US Airways’ Dividend Miles and American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer programs are set to merge on March 28 (this Saturday). In preparation for the program merger, you will no longer be able to book awards via US Airways as of March 25 at 11:59 pm.
What this means is we have less than 36 hours to take advantage of key US routing rules and award pricing…if you can book a round-trip award. Soon, US Airways miles will become American AAdvantage miles and itineraries will have to abide by American’s routing rules which are far more restrictive and in some cases cost more than US Airways. Specifically, these sweet spots will be going away:
US Airways requires a round-trip itinerary for an award ticket, but this restriction also allows for a free stopover. As US Airways agents price each award by hand, many passengers have taken advantage of stopovers—such as a stop in Europe en route to Asia. These types of awards have been receiving increased scrutiny over the last few months (and in many cases are getting rejected). However, I suspect that with an expected rush in ticketing, US Airways agents may be a bit more lenient these next few days.
North & Central Asia
With access to the same Oneworld partners as AA, US Airways has some very lucrative pricing compared to American. For example, a roundtrip ticket in Cathay Pacific First Class from North America to Hong Kong costs just 120,000 US miles. For the same award, American charges 135,000 AA miles, without no stopover. If you are holding on to US Airways miles and looking to book a First Class award to Northern or Central Asia, this is your last shot to save 15,000 miles and obtain a free stopover!
American is notorious for its strict routing rules. Specifically, with very few exceptions (such as North America to Africa via Europe), awards between 2 regions cannot transit through a third region. This is especially impactful for award travel to Australia, where direct flights between the US and Australia are limited in both frequency and number of seats. A great alternative is to fly through Asia, where award availability is considerably better. American does not allow routing through Asia, but US Airways does. So for example, if you are booking a roundtrip Business Class award from New York to Sydney via Tokyo, it would cost 110,000 US miles, or a whopping 190,000 AA miles.
Will you be taking advantage of these final opportunities to book Oneworld award travel using US Airways miles?
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