I recently read this article from Business Insider about which airline offers the best award redemption rates. While I generally agree with their conclusions here, it should be pointed out that their angst toward Delta Air Lines is a little misguided. Yes, Delta has long been the devil for award travel but beginning next year – which is only a few months from now – the airline will finally offer one-way awards and they claim that the number of miles required for flights will be more balanced and available. In fact, Consumer Reports recently asked their staffers to try to book award flights and came up with some different results. No, Delta was not the best but they did offer the most choices. Anyway, my take on this is let’s wait until next year and see what the frequent flier program field looks like after the FFP merger takes place between American Airlines and US Airways.
And it was the merger news in the article that really caught my attention. They referenced an article posted on Mighty Travels from last week where the author claims that AA and US will merge their frequent flier programs by the end of this year. Indeed this was picked up by another site on the web. Wow, this is news to me.
The article author and website founder, Torsten Jacobi, wrote that “Both loyalty programs will likely be merged into one by the end of 2014.” My best projection has been mid-2015 but will not be surprised if that date gets stretched out.
I searched for news and as recently as a few months ago, Ben Mutzabaugh of USAToday was saying the FFP merger will be next year. This is consistent with an event I attended only about a month ago where CEO Doug Parker said he was not at all prepared to give a timeline when the two loyalty programs would merge. Nevertheless, it is conventional thinking that as the other operations merge throughout this year – which seem to be going smoothly – the frequent flier program should be on track for next year.
But maybe I just missed major news like this. Is Mr. Jacobi right about the merger date or is his definitive statement in reality nothing more than a guess?