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US Airways announced yesterday that it is leaving the Star Alliance March 30, 2014 and joining oneworld March 31, 2014 as part of its merger with American Airlines that legally closed yesterday.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 6.03.18 PM
US *A exit date: 3/30/14. US ow entry date: 3/31/14.

A host of other dates for the integration of US Airways and American Airlines were also announced in the press release including codeshare and lounge access end dates.

Separately Barclaycard emailed with news about the US Airways Premier World MasterCard®, which will presumably disappear during the merger since Citi will be the issuer of the New American’s rewards cards.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 6.10.05 PM

The email says: “Be on the lookout for information about new features and benefits coming in January 2014. We will keep you informed every step of the way.”

What did we learn about the US Airways/American Airlines merger today? What will happen to the US Airways Premier World MasterCard®? What should cardholders do?

Key Merger Dates

  • December 9, 2013: Airline merger legally closes. (The new airline’s stock symbol is AAL.)
  • December 9, 2013: US Airways no longer sells codeshare flights with United.
  • January 7, 2014: US Airways and American Airlines will enter a codeshare agreement, so you can book both airlines on the same ticket
  • March 30, 2014: US Airways will leave the Star Alliance.
  • March 30, 2014: US Airways miles will no longer be able to book Saver award seats on Star Alliance partners. Already-booked awards will be unaffected.
  • March 30, 2014: US Airways will stop selling codeshare flights with Brussels, Lufthansa, or Swiss. Flights booked on these carriers to be flown March 31, 2014 or later will not earn miles with US Airways.
  • March 30, 2014: US Airways Club members will lose access to United Clubs.
  • March 30, 2014: Star Alliance Gold earned through the Dividend Miles program will no longer grant access to Star Alliance lounges.
  • March 31, 2014: US Airways enters the oneworld alliance. Presumably US Airways miles (if they still exist after this date) will be able to book Saver award space on oneworld partners.

Interestingly, US Airways will “continue relationships with the following airlines, which means you’ll be able to earn miles on these select partners even after we’ve exited Star Alliance: Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca, Ethiopian Airlines, Eva, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TAM, TAP and Turkish Airways.”

It might be too optimistic to hope that we will be able to use the New American’s miles on those carriers, but that would sure be nice.

My big takeaway from the integration dates is that if you want to use US Airways miles for awards on Star Alliance partners for travel in 2014 or early 2015, book before March 30, 2014 either on your own or through the MileValue Award Booking Service.

We still don’t know the full story on integration dates. I want to know whether there will be any period when I can transfer freely between my Dividend Miles and AAdvantage accounts to book on whichever chart and with whichever partners I prefer. I am also intrigued by the possibility of using US Airways miles to book an award that includes Star Alliance and American Airlines flights.

This story is still developing, and I will be on top of it.

Credit Card Disappearance Date

The email from Barclaycard was short on concrete information. We learn that for the time-being we can still use our card as we have in the past to earn US Airways miles:

You’ll be happy to know that nothing has changed with the Dividend Miles you’ve accumulated or the miles you’re currently earning. So keep using your card as you normally would.

Far more intriguing (and remember that this email is from Barclaycard, not US Airways):

“We … look forward to working with the premier global airline as they move toward combined operations. Through the merger integration and beyond, we will continue to bring you the exceptional benefits and rewards you have come to expect, and more.”

I certainly have not heard any suggestion prior to this email that Barclaycard would be involved with the New American “beyond” merger integration. If Barclaycard really means that–the sentence is vague–I’m not sure what it could mean. Are we 100% sure that Citi and Barclaycard won’t both offer American Airlines cards after the integration? Or should we not take the line about working with the New American beyond the merger integration at face value?

I will be watching developments with this card very closely. We should know a lot more very soon.

Be on the lookout for information about new features and benefits coming in January 2014. We will keep you informed every step of the way.

Regardless of this email’s tease, my advice about the US Airways Premier World MasterCard® stays the same. If you are in the market for a new card, this is a great card to get now, even better than other cards that might have a better sign up bonus. Why?

I still expect the US Airways Premier World MasterCard® to disappear in the next few months. If you get its 30k sign up bonus now, those miles can be used on Star Alliance carriers now or will be converted to American Airlines miles at some point. If you don’t get the 30k sign up bonus now, you may never have the chance.

  • Earn up to 40,000 bonus miles with qualifying transactions
  • Exclusive: Book award flights for 5,000 fewer miles – award travel starts at just 20,000 miles for cardmembers
  • Zone 2 boarding on all US Airways flights
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 on US Airways purchases
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on purchases everywhere else
  • Annual companion certificate good for up to 2 companion tickets at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
  • First Class check-in
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details.

Application Link: US Airways Premier World MasterCard

What if you already have the US Airways Premier World MasterCard like me? Keep your eyes peeled in January for what will become of the card. If the card will be converted to another product, like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, which is my guess, we will have a decision to make: allow the conversion or cancel the card.

Recap

Yesterday we learned a lot more about the timetable for the US Airways/American Airlines merger. US Airways exits the Star Alliance March 30, 2014 and enters oneworld the next day.

We were teased with coming changes to the US Airways Premier World MasterCard in January, but details were absent.

Even after yesterday’s announcements, there are still a lot of questions. This story is developing.

In the meantime, burn your US Airways miles now if you want to use them to fly the Star Alliance. My Award Booking Service is standing by to help. Consider getting the US Airways Premier World MasterCard before it potentially disappears too.

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