If you've been following this blog for a while you might remember my small dilemma of whether to defect from my familiar alliance Oneworld or not. My biggest grief came down to the lack of transatlantic Oneworld flights from Amsterdam, as all flights had to go via London or Helsinki.
Starting today, 31st March 2014, US Airways will exit Star Alliance and join Oneworld, and will bring along its existing routes which makes things a little easier in the Avios and AAdvantage redemption market.
Since the amount of Avios a ticket costs relies on how many segments you fly and how long each segment is, then non-stop flights are much more preferable where possible. Don't forget to add all the taxes and fuel surcharges on top too!
So beforehand having to fly from Amsterdam to London to USA, you'd be stung with Heathrow Airport's insane “service charges” in each direction. If I wanted to redeem American Airlines miles on British Airways or Iberia flights then all the fuel surcharges would be added to the ticket price too, so I would much rather save them for a flight which doesn't charge them i.e. all flights except those operated by BA or IB!
Whilst initially there is only one flight per day leaving Amsterdam to USA, US799, this should be seen as a step in the right direction for the Netherlands-based travellers.
Going by US Airways' route map and my aging memory, I see the following cities will be added to the portfolio of non-stop transatlantic routes not already operated by British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia or Finnair.
Athens (begins 3rd May)
Edinburgh (begins 23rd May)
Glasgow (begins 3rd May)
The above routes will go either to Charlotte or Philadelphia or both.
And whilst all that is going on, I expect some teething issues and arbitrage opportunities between American Airlines and US Airways. I'll keep an eye out!