Per Traveling Better, Suzanne Rubin will remain the President of the AAdvantage frequent flyer program after the airline’s merger with US Airways.
The combined American-US Airways loyalty program will remain on the AAdvantage platform, and it’s a much bigger program than US Airways Dividend Miles — a true multi-billion dollar business in its own right — so it certainly makes sense to keep leadership in place. It’s also been profitable even as American itself struggled over the past few years.
Former AAdvantage head Maya Leibman (Senior Vice President, Technology and Chief Information Officer) was already announced to be staying on — logical as they’ll be using the American IT plaform. Former AAdvantage head Derek DeCross remains VP of sales.
American’s Vice President of Marketing, Rob Friedman (another former head of AAdvantage!) will be leaving however.
I much like Rob but that doesn’t come as a surprise. Apparently Fern Fernandez, who was in charge of US Airways Dividend Miles, gets a promotion to the Vice President of Marketing job.
I’ll be interested to learn whether Russ Hinckley, Fern’s deputy at Dividend Miles and former head of Northwest Worldperks (with a stint in between at US Bank doing Flexperks), will remain at the combined company and if so how he’ll fit into the loyalty program.
Both US Airways and AAdvantage are outstanding frequent flyer programs, each with their pluses and minuses. US Airways has been scrappy and creative, selling miles and status more aggressively than other carriers and running aggressive promotions as well. In general I’ve felt that AAdvantage focuses heavily and well on its top elites much better than US Airways does. The basic framework at AAdvantage likely remains, with Suzanne’s continued leadership.
While there’s still likely to be many changes to the AAdvantage frequent flyer program as they pursue this merger — accounting for all of the features and benefits that both sets of members have gotten used to — it should be one measure of reassurance that Suzanne remains in charge of the shop.
Unquestionably the culture will change and overall tone will be set by Doug Parker and Scott Kirby of US Airways, so there will be a new framework for decision-making to get used to (with Fern Fernandez still in the building).
And changes will be afoot for American flyers with US Airways’ Kerry Hester announced as Senior Vice President of Customer Experience and Hector Adler as Vice President of Inflight Service
But for now, it’s one more day of “no bad news” in the continued steps towards an American-US Airways merger.