Moving to The U.S. Should I become a AAdvantage?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by isen97, Jan 28, 2015.  |  Print Topic

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The Two Best U.S Frequent flyer program

  1. AAdvantage

    83.3%
  2. Rapid Rewards

    50.0%
  3. MilagePlus

    16.7%
  4. Dividend Miles

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. TrueBlue

    16.7%
  6. SkyMiles

    16.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. isen97

    isen97 Member

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    I fly quite a lot around 40 flights a year. Should I become a AAdvatange member? What do you recommend?
     
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  2. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    Where are you going to be living? Where do you expect to primarily travel to and from?
     
  3. isen97

    isen97 Member

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    I'm going to move to San Francisco. So I'm traveling various locations all over the U.S and Europe.
     
  4. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    If you want a great program, AA is the last one standing. If you're looking for frequency and number of locations with non-stop, you'll be a hub captive and will want to suffer on United. :eek:

    I stick with AA out of SFO after continuing bad experiences as a 1K at UA to where I need to fly most. Hopefully, YMWV.
     
  5. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Figure out a bit more on where you would fly as well as how many miles per year. Also what do you want out of the program? Free flights? Business/first or economy? Upgrades?
     
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  6. tom911
    Original Member

    tom911 Gold Member

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    UA has a hub at SFO and starting March 1 rewards miles based on spend. As a 1K flyer (100,000 flight miles), you'll earn 11 miles a dollar. You'll also accrue 6 global upgrades that need a W fare or higher when used on international (not always the cheapest fare in the market, so you buy up and take your chances in clearing if no availability on initial purchase). Being a UA hub, you have a lot more flight choices compared to AA.

    At AA, at the equivalent EXP level, you'll accrue 100% miles plus 100% bonus miles. A RT transcon will bring in 10,000 miles while a trip to Europe will generally bring in at least 24,000 if you stay on AA metal. AA systemwide upgrades are good on any fare (no minimum) and you would accrue 8 with 100,000 miles. An off peak trip to Europe (mid-October to mid-May) in coach is 40,000 miles, one of their better values.

    Not being a hub, AA offers flights to DFW, JFK, MIA, ORD and LAX. They partner with several airlines including Alaska, Cathay and JAL, though be careful as some options accrue little or no miles.

    All comes down to what you spend and where you expect to fly.

    I hope you have housing sorted out in San Francisco. It's one expensive place to live these days with $3,000 rents for small apartments.
     
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  7. fishy

    fishy Active Member

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    I'm based on SJC and I'm happy with Alaska MileagePlan.
     
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  8. akcae
    Original Member

    akcae Silver Member

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    I was about to comment on the poll that Mileage Plan ought to be one of the choices.
     
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  9. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    Why San Francisco? Out of all the places.......... I lived in San Jose for a number of years and never saw the appeal of SF. This probably has a lot to do with the $$$$$$$$ necessary to live there. I may make a perfectly happy living wage but I see all of that vanishing if I tried to move there.

    BUT I digress. UA has by far more nonstop flights to more places than any other carrier. Their service is endlessly debated elsewhere and I won't get into it. As others have asked, what do you really want out of your loyalty program? Look at the benefits given by each carrier. AS is a viable option... they have pretty wide-reaching benefits and without belonging to a specific alliance you can *in very specific situations* have more choices to earn and redeem miles.
     
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  10. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    I don't like to admit it but out of SF you'll want to be a United flyer on long routes and maybe Alaska or Southwest on more regional trips would be my best suggestion. Although SF is expensive you do have a number of good airport options there with SFO, OAK, SJC and even some nearby airports like Monterrey and Sacramento when needed. I'm a US Air/AA flyer mostly out of the Midwest USA and I travel to Santa Cruz a lot to my office there and it's not the most fun to route. Usually I end up in Dallas on the way.
    Watch United though as they do have some really overpriced nonstops at times out of SFO in my experience. Many times I can get a one stop through DFW, LAX, etc. to SJC or SFO for like $300-$400 where United wants like $900 for the Nonstop to SFO from my area.
     
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  11. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Nonstop flights are good - but as mentioned by @daninstl can sometimes carry a hefty premium that may or may not echo what you value them at. Non-dominant carriers may have more attractive pricing, especially close in, even on itineraries where you'd be connecting either way. If you're flying a less dominant carrier, you can be more of a bigger fish in a smaller pond. SOMETIMES the connecting flight schedules may work better than the nonstops anyway, if you are OK with connecting. I run into this a lot out of Minneapolis, where a lot of the secondary/third tier markets I fly to might have one or two nonstops, but the flight times I want/need have me connecting whether flying dominant Delta or AA with a smaller presence.

    UA is the default/easy option that will likely be more expensive, and could require longer advance purchases for the best price. They will almost always offer a reasonable schedule to get you where you are going. I'd also consider the coverage of your anticipated destinations - if UA doesn't fly there, or has very limited service through another hub, there's less benefit from sticking with the dominant airline.

    and 40 flights can be a lot, or not that much depending on how you are connecting and doing the accounting. I suspect that no one would actually do this, but you could take a round trip from monterey to sacramento once a month on UA, and end up with 48 flights for the year. Or you could fly SFO-SYD twice a month. Big difference between the two!
     
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