DONE for 2017 - Going for AA Exec Plat ! - Mileage Marathon time

Discussion in 'Mileage Runs/Travel Hacking' started by zebraitis, Sep 20, 2017.  |  Print Topic

  1. zebraitis

    zebraitis Active Member

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    I am VERY glad too say: No. At least not all of it.

    For our flight to Bangkok, using our 4 EXP systemwide upgrades, American confirmed our business class seats from the US to Japan, and also the return.

    The Tokyo-Bangkok-Tokyo flight is an American codeshare on JAL. Since it has the AA #, we get credit for the EQM, but not an upgrade to business for those two legs.

    Pro Tip: On a codeshare flight, always ask for the other carriers record locator number from AA... that way you can book seats in advance, which we did. If not, you get whatever seats are left day of departure..
     
  2. tcw8858

    tcw8858 Member

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  3. zebraitis

    zebraitis Active Member

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    Black Friday for some... the beginning of our Bangkok trip. :)
     
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  4. zebraitis

    zebraitis Active Member

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    Back from Bangkok. Current count:
    EQD: 11,700
    EQM: 81,127

    As expected, the Bangkok run netted me 19,214 EQM.

    Pretty wiped out today after all that travel, but here's a quick note of the trip:

    The good - Bangkok is a great city, and well worth the trip. Stayed at the Hilton Conrad (as I'm finishing up my nights for Hilton Diamond). Saw Wat Pho, and took a longtail boat ride in the canals. Cool stuff for being there one day.
    [​IMG]

    The bad: Went to Phuket for two days. While the Hilton Phuket was truly impressive (and a great romantic getaway), Phuket Island itself was underwhelming. The water quality was poor, and not the stunning picture that one often sees. Likely, one would need to get FAR away from the pollution of the island to see the better waters. Kinda sad.

    The ugly: The AmAir / Japan Airlines partnerships for codeshare flights is flat out broken. JAL does not respect or deliver on the emerald status. Could not book seats in advance. (AA said JAL reserves the seats, JAL said since it's AA sold, they reserve seats... so guess who sat in the back row. )

    On Monday, I fly RT to Philly, and then on Friday make the run to Chengdu. In short, easy finish to the mileage marathon.
     
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  5. zebraitis

    zebraitis Active Member

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    DEN-PHL-DEN is behind me, with 3,138 EQM added, bringing me to EQM 84,265

    If my Chengu China trip (leaving tomorrow) EQM mileage estimates are correct, I will hit the 100K mark, with an additional 500 miles extra over the top. Cutting it close, but I'll take it! :p

    FYI: I checked my AA upgrade offer for 2018 ( link ) to see if they would offer a EXP up for $$$... but the webpage replied that I'm not eligible. I wanted to see if an EXP up offer was on the table, and that may have changed how I go about this in 2018. If it was less than the cost of the trip + cost of business upgrade then the EXP up offer would be the way to go.

    Do they even offer an EXP up for $$$ ? I don't know. :oops:

     
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  6. brodyf

    brodyf Gold Member

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    I’ve seen on book that many current EXPs that haven’t yet requalified have been offered buy ups. I’m not sure if a current PPro or PLT can buy up to a new level. The requal buyups have ranged in price from ~$1500 to $2500 depending on how far off they are.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  7. zebraitis

    zebraitis Active Member

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    Ok, quick update:

    Received an upgrade DEN-LAX. Went to the newly opened Admirals club in concourse 4. In a word: Horrible. They took a functional club and cut it in half, and then crammed in too chairs in too small of a space with no thought to flow. Small walkways, too many people, and the overpowering feeling of stress. The first class lounge (flagship) had been expanded to take over the other half, but not yet open. In short: another fine example of AA making it clear that domestic travelers don't matter.

    Went to the Quantas lounge, and loved it.

    Flew coach LAX-HKG, but had row 19 which provided substantial legroom and a bulkhead behind us. We ran into Dennis, an AA flight attendant we had met on our previous trip to Haneida Japan . Even though we were in coach, he provided us pajamas (and some added attention), which made a world of difference in the 16 hour flight.

