MIAMI — US Airways officially became a member of the oneworld alliance today, March 31. It is the latest milestone in the ongoing American / US Airways merger, and the latest feather in oneworld’s increasingly expansive cap.
American Airlines’ CEO Doug Parker remarked on the occasion in a statement: “As we work toward creating the new American, network strength and breadth are essential components in building what will be world’s greatest airline. We look forward to providing our customers with access to key points all around the world via oneworld. Adding US Airways to the roster of oneworld member airlines is a significant step we will take as we combine the two carriers to create the new American.”
Dividend Miles Chairman cardholders will have the top Emerald status in the oneworld program. As for Dividend Miles Platinum and Gold customers, they will be equivalent to oneworld Sapphire, and Dividend Miles Silver customers will be oneworld Ruby.
Dividend Miles Chairman, Platinum and Gold members will have access to approximately 600 oneworld airport lounges starting today, and Dividend Miles Chairman cardholders will be able to use First Class lounges. Additionally, eligible members will receive additional baggage allowances and access fast tracks through departure security at select airports.
All Dividend Miles members will be able to earn mileage and status points on oneworld member airlines starting today, but US Airways says that “the ability to redeem mileage rewards for flights on other oneworld airlines may be phased in shortly afterwards.”
Oneworld Chairman Tom Horton, otherwise known as the former CEO of American, added that with the addition of US Airways, “the oneworld network will expand to almost a thousand destinations in more than 150 countries, served by 14,250 daily departures – equivalent to a oneworld flight taking off or landing every three seconds around the clock – carrying 475 million passengers last year and generating annual revenues of US$ 140 billion.” The carrier is adding 60 new destinations to the oneworld map. Additionally, it is strengthening the oneworld presence at its keys hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington DC’s Reagan National.
US Airways quietly exited its previous affiliation, Star Alliance, late Sunday night. Both alliances and airlines have worked around the clock to make the transition as seamless as possible. Although the switch has been many months in the making, there is still a transition period before all of the benefits and services will extend to US Airways passengers.
However, US Airways said in a statement that “American and their oneworld partners are working to provide the most popular benefits and services on an accelerated timeline.” Customers should be receiving information about the benefits and privileges they are now due as, with further notifications as benefits come online down the road.
The addition of US Airways is the latest change in oneworld’s biggest membership expansion yet, but not the only carrier to join up today. Brazilian carrier TAM joins the alliance on Monday as well. Further back, Malaysia Airlines, a top tier carrier known for its frequent award winners joined the alliance on February 1st, while LAN Columbia and Qatar Airways joined in October 2013. SriLankan Airlines is due to join early next year.