AAdvantage & Dividend Miles Programs Will Combine Within 30 Days

Yesterday we officially found out that the American AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles programs will be integrated in April. We’ve known since last year that the two programs will integrate in the second quarter, though this is the first time we were officially given an exact month.

Anyway, AAdvantage and Dividend Miles are presently sending out emails to members noting that they’re “on track to bring the Dividend Miles program into the AAdvantage program within the next 30 days.”

That means Dividend Miles will be merged into AAdvantage in the first two weeks of April.

AAdvantage-DM-Integration

In these emails they share further information, some of which you’re probably already familiar with if you’ve been following along with the merger.

Miles between programs will be combined 1:1

As you’d expect, miles between the two programs will be combined at a 1:1 ratio, both in terms of elite qualifying and redeemable miles:

We’ll create a new AAdvantage account for you once we combine programs, and we’ll transfer your Dividend Miles mileage balance, Preferred-qualifying activity and million mile balance into that account on a one-to-one ratio. We’ll determine your elite status level by looking at your combined elite-qualifying activity for 2014, and separately, your combined 2015 year-to-date elite-qualifying activity.

Dividend Miles awards will be discontinued early

This isn’t really surprising, but is something to be aware of. Dividend Miles award bookings and mileage upgrade requests will be disabled before they combine programs to make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible:

Dividend Miles award bookings and mileage upgrade requests will be disabled a few days before we combine programs to allow us to integrate your accounts. If you plan to redeem Dividend Miles for an upcoming trip, we encourage you to book now. Once our programs are combined, Dividend Miles will be converted into AAdvantage miles, and you’ll be able to redeem AAdvantage miles with American.

Upgrades will continue to work differently

Since the airlines are still on separate reservations systems, upgrades between the two carriers will still work differently under the airlines are on a single reservations system:

Once we combine programs, your elite benefits will initially work differently for American and US Airways flights, as we’ll still operate as two separate airlines. We’ll adopt the American upgrade process for all flights when we have a single reservation system later this year.

To upgrade, you should book flights that are marketed and operated by the same airline – either American or US Airways. If you’re booked on a codeshare flight, you’ll only be able to upgrade when you check in based on availability.

Soon after we combine programs, qualifying Dividend Miles Preferred members will receive 500-mile upgrades to use on American flights.

If you’re a Chairman’s Preferred member, you’ll receive 8 systemwide upgrades to use on both airlines. You’ll need to redeem your Chairman’s Preferred electronic certificates before our programs combine. We’ll allow you to use them for future travel as long as it’s confirmed before we combine programs.

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Redeem your US Airways systemwide upgrades before the program integration

Link AAdvantage & Dividend Miles accounts by March 20

A while back, American added the ability to link your AAdvantage and Dividend Miles accounts, to make things more seamless once the merge occurs. They’ll be shutting down this functionality as of March 20, 2015:

Let us know before March 20, so we can combine your miles and activity into your AAdvantage account. If you’re unable to match by then, we’ll assign your Dividend Miles account a new AAdvantage number and give you a chance to merge accounts later.

Link-AAdvantage-Dividend-Miles-1

Things to take action on now

In the meantime:

  • Link your AAdvantage and Dividend Miles accounts, so that your account transition goes smoothly when the programs merge (some people have had issues whereby they can’t link accounts when the names don’t match exactly); you have until March 20 to do that
  • Decide whether you want to redeem your Dividend Miles before the programs merge, or want to wait until they’re converted into AAdvantage miles (in most cases you’ll get better value redeeming them now); if you want to redeem them, you’ll have to do so a few days before the programs integrate, as Dividend Miles award redemptions will be discontinued at that point
  • If you’re a US Airways Chairman’s Preferred member, redeem your two systemwide upgrades now — you can even use them for future travel, as long as you can confirm the upgrades before the programs combine; you’ll be getting eight systemwide upgrades in a matter of weeks

Bottom line

This integration is bittersweet, depending on how you like to redeem your miles and what benefits you value most. I’d expect that next week (or so) we’ll hear from American with an official integration date. If I had to guess, I’d say it’ll be the first weekend in April. I guess we’ll find out soon!

Comments

  1. Please, stop 500-miles upgrade! It is so hard to use. Upgrade process on US Airways is more enjoyable.Hopefully,AA can convert my 500-miles upgrade to miles after merge.

  2. I think the contrast here in messaging versus the other Legacy airlines is stark, and very favorable for AA:

    “If you plan to redeem Dividend Miles for an upcoming trip, we encourage you to book now.”

    Giving a heads up on the change, to the point where they give explicit guidance on how and when to use the miles you’ve been saving – contrast that with the overnight, unannounced changes we’ve seen elsewhere. Bravo AA!

  3. What do you think will happen with existing USDM awards? Will they be able to be re-booked?

    Specific example/question: I have a USDM North Asia award and my flight to US gateway city just changed times, causing misconnect. The only available flight that day is on Alaska. Do you think I’ll be able to change to that flight once the programs merge?

  4. Alrighty then, I got both hubby and my accounts linked. he’s took a bit of figuring – USAirways had his birth year wrong.

    Now waiting for combining so we can see our totals zoom 🙂

  5. Hey Lucky,

    I haven’t seen anyone address this — what will happen to the US Airways $99 companion certificates? Barclays has been issuing plenty of new accounts — I just got a certificate in the mail a few days ago and still have one valid one from a card I opened last year. My assumption would be that as the airlines will still have separate booking systems, the certificates will still be usable as expected — but I haven’t seen any blogger address this yet.

