Thanks to the last great mileage run in which I and many readers flew 30,000 miles to nowhere, a number of us now have US Airways’ top tier elite status: Chairman’s Preferred. One of the benefits of that status is that we get two international upgrade certificates (plus two companion upgrade certificates) to be used on any US Airways flights. With the upcoming merger between AA and US Airways, we will also automatically receive top tier Executive Platinum status with American Airlines. And, that means that we’ll get 8 systemwide upgrades that can be used on both airlines. There’s nothing new there. However, the latest news from AA and US Airways (via an email to members) is that we must redeem the Chairman’s Preferred certificates before the programs combine. Given that the same email starts off by saying that the programs will combine within 30 days, we have little time left to redeem our US Airways upgrade certificates.
The good news is that the upgraded flight does not have to occur before the programs combine. So, it should be possible to buy and upgrade tickets now for future travel. And, of course, we’ll have plenty of time to use our new AA systemwide upgrades once we get those. The great thing is that those upgrades (the AA ones) will work on both US Airways and AA flights so we’ll have more options.
A quick note about US Airways upgrade certificates: as far as I know, there’s no way to see the existence of those certificates in your account online. However, if you call US Airways they should be able to confirm that you have them.
For completeness, here is the full email I received today (you probably got the same email so I’m not sure why you would read this… but maybe you thought it was SPAM and didn’t read it, but now you’re kind of curious…):
In October, we announced we would combine our frequent flyer programs in the second quarter of this year. And now, we’re on track to bring the US Airways Dividend Miles® program into the AAdvantage® program within the next 30 days. We’ll be providing you with more information on timing in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know:
Moving to the AAdvantage program
Once we combine programs, we’ll begin transferring your Dividend Miles mileage balance, Preferred-qualifying activity and million mile balance into your AAdvantage 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. It may take a few days to transfer everything, but we’ll email you once it’s completed.
As a member of the most rewarding airline loyalty program, you’ll continue earning miles when you fly on American, US Airways, oneworld® and other participating airlines, as well as with over 1,000 partners. And, you’ll still be able to redeem miles for flights, upgrades on American and US Airways, car rentals, hotel stays and more.
Benefits of the AAdvantage program »
Booking award travel
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.
Upgrading your experience
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.
How upgrades will work »
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.
What is a codeshare? »
Soon after we combine programs, qualifying Dividend Miles Preferred members will receive 500-mile upgrades to use on American flights.
How to calculate 500 mile-upgrades »
If you’re Chairman’s Preferred or your combined elite-qualifying activity allows you to reach AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, 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.
Benefiting with your card
As a US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard® cardmember, you’ll begin enjoying your first eligible checked bag free and Group 1 boarding on domestic American flights once we combine programs. This is in addition to the current benefits you’re already receiving on US Airways.
Your card benefits »
We appreciate your continued loyalty.
Suzanne L. Rubin
President, AAdvantage Loyalty Program