US Airways: earn & burn for Oneworld and Star Alliance from March 30

US Airways: earn & burn for Oneworld and Star Alliance from March 30

US Airways will allow its frequent flyers to earn and redeem Dividend Miles on a many Star Alliance airlines in addition to all Oneworld members when the airline joins Oneworld on March 31 this year.

The surprising move, which a media spokesperson for American Airlines confirmed to Australian Business Traveller, could turn US Airways into one of the most flexible airlines for award bookings, especially when it comes to bulk-buying Dividend Miles to pad out your account.

US Airways will leave the Star Alliance network on March 30 to take its place at the Oneworld table alongside American Airlines as part of the merger between the two US carriers.

However, the American Airlines spokesperson revealed to Australian Business Traveller that US Airways "will continue its Frequent Flyer partnership... with Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TAP and Turkish Airways."

"Customers will continue to be able to earn and redeem miles when traveling on (those) carriers" the spokesperson said.

Tickets booked with Dividend Miles on all other Star Alliance airline booked up to March 30 will remain valid for travel up to one year, but from March 31 you won't be able to earn or redeem miles on those airlines.

Update: Taiwan's EVA Air says its frequent flyer and codeshare partnership with US Airways "will be terminated effective from May 15, 2014" – click here for more details.

Dividend Miles to remain separate from AAdvantage

There's also an unexpected twist on the Oneworld front: 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.

As a result, travellers will be able to 'comparison shop' between AAdvantage Miles and Dividend Miles for Oneworld redemptions and choose the carrier which offers the best deal.

It also means that frequent flyers can buy miles from both airlines to circumvent airline-imposed ceilings on how many miles you can purchase, such as American Airlines' annual 80,000 mile cap.

And while it's inevitable that the two schemes will merge, just as their parent airlines have done, that's still a while away.

"American and US Airways will each maintain separate loyalty programs for some time" the spokesperson advised Australian Business Traveller, although the schemes are likely to merge sometime in 2015.

"We do expect that they will combine before the two airlines fully integrate under a Single Operating Certificate, which we anticipate to happen as long as 18 to 24 months after merger close date of December 9, 2013."

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16 Comments

  • roby

    roby

    14 Mar, 2014 12:21 am

    NZ and US will terminate relationship on 29 June 2014. Relationships with other Star carriers may be short lived as well. 

    http://www.airnewzealand.co.nz/star-alliance-us-airways

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  • KG

    KG

    14 Mar, 2014 08:42 am

    TAM will become Oneworld 31st of March, so effectively not a Star Alliance partnership, but a Oneworld partnership.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    Chris Chamberlin

    14 Mar, 2014 10:43 am

    Indeed it will be (I'll even be there in São Paulo covering the partnership for AusBT), but unfortunately I can't edit a quote.

    You're right though – TAM is currently a Star Alliance airline, although from the end of the month, they'll be a Oneworld partner to both US and AA.

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    14 Mar, 2014 09:08 am

    Chris,

    Could you please illustrate through examples what it means "...to 'comparison shop' between AAdvantage Miles and Dividend Miles for Oneworld redemptions and choose the carrier which offers the best deal."

    Thank you.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    Chris Chamberlin

    14 Mar, 2014 10:40 am

    TheRealBabushka,

    This is slated for a detailed follow-up article, although to put it simply for now – you can buy miles with AA and US at different rates, with the ability to redeem them for travel on the same routes (but usually at different mileage costs).

    'Comparison shopping' would then be finding the best deal for your travel plans, taking into account any bonus rates when buying miles.

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    14 Mar, 2014 11:25 am

    Thank you Chris,

    Interesting…  So essential AAL Inc. wants the market to pit one product within their portfolio against another.

    Presumably AA miles cannot be redeemed using US award charts vice versa, as is the usual practice. e.g. QFF points can only be used to redeem using QFF award charts and not say MH award charts.

    So an economically rational customer would review the redemption rates of the AA and US programmes and determine if it is worthwhile to clock up miles on either AA or US’ programme, based on their ability to redeem flights.

