Correction: EQMs on AA and US will NOT be Combined for 2015 Elite Status

UPDATE: It appears that I and a few others jumped to conclusions here. American Airlines and US Airways will look at the miles earned in either program in 2014 to determine status in 2015 (it will look at activity in Dividend Miles “and” AAdvantage) but will not actually combine the credits. So pick one program or the other and credit all your flights there to maximize your status!

HT to Loyalty Lobby for finding some fine print that confirms US Airways and American Airlines will combine the elite qualifying flights you complete with either carrier when determining your elite status for the 2015 program year.

Status for the 2015 program year beginning in March 2015 will be determined by the member’s activity in 2014 in the US Airways Dividend Miles program and the American Airlines AAdvantage program.

It doesn’t say exactly how they’ll combine them, but it does reaffirm the advice I suggested late last year, that if you’re planning to switch from United Airlines to American Airlines, it might be a good idea to fly on United and credit those miles to US Airways. You’ll give up some bonus redeemable miles if you already have elite status, but your US Airways EQMs will eventually add to any American Airlines EQMs. (Check out some recent AA status match offers to Gold and Platinum levels.)

I’m doing exactly this with my status run next week to complete my Executive Platinum status trial: my positioning flights to/from Seattle and Honolulu are on United Airlines, paid for with a United Airlines compensation voucher, and upgraded with United Airlines regional upgrade instruments. Other people got in on some great United mistake fares last last year and are flying to Dubai and back on United — but crediting them to US Airways.

UPDATE: Chase makes a good point in the comments that some upgraded flights may not earn credit with US Airways if booked into the R fare class (e.g., using RPUs and GPUs). I’ll try to confirm this with United/US Airways and get back to you. You should still be okay crediting other flights.

Just make sure you do this for flights on or before March 30. On March 31, US Airways leaves the Star Alliance to join oneworld and you won’t be able to take advantage of this loophole anymore.

Scott created Hack My Trip after learning how to travel better on a budget during grad school. He now flies over 150,000 miles every year.
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  • shay peleg

    You sure it works for the trial too?

    • Scottrick

      No, it won’t work for the trial. My other trips on AA will see to that. But at least the positioning flight won’t go to waste.

  • Chase

    Can you confirm that the UA upgraded segments (in R class) will earn US credit? Have you done this yet? According to the US page for earning on UA, R class is not eligible for accrual. http://www.usairways.com/en-US/dividendmiles/earnmiles/staralliance_united.html

    • Scottrick

      Upgrade availability is classified with R, but I booked an G fare. United’s own systems award miles according to the fare class booked even if upgraded (except in a few very specific cases). I expect US Airways does the same, and they have a comment on their site that reads: “The booking class that appears on your ticket may differ from that used to calculate your mileage earned. Please check with United Airlines if you have questions about your booking class.”

      But you make a good point. I’ll follow up with United and US Airways and try to confirm this.

  • RaiderHoosier

    Any guesses on segments? AA requires 100 but Chairmens requires 120. If miles are combined should we assume segments are also combined and AA threshold of 100 will be used ?

    • Scottrick

      My guess is 120. AA is the only major domestic airline that requires only 120 EQS for their 100K EQM tier.

      Keep in mind the language above doesn’t say what the new elite tiers will be, only that status will be determined by progress in both programs.

  • UnitedEF

    So if I buy up to preferred they don’t deposit miles instead they just give you status anyone heard anything about that?

    • Scottrick

      Correct, you just get the status. I don’t think it’s a good way to get status with AA, but there are some reciprocal benefits for US members flying on AA.

  • G David

    So just to set my mind at ease a little more…this means that if I fly 12.5k PQM on US Air (credited to my DM acct) and 12.5k PQM on AA (credited to my AA account) I would still qualify for Silver? Right now, that looks like all I can hope for this year, but it’s better than nothing. AND it would mean that by taking advantage of the “Fly US, credit AA, get 50% bonus miles” offer, I wouldn’t be missing out on anything in terms of requalifying? My home airport only has US, so I fly them mostly, but I don’t want to miss out on bonus miles too if I can help it!

    • Scottrick

      Not quite. We know they will use credit in both programs to make the final decision. The language I quoted doesn’t say exactly how they will be combined or what the new elite tiers and requirements will be. But I think it is extremely likely they will be combined 1-to-1 and that there will be a Silver tier that requires 25K EQM. United and Continental did something similar when they merged.

      If you are still concerned, remember that the 50% bonus you mention is when you credit AA or US miles to the other program. So just credit everything to US or everything to AA and the question of how the miles are combined won’t be an issue. The fact that you can credit miles this way already suggests that the year-end combination will be 1-to-1, otherwise why give people full EQM credit now and not later?

      • Amol

        It seems as if they won’t make that decision until 2015 … if you flew 25K on AA you’d get that status immediately.

        I’m already an EXP until 1/31/2015, so I wouldn’t “lose out” on status for a period of time if I were to have, say, 70K in AA and 30K in US and hopefully retain EXP.

        • Scottrick

          I hope you’re right!