I need to update comments made in a post last week, when I alerted readers that US Airways had shared information on its website stating that elite status in the 2015 program year will be based on miles earned in American Airlines’ AAdvantage program and US Airways’ Dividend Miles program.
At the time we had only vague wording (and some precedent from the United-Continental merger) that suggested the meaning of “and” was that miles from the two programs would be combined. In fact, this is not the case.
I reached out to American Airlines immediately to ask for clarification when I wrote that post and only yesterday received a reply. To their credit, an agent from American’s customer care team personally called me, left a message (because I was flying on their planes all day), and then sent a follow up email to confirm I received the message.
The answer I received to my query is that American Airlines will look at the miles earned in both programs but only in isolation from the other. So you can credit your AA and US flights to AAdvantage, or you can credit your AA and US flights to Dividend Miles. But I would not split them up and credit to two separate accounts.
I repeat: elite miles, segments, and points will not be added across the two programs.
One Mile at a Time already mentioned this yesterday when one of his readers alerted him to a change to US Airway’s FAQs. (I get that a lot of the new management is from US Airways, but why aren’t any of these clues coming from American Airline’s website, too?) Even he’s still a bit confused on which program year the FAQ update refers to and is seeking clarification. To answer him, the phone call I received specifically mentioned travel in 2014 for status in 2015.
This is similar in some ways to how United and Continental managed their merger. At that time I was encouraged to choose a primary elite program (just as the American agent recommended to me). During the integration year, flights credited to that program would determine my elite status.
However, United and Continental also said they would eventually combine credits in both programs at the end of the year. This is the part of that precedent that American and US Airways are not adopting. If you earn 50,000 EQMs with each program this year, your status in 2015 will only be as a 50,000-mile flyer — not a 100,000-mile flyer as I had hoped and originally concluded.
We’re still very early in the year, so it’s good to get this sorted out now! I only wish the airlines had been more proactive about addressing these kinds of questions before people started flying this year.