American, US Airways delay decision on whether to award free flights based on pricier tickets

American Airlines and US Airways will combine their frequent flier programs early next year and, for now, will continue to base free flights on how many miles customers fly.

Delta and United, on the other hand, plan to base awards on how much customers spend. That helps travelers who buy expensive first-class and business-class tickets.

Executives of American Airlines Group Inc. said Tuesday that they want to deal with the mechanics of combining two big programs before addressing such a major change.

The combined program will have about 100 million members. There will be three levels of elite customers, like in American's AAdvantage plan, and not four levels, as in US Airways' Dividend Miles.

American and US Airways merged last December to form American Airlines Group Inc.