Plat Exp challenge?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by RichardInSF, Jul 14, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    Apparently this challenge formally ended so just calling customer service can't get you enrolled. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions about who I could email or call to ask for an exemption to increase the probability of success. You can either post here or PM me.

    Over on that other site, the folks in the AA forum aren't exactly going out of their way to assist an AA newbie, guess that's the nature of that particular forum.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance!
     
  2. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    TOBB might not be known for their friendliness, but it's possible there isn't much help because.... there isn't anything to say.

    AA offered an EXP Challenge for a very limited amount of time. To my knowledge, after it was ended, many tried writing and calling various individuals (all the way up to Arprey himself) with absolutely no success.

    I wish you luck and maybe someone else knows something. I'm thinking you're barking up the wrong tree. :(
     
  3. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Do you have a bunch of travel upcoming? Ideally, is it long haul business class?

    If can answer both of these with a yes and have top status on a non-ow carrier, it's worth writing a letter and sending it snail mail (VS email). Document your upcoming travel plans and high status on your current carrier. AA will at least think about it.
     
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  4. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    That may be because the EXP challenge was mainly discussed on the UA forum. There hasn't been much discussion of it on the AA forum that I can recall. I have no idea what corporate official to contact in Dallas, but I bet someone on the UA thread does. You might try a couple PMs with participants in that thread to find our who can best help you. BlissWorld said as recently as April that it was still being offered "by invitation".
    Join Us: 1K/GS Seeking to Move to AA and Have Executive Platinum Status Matched
     
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  5. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    Thanks folks, yes, this has definitely been helpful.

    I am a multi-year (maybe even a decade, I don't keep records) 1k on United and the significant majority of my travel is international longhaul.

    My next two long haul trips are UA Z booked long ago, but after Labor Day, I will start booking trips for early 2012 -- my trips are generally known considerably in advance.

    I go to Tokyo and Europe, and my travel will be 100% paid int'l business. Sometimes I upgrade to F.

    Seems to me that I'm the kind of customer they would want. Absent a deal to sweeten the pot, I will likely be choosing mostly non-US carriers because the service is better-- and I find that travelling in international business or first, FF status becomes considerably less necessary, what Plat Ex has to offer me is biz->F upgrades.
     
  6. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Even that's not guaranteed on the international side as AA runs some two-class 757s and 767s. With travel to Europe you'll really need to pay attention to the route/aircraft. AA does have a variety of timetables you can download if you want to get a better idea on aircraft.
    http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInform...cTimetable.jsp#one?anchorEvent=false&from=Nav

    Of course, that BA nonstop SFO-LHR in business can be quite tolerable. I was rerouted on it this year coming home (from an original AA flight BRU-ORD upgraded with a systemwide). PHOTOS
     
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  7. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    One reason AA people may seem disinterested is that this challenge was never open to them. It was essentially targeted at UA and DL elites, and that's where you might find some buzz or at least memory of buzz. :)
     
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  8. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    Will add that I know of at least one person who recently (in the last month) was granted EXP status based on proof of frequent (at least once/week) paid domestic First travel.

    As far as tactics go: Agree with NYBanker - snail mail vs. email. And I'd send it to a couple people - perhaps AAdvantage, but also Premium Services as well as the Executive Office Customer Service Team (may have the name slightly wrong). I'm sorry I don't have addresses for you but I suspect a call to the corporate office could yield that information.

    Can also be arranged through your corporate travel department if your company is a significant customer of American.
     
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  9. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    If you are not successful when you write, you could still do a Platinum challenge. You should have Platinum status by the end of your first round trip With Platinum, you would get in excess of 25,000 redeemable miles per round trip, more than enough to upgrade the next trip from business to first in one direction. Upgrade the next 5 round trips in one direction, and you will be EXP. As an EXP, you will get enough SWUs to upgrade slightly over half of your flying, for the other half you will still have to use miles.
     
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  10. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    ChicagoEric, what is premium services? Never heard of that term.
     
  11. DestinationDavid
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    Interestingly, JonNYC on TravelingBetter updated the existing post on challenges this AM with some information clarifying the very rare instances in which an expection might be made for this type of challenge in anyone wants to take a look: LINK.

    Good luck with the letter campaign RichardInSF, and please come back to let us know what you hear! And as a friendly side note, make sure you flip the PLT and EXP in your letter from how you wrote it the title of the thread. ;)
     
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  12. RichardInSF
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    Thanks, I think it's worth a letter, and it's simplest to send it to the CEO. I guess I knew it was Exec Plat! Maybe lately I am just into things reversing.

    Again, the main reason it would be worthwhile for me is for the upgrades from biz to first. However, there are certainly carriers which offer business class that is essentially as good as first class on either United or American, at least in the areas I consider important. So it's not a do-or-die situation, although it is tempting to pick one alliance (OW or *A, Skyteam isn't so important out of SFO) and stick to accumulating the miles on one carrier.

