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April 08, 2014

American announces changes to frequent-flier programs and checked bag policies

American Airlines has changed its redemption rates for its AAdvantage and US Airways' Dividend Miles customers as well as checked bag policies for its frequent fliers.

The changes will affect the over 110 million members of the two loyalty programs.

"Ultimately, what we’re seeking to do is really streamline the customer experience by aligning our policies and procedures and elements of our awards programs so when customers are flying on either carrier they are getting a more consistent experience," said Suzanne Rubin, president of the AAdvantage Loyalty Program.

The Fort Worth-based carrier, which merged with US Airways in December, said that starting today, AAdvantage members will be able get one-way “AAnytime” tickets for flights starting on June 1 by redeeming 20,000 miles instead of the previously required 25,000 miles. For last-minute seats, American will charge 30,000 miles for a one-way ticket and on the busiest travel days, it will cost members 50,000 miles for a one-way ticket.

There are no changes to AAdvantage’s MileSAAver tickets which require 12,500 for a one-way ticket and are not available on all flights.

Dividend Miles members will be able to book last-minute seats without any blackout dates, the carrier said.

Checked bag policies are also changing at the two airlines with the new policies taking effect for tickets issued today by American and for tickets issued starting on April 23 at US Airways.

American said it will no longer charge for the second checked bag on flights to and from South America. However, AAdvantage Gold members and Dividend Miles Platinum and Gold members will have one less free checked bag. American customers traveling on an "AAnytime award" or a full-fare economy ticket will also no longer receive free checked bags.

US Airways MasterCard holders who pay an annual fee of at least $79 will begin receiving one free checked bag starting on April 30, which is the same policy for American's Citi card holders.

The carrier is also upgrading its inflight service on US Airways' transcontinental and trans-Atlantic flights.

Fresh meals will be served in first class on flighs that are longer than two hours and 45 minutes. Previously, meals were only served in first class on flights longer than three-and-a-half hours.

Customers in international business class will also receive Bose noise cancelling headphones and more enertainment options on a Samsung Galaxy tablet.

-Andrea Ahles

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Comments

Dallas

Not true... Mile saver awards changed quite a bit for the worse. And, no free international stopover or Oneworld Explorer awards. DevAAluation...

Dave

The new American just got real old yesterday. I have been planning a trip to Alaska and just last week all I needed was 25,000 miles one way. Now for peak days it's 65,000 and 40,000 non peak. If they needed to match up the programs they should have kept the old American not adopted the US Airways. Now I will have to shop for airfare since I don't have enough miles for the trip which really sucks. Thanks New American

Dan

I was trying to book a family trip earlier this week using miles. The flights we wanted to take went up 2,500 miles each way, meaning 25,000 more miles for our trip -- which we don't have! Thanks American -- I'm going to start flying Delta more often.

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