My first time qualifying for status

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by WindyCityJ, Nov 12, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. WindyCityJ

    WindyCityJ Active Member

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    Hi,

    My name is John and due to an unusually high amount of business travel (for me) I will qualify for AA Gold this year. Having never made status before I want to make sure I maximize my benefits. I have a few very newbie-like questions I'm hoping you can answer for me. Thanks in advance for your time.

    1. I understand that the qualifying period is 1/1 - 12/31, but the membership year is 3/1-2/28(9). Does that mean if I qualify on December 5th 2012 my status is only good until 2/28/2013?

    2. In regards to upgrades, my understanding is that I must use 500 mile coupons which can be purchased for $30 each or I can use mileage to purchase then at the rate of 8 coupons for 30K miles. I'll also earn a few coupons for every 10K miles traveled. Are these coupons the only way I can upgrade discounted fares?

    3. My understanding is that in order to upgrade my request will get put in 24 hours prior to my flight automatically if I request my upgrade at the time I purchase my tickets if I have enough 500 mile coupons to cover the trip. However all EP and PL members get first priority. Do Gold members stand a chance of ever upgrading?

    4. Do you have any tips on how to maximize benefits? Is it better for me to use my mileage to get tickets for trips to say Europe (I'm in the US) or Asia? Or is it better to use the mileage to upgrade domestic flights? I know this is sort of personal but what do you do with yours?

    5. I know about Preferred check in, security and bag check perks, are there any others I should be on the look out for?

    Again, sorry to ask such green questions, but I just want to maximize my benefits for the coming year.

    Thansk
     
  2. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint! :)

    Normally when you earn status it is good for the entire following year. My guess is yours will go 'till Feb 2014.
    I'll let the AA guru's address the other questions! ;)
     
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  3. chrislacey
    Original Member

    chrislacey Milepoint Guide

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    Welcome to MilePoint, WindyCityJ!

    Your status should be valid until Feb. 2014 as sobore pointed out. I'm also not an AA person, but did want to add my welcome. You may consider posting questions specifically about AA on the dedicated forum here: http://milepoint.com/forums/forums/american-airlines-aadvantage.68/ as not all program experts regularly visit the Newbies forum :) See you around the boards!
     
  4. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I'll give it a shot ... but I myself am a Noob and will also get AA Gold within the next 3 weeks .

    1) 2/14 is my understanding
    2) As far I know yes.
    3) EXP gets upgraded automatically, while PLT still requires the use of 500mile stickers. Thus as AA Gold you we might get an upgrade if the flight in question is low on EXP and the PLT do not chose to use their stickers on that particular flight.
    4) Intl Travel no question for me. Upgrades are eh for me ... since I've been in Y I don't know any better. Plus Intl travel esp the OneWorld Explorer award can give you a huge value for the points. And Asia > EU because JL/CX > BA/IB/AB imo.
    5) Upgrades on Full Fare Y/B; mileage bonuses, Comp seating in the green seats, and no fee on award ticket phone bookings is my understanding.
     
  5. malikguy

    malikguy Silver Member

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    Welcome John and edekba! I'm going to join the noob conversation as I just went Gold on the 13th. I've done a lot of research and have spoken to the Gold desk numerous times so, I'll try to be helpful and add my two cents, lol.

    1. edekba is correct, 2/28/2014. Additionally, you receive your benefits immediately from the date you qualify.

    "Your elite-qualifying activity (points, miles and segments) from January 1 to December 31 is used to determine your AAdvantage membership level." (AA.com)

    "You begin receiving elite benefits immediately upon qualification, and as long as you meet the standard qualification requirements, your benefits will last through the end of the next membership year, which runs as follows:" (AA.com)

    "The membership year, lasts from March 1 through the final day of February of the following year." (AA.com)

    Full details: https://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/eliteStatus/qualification-requirements.jsp

    2. There is one more way you can upgrade a discounted fare and without playing the gate lottery I might add. As an elite, you have the option to burn 15K points with a copay of $75 to upgrade immediately. If the seats are available, you get the upgrade, no wait and no lottery. You can do this as soon as you book your reservation.

    Full details: https://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/eliteStatus/upgrades/500mileUpgradesContent.jsp?from=Nav

    3. edekba is correct. To add, on heavy elite routes, Gold's have much less of a chance for an upgrade, but to answer your question, yes, Gold's do have a good chance especially when compared to non-elites. ;)

    4. Generally AA miles are estimated to be conservatively worth 1.8 - 2.3 cents per mile. You can use that as a good cost basis. Try to book MileSAAver tickets whenever you can and I think for the most part that you will get the best value out of International fares. Also, I don't think it's worth blowing miles on 500-mile upgrades; the $30 is a much better value unless you just don't have the cash funds. Try to treat your miles like cash based on the cost basis I provided and it will definately help you determine if you are getting the best value for your miles.

    5. edekba is correct about complimentary access to Preferred and Preferred Plus seats and mileage bonuses, but incorrect about the rest. Elites can upgrade on any fare including discount and deep discount. Only EXP's get their phone ticketing waived. You do not however, have to pay the award booking fees on self-service bookings. See the following web page on AA.com for a really helpful chart regarding all of the benefits of the different elite tiers.

    Full details: https://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/eliteStatus/elite-benefits-chart.jsp
     
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  6. olmangsr

    olmangsr Silver Member

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    i guess you have all your answer but here's a little more:)

    3,as a gold its not the easiest way to upgrade since there will be probably a couple of elites on the flight. especially transcons where you'll have a bunch of EXPs and PLATs .personally i had luck on upgrading on those to but try not flying the 9am monday flight where you'll know half of the plane is on business travel:)
    oh yes and of course you always have good chances if you book way in advance.at least you'll be the first gold to get upgrade.i booked a trip to mexico 5 month in advance to escape winter ,first class is almost empty and i'll be leaving in 10 days.fingers crossed...

    4,as you said it depends on your personal preferences but and choose CX,JL,QF anytime before european carriers...
    as well do not forget about non-oneworld partners.flying Etihad is pretty nice too..:)

    5,everything that was mention before plus use the Gold Desk line in case you need anything(800-848-4653).you'll actually be able to talk with some that 1: has an idea of what he/she 's doing and not just reading from a screen ,2:actually cares about your travel needs :)
     
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  7. WindyCityJ

    WindyCityJ Active Member

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    Thanks everyone for the very helpful information.
     
  8. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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  9. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Hmm I have an upcoming LGA - MIA - LAX flight. To upgrade would that be 7 stickers (3439 total miles) or 8 Stickers (1097 + 2342)
     
  10. malikguy

    malikguy Silver Member

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    It's always per segment with a grace of 51 miles. So 1051 or less would be 2 stickers. Sorry, you're getting charged an extra sticker for 46 miles. It's not funny, but, lol buddy. :D
     
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  11. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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  12. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Sadly the Gold and Platinum desks are marketing myths. You simply get put at the front of the queue for the normal desk agents who are reading from a screen. ;)

    Only EXPs get dedicated AAgents.
     
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