Upgrading and other Elite issues with the "new" AA

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Canadi>n, Apr 18, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    Given the US merger is likely to be completed this year, there will definitely be implications for the new FF program which will continue under the AAdvantage name.

    Looking at the US program, some might like its current upgrade policy for North/Central America and the Caribbean which is unlimited automatic upgrades into any open F/C seat (at time of booking for Y/M fares, 7 days for Chairman Preferred, 4 days for Platinum, 3 days for Gold and 2 days for Silver) for all elite tier members. Of course, AA limits this approach to ExecPlats, and other elites must use 500s or miles. (All must proactively request their upgrade too.)

    Chairman elites only get 2 SWUs compared with the 8 ExecPlats get.

    So as an ExecPlat, taking up the US upgrade benefits will be a major downgrade. What I like about the more exclusive AA "domestic" upgrades is that there are often empty seats in F/C at departure. This gives the front cabin a more relaxed and exclusive atmosphere and provides better service than a full cabin as is always the case with UA and US. But more important, if my flight gets rerouted or itinerary changes at the last minute, I have a very good chance to keep my F seat on the protected alternate flight(s) because of the limited upgrading policy. This seldom happens with the other two airlines since they tend to fill all the front cabin seats in advance with lower tier elites if they run out of top tier ones.

    And of course 2 is a lot fewer than 8 SWUs!

    And US has four tiers of elites compared with AA's three. As UA did after the CO merger, AA will have to add an intermediate tier between 50K and 100K. This would actually be good because it does delineate 60K and 90K earners in a way the current system doesn't. (And the 75K tier appears to be the trend since AC has just adopted it too.)

    Just a few speculative concerns. Your thoughts?
     
  2. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Way too early to tell. Likely, they'll not do anything to run off HVC's.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
  3. austin_res

    austin_res Silver Member

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    After the merger, elites on AA and US will be in the same pool. I don't know if they can satisfy everyone. If AA-US merger follows the trend of previous airline mergers, we may see something close to the current US program. But only time will tell. I do not expect any changes to take effect until mid 2014 at the earliest.
     
  4. downhillcrasher

    downhillcrasher Gold Member

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    Along similar line, what are your opinions on when and how AA and US EQM balances will be merged?

    I am curious if it is worthwhile to credit some *A flights to US this year with the hope that the EQMs will get rolled up into my AA account for next years elite status. I recall UA and CO offering the opportunity to link accounts in early 2011 and thus combine EQM balances for the purpose of that years elite status.
     
  5. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Why bother sweating all this out now? If you're concerned enough, fire off some communication to Doug Parker.

    This merger has been my biggest concern since moving over to AA, but I have to believe that all parties concerned have been taking notes of Continental's takeover of United and will avoid that clusterf---.
     
  6. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    The US upgrade policy (using all available seats) basically just confirms that few actually would pay for their purportedly premium cabin.

    I tried buying a just-in-time ticket on a route only US served non-stop. I was willing to pay for F, but alas, as their reservations agent said, "we've given all the seats away for upgrades." Instead of a four-digit fare, I bought a $300 ticket...leaving me in a middle seat in back of course.

    How they don't leave a few seats open for standby upgrades on the hope of a late sale is beyond me.

    In perhaps 40 domestic segments on AA in the past three years, I recall one where the forward cabin on a two-class plane wasn't full.

    What segments do you fly where you regularly find the forward cabin going out other than full?
     
  7. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    YYZ-DFW/MIA/ORD-YYZ, DFW-LAX/MIA, MIA-SJU, PHL-ORD...

    Another example. Last week I was caught up in weather delay issues at ORD and YYZ with flights being delayed or cancelled. An agent at PHL proactively asked if we'd like to go out on the earlier PHL-ORD flight that was delayed. He further indicated there were open F seats so I would still be in the front cabin. At ORD my YYZ flights kept getting cancelled but on each protected flight I was still able to be accommodated in the F cabin. I've had friends in revenue F having similar problems with UA flights but there was no way their protected flights had F seats because they'd all be occupied by upgraders previously confirmed from among GS, 1K, Plats, Golds, etc.

    It's obvious that certain routes at certain times will have full F cabins on AA flights, but more often than not I've found these cabins have a couple or empty seats going out.
     
  8. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    I'm based in NY. The last AA flight that I was on where the main premium cabin wasn't full was EGE-dfw two+ years ago. Seemed sort of odd, frankly! We certainly have a higher concentration of aa elites here in NY than in YYZ, as well as plenty of pax who do as I do, paying to sit in front. :)

    The one exception I note from here is f on the 3-class 762s goes out, in my experience, at 8/10 on average. J essentially always full.
     
  9. jfhscott
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    jfhscott Silver Member

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    I flew a very early (maybe 6:30) MIA-DCA on a Wednesday. I was on an award seat in Y and had my own row. F was maybe 40% booked. I imagine this route is a business/leisure mix with relatively few elites and even fewer Golds/Plats who will spend the coin to upgrade, especially when they can get their own row in Y.
     
  10. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Hmm. With system loads at 80%+, assuming some flights like yours, most end up like my 7am the other morning...completely full. But, indeed, not every seat taken on every flight. Just most.
     
  11. jfhscott
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    jfhscott Silver Member

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    Well, this flight is likely a "perfect storm" for empty seats - midweek, early morning, significant leisure component, in the city pair. But AA would not want to squander a slot at DCA by not running it at all.

    And there is a reason why loads may be perceived as higher than they are. Lets limit the universe to two flights on 90 seat planes. If one flies with all 90 seats filled, and the other with 10 filled, 90% of the traveling public think flights are booked to the gills when only 100 of the 180 seats on the two flights are filled. You and your fellow passengers on high demand flights likely end up with a somewhat distorted experience.
     
    flyforawg likes this.
  12. Juanefny

    Juanefny Silver Member

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    Do you really think anyone other than frequent flyers have noticed anything?
     

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