First Free Story (1 of 3)

More travel executives get their mission-critical industry news from Skift than any other source on the planet.

Already a member?

Over the past few days, American Airlines has been working on integrating its loyalty program with US Airways in an attempt to create a unified, consolidated program under the American umbrella.

This effort has been a long time coming as the airlines work towards completion of a full merger next month and it’s a critical step in customer integration.

As of this week, the integration should be mostly complete. US Airways’ frequent flyer should have been emailed a shiny new AAdvantage account number while their Dividend Miles account should fade away.

Earlier this year, the airlines sent a notification to link your mileage accounts and if you took the time to fill in that form, your US Airways miles should now successfully be in your American account, while the proper elite status should also be displayed.

If you didn’t link your US and AA accounts, the system may have already assigned you a new AAdvantage number for your orphaned Dividend Miles account. There will be an opportunity to merge multiple AAdvantage numbers down the road, but at the very least you should have an American account to allocate miles.

Elites Will Notice the Difference

For many frequent flyers the most noticeable difference will be during travel, with frequent flyers and elites seeing the biggest changes. Since the number of elites in the now-larger AAdvantage program ballooned over the weekend, there will be much more competition for upgrades and preferential treatment.

Upgrade priority will be the same regardless of whether the passenger came from American or US Airways or whether they’re flying on an American or US Airways plane.

The upgrade mechanism for elites has also changed to largely reflect American’s legacy system. Top tier members will get complimentary upgrades on all domestic flights. Every other elite member will accrue upgrade “stickers” that can be used in 500-mile increments, although for flights under 500 miles, all upgrades will be complimentary for all elites.

At large, the integration gymnastics and the upgrade volume and mechanism are the two biggest changes that frequently flyers should see in the comping weeks.

Top tier members of American’s program prior to the merger may not notice much of a difference at all, short of a slightly longer upgrade list at the airport.

Lower tier members of the US Airways program who have to deal with new upgrades and a new frequent flyer number will have to cope with the most change.

For everyone else, the simple advice is to use your AAdvantage number for all-things-loyalty moving forward.

Soon, your Dividend Miles number will be forgotten.

Photo Credit: American Airlines has been working on integrating its loyalty program with US Airways in an attempt to create a unified, consolidated program under the American umbrella. American Airlines Group