FORT WORTH -- American Airlines will fold US Airways' Dividend Miles frequent flyer program into its AAdvantage program in the second quarter next year, the carriers said on Tuesday.
The combination, which is the next step in the merger between American and US Airways, will allow members of both programs to match up their accounts and combine mileage balances into one account. There are about 110 million members in the two programs.
However, it is not changing how members can qualify for elite status as some industry analysts had previously speculated. Several other frequent flyer programs like Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines have changed from mileage-based accrual systems for elite status to ones based on how much was paid for a ticket.
"As we look to combine the AAdvantage program and the Dividend Miles program, we have been very focused on integrating as quickly as possible the two programs so we can get merger benefits out to our customers and the marketplace as quickly as possible," said Suzanne Rubin. "Obviously, we will, as we always do, watch and monitor what happens in the marketplace now that we've seen competitors move to this type of construct."
American is also introducing a new upgrade policy for its elite status members. And for Dividend Miles members where there were four elite tiers to the program, they will be moved into the three levels — Executive Platinum, Platinum and Gold — currently in the AAdvantage program.
It will also be more difficult for business travelers who fly short-haul flights to achieve the Executive Platinum level at AAdvantage based on segments. Currently, it only takes 100 segments or 100,000 qualifying miles but under the new program, flyers will need to earn 120 segments or 100,000 qualifying miles.