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[TRAVEL] What the U.S. Airways Merger with American Airlines means for Canadians

On December 9, 2013 a merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways became official. Though in the grand scheme of things, it’s more like American Airlines sucking in U.S. Airways (more below). Below are a few important dates to keep in mind.

March 30, 2014 – U.S. Airways last day as part of the Star Alliance
March 31, 2014 – U.S. Airways is part of Oneworld
Sometime in the future – U.S. Airways points program (Dividend Miles) will be converted into AAdvantage points (of American Airlines)

You can read more about airline alliances here.

The reason these dates are significant for Canadians is because U.S. Airways is currently a Star Alliance member, which means a partner with Air Canada (Aeroplan). So until March 30, 2014, you can continue to redeem your Aeroplan points for rewards flights with U.S. Airways. The general rule is that award flights are available about 330 days ahead of time, so that means until March 30, 2014, you can book a reward flight that will be flown until sometime in February 2015. Keep in mind that if you use your Aeroplan points to book a reward flight involving U.S. Airways, it will be honoured. However, if you decide to change your reward flight, you will not able to. Your points will be credited back (with a fee) and you will not be able to use your Aeroplan points for U.S. Airways flights anymore from March 31, 2014 onward.

As of March 31, 2014, U.S. Airways will be a Oneworld member. This move can be seen as unfavourable to Canadians who collect Aeroplan points, because now there is one less option to redeem your points with. We’ve written about how you can get more value out of your Aeroplan points by redeeming with Star Alliance partners.

That being said, we also wrote about the importance of diversification. This is yet another proof as to why diversification is important. For me, I have an AAdvantage account with American Airlines, which is a Oneworld member. That means, my American Airlines points became more valuable because I will have more options to redeem my points with. Aside from flying, you can earn AAdvantage points from surveys.

When it comes to diversification and knowing which frequent flyer program to sign up for, I recommend that you always do your research on which airlines are available at your local airport. Once you see which airlines meet your travelling needs, you will have a better idea on which airline points programs to sign up for. Just keep in mind the expiry policies. For sure it takes a bit of work to keep track your accounts (that’s where Award Wallet comes in handy), along with the hassle of preventing points from expiring, but these points can always come in handy.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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