US Airways has entered into a marketing agreement with United Airlines that will allow both Dividend Miles and Mileage Plus members to earn and redeem miles on each airline and will help each airline shore up its financial situation.
“We have repeatedly said a marketing agreement should significantly boost our revenues by giving us reach to more markets and enabling us to offer our customers more choices and greater convenience,” said US Airways President and CEO David Siegel. “As demonstrated by similar agreements between other airlines, an expanded network and the traffic feed from United will provide us with more passengers, higher load factors and more revenue. In the past, US Airways lost business to competitors because we lacked domestic and international scope and marketing partners who can feed traffic onto our network.”
In addition to the benefit of earning and redeeming miles on each airline, US Airways and United passengers will also be able to:
- Access US Airways’ network in the Eastern U.S. and the Caribbean, and also enjoy easy access to cities in the West, Europe and Asia served by United.
- Make connections between both airlines on a single reservation through new streamlined ticketing, baggage handling and check-in procedures.
- Use each airline’s airport lounges if they are already a member of either.
For months now, we have been predicting that US Airways would enter into a major partnership with another airline and have been advising Dividend Miles members not to dump their miles. Those members who heeded our advice are certainly smiling now. Not only does this partnership secure the value of US Airways’ miles, it also opens a slew of redemption options for Dividend Miles members, including the long sought after Hawaii and Asia routes.
Unlike the former partnership between American and US Airways, this partnership will be more traditional in nature. Dividend Miles and Mileage Plus members will be able to redeem their miles for awards on each airline, but they will not be able to combine miles from the two accounts. Also, the partnership is exclusive to the two airlines and benefits do not extend to Star Alliance partners. In fact, US Airways and United will remain separate competing companies with separate schedules, pricing and sales functions. Despite this separation of functions, members of both programs should expect to see the best integration of elite benefits between any two partner airlines — something along the lines of Northwest WorldPerks and Continental OnePass.
Though the announcement was made on July 24, members should not expect to see these benefits put into implementation for at least a couple of months. And we predict more big news from United in the near future. In our opinion, United cannot support two major domestic alliances, which will probably leave Delta as the odd airline out. So, if you’re a Mileage Plus member who has been saving up for a SkyMiles award, now might be the time to think about cashing in.
P.S. — US Airways and United have put together the following list of FAQs for members of the programs:
How will US Airways’ Dividend Miles members benefit from this
Dividend Miles members will be able to earn mileage credit for every flight operated by United and its Express affiliates. US Airways’ members will also have the ability to redeem Dividend Miles awards for flights to any destination served by United.
- Preferred members will receive their Preferred bonuses when traveling
- Dividend Miles members will receive mileage and segment credit toward
Preferred status when flying on United
- Preferred members will be eligible to use Preferred ticketing lines and
Preferred boarding when flying on United
- Upgrades will be made available to members flying on United
Will the US Airways Dividend Miles program and the United frequent flyer programs become totally aligned? Will one of the programs be merged into the other program?
The two programs will remain independent. Each program has evolved in response to market conditions, and will continue to respond to market forces.
When can Dividend Miles members begin to earn mileage credit for flights operated by United?
The exact start date for mileage accrual has not yet been determined, but will be announced soon.
When will Dividend Miles members be able to redeem awards for travel on United?
Members will be able to redeem awards no later than 180 days following the start of mileage accrual. An announcement will be made shortly with an exact date.
Can a single award ticket utilize more than one airline in the itinerary, or must one airline or the other be chosen?
Dividend Miles members will be able to select award travel on US Airways, United, or a combination of the two. For example, United may be used for the entire journey, for one direction while US Airways is used in the other direction, or for part of the connecting itinerary between the origination and destination.
Will Dividend Miles members be able to use their upgrades on US Airways code share flights operated by United, or on flights operated and sold as United flights?
Yes, upgrades will be available as a future enhancement to the program once the automation systems and processes are developed.
What blackout dates apply to Dividend Miles award travel on United?
The blackout dates in effect according to the rules stipulated by United will be used for flights operated by United.
Will award miles be able to be transferred between a Dividend Miles account and a United frequent flyer program account?
To combine the earning potential of flights operated by US Airways and those operated by United, Dividend Miles members should request that their miles be deposited directly into their Dividend Miles account when purchasing a ticket for, and flying on, either airline.
Will a Dividend Miles member need to enroll in the United frequent flyer program in order to earn Dividend Miles on United?
The member simply provides the respective Dividend Miles account number to United at time of booking or upon check-in to receive Dividend Miles credit.
Is there any impact on existing Dividend Miles airlines, hotel, car, and other partners?
There are no changes expected with the hotel, car, or other partners currently in the Dividend Miles program as a result of the code share with United. US Airways will review the airline relationships, but no changes are currently anticipated and any changes would be announced in advance of their implementation.