWorld, most of which recaps stuff we already know. There’s one part that’s interesting (and confusing), however:

How to redeem

  • Check the American Airlines award chart to see how many miles you need to reach your desired destination.
  • Book award travel on American with your Dividend Miles on usairways.com or call 800-428-4322.
  • Miles cannot be combined between the Dividend Miles and AAdvantage programs to redeem flight awards.

American Airlines award travel chart (pdf)

“Check the American Airlines award chart to see how many miles you need to reach your desired destination,” eh? That seems to suggest they’ll use the American award chart as of March 31. Not only that, but the link at the bottom clearly says “American Airlines award travel chart.” Yet the link itself is to the US Airways chart… I almost feel like they’re playing games with us to keep us in suspense!

So it seems things aren’t as clear as they’d seem. I’ve emailed a PR contact at American to seek clarification on this, and will report back.

Comments

  1. I wouldn’t read into that American award chart reference just yet. That looks like it’s been up for a while and is in reference to travel on American Airlines.

  2. Tricky issue for them — it’s not really that there are a US Airways chart and an American Airways chart but rather that there are now two different American Airways charts — AAdvantage and Dividend Miles.

  3. So what, they aren’t even going to allow you to transfer the miles over to American eventually? Hilarious. Sounds like Airscam and south”I like to dance a lot” all over again.

    Complete nonsense as always. When airlines complain about customers, they have absolutely no right to do so. These folks will pursue any means necessary to game the system themselves and feel that they are beyond reproach. Great stuff. Oh you didn’t read that? You haven’t been at this long enough I guess.

  4. There’s no “tricky” issue. They are one company. Now loyalty programs being ancillary benefits since your contract is for the travel not for the ancillary benefits. Yes they have a legal right to separate the two and god knows there’s some clown out there who has figured out a way to bank a whole bunch in his or her account using simply the computer technicalities of the omnipresent merger. But why would there be a need to operate two separate programs after they are all OW, frankly I don’t even see the need to fly as two separate carriers but everybody’s entitled to their opinion.

  5. Hey Ben, any idea as to when we should be able to combine miles between accounts? Summer? Fall? Next year? Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks!

  6. I’m with @Greg. The chart they link to is the Dividend Miles chart for travel involving AA (possibly in combination with US). It sounds like that will be their “oneworld partners” chart instead of their “AA” chart come Monday. 90K to N Asia in J still on there…for now.

  7. I read it the same way as others – I didn’t think it was confusing, really. When they say “American Airlines award chart” they mean the Dividend Miles chart for redemptions on AA. If they’d meant that to refer to the AAdvantage chart, they’d have said so more clearly.

    They also make it clear that the two FF programs will stay separate, at least for now, so even if they intended to align the Dividend Miles chart to the AAdvantage chart, I have to think they’d create a new chart with the US logo at the top, rather than simply referring people to AA’s website.

  8. I agree with you Ben that this is about as clear as mud. In fact when I first read the e-mail and links I was convinced that the USAir chart was gone at the end of this month. Then when I went back and reread, I concluded that its not clear what they are trying to say.

  9. @ Jon — It’s anyone’s guess. I would guess it’ll be close to the end of the year before that’s possible, but I could be wrong.

  10. @ LarryInNYC — Hmm, I interpret it a bit differently. While they’re officially one company, they’re still operating the programs separately and running the airlines under different names, so I don’t think we’re quite at the point where we’d call the US Airways chart the American chart. I could be wrong, though.

  11. I have a question about timing…I have a flight booked for October in Envoy on US as a result of UA MileagePlus miles. I recently found out I can’t take that flight. Will US allow UA redemption tickets to be rescheduled?

  12. @ Adam — You can make a change till March 30, at which point US Airways is leaving the Star Alliance and you won’t be able to redeem United miles for travel on US Airways anymore.

  13. I am in somewhat of a pickle……By family has award tickets this where my boys branch off from us to Barcelona for 8 days…..Even flying back to SFO on Lufthansa……one of the boys has a camp counselor inteerview with one of the best summer camps I have ever seen….if selected he MUST be there on 16 June. His ticket is for 17 June. US Air says the ticket can’t changed after March 30……..he has pleaded to have his interview next week and then the real fun begins with trying to change the US Air ticket up two days where nothing other than a 3 leg flight is available on AC………

  14. Lucky, with the current US Air 100% buy miles promo, wondering what you think of speculatively picking up 100,000 miles at a good price? Worst case scenario, redeem for 90K North Asia trip, I figure…

  15. @ Matt — If you have the cash there’s limited downside, in my opinion. I assume they’ll give at least some advance notice before any potential award chart devaluation, so I’d go for it probably.

  16. Technically US Airways is a subsidiary of American Airlines. When I talk with backoffice employees of US Airways they very regularly identify themselves as American Air representatives (while the caller ID says US Airways in Tempe), which is correct. Not surprising for the AA name being thrown around and keeping you on your toes.

  17. Simple really – book DM partners with DM chart. Book one world partners via aa chart. No mixing.

  18. I agree with Greg’s interpretation, but not having an official statement in this announcement about award chart staying the same (which would have been a good time to communicate) is not encouraging.

  19. I think Tom is right. After March 31;

    use existing US DM chart for:
    US metal, AA metal, select *A partners that US has ongoing relationships with (90K in J return to ‘North Asia’ via Europe possible)

    use existing AA chart for:
    new OW partners (50K one way to ‘Asia 1’ via Pacific only)

  20. The one thing I’m most interested in is will USAir up their chairman’s certificates for international travel to match AA’s executive platinum.

    Loosing the star alliance is devastating for anyone that travels to Asia regularly. For now, being a PHL based flyer, I’m going to EWR to fly United.

    USAir did a poor job keeping the Chairman’s preferred clients abreast of their plans. It will at least cost them the 50k a year I spend with them.

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