Merger media madness: American Airlines edition

Did you know that American Airlines and US Airways completed their merger today? If not, you should probably start reading other sources for industry news than just my site. There is something of a media frenzy going on about the merger closing, with stories from seemingly every angle. Heck, I’m even part of the “problem” I suppose. But it is also important to note that the activities today mean a whole lot of nothing for most passengers. Essentially nothing changes for another four weeks. At least we’ll get past the holiday crush before trying to make most of the integration happen.


Fortunately there are a few dates which were announced today which make the frenzy a bit more reasonable.

  • 7 January 2014 – Reciprocity in the Dividend Miles and AAdvantage programs takes effect. This will allow for earning and redemption of miles across the two halves of the company and also recognition of elite status.
  • February 2014 – Bilateral codesharing takes effect. All US-operated flights will carry the AA code and vv. This will (in theory) ease travel planning across the combined route network. It also may help with oneworld partner earning on US-operated flights if booked using the AA code, though no guarantees.
  • 30 March 2014 – US Airways will leave Star Alliance. According to one report US is keeping a dozen or so Star Alliance partners via direct bilateral relations even after this point. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts.
  • 31 March 2014 – US Airways joins oneworld.

Still unknown dates include when the slots at DCA/LGA will be actually transferred out, when Dividend Miles will cease to operate (I’m betting 2015) and when the new AAdvantage program details will be announced, among other things.

There’s more to come, to be sure, but those are the actual important dates to be paying attention to as a customer. Today is just a photo op.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Seth, the cross-redemption going into effect on Jan 7 is something I haven’t seen mentioned. Is this just for US-AA flights (i.e., Dividend Miles being redeemed on AA metal, and vice versa), or are you referring to cross-alliance redemption as well?

    1. It is not 100% clear exactly what level of reciprocity will be involved, other than this line, “But beginning in early January, we’ll announce exciting new benefits such as the ability to earn and redeem miles on both carriers and reciprocal lounge access.”

      That could mean miles are freely fungible between the two programs or just that AA metal can be included in a US-issued award, along with other *A partners. Lots yet to learn.

  2. i wonder what would happen if i want an AA-coded US-operated flight and want to accrue the miles on a Star partner (before mar31), is it feasible

    1. I would expect that all US-operated segments will properly credit to *A partners until 30 March 2014, even if sold as AA-coded segments. I’ve definitely had non-*A coded segments credit properly in the past and see no reason why this would be different.

  3. What does “recognition of elite status” mean on 1/7, in practice? If I’m a US Platinum, what does that mean if I fly an AA flight?

  4. I am going to miss US Airways in Star Alliance. As a United flyer, US always had better redemption options; e.g. United having no EasyPass Awards for their flights; but US Airways had plenty of EasyPass Awards available, even in First Class. So when booking a one-way recently for my sister, husband and son from FLL-LGA (they live in Eastern LI and were flying WN non-stop from ISP and DID NOT want to fly into EWR), United offered connections through IAH, ORD and IAD to LGA all Standard Awards, with long connections with lots of regional jets; while US offered connections through CLT, PHL and DCA (all geographically better) with good connection times all mainline or minimum E190’s at SAVER award levels, even in First.

    So, it was a connection in CLT with a 90 minute layover in first class on 737/A320. It will be sad to see them go, especially for Snow Bird runs.

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