Combining American and US Airways Miles – Taking AAdvantage of Reaping Dividend Miles

I’ve never flown on a US Airways flight. It has been two years since I’ve stepped foot on American Airlines metal.  Why, then, am I collecting miles on airlines that I never fly?

Well, a good Pointer, umm, makes it a point, to diversify their balances across multiple loyalty programs.  I’m already directing my daily spending towards accumulation of the major points currencies. However, another element of my Pointing strategy is to participate in selected frequent flyer programs that align with my broader award redemption goals.  For example, I’m a member of Lufthansa’s Miles & More program because I’ve developed a somewhat unhealthy fascination with the airline’s First Class service (oh, and the Rubber Duckies that are available in its First Class Terminal). Similarly, amassing American and US Airways miles provides me a way to access awards available through another one of the major airline alliances.

combining american and us airways miles

Most of my awards to date have been redeemed on such major Star Alliance carriers as United, Lufthansa and Thai Airways. However, both American and US Airways belong to the OneWorld alliance whose fellow members include such airlines as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qantas. In addition, the ongoing merger between American and US Airways has provided a window of opportunity to collect (and eventually combine) a lot of frequent flyer miles pretty quickly.

Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage World MasterCard 50,000 Bonus Miles Offer

Currently, an offer for 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles (after making $1,000 in purchases within three months) is available through both the American Airlines and Citi websites for the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard.  However, a better bonus offer is out there! For example, my Partner F recently received a targeted credit card promotion in the mail from Citi that offers 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months of cardmembership.  The same offer (along with the full terms and conditions) is available online at this link and a summary is listed below.

Citi AAdvantage 50000 Mile Offer

Both offers waive the $95 annual fee for the first year.  You’ll just have to decide which of the spending requirements you’ll need to meet in order to receive the mileage bonus best aligns with your budget and purchasing patterns.

US Airways Premier World MasterCard 40,000 Bonus Miles Offer

Another Pointing opportunity is available by applying for the US Airways Premier World MasterCard issued by BarclayCard. This offer (along with full terms and conditions) may be found at this link and a summary is listed below.

US Airways MasterCard 40000 Mile Offer

Although the $89 annual fee is not waived for the first year, what makes this offer stand out is that you’ll receive your 40,000 bonus miles after only your first purchase.

Why Apply For Both Cards?

American Airlines and US Airways are in the process of merging.  Both carriers have started to align the various elements of their frequent flyer programs.  Although American’s AAdvantage program and US Airways’ Dividend Miles program are currently operating as separate entities, it’s now possible for you to redeem awards for travel across both carriers.  In addition, the airlines are also members of the OneWorld alliance which further widens the award redemption possibilities. However, things start to get even more interesting once the two programs combine.

Given that you only need to make a single purchase on the US Airways MasterCard to receive your bonus miles, this allows you to direct the rest of your spending to meeting the bonus mile requirements on your AAdvantage MasterCard. It’s anticipated that the Dividend Miles program will merge with the AAdvantage program in 2015.  Although an exact date has not been announced, many sources anticipate that the consolidation of both frequent flyer programs will occur during the first quarter of 2015. Once this happens, you’ll have a nice balance of 90,000 miles in your account.

What Can You Do With Those Miles?

Well, if all those miles are burning a hole in your virtual wallet (and you don’t wish to wait for the merger of the programs), you can start redeeming them for round-trip domestic Economy awards for as low as 25,000 miles per person.  Getting to Hawaii on American in Economy is possible for as low as 35,000 miles round-trip per person while on US Airways it will cost you 40,000 miles. In addition, holders of the AAdvantage MasterCard earn 10% of their redeemed miles back while US Airways MasterCard holders receive a 5,000 mile discount on awards flown on US Airways metal.

If you do wait for the combination of both programs, you’ll have a great head start toward having enough miles for an international premium cabin award. In addition, both American and US Airways are Starwood American Express transfer partners.  Therefore, you’ll be able to turn your Starpoints earned on that card into airline miles should you need to “top off” your AAdvantage and/or Dividend Mile accounts.

For more information on the different award possibilities, check out each of the airlines award charts found in the links below:

American Airlines Award Chart

American Airlines OneWorld Partner Award Chart

US Airways Award Chart

US Airways OneWorld Partner Award Chart

However, a major caveat to waiting for the program merger is that CHANGE WILL BE INEVITABLE.  Although, I’m not expecting a major bloodbath like the United Devaluation earlier this year, it’s certain that there will be changes to the various award charts once the programs are combined.

Where Do We Go From Here?

However, it’s just this type of uncertainty in the Pointing world that reinforces the need to hedge my bets.  The diversification that I exercise in my various miles & points accumulation strategies not only protects me from future devaluations but also creates options for some really exciting award possibilities.  In fact, in an upcoming post, I’ll talk about how this type of “mixing and matching” of award programs allowed me to craft a pretty awesome First Class Round-the World award. Stay tuned and be prepared!

How about you? Have you given any thought to simultaneously applying for multiple credit cards in order to earn the extra bonus miles?

Disclaimer: Please bear in mind that I am NOT a professional financial advisor by any means.  My discussion of credit card strategies or other financial matters are based on my own personal experiences and financial situation. In addition, I am not an employee of any of the financial institutions that issue the cards discussed nor do I receive any compensation for discussing these products. The reader is solely responsible for any financial actions that he/she may choose to undertake. Make sure you read of the “fine print” in the Terms & Conditions for all of the offers mentioned.


