Big bonus miles opportunity from American Airlines, US Airways

Week two of merger-related changes for American Airlines and US Airways comes with more reasons to fly on the “other” half as well as making it easier for passengers to do so. In addition to more codeshare flights the company is offering a system-wide 50% bonus miles promotion to passengers flying on the “other half” of the operation through 2 March 2014. For AAdvantage members this means bonus miles on all US Airways operated flights; for Dividend Miles members the bonus applies for flights on American Airlines metal.


And for the passenger this represents a promotion which will require some effort to “play” the game.

A US Airways Silver Preferred member will actually receive more miles when flying on US metal if they open a new AAdvantage account and credit the US flights to Advantage for the 50% bonus rather than the 25% bonus they would receive as an elite member. Of course, crediting to the base tier AAdvantage account means no access to free Main Cabin Extra seats or other priority benefits at the airport unless you change the FF number right before departure, to that’s a quirk in the system. The same benefit works in the inverse for AAdvantage Gold members flying on AA metal; they’ll earn more points if they forego their status benefits and credit to the other program.

For other elite tiers the bonus miles are either the same or less than the elite bonus earning levels which means that those customers have to choose either to get their elite benefits or the bonus miles; it doesn’t make much sense to choose the bonus miles in that case.

It is worth noting that the AAdvantage half of the promo requires registration. The Dividend Miles half of the promotion also requires registration. And, no, those registrations are not the same thing so you need to do both. In both cases the bonus is tied to the operating carrier, not the code on which the flight was purchased.

On the codeshare front, most of the work this time around was done on inter-hub flights, plus the US Shuttle service between Boston, Washington and LaGuardia.

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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. I mean why not right?

    Eventually the programs will merge and I’ll get those miles.

    Sounds good to me.

  2. As an AA plat, I’m going to fly the PHL to LAS route on US (currently flights avail. for $128 with same day turnaround). I think this will net me 11,000 miles for 1.1 cents/mile.

    Good deal.

  3. This is the second boardingarea article on this topic and I’m still wondering: why doesn’t an AA Plat fly US metal and get the 50% promo bonus + the 100% elite status bonus? Elite status bonus miles are applicable to AA elite members traveling on USAirways.

    Can’t get an upgrade, but can certainly get 150% bonus!

    1. That would work just fine, Matt. And the new AA is hoping to promote that sort of behavior. I mostly think it is a good promo and that it will be one most AA/US members benefit from.

      At the same time, however, the quirky issue with the bonus actually working against status for some members is one I found interesting.

      1. Seth, I don’t understand your statement “For other elite tiers the bonus miles are either the same or less than the elite bonus earning levels which means that those customers have to choose either to get their elite benefits or the bonus miles; it doesn’t make much sense to choose the bonus miles in that case.”

        You’re making it sound like it’s one or the other; i.e, if I’m a US Airways Platinum and I take a flight on AA, I’m only going to get the 50% bonus miles, and not my normal 75% miles as well. Won’t I get both (so, 100% base PQM’s + 75% platinum RDM’s + 50% bonus RDM’s)?

        1. The issue is what happens as an elite flying on your “own” metal, not the other one. And it is only a problem at the lowest elite tier.

          As a US Silver I can fly on US metal and get a 25% bonus, along with the other elite benefits. Or I can fly as an AA nobody and get a 50% bonus because I’m using the partner airline.

          For higher tier elites your bonus on home metal is the same or greater than the 50% so no need to worry about this. But for US Silver or AA Gold there is a choice to be made and a game to be played.

  4. I know US/American announced that US Airways would join leave Star Alliance on March 31, but has there been any indication of when the Dividend Miles and AAdvantage accounts will actually merge? I’m wondering if, as a US Silver, it makes sense to start a new AA account to get the extra 25% bonus if I may need those AA miles to qualify for status again next year. If the programs merge before December 31 and I can combine my accounts, it probably won’t matter.

    1. I would be a reasonable sum that qualification for the 2015 program year will include activity on both AA and US accounts in 2014. It may take some time for the details to emerge, but I’d say it is a virtual lock that the combined activity this year is what will count next year.

  5. Absolutely wrong. AA plats and exp will earn 150% bonus miles when traveling on us airways, vice versa.

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