    Thanks,
    Nico

  6. What will happen to my US airways MasterCard? I have had this card for a few years, it has my dividend miles number on it, and I earn points every time I use it.

    Will I receive a new branded card with my AAdvantage account on it? Until then, will all the points I earn for purchases be directly deposited into my AAdvantage account?

    Thanks!

  7. @ Nico — My understanding is the same. As long as the airlines are on separate reservations systems you’ll continue to be able to redeem them for travel on US Airways.

  8. I’ve been hearing a lot of rumors around March 20th on this. I wouldn’t be surprised if US Airways awards are done after that date. I don’t want to cause panic but just saying.

  9. I want to book an award CX F Europe to NA end of march and back few days later on JAL F but they will open up only 1 week before I think, at the moment there is no availability…so have to wait until maybe 20/21.03. Hopefully it is not to late then…what would you do?…wait or book an award for any date late this year and rebook on Aadvantage? But then if it doesn’t happen now/next week…fck 🙂

  10. @ Thomas — I assume we’ll get at least some advance notice of when the programs integrate, so I would hold off a bit longer.

  11. What is the latest travel date that can be booked by USDM? If I call in today, I can book the flight on Feb 13 , 2016?

  12. I have been trying to make a DM award booking but literally every time I call (several days now), I get told that because of bad weather, all the agents are busy & I should try again later. Any info?

  13. Will AAdvantage let us change existing US Airways award itinerary for free? I’d like to change my award flights but now US Charge me $150.Do you expect AAdvantage will wave this fee? Should I wait to change until the integration?

  14. @ Themilesflyer — Yes, American rules will apply, so if the origin and destination remain the same you can change the routing for free.

  15. @ Mike — Eeek, that sucks, sorry. Have you tried calling during non-peak hours instead? That’s all I can think of.

  16. Hi Ben,

    I have a USDM award currently ticketed: outbound LGA-ORD-HKG-DPS. LGA-ORD is on AA but in economy since no first was available at time of booking. ORD-HKG is on CX first class and HKG-DPS is on CX business class. Here’s my question: I found EWR-ORD on AA first class now available on saver award. Should I wait till the programs merge to change the first segment since AA won’t charge the $150 change fee to change from LGA-ORD economy to EWR-ORD first?

    Now for the inbound: DPS-HKG-HND NRT-LAX-JFK. DPS-HKG is on CX business class. HKG-HND is on CX first class. NRT-LAX is on JL first class. LAX-JFK is on AA first class. Here’s my question: Since my award ticket is a round-trip ticket, I know that USDM won’t allow you to change your itinerary once travel has begun. Does AA allow you to change your itinerary once travel has begun? Since my inbound has a lot of connections, I was hoping that HKG-JFK first class on CX will open up. However, I know that CX doesn’t open up first until closer to departure. I will most likely have taken my outbound flights by the time CX opens up first class for my inbound departure. On the other hand, I haven’t tried JL first and AA first transcon so maybe I should just stick with my inbound flights?

    Thanks for your input.

  17. @ John — Either way you’ll be charges, since switching from LGA to EWR would count as a change in origin.

    Yep, AA does let you change routings after travel begins.

  18. I just received my US Airways anniversary companion certificate, which expires at the end of Dec. 2015. With this merger, will I be able to use that certificate for AA flights?

  19. @Denise – As of now the US companion certificates cannot be used on AA flights or US codeshare flights on AA metal, only on US and US Express equipment.

  20. Lucky, one of the sections mentioned that the new status will be determined based on 2014 qualifying activities. I assume they’ll honor DM Chairmans who had qualified through the trial preferred program right?

  21. Can I transfer my USDM to UA Mileage PrograM? If I can, do you recommend doing so? I am thinking transfer more than 200K points because I think it generally costs less miles with more seats availability for reward redemption than AA reward chart.

  22. @ globetrotter — No you can’t. They don’t partner, and there’s no way to transfer points between the two programs efficiently.

  23. Hi Lucky, I enrolled the 50% points promotion for USDM, I wonder could those points received after April will be transferred to AA? If not, should I pay the credit card before 3/31?

  24. Ben, as you said, American rules will apply, we can change the routing for free if the origin and destination remain the same, but will we be charged more miles if we have a stopover on our original reservation? (Since AA doesn’t allow a stopover)

  25. @ Paul — If you add a stopover to an award that doesn’t have one then you’ll be charged extra miles. However, if you’re just keeping a stopover you had before, I don’t believe you should be charged for it.

  26. Hi Lucky,
    Have a USDM J booking CDG/DOH/PER to BNE (destination), If iI change to say CDG/HKG/BNE there will be no charge after the AA merger?.

  27. Made it under the wire — CP upgrade cleared for a flight in 3 weeks so one less thing to worry about in the world.

  28. Trying to book a family trip to Hawaii for June. Have DM for 2 tickets and a little shy of 1 for AA. Was going to book now but am wondering if its best to wait so I can do one reservation for 3 tickets. Once combined I wil have more than enough for 3. So do I wait? Or buy the AA miles I need and book now.

  29. @ Alex — Unless you’re going over totally peak dates I’d probably just wait. It’s only going to be a couple more weeks until the programs merge, from the looks of it.

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