    In Hong Kong, stayed at the Marriott SkyPort at the airport. Good lounge, great breakfast buffet at the restaurant as a Platinum. Took the subway to Hong Kong Station, looked around, then went to Mung Kok district for some shopping and crazy nightlife. (Bummer: very heavy fog prevented a lot of sightseeing activities)

    Flying out in the AM, we dropped into the new Amex Centurion Lounge (nice but not impressive) and then the Cathay Pacific Bridge lounge (better). Flew on Cathay Dragon to Chengdu, with great coach service.

    As expected anywhere in the world, the taxi driver tried to overcharge us with the popular "my meter doesn't work" line, but the folks at the Hilton Chengdu did not let him do so. Wonderful upgrade to a suite, and my wife and I slept for 12 hours straight! We will catch the buffet breakfast (comped for Diamonds),

    Speaking of Diamond, this is our 30th stay this year, so locking in for Hilton Diamond status for 2018.

    Looking at the details:

    EQD - DONE!
    EQM - looks like I'll make it with the return.
     
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  8. zebraitis

    zebraitis Active Member

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    For those who have been following this Mileage Marathon thread, here are the final numbers:

    EQD - 12,779
    EQM - 100,722

    So that is Executive Platinum Status for 2018. Done and done.

    [​IMG]

    We stayed our first night in the Chengdu Hilton, where we received a wonderful suite upgrade. The hotel was in a business district (think Century City in LA), nice exec lounge and a great full breakfast buffet in the restaurant. The hotel provided a small panda toy and a rubber bath duck as a memento (which is nice). Our next two nights were at the JW Marriott, where I had to step up and request a platinum suite upgrade after being assigned a standard room. Again, the lounge was nice, but I have to say that Hiltons overseas seem to be just a bit better than Marriott's (while the reverse here in the USA). I will give credit to all Asian hotels as we were very early arrivals most mornings, and we were given rooms and lounge access on arrival.

    The JW Marriott was near the central City square in Chengdu, which still has a HUGE statue of Chairman Mao. Quite the clash between old word communism and modern day Chinese socialism.

    Our goal was to visit the Panda Research Center, and we definitely made a day of it
    [​IMG]

    The ones that really caught our attention were the Red Pandas. The good news is that the large black and white pandas are no longer endangered, but the small red pandas are. These guys were so cute, I hope they make it.
    [​IMG]

    While the pandas in Chengdu were cool, the air quality was horrendous. If anyone is against regulations for clean air and water in the USA, I suggest that you send them to Chengdu for a few days. The EPA is one of the things that Nixon did right.


    Would I do it again in 2018?

    Yes, but I don't think I would do it the same way. Three trips to Asia in about a 2 month timeframe is exhausting, and a challenge in trying to maintain a regular life.

    Next year, some of the lessons learned that will be applied:

    1) Plan ahead and look for the inexpensive business class flights. The multiplier that kicks in for EQD may be worth the extra cost to get you to your goal. Plus, unless you planned on using a systemwide upgrade, the upgrade cost to business in miles and dollars nearly brings you to the cost of the ticket anyway.

    2) Make your reservation and don't mess with it. Changing the reservation after initial booking seems to affect up how AA looks that that record. If I wanted an estimate for EQD or EQM on flights I had changed, I found myself talking to AA Cust Serv. And, I believe that is why I didn't get the biz class upgrade for eth outbound LAX to HKG leg.

    3) Ensure it's American metal and ticket, or a partner where full credit is given for EQM and EQD. While my flight on Cathay Dragon was nice (as were their first class clubs), making that flight without any miles or dollars earned was a disappointment. (... and I could not just not take that flight. If I didn't go to and come back from Chengdu, then my return flight from Hong Kong would have been cancelled.

    4) Serious consideration should be given to buying up. I did receive a Exec Plat buy-up offer right before my trip to Chengdu. Meeting the Platinum Pro requirements and then a buy-up for Exec Plat could be a timesaver and nearly a wash for cost when it balances against the overall cost of our third Asian flight. (Please remember that I was doing this with my wife, so that is the cost for two traveling.)

    Useful links:

    Fare & Class Multipliers -
    https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/partner-airlines/american-airlines.jsp

    Partner fare multipliers -
    https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-program/miles/partners/partner-airlines.jsp

    Thanks to those who have been following. See you all in the next year!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017

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