Today is the day that US Airways joins the oneworld alliance. This follows its merger (ie takeover) of American Airlines last Winter.
British Airways is also a member of the oneworld alliance, and allows reciprocal ‘earning and burning’ of miles. This means that you can now book US Airways flights with your Avios points. You will also be able to earn Avios and British Airways tier points when you fly with US Airways.
The US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer schemes will also be merged. No date has been announced yet, but it is almost certain that US Airways miles will transfer at 1:1 into American Airlines. If you have status with US Airways, you will receive the equivalent level of AA status.
(I wrote about this generous US Airways promotion yesterday, which could be lucrative for you if you regularly fly a number of different oneworld airlines.)
US Airways has key hubs in:
Anyone travelling to those parts of the US will see the most benefit. However, in total there will be 60 airports where you can go with Avios for the first time – 56 in the US, along with 3 in Canada and 1 in Mexico.
US Airways flies to a number of regional airports in the UK. Some interesting new Avios redemptions options are now open to you if you were planning to head to the States.
These are routes currently flown by US Airways from the UK:
London to Charlotte
London to Philadelphia
Manchester to Charlotte (starts May 2014)
Manchester to Philadelphia
Edinburgh to Philadelphia (starts May 2014)
Glasgow to Philadelphia
Dublin (I know its not UK!) to Philadelphia
Dublin (ditto) to Charlotte (seasonal)
Shannon (ditto) to Philadelphia (seasonal)
Now, you may never have wanted to go to Philadelphia. However, US Airways has a major hub in Philadelphia, and can connect you from there to pretty much anywhere else you want to go.
As the flights are not loaded into ba.com at the time of writing (and there is no guarantee that they will be available first-thing today) I do not yet know what sort of taxes will be charged. As already happens with American Airlines transatlantic redemptions on Avios, I fully expect BA to add the same fuel surcharges that it adds to its own flights, even though US Airways does not charge fuel surcharges itself. BA just pockets this money …..
Don’t forget that American Airlines also offers regional services to the US from UK airports:
Manchester to New York
Dublin to New York
Dublin to Chicago
None of this makes up for British Airways failing to offer regional long-haul departures, of course, but the US / American merger will definitely lead to an improvement in the Avios offering for those outside the South East.