The pending merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways will create the country’s largest airline, but it’s not clear what bank, if any, will win exclusive rights to issue the brand’s affiliated credit cards. Currently, Citi issues American Airlines card products, and Barclays issues U.S. Airways cards.
Similar battles have occurred following the Delta, Northwest and the U.S. Airways, America West mergers. At least one bank found themselves in court in both cases, according to a recent article on Foxbusiness.com.
The article also proposes one scenario for how this battle could play out:
It is also possible that both banks — and maybe even others — could offer cards if the new airline doesn’t want to promise exclusivity to any one bank. In Australia, for example, 15 banks offer credit cards linked to the country’s leading airline, Qantas.