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American-USAirways Merger Takes Another Step: Reciprocal Anytime Awards, Waived Phone Fees For Awards Not Bookable Online; Flying Coast To Coast For 8,750 Miles With No Booking Fees

The American and USAirways mileage programs will combine in the 2nd quarter of this year.  Until then expect to see more news like this as the programs align:

Effective immediately you can redeem USAirways miles for American anytime award flights and you can redeem American miles for USAirways anytime award flights.

In other words previously you could only use 45K American miles for a one-way USAirways coach flight to Israel when there was saver award space. Now you can redeem 45K, 65K, or 85K American miles to get that flight any day. In business the American rates are 67.5K, 125K, or 155K each way.

Additionally American is taking on USAirways’ policy of not charging a phone booking fee when an award can’t be booked online.  Phone fees for awards that are bookable online will go up to $30 domestic/$40 international.

This is helpful when booking awards on airlines like Cathay Pacific that can only be booked over the phone.

It’s also very helpful for reduced mileage awards that are a benefit of having a Citi AA card.

The Citi AA card is currently offering 50,000 miles with the fee waived for the first year.

Cardholders can book a one-way coach award for 8,750 miles instead of 12.5K miles and a one-way first class award for 21,250 miles instead of 25K to select rotating destinations.  There are dozens of valid destinations in the US and Canada.

Previously those award were hit with a phone booking fee which took away some of their value, but now they are no longer subject to that fee.

The advantage of these awards over BA Avios is that they allow for free connections.  That opens up hidden city possibilities.  While Los Angeles isn’t a valid destination, Monterey, CA is.

You can book a flight from JFK-Los Angeles-Monterey for 8,750 miles and just get off the plane in Los Angeles.  Of course that won’t work if you have checked luggage, but you can always have one person book a ticket to LA for 12.5K miles and check the bags while the rest of the family books tickets to Monterey for 8,750 miles.

Of course the same thing would work for a flight from NYC-Los Angeles-S. Francisco as that is also an eligible destination.

Newark is a valid return city, so you everyone can book a return flight from Los Angeles-Newark for 8,750 miles.

Note that some AA agents will actually let you fly anywhere in the US/Canada for 17.5K miles round-trip as long as you are departing from one of the valid destination airports. YMMV!

HT: GTR and Myccrabbi, via DDF

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44 Responses to “American-USAirways Merger Takes Another Step: Reciprocal Anytime Awards, Waived Phone Fees For Awards Not Bookable Online; Flying Coast To Coast For 8,750 Miles With No Booking Fees”

  1. mendy Says:
    1

    do ultimate rewards transfer to american?

    ReplyReply
  2. Dan Says:
    2

    @mendy:
    No.

    ReplyReply
  3. pacys95 Says:
    3

    Wouldn’t doing hidden city ticketing with awards be a very easy way to get ur account suspended…I usually don’t ever add my FF to any hidden city ticket…?

    ReplyReply
  4. Steohen Says:
    4

    How does a free connection work? If you’re going to Cali anyways isn’t its the same miles to La and Monterey? Unless you mean flight to La has no availability

    ReplyReply
  5. Dan Says:
    5

    @pacys95:
    I’ve never heard first-hand from anyone who was suspended over hidden-city.
    You can always just tell the gate agent to cancel the final leg…

    @Steohen:
    Read the post, only select destinations (currently including MRY, SFO, and SNA in CA) are eligible for 8.75K awards.

    LAX is not eligible as a destination, but you can connect there.

    ReplyReply
  6. Berele Says:
    6

    Like have a few questions. First of all, if I get the U.S. air dividend miles card, when it transfers to aadvantage card will it come with free bags? Also, will a 3bm for us airways card and citi aadvantage card work ( so I won’t lose citi aadvantage points)? Lastly, is there a no annual fee card I can downgrade the citi aadvantage to? Thanks as always Dan

    ReplyReply
  7. Anonymous Says:
    7

    The 8750 doesn’t work line for jfk-lax direct ?
    And do u mean business class instead of first for the 21k ?

    ReplyReply
  8. Zow Says:
    8

    Dan, I don’t see any way to use Boston as an origin or destination city for 8,750, do you?

    ReplyReply
  9. reuvenhunt Says:
    9

    Any guess as to when they’ll let us merge mileage accounts?

    ReplyReply
  10. Ikey Says:
    10

    @Dan: Dan, you say to “tell the gate agent to cancel the final leg”, which gate agent JFK,LAX arrival, or LAX departure (the gate to SFO or Monterey).

    Thanx

    ReplyReply
  11. Dan Says:
    11

    @Berele:
    1. Yes.
    2. That’s technically ot a 3BM as it’s different banks.
    3. Yes.

    @Anonymous:
    1. No.
    2. Yes, on a 3 class plane it would be business class.

    @Zow:
    Why wouldn’t BOS-LAX-MRY/SFO work?

    @reuvenhunt:
    Q2.

    @Ikey:
    Any agent in the connecting city.

    ReplyReply
  12. Alec Says:
    12

    I called the AA reservation, they told me their system won’t allow them to US airways miles right now.

    ReplyReply
  13. Dan Says:
    13

    @Alec:
    Huh?

    ReplyReply
  14. Leon Says:
    14

    Dan
    Is the us airway from bracley worth getting?
    It gives 50,000 bonus points.

    ReplyReply
  15. Dan Says:
    15

    @Leon:
    Sure

    ReplyReply
  16. iahphx Says:
    16

    Two weeks ago, I booked my family on a South American itinerary partially using LAN. There’s already been a major schedule change involving my AA flights that they’ve notified me of. Do you think there’s any way to get my $30 per ticket fee back when I call to reissue the tickets?