Five Firenze Fooderies – Places to Eat in Florence, Italy

Okay, I know my use of alliteration for the title of this blog post really massacred the English language. But hey, I hope I caught your attention! After a heavy day in search of “Rooms with a View” and partaking of Florence’s various cultural offerings, a guy’s gotta eat. So, if you’re famished in Florence and foraging for food (sorry, I just can’t stop), here are a few ideas:

Trattoria Le Antiche Carrozze

Address: Piazza di Santa Trinita – 50123 Florence
Tel: +39 055 2658156
TripAdvisor Reviews:

This centrally located trattoria has been around since 1875. During our last two trips to Florence our daily activities seemed to regularly bring us within close proximity to this restaurant. We’ve eaten here several times and this place has become a favorite “go to” option for a reasonably priced, no-fuss, quality meal. The menu offers a wide variety of classic Italian, Tuscan and pizza options in a traditional and rustic setting.

Le Antiche Carrozze Trattoria Restaurant Florence

After you’re done carbo-loading, you can stroll across the Piazza to the nearby Salvatore Ferragamo Shoe Museum where you can burn off some calories by wandering through the displays that take you on a journey through the history of footwear.

Ferragamo Museum Florence Firenze

Alternatively, you can take a quick air-conditioned Disco Nap while watching the surreal, Tim Burton-esque animated short film White Shoe which was inspired by the life and work of the famous designer.

Ristorante Il Latini

Address: via dei Palchetti 6/r (Palazzo Rucellai) – 50123 Florence
Tel: +39 055 210916
TripAdvisor Reviews:

Il Latini is another restaurant that we’ve visited on each of our recent trips to Florence. The key to enjoying this place is to view it as a fun, albeit somewhat touristy, “food experience.”


Reservations are recommended. However, this place is pretty big and it seems that even if you don’t book in advance, most patrons are accommodated in a reasonable amount of time.

The “experience” begins when you see the big crowd milling about the entrance to the restaurant. Even arriving with reservations, you’ll need to navigate your way to the front in order to provide your name and the number of people in your party. Although the scene may initially seem quite chaotic, the staff does a pretty efficient job of getting their guests checked in and seated.

Unless you’re part of a group of four people or more, you should expect to be seated at a large communal table with other guests. The meal is served “family style” and the interesting conversations you strike up with your fellow international patrons contributes to the festive atmosphere in the restaurant.

There’s really not a formal “menu” at Il Latini. Rather, the waiter comes out and starts talking through some options of what’s available in terms of appetizers, pasta and a main course. Your server will question you in a friendly and informal way about your food likes and dislikes and come up with some suggestions for your table. That said, vegetarians may be out of luck as the selections tend to be a bit “meat heavy” …

Il Latini Restaurant Florence Grilled Meat Platter Firenze


The meal wraps up with some dessert options, biscotti and a round of liqueurs. Portions are extremely generous and you will definitely NOT leave hungry! We stuck with the house wine and the meal was priced in an “all-inclusive” fashion. The waiter kind of “eyeballed” our jug of wine to see how much we consumed. However, my sense was that at the end of the day we were each charged a fixed price of about 50+ Euros per person. Upon request, it should be possible to order from a traditional menu and upgrade your wine selections for an additional charge.

Ristorante Caffe Pitti

Address: Piazza Pitti, 9, Florence (across the street from the Palazzo Pitti)
Tel: +39 055 2399863
TripAdvisor Reviews:

We discovered the Caffe Pitti when were looking for a quick place to grab a bite to eat prior to a concert that we were attending just across the street at the Palazzo Pitti.

Outdoor Verdi Concert at the Pitti Palace Palazzo Pitti Florence

The restaurant’s food was well-prepared and high quality – a real surprise given that it’s located so close to a major tourist attraction.

Caffe Pitti Florence Restaurant across the street from the Pitti Palace Firenze

However, what distinguished this venue is that it specializes in truffle dishes and even operates a store where the restaurant’s products may be purchased.

Caffe Pitti Florence Restaurant specializing in truffle dishes

We didn’t have time to linger on this particular visit. However, you can be sure we’ll make it a point to work our way through the entire truffle menu the next time we’re in Florence!

Golden View Open Bar

Address: Via de Bardi, 64/58, 50125 Florence (within view of the Ponte Vecchio)
Tel: +39 055 214502
TripAdvisor Reviews:

The very un-Italian sounding name of this establishment actually perfectly describes the views that are the focal point the restaurant. The Golden View Open Bar is located in the shadow of the Ponte Vecchio with the famous bridge framed dramatically by the dining’s room large picture windows.


The restaurant’s interior is ultramodern and its stark white interior serves as a neutral backdrop for the views outside. Of course, I did feel a bit worried that my deliciously prepared spaghetti pomodoro might cause some serious “splatter damage” during our meal.

Golden View Open Bar Restaurant Florence Firenze Spaghetti in Pomodoro Sauce

Adding to the ambiance are the jazz performances that are held nightly (except on Tuesdays and Thursdays) starting at 9:00 pm.


Address: Via del Campanile angolo via delle Oche – 50012 Florence
Tel: +39 055 216158
TripAdvisor Reviews:

What’s a trip to Italy without gelato?

Grom Gelato Florence FromPointATo with his hands full

In order for us stay to true to our “gelato-a-day” program we were pleased that this branch of the high-end ice cream chain was located just down the street from the Hotel Brunelleschi which was our base of operations during our stay in Florence.

Grom Gelato Florence Interior View Firenze

Although the gelato at Grom isn’t cheap, the variety of flavors and the quality of the ingredients justify the higher prices and waiting in the ever present long lines snaking out of the store.

Grom Florence waiting in line for gelato Firenze

Fortunately, you won’t have to go too long without a Grom fix as you continue your travels since the chain maintains branches in all of the major Italian cities as well as in New York, Malibu, Paris, Tokyo and Osaka.

Do you have a favorite dining spot in Florence? I’d love to hear about it!