Rate American AAdvantage

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Darcie, Dec 10, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Darcie
    Original Member

    Darcie Silver Member

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    InsideFlyer magazine is reviewing American AAdvantage in our February issue and would like your input.

    If you would like to participate, please post your response in the thread with the pros and cons of membership in AAdvantage and grade the program from A to F (A being the highest grade). You can include a plus or minus with the rating.

    You can also respond directly to the editors at InsideFlyer at dmankell@insideflyer.com if you would prefer.

    Thank you.
     
  2. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Some of the very best features IMHO:

    Best for international first class awards for members in North America. You have BA to London and beyond (albeit with fuel surcharges), Etihad with great availability, Cathay also to Hong Kong and beyond, and American's own flights especially to South America.

    Best for awards to South America in premium cabins with good availability on American's own flights and also on LAN (when they aren't having problems with LAN's reservation system)

    Best for international upgrades since top tier elite members get systemwide upgrades good on any fare (8 eVIPs per year)

    Best top tier since Executive Platinum / 100,000 mile flying really is top tier in contrast to United where a revenue-based Global Services is over that.

    However:

    Elites get charged for same-day confirmed changes which is something competitors do better for their members.

    Cash co-pays apply to domestic upgrades even for elites (although American's confirmed domestic upgrade availability is unparalleled)

    Fuel surcharges have snuck under the tent it started with just British Airways, and has extended in a modest way to Iberia

    Draconian award routing rules which do not let you connect in a region other than the one you are departing from or arriving in, with a few exceptions such as North America to Africa can connect in Europe (but not the Middle East) and North America to Asia 2 can connect in Asia 1 (but not vice versa). And you can only fly between two cities where the overwater carrier has a published fare. And there are no stopovers on partner awards except at a North American gateway city. And these rules aren't even published or understood by their agents. So agents assume whatever the computer does is correct, even though the computer has pricing errors. (On the other hand the routing rules for their distance-based oneworld explorer awards -- though not as generous as the once were -- are quite generous and it's a unique award amongst North Ameircan programs.)

    AAdvantage members can no longer track their miles at AwardWallet or other similar aggregator sites, a very customer-unfriendly decision.

    Overall as an Executive Platinum I give them an A-.

    Since United has better routing rules and partner availability, especially for business class, to both Asia and Europe overall I probably have to knock AAdvantage down (grading on a curve) to B+.
     
  3. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    Positive: AAdvantage members enjoy the best access to upgrade benefits of the legacy carriers, IMO. For domestic flights, EXP get unlimited free upgrades. Platinum and Gold still have great access to upgrades because they are not complimentary at those levels. Because all elites are not automatically added to the upgrade list for free, seats in the front of the plane are more readily available. Executive Platinum members get 8 systemwide upgrades each year that are valid on ALL fare classes, which is the most generous policy amongst the domestic carriers. They also treat their top-tier elites better than Delta, United and US Airways.

    Elites get charged for same-day changes, which is a bit of a negative. But, I actually view it as a positive since whenever I pay for a same-day change I can also get an upgrade, whereas United same-day changes occur well after all elites have been upgraded for free.

    Negative: Co-pay for upgrades is not waived for any elite level. While there is inventory available to use miles for upgrades, the cash component usually makes this a pretty bad deal. Their network is weaker than their legacy competitors.

    Overall grade: A- **Could see this moving higher or lower with a US Airways merger pretty easily.
     

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