AA Newbie

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Sweet Willie, Mar 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    Long time UA guy based out of ORD, I've crossed MM with UA but have grown tired of the program, so I'm looking at AA, ok perhaps a bit stronger, I'm becoming attracted to AA & I don't know why.

    I understand that performing an AA challenge would be a good way to start, check.

    I also currently dump 100k into AA acct yearly from my SPG account via the 20k SPG gets me 25k AA transfer, check.

    I believe (correct if wrong) that AA usually has some 'cheap' mileage earning fares ORD-NRT in the fall, which is quite frankly the way I like to do my mileage runs (ORD-SIN on UA was a favorite of mine). Are there other routes that are known to be 'cheaper' in different times of year (perhaps S America during their winter?) ?

    My long term goal is to get to a lifetime status with AA, short term would be to get at least Gold this year, perhaps Plat.

    Almost all travel is on my own dime so I can't count on business kicking in towards my goals.

    What are other ways that folks use to obtain AA status or AA miles for a 'cheap' rate?
    -
     
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  2. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I've always built up about half of my miles in the winter to Europe, and that's worked out pretty good every year until this one. AA used to have a wealth of $300-400 base winter fares to FRA, DUB, MAD or BCN, and even LHR once in a while (though the taxes on that one are a killer, particularly if you upgrade on the way home--around $250 now), but this winter the cheapest fares from the west coast were $650-700AI which is higher than past years. Instead of my normal four trips, I did two, and balanced those out with east coast trips on $200 fares. I'm already at 82K for the year with some DFW promo miles added in. Usually takes me until May to reach that point, and I tend not to do any paid flying at all in the summer.

    One thing I've found to avoid those UK departure taxes is to return from somewhere else. Frankfurt used to be a good alternative, but they've raised their taxes, too (though at least not on systemwide upgrades). Dublin also works with a return via Brussels (did that one last month). You could pay for a one way flight to DUB and still come out ahead in total cost versus a return from LHR.

    Being based at ORD you might be in a position to do Europe trips via DFW to bring in some extra miles. Not sure if you can stretch that out all the way to LAX.

    I haven't seen any sale fares to NRT in a while, at least not from SFO. I last bought a ticket there about five years ago on a $500 sale and used miles to get from there to Singapore.

    Hopefully someone that is ORD based will be able to comment on fares from there. It's a market I don't follow.
     
  3. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    As an ORD-based AA flyer, I'll just chime in and say I haven't seen too much love from AA in terms of cut rate fares. There's a few here and there (just did HEL and BRU for about $300 ai each) but for the most part it has been a slow creep upward in prices. I was heading to NRT quite a bit 2 years ago and this year it looks like I'll be lucky if I even get in once.

    I'm also purely a leisure flyer, so I'm always keeping an eye open for good deals to interesting places. My first year as EXP I qualified with trips to Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Hawaii. This year is tougher then every before. Just my opinion.
     
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  4. neuatomic
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    neuatomic Silver Member

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    Look for departures from MKE - here and there you'll see some serious discounts and its not much of a Hiawatha train ride up there. Otherwise I've seen very few MR-worthy fares from ORD. I suspect we'll all need to re-calculate just what is a MR-worthy price going forward. ORD-NRT is also my 'favored' mileage-earning trip. Nonstop, via DFW or LAX all on 777 and have never had an eVIP not clear, including one that cleared 5 mins before boarding. Right now (!) there are decent fares given the price of fuel, and if you route via DFW you can rack up quite a few miles. Given the current environment, I really wouldn't count on fares like the were a few years ago. A $700 trip to Japan is a good deal nowadays. If a DEQM should appear again...
     
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  5. neuatomic
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    neuatomic Silver Member

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    And the lounges in Japan are great, especially for EXP's...
     
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  6. neuatomic
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    neuatomic Silver Member

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    Hi Tom,

    I wonder if you'd be willing to post your current-year AA itineraries/plans including approx prices to give us an idea of what it's going to take to get to EXP this year. It seems to me our previous experiences are not going to be as valid this year with fuel and fare pricing being what it is. I'd like to see how you've reached 82k and your cost, as I'd already given up on the idea of reaching EXP this year at a reasonable price.
     
