Aeroplan To USAirways Transfers May Not Be Dead And Other Items You Need To Know For The Final Months Of USAirways

Update (as promised in the post I made below last July): You can once again use Points.com to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to USAirways via Aeroplan.  You will get 84,011 USAirways miles for trading in 100,000 Aeroplan miles.  Those USAirways miles will soon become American Aadvantage miles at an equal ratio and you can use them currently for American or Star Alliance flights.

You can transfer a maximum of 100,000 miles out of an Aeroplan account per year.

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The article below was originally posted 07/25/13.
For more updated into see these posts:
American-USAirways Merger Finalized
American-USAirways Reciprocity Starts Today

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USAirways as we know it will soon become American and join the OneWorld alliance. It’s a big loss for the Star Alliance.  It’s unknown when exactly this will happen though November 1st has been tossed around as a potential date.  There will likely be a period when you can transfer miles back and forth between the programs before they all become American miles.

Here is what you need to know.

1. Aeroplan Transfers.
You used to be able to transfer Air Canada Aeroplan miles (and by extension American Express points) into USAirways at a 1,000:840 ratio via Points.com.  Currently all transfers to/from USAirways are unavailable.  While some have reported online that this is because of the upcoming merger I confirmed with a points.com chat agent that it is only due to technical difficulties and they are working to restore that functionality.  The agent also said that the transfer ratio will remain unchanged when the USAirways transfer functionality is restored.  Of course the agent can also just be in the dark. I will post an update if and when the transfer ability is restored.

Bottom line: Nobody can tell you for certain what is going on, but hopefully people will still have a last chance to convert their Aeroplan and AMEX miles and points to USAirways with just a 16% haircut. Those USAir miles will soon become more valuable American miles.  Why do I say that they are more valuable? Sure there some advantages to USAirways miles but American miles can be used one-way. You can get a free stopover on a one-way flight which means you can get a free domestic round-trip to places like Florida, California, Alaska, or even Hawaii on top of an international round-trip award ticket (Only one allowed on USAirways though it does has more flexibility). You can change your travel dates for free ($150 on USAirways).  You are able to change your travel dates even after departure even on partner awards (Not allowed with USAirways).  You can redeposit additional award tickets at the same time for just $25 ($150 on USAirways). And you can easily book first and business class travel on award winning OneWorld airlines like Cathay Pacific with no fuel surcharges, something that is blocked on Star Alliance award winning carrier Singapore.  I run through the difference between Cathay business and first on their JFK-Vancouver flight in this trip report.

2. Aegean Star Alliance Gold
The easiest way to earn what can possibly be a lifetime of Star Alliance Gold elite status is going away.  I wrote about Aegean Star Alliance gold status in this post. It only takes 19,000 flown miles to earn the status and so far people who have it are reporting that it doesn’t appear to ever expire though it’s recommended to credit at least 1 Star Alliance flight to the program every 3 years after earning it to keep your entire account active.
Now the Aegean gold program isn’t changing but Aegean doesn’t credit miles or only gives partial credit for cheap airfares on most airlines.
USAirways is the one exception where you can almost always receive full mileage credit with Aegean, even on deeply discounted airfare rates.
Star Gold gets you and all of your companions 3 free 70 pound bags when flying on airlines like United and free lounge access at some 1,000 affiliated lounges worldwide when flying on the Star Alliance. In fact Aegean Star Gold even gives free United domestic lounge access-something that United Star Gold doesn’t even offer to their own elite members.

Bottom Line: The clock is ticking if you want to go on a mileage run to pickup 19,000 miles on USAirways to credit to Aegean for their amazing Star Gold program. While it may cost you $1,000 to book the flights to earn that, just figure out how much you’ll save on baggage and lounge fees for you and your family with the Star Gold status.

3. Starwood point transfers.
Starwood point transfers are a little funny. Some airlines require that the name on the Starwood account and the mileage account match. Others do not.
Now you can transfer Starwood points to other people in your household, but if you don’t have the same address then it can’t be done easily.
American requires that the names match in order to transfer Starpoints to miles.
USAirways does not require that the names match-you can transfer points to anyone.
Both offer 25,000 miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

Bottom line: If you want to transfer Starpoints to eventually become American miles without the hassle of doing intra-Starwood transfers (something that you can get banned for if you abuse repeatedly) then you’ll want to transfer them to USAirways before Starwood kills the ability to transfer points there.

