US Airways Quietly Raises Some Award Redemption Levels; Lowers Two

With no official announcement, FlyerTalk members are reporting that US Airways has quietly implemented some changes to using Dividend Miles for certain award redemption options — apparently effective immediately.

The following are the award charts for comparison purposes, with the changes shown highlighted in pink:

Previous version of the US Airways travel award chart.

New current version of the US Airways travel award chart.

First, notice that the state of Alaska has been split out from the continental United States into its own destination zone, with an increase in 10,000 Dividend Miles required to redeem for a Medium first class award from 80,000 to 90,000; and an increase in 20,000 Dividend Miles required to redeem for a High first class award from 100,000 to 120,000; while the requirement for a Low first class award remains at 50,000 Dividend Miles.

Between North America and Hawaii, an increase in 10,000 Dividend Miles required to redeem for a Low first class award from 70,000 to 80,000.

Between North America or Hawaii and Europe, an Off-Peak business class award is no longer available, where you would have once been able to redeem 60,000 Dividend Miles.

The greatest increases are found between North America or Hawaii and the Middle East, with an increase in 45,000 Dividend Miles required to redeem for a Medium business class award from 180,000 to 225,000, representing an increase of 25 percent; and an increase in 110,000 Dividend Miles required to redeem for a High business class award from 240,000 to 350,000, representing a whopping increase of 45.8 percent; while the requirement for a Low business class award remains at 120,000 Dividend Miles.

Not all of the news is bad, as two award redemption requirements — one between North America or Hawaii and South America, and the other between North America or Hawaii and Europe, both of which have been reduced — with a decrease in 25,000 Dividend Miles required to redeem for a Medium business class award from 350,000 to 325,000.

These changes evoke similar changes implemented by Delta Air Lines this past September — along with the way they were implemented.

Although the changes seem minor at most — low-level Dividend Miles award redemption options are unaffected by the adjustments — some FlyerTalk members are angry, alleging that US Airways did not announce these changes, while others acknowledge that US Airways reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of the Dividend Miles frequent flier loyalty program at any time and without notice.

Besides — with the rumors of a merger deal between US Airways and American Airlines to be announced next week — the timing of these changes seems to be odd. Could it portend the future of the new combined frequent flier loyalty program should the merger become a reality?

What are your thoughts?

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