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  7. lisamcgu
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    lisamcgu Gold Member

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    Hi Sweet! Here is a thread I put together with the basics, including links to the sites you may want need to do the heavy Challenge research. And if you've already done it, the OP serves as a quick reference to the basics, or the links, if you need to refer back :D

    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/aa-challenges-condensed.4986/
     
  8. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions, I appreciate any insights.
    sure I need to remember this, you bring to mind a local FT'er who flew AA, that makes regular runs to ORD-SJU via LAX on the outbound, I think the LAX-SJU red eye is the longest 'domestic' flight (correction, ORD-HNL is the longest domestic AA flight). I've done west coast UA to Europe before as well.
    oh yes, I've done that a number of times. Always a good suggestion!!
    yeah, this year I'm only setting my goal to obtain gold, as I think I've missed the low season fares to Europe. I just had too much going on earlier to really put some work into flying.
     
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  9. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I did seven domestic trips split between Boston and Washington (DCA) when AA was running the SFO-DFW promo, so each of those brought in 8-9,000 status miles. They priced at $220AI. I had booked some of those back in December before the promo was announced. I also did two Europe trips that priced at $650AI, though did apply a 10% discount code to get the price down to $650 from just $700 on one of those. My upcoming Brussels trip, on the one day sale, priced at $507AI. That last trip will bring me up to 94K for the year. Figure one more east coast trip to hit 100K. I don't expect to stop at 100K, though, and will probably buy more tickets for Oct-Dec travel when prices are more reasonable than the summer.
     
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  10. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    Willie. You might want to keep an eye on iberia.com too. Their site is very easy to pick cheap fares to any destination and already twice this year there have been missing fuel charges. Example, JFK-CDG on IB code but AA metal was 332 all in.

    As for mileage runs, I've been paying about 240 for those i did but had the benefit of the DFW-SFO double promo to bring the CPEqm down to 3 per.

    My general opinion is AA fares are not cheap and I am wondering if I'd be better on UA.
     
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  11. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Are you an EXP looking at UA 1K? Keep in mind that UA systemwides (6 per year) are only good on W fares or higher for international, and that will mean buying up to a higher fare to use them. That can range from $200 more to London up to $1000 more for Australia. Right now a W fare for April SFO-LHR is $423 higher than a cheap L fare.

    Also UA systemwides do not have the longevity of AA systemwides. You're not going to get 26 months of use from a UA systemwide.

    Just make sure you look at the very distinct differences between the programs.
     
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  12. Sweet Willie, welcome in advance to the dAArk side.

    You know how to reach me if you ever have AA questions that aren't immediately answerable by the very helpful folks here. :)
     
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  13. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    thanks for the tip.
    too funny, YEARS ago, I was at least smart enough to know I needed to choose between airline programs and for years UA was almost always cheaper ($20-80) than AA on the routes I was flying. Now I'm seeing that AA has better pricing than UA or at least is the same. tom911 brings up some very valid points re: UA SWU's, I used to not mind paying the slightly increased W fares as for many many years UA nearly always would upgrade far in advance of the flight (usually at the time of booking), so I was assured that I would get the upgrade. The past couple years have not been fun (even as a 1k) and upgrades were being pushed off until the last minute, if I even did get the upgrade. Combine the lack of assured upgrades along with W fares becoming much more expensive and I'm not such a fan anymore of the SWU's. I still love E+
    Thank you sir
     
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  14. Original Member
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    Original Member Silver Member

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    Something else to look at is this tool on Fare Compare where you can sort by PPM so you can maximize a potential MR.
     
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  15. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
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    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

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    You mean sort by cpm?
     
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  16. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    An update. Thanks to DEQM deals, I made Gold.

    If those cheap fall fares to Europe come around, I may make Plat this year.

    Thanks all for your feedback.
     
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  17. Microwave
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    Microwave Silver Member

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    Great news, welcome to the ranks of the AA elite. :)

    I know I'm replying to an old post here, but I'm reasonably certain ORD-HNL is the longest domestic flight AA operate. I believe LAX-SJU is the longest narrowbody domestic flight.
     
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  18. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    you are correct! ORD-HNL is ~600 miles greater in distance than LAX-SJU.
     

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