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Elite Status Kudos to AA

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by OCTinPHL, Dec 30, 2019.

  1. OCTinPHL

    OCTinPHL Well-Known Member

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    I know there are many things AA gets wrong. (As an aside, my recent LAX to HKG flight in Flagship First(r) was the complete opposite of Lucky's - incredible service, though the food was meh. Wine was better.) There is no doubt that elite status is losing its luster across all of the Big 3 (dynamic pricing, $ spend requirements, etc).

    All that said, I took a mileage run yesterday, and have to give AA props. After a recent trip a few weeks ago, I hit ~145,500 EQMs for the year. So I booked a quick, one-day return from PHL to SFO for yesterday. 14 hours on a Sunday (I was going to be working at home all day anyway) got me to 150k miles and an additional award from AAdvantage - either 2 more SWUs (which is why I did this), 40k miles, or Gold status for someone else. (And I got work done on the outbound and binged on Netflix at SFO and on the return.)

    The kudos is two-fold - first, it normally takes until the next morning for miles to hit AAdvantage accounts. When I landed last night, I had an email from AA congratulating me on hitting 150k and telling me to log in to choose my award. Second, and this a minor thing but one I think AA deserves credit for - I don't have to choose the award until 12/31/2020. So I can wait and see if I need the SWU's (which are valid through 01/31/2021 regardless of when I select them) or I can take the 40k miles at the end of the year. This year, I only used my last SWUs on domestic transcons late in the year where I probably would have gotten complimentary upgrades with my EQDs. But anyway, I must say I appreciate AA giving us the choice of when to select.
     
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  2. Gia

    Gia Well-Known Member

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    My experience with AA was almost always positive this past year and I had two exceptionally good flights, one on domestic F and another International J from PHL:FCO with great food, decent wine and excellent service. I believe they’re trying to fix things.
     
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  3. OCTinPHL

    OCTinPHL Well-Known Member

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    I agree. 3 out 4 Int'l legs in J or F this year were very good, while one was OK. LAX to HKG twice (once in J, once in F), and PEK to LAX were all very good. PEK to DFW was only OK. My "meh" comment on food was simply that F food is OK, not a whole lot better than J. FFD, on the other hand was great (again, unlike Lucky's experience. My experience was at LAX vs. DFW for him). And while I had no trips to Europe in 2019, I had plenty of PHL - LAX/SFO flight crews, and they were almost always better than average, if not very good. For all the [email protected] that people like to dump on Philly (some deserved, most not), PHL-based flight crews are arguably some of the best, IMO. I've had some bad ones, but more often than not, especially to Europe, they are quite good.
     
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  4. Gia

    Gia Well-Known Member

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    I’ve gotten to know many of the Italian speaker PHL based FAs over the years, going back to my US days, and they are amazing and a pleasure to fly with. Agree that PHL gets a bad rap, I actually prefer transiting there to ORD or JFK.
     
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  5. Clem

    Clem Active Member

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    A quick question for you: I am always a bit suprised with why someone would choose to fly an American carrier to Asia, given how much better Asian carriers are - especially if you need to stick to OW. Is it because of upgrades or award availability, or do you simply prefer flying AA over Cathay or JAL? Honestly trying to understand if I'm missing something :) .
     
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  6. OCTinPHL

    OCTinPHL Well-Known Member

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    I pay for travel myself, and AA is often significantly cheaper in J (and often Y). When I buy Y, I use SWUs to upgrade. (Haven't missed one yet.) No doubt CX is better than AA - but not enough for for me to pay 25% or sometimes 50% more.

    That said, AAdvantage miles are wasted on AA. ;) I am flying JAL F/J from JFK-HND-SIN in April for 110k miles, and returning in May on CX F HKG-JFK for the same 110k. Looking forward to both.:D Comparison point - Dec '17 I used AAdvantage miles for my son and my brother to go to PHL - LHR. ~240k each r/t in J. What a waste. But they enjoyed it. I paid $700 for economy and prayed my SWUs would clear, and they did.

    When paying $ I look to maximize my EQMs (and now EQDs - so I do fly CX/QR when it saves me money and/or maximizes EQDs - and QR serves PHL), and have the best chance of an upgrade when in Y. I have an AsiaMiles account, but have yet to hit on an upgrade from PE to J or J to F (even when F has open seats).

    Finally, when AA service is very good, it is as good or better than CX service. The food and wine is never as good as CX, IMO.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 2, 2020
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  7. Clem

    Clem Active Member

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    Thank you! This is really interesting and it does make a lot of sense. I guess I'm "lucky" that I'm based in NYC and not really captive of any airline, although in the end it also makes it harder to get status anywhere or accumulate a lot of miles in one place like you do!
     
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  8. OCTinPHL

    OCTinPHL Well-Known Member

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    If I was NYC or BOS based I'd probably try to shift my transcon flying away from AA. Maybe to B6. Not sure about Int'l. United has better (more) Int'l destinations, but AA has better hard product (for now) and service is a wash. DL is better, but SkyMiles isn't as good as AAdvantage. I would probably end up like you, or Stockholm Syndrome-ing it with AA. Which is what hub-captives do. ;)
     
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