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Combined loyalty program brings good, bad news for frequent fliers

For American Airlines and US Airways frequent fliers, the number of accumulated miles to book a flight hasn’t changed under the combined program, though some destinations require more miles under American’s plan.
For American Airlines and US Airways frequent fliers, the number of accumulated miles to book a flight hasn’t changed under the combined program, though some destinations require more miles under American’s plan. tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

This past weekend, American Airlines and US Airways started combining their customer loyalty programs, and the move brings good news and not-so-good news for frequent fliers.

Once completely combined, the US Airways Dividend Miles program will end since its members will all be folded into American’s AAdvantage program, bringing its membership to about 100 million travelers, the largest airline rewards program in the world. US Airways, of which Charlotte is a hub, merged with Texas-based American Airlines in 2013.

Some positive news for the combined programs’ members is the number of accumulated miles to book a flight hasn’t changed, the LA Times reported this weekend.

Further, the merger will do away with some of the fees previously charged to US Airways Dividend Miles members, like the $25 to $50 processing fee to book an award.

The bad news for US Airways fliers is that some travel destinations require more miles under the AAdvantage plan than they did under the Dividend Miles program. It costs, for example, about 5,000 miles more to book a flight to Hawaii from the mainland under the combined program than it did under the US Airways frequent flier program, the LA Times wrote.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is American’s second-busiest hub, after Dallas/Fort Worth. The airline operates more than 90 percent of Charlotte’s 700 daily flights.

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