    BTW, this is probably the best change in their ff program in years. In the past 5 years, I figure I’ve spent more than $500 in ticketing fees for partner airlines I couldn’t book on the web.

    ReplyReply
  17. Dan Says:
    17

    @iahphx:
    If there’s a major schedule change you can redeposit for free and probably can argue to get the phone fee refunded.

    Though you’d be at the mercy of award space available then.

    Otherwise I doubt they’ll give back the $30.

    And it is an awesome change. Still, I feel bad news on the horizon.

    ReplyReply
  18. REEEEEEED Says:
    18

    Im assuming this doesnt help me book a one way rewards with US airways miles right?

    ReplyReply
  19. Dan Says:
    19

    @REEEEEEED:
    Correct, that will happen in Q2.

    ReplyReply
  20. joetraveler Says:
    20

    Do you know if award tickets booked for another person from my AA account will receive my elite benefits for the flight? I won’t be traveling. I’m thinking mainly of E+……

    Thank you, as always!

    ReplyReply
  21. Dan Says:
    21

    @joetraveler:
    It will not.

    Only United does that and they are ending that in April.

    ReplyReply
  22. Shimi Says:
    22

    Hi. Can I book the reduce mileage awards for someone else?

    ReplyReply
  23. joe Says:
    23

    Dan you can always add the sfo leg the next day within (24hours) and your luggage will come out in lax

    ReplyReply
  24. Danfan Says:
    24

    With these reduced mileage awards:

    1. Whats the availibility, anything arriving in those destinations that is available for SAAver space?

    2. With a Citi Platinum select is it 8,750 each way?

    3. Are there expedite (close booking fees) i.e. when booking within 3 weeks of travel and if so is there any way of avoiding them?

    ReplyReply
  25. PghTown Says:
    25

    Can I book on AA flights on the USAirways website? I don’t see AA flights on the Dividend Awards website. It seems I have to call the airlines.

    ReplyReply
  26. VM Says:
    26

    Do you know if Current US Airways card will have same feature after final merger?

    ReplyReply
  27. esther12 Says:
    27

    does 3BM work with Citibank? which 3 cards you recommend to get?
    thanks

    ReplyReply
  28. drew Says:
    28

    you mean I can fly to EY for 45k us airways? the ones that I got for spending $1 and paying $89 fee?? that would be awesome

    ReplyReply
  29. Mike Says:
    29

    Hi Dan,

    How do you value the miles now VS how much will they be worth after the merge is complete?

    ReplyReply
  30. Eli Says:
    30

    @Dan:

    FAT is a valid CA destination too.

    ReplyReply
  31. Dan Says:
    31

    @Shimi:
    Yes.

    @joe:
    Domestic connections are 4 hours or the next available flight.

    @Danfan:
    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. Yes. No.

    @PghTown:
    I see them.

    @VM:
    Good question.

    @esther12:
    No.

    @drew:
    It’s 45K one-way with AA miles.

    With USAir its 75K round-trip for cardholders or 80K for non cardholders.

    @Mike:
    I’m not a prophet.

    @Eli:
    Doesn’t even need to be in CA. Was just giving a few examples.

    ReplyReply
  32. iahphx Says:
    32

    @Dan:

    Yeah, I’m not optimistic they’ll give me the $30 fees back, either. But I guess I’ll ask. If it works, I’ll note it here.

    ReplyReply
  33. Sam Says:
    33

    Literally booked an AA awars ticket last week on JAL. Pleaded to not charge me phone fee because it isn’t bookable online. Any chance I can get that refunded?

    Side note my Cathay flight that I booked also they did not charge me an online booking fee. So bizarre. Glad they are getting rid of it all together.

    ReplyReply
  34. Dan Says:
    34

    @iahphx:
    Unless you’re willing to redeposit I don’t think you have any shot.
    Even then, YMMV.

    @Sam:
    Nope.

    ReplyReply
  35. Bostener Says:
    35

    “Domestic connections are 4 hours or the next available flight.”
    Is it the lower or the higher of the two?

    ReplyReply
  36. nyc Says:
    36

    Can you please add to this post how u get US miles transferred in. thanks

    ReplyReply
  37. Justthinking Says:
    37

    If you’re scared to do hidden city then take the last flight where you’ll be “forced” to have an overnight connection in LAX to get your bags.

    ReplyReply
  38. moe Says:
    38

    Can I get the us airways card wit the 50,000 points?

    ReplyReply
  39. username Says:
    39

    @moe:
    No. That offer is only available to people who read the post.

    ReplyReply
  40. dave Says:
    40

    Dan
    booked a couple of weeks ago 2 rt phl to tlv business for 135
    each on aa – any ideas how I can get back the miles that I would not have spent had I used the us airway chart?

    ReplyReply
  41. Bob Says:
    41

    You Stated: “Note that some AA agents will actually let you fly anywhere in the US/Canada for 17.5K miles round-trip as long as you are departing from one of the valid destination airports. YMMV!”

    -does the departing airport have to be “valid” for that month to make this work?

    -I would like to fly out of Pittsburgh and try this; however, it only has a validity “dot” by it for January. Would I still be able to try to book a reduced mileage award? or is it worthless since February and March aren’t valid? The only reason I asked is because its “on the list”, but it doesn’t show a dot for the months I want. TIA

    ReplyReply
  42. levi Says:
    42

    @Dan
    Will the reduced mileage tickets apply to cardholders of the US airways card in Q2?

    ReplyReply
  43. Chaya Says:
    43

    Anyone know when the usairways 50000 bonus miles will expire?

    ReplyReply
  44. wayne Says:
    44

    Dan,

    So I can call US Airways, book a flight on CX to south east asia and tell them to use the AA award chart? This is interesting.

    ReplyReply

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