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How will a United/US Airways merger affect my mileage?

Dear Tim,

I’ve been combining US Air and American f.f. miles for a few
years now, and I’m wondering what’s going to happen when the
US Air merger with United happens. I’m also wondering WHEN it will happen (whatever it is!) so I can have some plan of
action in mind. If you can shed any light on this, or give me somewhere to go for reliable info, I’d greatly appreciate it.


Dear Todd,

Firstly, if a United-US Airways merger were to be approved and implemented, it’s almost a certainty that the US-AA mileage pooling feature would be discontinued as soon as UA’s lawyers felt it could be, without incurring a class-action suit on behalf of disaffected AAdvantage and Dividend Miles members.

So the key question is whether a UA-US merger is likely to go forward. When the announcement was made, industry analysts put the odds at 50 percent. Since then, the odds have arguably decreased.

  • High-level meetings among the other U.S. major airlines have made it clear that if the Departments of Justice and Transportation approve the UA-US merger, they would next be called upon to approve a veritable tidal wave of similar mergers by other key players in the aviation industry. So the DOJ/DOT are not only reviewing a single get-together, they are effectively ruling on consolidation of the entire industry.
  • Judging by the media coverage of hearings before Congress, the arguments advanced by UA and US were not well received. The executive summary: UA’s Goodwin and US’s Wolf claimed that a merger would increase service levels and decrease ticket prices. Being of reasonably sound mind, the Congressmen reportedly felt their collective intelligence had been insulted.

Given the above, I’m betting the merger will never happen.
And even if it does, it will be a lengthy process to get
employees, shareholders and regulators onboard. So you should have plenty of time to make any last-minute arrangements.

That’s a lot of speculation, I know. But at this point, that’s all anyone can bring to bear on the situation.

Tim Winship
Contributing Editor

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