By Hugo Martin
10:39 AM PST, January 7, 2014
A month after the merger of American Airlines and US Airways became official, the new carrier took steps Tuesday to give passengers access to the loyalty rewards programs and airport lounges for the two airlines.
Airline officials said the merger that became official Dec. 9 may take up to two years to complete, creating the world's largest carrier.
Starting Tuesday, members of American's AAdvantage and US Airways' Dividend Miles programs can earn and redeem miles while traveling on either airline. Plus, members of either rewards program can get access to benefits from the other airline, such as priority boarding and free checked bags.
"Our customers are ready to reap the benefits of our merger and we are pleased they'll get to experience these perks they value most so early in the integration process," said Scott Kirby, president of American Airlines.
Members of either program now have access to American Airlines' 35 Admirals Clubs and 19 US Airways Clubs.
In the next few months, the two airlines will begin a code-sharing agreement, allowing passengers to buy tickets for both airlines through either American Airlines or US Airways.
Ticket counters at several airports will be combined in the next few months, the airlines said.
Together the two airlines and their regional carrier operate about 6,700 flights per day to 339 destinations in 54 countries.
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