AAdvantage or Alaska Mileage Plan?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by traveltoomuch, Mar 13, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    I am trying to decide whether to credit some upcoming AA flights to AAdvantage or Alaska Mileage Plan (or USAir Dividend Miles, in the next few weeks, I guess).

    I have no AA or AS status, and I'm eyeing Alaska's status as being perhaps a better long-term choice than AAdvantage, assuming I won't get EXP on AA. I am having a great deal of trouble predicting my travel patterns for the rest of the year - I might or might not get enough miles for status, depending on how things go. And if it looks like I'll definitely be flying more on AA and/or AS, I am happy to do a match (or AA challenge), but I just don't have enough certainty about plans right now.

    Other bits: I am Boston-based at the moment. I have a sizable stock of AA+US miles. I am not averse to branching out - AS seems to have a generous program. I think my lifetime miles will be ~.5 M after the merger, and lifetime status seems out of reach right now.

    I also have UA Gold (their 50k tier, from being a million miler), but my loyalty to them is waning. Something about a gutting of the earnings from paid tickets.

    Have any advice for me?
     
  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The AS program is nice but if you're accruing points that slowly it will likely take a LONG time to get to the point where you have enough for the "fun" redemptions.

    Put another way, adding 5000 miles to a stock of 100k+ is generally worth more than adding it to zero.
     
  3. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Longer term, assume that I will fly 25-60k/year on AS+AA on discount fares. So enough for status (based on miles, not necessarily based on EQPs). If I'm not doing that much, I won't have status on AS, so Mileage Plan really doesn't stand out. If I'm doing 100k, I'll go for EXP.

    I'm not necessarily worried about the "fun" redemptions. A Hawaii or other domestic ticket every now and again would make me happy. I also have my AA, UA, and Avios hoards to play with. :) But since you raise the point: what are your favorite "fun" redemptions from the Alaska program?
     
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  4. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Given your location, have you considered building a little BA Avios balance?
     
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  5. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    I had not considered crediting the AA flights to BA. A large part of my interest in AS Mileage Plan is its elite program, and BA's does not seem as useful for someone who would be traveling mostly on AA and AS (v. BA).

    I love Avios. I have a decent stash, mostly refilled with transfers from Chase UR and Amex MR, and I've been using them for domestic short-hauls on AA/US/AS. I looked at using them to get to Ireland (BOS-DUB for 25K RT!), but I found very compelling paid tickets instead. Maybe next time.
     
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  6. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Unless you're mostly flying on AS I'm not so sure this is going to work in your favor.
     
  7. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    What elite benefits from AS do you value? Will you be flying them a lot?
     
  8. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    AS is my main bank, and I fly a mix of AS/AA/LA with a very occasional DL. Most of my partner travel is on paid or award premium travel. If this were not the case, I might re-think what I do. MCE and baggage allowance on AA is a decent perk but otherwise, the partner experience is mostly just for banking the miles.
     
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  9. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    I did sign with Alaska, but haven't done any redemptions. Don't have enough points there yet, so just learning for now and following other people's experiences.
     
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  10. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

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    I'm elite with AS, now transitioning over to AA. While it was nice that all AS partners were given elite-qualifying miles, keep in mind that AS is not in a program eg. Star Alliance or Oneworld, that was major reason why I switched since I'd be flying OW airlines more.

    Being based in the West Coast, SEA/YVR, AS has more frequent routes on this end and since their flights were elite-qualifying on AA it didn't affect my decision.

    I made 2 redemptions over a one year period, one on a domestic AS flight, the other on a partner CX First Class flight. Fairly easy to redeem, and no difficulties occurred throughout the process.
     
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  11. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    From what I understand, the upgrade odds on AS are pretty good for Gold (their 50k tier) v. AA's odds for PLT (50k). I also value access to AA's MCE seats.

    No, I will not be on AS a lot. It will probably be at least 50% AA.
     
  12. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Upgrade odds only matter if you are flying the carrier in question - and can be very route dependent. No idea on what routes you'd fly, but I'd imagine it might be a limited subset with your east-coast base, unless that is set to change. Depending on route/time and your willingness to buy stickers, you could have good upgrade success with AA as well.
     
  13. Seat6A

    Seat6A Silver Member

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    Alaska is great if they fly where you want to go. Once that crumbles, AA is the better choice, unless you're based in Seattle. Been there, wasted miles on AS because they had the only LAX to DCA nonstop, IMHO. AA miles have more places where you can use them and American Airlines flies where i want to vacation. Tada.
     
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