    The logic goes, if the US programme does indeed offer better redemption value, customers would abandon Aadvantage for Dividend Miles, since they can accrue Dividend Miles flying on AA metal – i.e. no consequence to the switch from Aadvantage to Dividend Miles)

    Makes me wonder if the strategy to keep earn and burn with some Star Alliance partners some sort of leg-up to ensure supremacy of the Dividend Miles programme and the slow hollowing out of Aadvantage, as a lead up to the dismantling of Aadvantage.

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  • smit0847

    smit0847

    14 Mar, 2014 09:33 am

    Chris could you please confirm that you can redeem DMs for OW flights on March 31. Thanks

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  • Al Glidden

    Al Glidden

    14 Mar, 2014 10:28 am

    Smit0847: March 31 is when US Airways will join OneWorld so that would be when the 'earn and burn' including redemtpion begins.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    Chris Chamberlin

    14 Mar, 2014 10:45 am

    Al's already answered this one for me (thanks Al!), but yes, Oneworld redemptions will be possible at the current Star Alliance partner rates from March 31.

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  • smit0847

    smit0847

    14 Mar, 2014 10:52 am

    Thanks Chris - this may have been what you have been told but I highly, highly doubt this will actually happen.

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  • David Flynn

    David Flynn

    14 Mar, 2014 01:07 pm

    Hi smit0847 - we're reporting what we have been told by the  AA/US rep who is handling US Airway's entry into Oneworld. As it happens I've got a follow-up briefing with them next week and will specifically ask for clarification on this point.

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  • smit0847

    smit0847

    14 Mar, 2014 02:00 pm

    Thanks David - we desperately want to know the exact date we will be able to redeem our Dividend Miles for oneworld flights (non-UA/AA metal or codeshares) and whether there will be any changes to the DMs award chart and rules when this occurs. 

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  • David Flynn

    David Flynn

    14 Mar, 2014 03:28 pm

    AusBT will actually be attending the international Oneworld media event in Brazil to mark the entry of US Airways and TAM into the alliance – Chris Chamberlin will be covering this for us – so we'll be right on the spot to chase down all the details with the relevant people.

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  • Al Glidden

    Al Glidden

    14 Mar, 2014 05:27 pm

    Why is it so important to desperately want to know the exact date? Can't you wait a few days?

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  • Mal

    Mal

    14 Mar, 2014 06:50 pm

    You 'desperately want to know the exact date' for redeeming Dividend Miles for oneworld flights? I have to echo Al as to why this is so very important? Is there some flight you have to book on March 31? Going off your comment to Chris, asking to confirm the date and then saying "this may have been what you have been told but I highly, highly doubt this will actually happen", it seems to be more like you are trying to make some odd point of your own, maybe that AusBT is wrong, rather than actually asking a question.

    The same goes for 'whether there will be any changes to the DMs award chart and rules when this occurs'. The airline PR person has clearly said US Air will use the same chart.

    Could the airline PR spokesperon be wrong? There is always that chance I suppose. But they are an official spokesperson for the airline on this and if they are wrong then you can blame them, not try to score shots at AusBT simply for reporting a story, which is what I think you are trying to do here smit.

    I don't want to get into a person-to-person argument, I know AusBT editor David is against that and everyone else for that matter is too. But I think these are very useful articles. And I like that AusBT does the work to get the facts from an airline instead of just speculating like so many blogs and forums.

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  • casanovawa

    casanovawa

    17 Mar, 2014 01:28 pm

    It would certainly be good to know if non-US/AA OW metal will be bookable after 31 March using the US Air partner redemption tables...  I suppose it will get to complicated for them to allow you to book a mixture of OW and *A flights on say an 8 flight itinerary from Oz to the US and stopover in Eur on the way back to Oz...   Be nice but can't see that happening...

    but I am thinking of making one or two last *A redemptions int he next few days, but if these can be done on OW after 31 Mar might hold off...   Although BA will probably slug us with fuel surcharges which is less tempting...

    Interesting few months anyway...

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