    The main sacrifice I might have to make is do one-stops instead of non-stops.

    To Asia, there are good business class choices in both alliances. To Europe, there are a lot fewer options. Business class seating on Lufthansa is abysmal and, although I haven't ever tried BA and ought to, people seem to think BA's offering is dated.
     
  13. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    BA's J current seating was introduced in 1999/2000, IIRC. They refreshed the hardware in 2006-ish, making minor modifications. BA was the first lie-flat seat in J. I still find the overall BA J experience to be one of the best.

    From JFK (where the flights to LHR are quite short), there's a full pre-flight dinner available in the lounge. The arrivals lounge at LHR is also very nice...dozens of showers - clothes pressed while you clean up - and hot breakfast - allowing you to sleep the maximum time.

    BA gets a lot of crap for putting 8 across in both the 747 and 777s. It's a lot more efficient than most carriers due to the ying-yang setup (where armrests are aligned, effectively providing another 15 inches of width in the cabin).

    Sitting backwards is actually quite nice too. All planes fly with the nose 2-4 degrees up. When you're in a traditional lie-flat, your head is below your feet, and your bloodflow favors (favours) your head. If you're in a backwards facing J seat on BA, you're head is 2-4 degrees up - and it makes a world of difference. I sleep the best in these seats. Other than take off and landing, you never notice that you're sitting backwards.

    If you are tall, PM me and I'll suggest a few seats that have about 2 inches of extra legroom when flat. (This subtlety isn't on seatguru/expert...but if you're 6'4" or 6'5", those are important inches.
     
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  14. RichardInSF
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    UA does 2-4-2 in its 747 business class too, so BA isn't alone. Sounds like I ought to try it.
     
  15. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    I've heard back from American Airlines -- they offered me a Plat Challenge for $240. Thanks for nothing!

    After checking out the seating charts, I see that the only AA plane with flat bed seats is F on the 777. Don't think a Plat Challenge will likely help me get there as often as I would need (which is most every time). I am going to think about it some more, but am leaning against.
     
  16. DestinationDavid
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    I'm pulling this off the top of my head so I could be missing something, but I believe the only 777 AA flies where you'd be able to use your status to upgrade to F would be LAX-MIA once a day. Otherwise, AA flies the 777 internationally and you'd need to purchase an F fare, upgrade with miles, or use an SWU to get a flat bed. You could pray for the rare op up but ..... not gonna happen.

    On the international front since you're paying for full J, you could use SWUs to upgrade into F if you got to EXP. You'd get there after a few flights on points. You'd be slumming it in J in the interim but only for a few flights.

    Rumors abound about AA's plans to update their cabins, but that won't be until they debut new birds in the next few years. For now, if you fly AA you'll have to encounter the angled flat seat at least sometimes.

    Keep in mind that AA flies the 777 to NRT and LHR for your two major areas. If you're looking elsewhere in Europe you won't have a 777.
     
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  17. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    Yeah, that's what I concluded. But a Plat challenge doesn't get me any SWU's so I would be in J probably for almost an entire year. As an aside, I thought SWU's could upgrade any fare on AA, are you saying that discount business class fares (equivalent to UACO Z fare) cannot be upgraded with an SWU?

    An additional problem is that AA now appears to be downgrading SFO, just as it earlier downgraded SJC. That may mean they won't have the flights even given I am willing to do a one-stop.

    I've now gotten a second reply denying the challenge. I wonder if the level I was sent to even has the authority to say yes. Maybe I'll try one more email and ask just that although I doubt it will make a difference. I am thinking that AA just sent me back to UACO for another year.
     
  18. DestinationDavid
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    No, SWUs can be used on any fare. I used the term "full fare J" because that's what you said you purchase. :)

    I only disagree with one thing you've said: that you'd be in J for almost an entire year. If you actually are buying J you'd accumulate EQP at 1.5x the EQM rate. After a few flights to NRT or Europe you'd be EXP.
     
  19. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    Nope, takes more than a few. A one way SFO-LHR or SFO-NRT is about 5,300 miles, so even at 1.5x, a round trip only nets 16k EQP. Takes maybe 6+ round trips to get there. I'm not doing int'l THAT often curently, more like 4, so would have to throw in domestic travel and still just barely get there in a year.

    Of course, on AA, I'd get maybe 1.5k EQP more on each trip since AA doesn't do nonstops from SFO. But I don't relish going most of a whole year with non-flat bed seats, that's why the EXP challenge would have made such a difference to me.
     
  20. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    I don't intend to keep posting but I did commit to ongoing upgrades. Yesterday, I wrote back one last time to customer service asking if the people I had heard from had the authority to do an exec plat challenge. Today I received an email from a customer service manager (first time at that level) who said, in part:

    The email then goes on to talk about the exclusivity of Exec Plat and again offers me a Plat challenge, which I don't find very interesting. So it does appear that exceptions are occasionally made, and there was that short period with a policy change, but also that whatever the bar is set at now, I didn't reach it.
     

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