4. Travel to Israel.
American is effectively banned from flying to Israel thanks to leftover TWA pension obligations.  If they fly a plane to Israel it would likely be repossessed by those who feel that American assumed TWA’s liabilities and owe them lots of money with interest.
They are trying to settle those issues but if they don’t we may see the end of the USAirways flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv.
If they do work out those issues expect American to shift the flight from Philadelphia to JFK and/or Miami.
Beware that El Al may decide to sever its relationship with American if they become a competitor and you may no longer be able to use American miles on El Al. Though if El Al would do that they would lose codeshare access to other US cities that they get from American though they can always set one up with an airline like JetBlue.

Bottom line: Lots of unknowns on this one but if you want to fly on El Al with your AA miles then you should book travel now. If you want to use your United miles to fly to Israel on USAirways book that now as well.

5. Surcharge-free travel.
-DansDeals broke the news back in January that ANA had stopped collecting a fuel surcharge for travel on United and USAirways. That post has lots of info on their program.
They have an awesome award chart (38K miles to Europe, 60K to Israel, etc) and allow 4 free stopovers and it stings to lose the USAirways option though at least there’s still United.
-Same story with Singapore as I wrote about here. If you have those miles you’ll be losing a valuable surcharge-free partner though United remains an option and of course those miles are awesome for redeeming on Singapore business, first, and suites class.
Lufthansa charges a fuel surcharge on most airlines except for USAirways, so you may want to redeem those miles for travel on USAirways before they leave the Star Alliance. I wrote about their program in this post. There’s no fuel surcharge on domestic United tickets but once you cross the ocean Lufthansa charges a fuel surcharge to travel on United.
-Note that United miles aren’t affected nearly as much as these program as they never collect a fuel surcharge for award travel. In fact once USAirways is gone they are one of the only carriers that can still say that.

Bottom line: Star Alliance miles on many foreign carriers will be worth less thanks to losing a valuable surcharge-free partner.

Have any other tips? Hit the comments!

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37 Responses to “Aeroplan To USAirways Transfers May Not Be Dead And Other Items You Need To Know For The Final Months Of USAirways”

  1. Shkoaich Says:
    1

    TY. Another great post!!

    ReplyReply
  2. Paul Says:
    2

    What what it’s worth. I was told it would be around 2 weeks and that they can not guarantee that the transfer rate would remain the same.

    ReplyReply
  3. Captain Fred D Says:
    3

    I hear USair will keep star alliance for 3 to 6 months after merger. What do you think?

    ReplyReply
  4. Paul Says:
    4

    A rumor on flyertalk says Nov 1.

    ReplyReply
  5. Gina Says:
    5

    Can you still use ANA miles to book a 90K Business to Israel on USair?

    ReplyReply
  6. Dan Says:
    6

    @Shkoaich:
    Thanks for commenting 😀

    @Paul:
    Like I said, nobody can say for sure what is up but I’ll post when I hear an update.

    @Captain Fred D:
    @Paul:
    Lots of rumors, little hard info.

    @Gina:
    For now, sure.
    Once they leave Star though you’ll be limited to United.

    ReplyReply
  7. yanky Says:
    7

    how do i transfer Marriott to hertz points?

    ReplyReply
  8. DXD Says:
    8

    Is it worthwhile to sign up for a Barclays USair CC for the sign-up bonus before the card is taken out?

    ReplyReply
  9. Leilah Says:
    9

    Dan, you never mentioned what are the best cards to take advantage of getting with US airways and when are those dissapearing.

    ReplyReply
  10. berish Says:
    10

    once us airways leaves star alliance, aeoplan will be worth more so might not be worth it to take 16 percent loss to get aa

    ReplyReply
  11. Dan Says:
    11

    @yanky:
    Never heard of such a thing.

    @DXD:
    @Leilah:
    Sure, talked about here:
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/30687

    @berish:
    Huh?
    Aeroplan is undergoing another massive devaluation in January as I wrote about previously. They’re not going to be worth more.

    ReplyReply
  12. p Says:
    12

    hi dan. I have 160000 aeroplan points. what is the best transfer option for them

    ReplyReply
  13. AJK Says:
    13

    Great post.

    ReplyReply
  14. RS Says:
    14

    Dan, if I were to try to fly the 19,000 miles to achieve lifetime of Star Alliance Gold elite status where should I look for inexpensive mileage runs from the SFO/SJC/LAX areas?

