Customer benefits start to merge for American, US Airways

American Airlines and US Airways are starting to act a little bit more like a merged airline.

Starting Tuesday, members of both airlines’ frequent flier programs can earn and redeem miles while traveling on either carrier. Elite members can use benefits of both programs, such as priority boarding, free checked bags and check-in for first and business class.

Those who are members of the American Admirals Club or US Airways Club can access the other airlines’ clubs as well.

More changes will follow in the next few months, including a codeshare agreement to allow access to each airline’s global network; US Airways’ departure from the Star Alliance on March 30 and joining of the oneworld alliance the following day; co-location of ticket gates and counters in markets including Miami and alignment of additional frequent flier program policies.

The airlines officially merged in December. Officials have said the carriers will still operate separately for a year and a half to two years as they integrate systems and seek approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for a single operating certificate.

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