As American Airlines and US Airways are on the cusp of an $11 billion deal that will ultimately create the world's biggest airline, customers on both ends are wondering how the highly publicized merger will affect their frequent flyer benefits.
While the new airline will eventually take the American Airlines name, American and US Airways, as of now, will remain separate companies with each airline maintaining its current loyalty program. US Airways is a member of Star Alliance, the world's biggest airline alliance, while American is part of smaller rival Oneworld.
“Likewise, your elite qualifying miles and your elite status, including lifetime status granted under the Million MilerSM, are secure and remain intact,” the company added.
Boards of both companies approved the deal Wednesday, suggesting to reporters that it is expected to close in the third quarter of this year pending approval by American Airlines' bankruptcy judge and by federal regulators. US Airways CEO Doug Parker will take the wheel of the new airline, while AMR CEO Tom Horton will copilot the company as its chairman until its first shareholder meeting, likely in mid-2014.
"The combined airline will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace," Parker said in a statement. "Our combined network will provide a significantly more attractive offering to customers, ensuring that we are always able to take them where they want to go."
The merged airline, which reduces the number of major airlines in the United States to four -- the new American Airlines (the largest), United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines -- will offer more than 6,700 daily flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries.
In the meantime, customers of both airlines can continue to book travel as well as track and manage flights and frequent flyer activity through AA.com or USAirways.com. At this time, there are no changes in the frequent flyer programs of either airline. All miles on either airline will continue to be honored.