    ReplyReply
  15. Makdim Says:
    15

    Hi Dan,

    I have 79,000+ Membership Rewards points that I want to transfer to United as I’m saving up for trips to/from LAX and EY. From the research I’ve done, I should transfer from MR to Aeroplan and then just book with United as Air Canada and United are both Star Alliance. Is this correct or is there something else you recommend? Also, historically has Amex ever had bonuses on transferring to Aeroplan? If they do, then I can sit on this for another nine months or so. Please let me know and thanks for your help. Good Shabbos.

    ReplyReply
  16. Makdim Says:
    16

    Actually, from subsequent research it looks like it would be best to transfer from MR to ANA and then just book United tickets via ANA. Could you please confirm either way? Once again, thank you.

    ReplyReply
  17. Dan Says:
    17

    @p:
    Hang around to see when/if the USAir option comes back.

    @AJK:
    Thanks!

    @RS:
    Try this thread for ITA ideas to construct a good mileage run:
    http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=17085

    @Makdim:
    It’s complicated, especially from LA.
    Perhaps try asking on DDF to discuss some of the issues at hand.

    ReplyReply
  18. Sholom Says:
    18

    AA may be more valuable now. I wonder how long it will take for the poor us airways culture to infect AA…

    ReplyReply
  19. mo Says:
    19

    would we see avios being allowed to be used on PHI-TLV on us airways once they join one world ? perhaps w/o fuel surcharges as an alternitive to air berlin?

    ReplyReply
  20. Sandy Says:
    20

    Can I do the reverse of ANA-US Airways without surcharge? I want to use 40k Dividend Mikes for a round trip flight from Honolulu to Narita in March 2014? Will they charge a fuel surcharge?

    ReplyReply
  21. tamy Says:
    21

    want is the best way to use my avios miles to fly to zurich in end of oct or early Nov

    ReplyReply
  22. yosef Says:
    22

    which star alliance airline is best for flying to israel

    ReplyReply
  23. Eliezer Says:
    23

    Dan, Got a question about vanilla reloads. Here in Lakewood the CVS which always carried them has stopped for almost a month. One of the workers told me that he heard that the whole vanilla system is changing and they may be going “cash only”. Any truth or is that just a possible change in CVS policy?

    ReplyReply
  24. LarryInNYC Says:
    24

    I believe that United has cut Star Gold members back to a single 50 lb checked bag (down from 3 x 70 lb bags)

    ReplyReply
  25. Dan Says:
    25

    @Eliezer:
    Sounds like BS.
    Did you ask the store manager to order more?

    @LarryInNYC:
    Correct,
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/35522

    This article wasn’t updated from when it was posted in July, only the post update is new.

    ReplyReply
  26. bill Says:
    26

    if i am not elite on aa but have a free checked bag due to citi credit card will i get it free if i fly on us air now?

    ReplyReply
  27. yehuda Says:
    27

    dan, what are good credit cards to accumulate points for american airlines or usairways

    ReplyReply
  28. Niqbal Says:
    28

    I have not heard of this before: “Platinum cards still give access to Airspace and Delta lounges even if the card is no longer active until the card expires in 4 years”, but it sounds great.

    Have you tried this yourself?

    ReplyReply
  29. Anonymous Says:
    29

    so if names match or in same household much easier and better(20-25) to transfer directly to AA?

    ReplyReply
  30. Canadian Says:
    30

    I have 2 Million aeroplan miles, I see that you mentioned to P above that with 160,000 miles you would recommend haning around and transfering. Do you have any suggestions on what the best option would be in terms of transfering etc.. (considering the 100,000 max).

    When and if will you do a post or talk on Canadian credit card/ point options?

    Thanks in Advance

    ReplyReply
  31. Toby Says:
    31

    can united miles transfer to usairways and then eventually to american airlines

    ReplyReply
  32. Sara Says:
    32

    Can I transfer aeroplan points to Aegean to get gold status?

    ReplyReply
  33. devorah Says:
    33

    How do i transfer from american express? I only see the airlines and aeroplan as the trading/exchange option do i have to do it on amex website?

    ReplyReply
  34. leah Says:
    34

    it says i cant exchange the miles through aeroplan how do i register it?

    ReplyReply
  35. Huh! Says:
    35

    I have Aeroplan miles from a Canadian Aeroplan card. Is there a article explaining my transfer options? Would using points.com to transfer to USAirways make the most sense?

    ReplyReply
  36. ed Says:
    36

    @devorah: I have the same question How to transfer AMEX rewards to Aeroplan miles on points.com

    ReplyReply
  37. de Says:
    37

    i transferred the amex points into aeroplan but i cant exchange the usairways points through points.com because the exchange button is light grey did anyone else have this problem or know how to fix it

    ReplyReply

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