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US Airways / American Airlines merger now confirmed, and what it means for Avios collectors

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The US Airways / American Airlines merger – which has been on the cards since American filed for bankruptcy last year, has now been confirmed.  The BBC story is here.

The merger will take a while – quite a while, probably a year – before the full effects start to take shape.  However, from a miles and points perspective, this is what you can expect:

US Airways will resign from Star Alliance, and the new airline will be a oneworld member

This can only be good news for Avios collectors, since you will have a far wider network of US flights on which you can redeem.  BA Silver and Gold card holders will also find their status gets them benefits on more flights. It is, in parallel, bad news for Star Alliance status card holders and mileage collectors, who will see their US flying options reduced.

(Theoretically, Avios redemptions on BA aircraft to/from the US may become harder to find now that US Airways frequent flyers will be able to book them.  However, since they have to pay fuel surcharges on BA redemptions whilst AA redemptions are tax free, it should not have a major impact.)

The US Airways and American frequent flyer programmes will be merged This is good news if you have a small amount of US Airways and American miles, since you will be able to merge your two piles together. What has happened in recent US airline mergers is a two stage process.  Initially, the two programmes remain separate but you can freely transfer miles between the two schemes.  At some point down the line, the two schemes will fully merge – presumably under the AAdvantage name.

Existing holders of large amounts of US Airways miles may want to redeem now

In general, the US Airways redemption chart is more generous than the American one.  It is more likely than not that the AA redemption chart will prevail, pushing up redemption prices. However, the impact of this will be outweighed by the move of US Airways from Star Alliance to oneworld.  If you wanted to use your US miles for flights on Lufthansa, Thai, Swiss etc then you will need to redeem before the resignation takes effect (no date yet).

If you have US Airways elite status, you will be losing your Star Alliance elite status – so you need to look for a new airline if you want to keep it

This one is less likely to be an issue for UK based flyers, of course. These are the key changes.  There is also likely to be some tweaking of the UK-US flights that the two carriers operate, with some US Airways flights also gaining a BA flight code and becoming codeshares. All of this takes time, however, so don’t expect any immediate changes in the next couple of months.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (1)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

    I earned a gold card by flying US from MAN-LAX every other weekend. This started 10 years ago, just before they joined Star Alliance. Their Gold card got me a *G status match on BD. Of course they joined *A soon afterwards, so I had two Star Gold cards. Sad to see both of my Star carriers go. Their miles are much more useful in my particular circumstance of needing to book people from Russia to Malta.

    Hopefully some of US Airways’ transatlantic routes will remain post merger. It would be nice to see Avios routes from MAN etc.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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