The merger of US Airways and American Airlines has officially happened as of yesterday (December 9). Along with the announcement that was made came the news that US Airways will join the Oneworld Alliance on March 31, 2014. Over the next couple of months, there will be more information forthcoming as to the elite status combining that will occur. January 7, 2014 is the next date of major news so stay tuned!
One of the details that did not come out yesterday is when US Airways will exit the Star Alliance. It will be March 30th and there are a few things that savvy travelers should take care of before that date comes.
Star Alliance Gold
US Airways is the best option for American-based flyers to earn Star Gold. This is due to the 100% crediting of almost all US Airway fares to Aegean Airlines. Aegean Airlines gives Star Gold status for flying 19,000 miles (20,000 minus the 1,000 you receive for signing up). United only gives 50% credit on the cheapest of fares when crediting to Aegean. The only reason to fly United for Aegean credit is if your trips are less than 500 miles (because United credits at a minimum of 500 miles) or if your fare classes are in the 100% earning (but they do cost more).
To read more about earning Star Alliance Gold with Aegean Airlines, check out this prior post I had written.
US Airways Off-Peak
American Airlines and US Airways both have off-peak award schedules (for example, AA has 40K awards to Europe from October – May and US Airways has 35K awards to Europe from the middle of January to the end of February). In addition to off-peak Europe, US Airways also has other off-peak options:
- North America or Hawaii to South America – February 3 – 13 & March 17 – April 3 / Economy: 35,000, First Class/Envoy: 60,000
- Between the continental U.S. (including Alaska) or Canada and the Caribbean – September 1 – 30 / Coach: 25,000, First Class/Envoy: 50,000
To read more about US Airways off-peak awards, check out this prior post I had written.
Purchase Elite Status
US Airways is the only US airline that allows you to purchase elite status – all the way up to the top status. It doesn’t allow for outright purchase but does allow you to purchase the elite miles needed to reach each level. The cost to purchase the miles depends on the miles you have flown already for the program year. The cost ranges from $249 all the way up to $3,999. The best deal on the status purchase is available if you have as little as 1 mile flown in your account. If you do, you can purchase the miles needed for Chariman’s status (the top level status) for $2,999. It is currently unknown how they may deal with the elite structure when they begin to merge the frequent flyer programs. Optimally, the new American Airlines would grant the Chairman’s level with Executive Platinum status. If they still offer the Buy Up to Preferred Program after January 1st, this might be something to consider.
It will be very interesting to see how these programs merge as time goes on. In the meantime, the pre-transition period is a time when you can take advantage of some of the best options from US Airways. Is there anything about the program you will try to use before the merger?