Upside / Downside of AAirpass® Membership

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by sobore, Feb 7, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    I was looking through some of the AAirpass marketing materials and I am wondering this:

    If you know you are going to spend at least $10,000 (program minimum) in a year on airfare should the program be strongly considered?

    Based on the perks it does not seem too bad. I guess it all comes down to the redemption rate.

    The only obvious downside is the commitment to AA metal.

    Can anyone comment on the value of the redemptions? Is it close to a midpoint between lowest fare and Y/B?
     
    jbcarioca and zpaul like this.
  2. I would also like to hear comments if airpass has advantages. I usually fly less than 1500 mile flight so it seems like it copied save some cash in my budget. I have already spent 5 grand this year mostly because one my one day trips drive up price.

    Sent from my iPad using milepoint
     
    jbcarioca and zpaul like this.
  3. AnthonyB1609

    AnthonyB1609 Silver Member

    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    151
    Status Points:
    375
    I would also like to hear from people who use this program. I tried to pitch it to my accounting dept and they couldn't see me spending that much at once on one airline. Even though I spend that much in five months in flights. And they didn't like that I can't transfer it to any of my co-workers. That being said anybody with info would be great.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  4. horseguy

    horseguy Gold Member

    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    2,009
    Status Points:
    1,025
    My wife and I have been Aairpass holders for five years now. We normally buy Y-UPs, and Aairpass is usually about 10-15% cheaper. When the cabins are full, sometimes the Aairpass price can be half the YUP price. Aairpass is also the diamond standard is terms of flexibility (no cancellation or change fees). This works out pretty well for us. Aairpass can also work well for short haul flights, or routes where AA is normally very expensive.

    The last flight we took was ONT-MCO, and cost us $861 on our Aairpasses. If we had purchased YUPs, that would have been $1131 each. OTOH, we could have purchased coach seats for about half of what the Aairpass price was.

    If you normally buy coach seats, I can't really see very many scenarios where you would save money. If you buy first class seats, it is a no-brainer to get an Aairpass.
     
  5. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Thanks horseguy! So basically you are able to save a few hundred dollars on domestic first class with the Y-Up fare or the Airpass fare books into first?. Any experience with Trans-Atlantic biz class?
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  6. AnthonyB1609

    AnthonyB1609 Silver Member

    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    151
    Status Points:
    375
    Thanks horseguy that was really helpful. Have you did any last min booking where that came in handy?

    Sent from my iPad using milepoint
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  7. horseguy

    horseguy Gold Member

    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    2,009
    Status Points:
    1,025
    Yes, it does save a bit compared to YUPs. We've only done a couple of Trans-atlantic biz class on our Aairpass. In our case, it was about ten percent cheaper than the J fare we could have booked. Aairpass is much more expensive than I fares. So, if you would be on I fares, Aairpass won't really work. But if you fly on J fares, Aairpass is probably a very good program for you.

    Tons of them! We have booked and flown in as little as ten minutes when there were IRROPS, and as little as two hours when we had a personal emergency. Aairpass really shines in these kind of events, because you are totally shielded from the very high last minute prices.

    For example, there was someone on Flyertalk a while back complaining that all the AA flights BOS-MIA on the day he wanted to travel had YUPs selling for about double what he was used to paying. Well, almost all the first class seats had been sold, so AA had raised the price on the last few. Aairpass completely shields you from that. Not only that, if A class is not available, Aairpass can book you into F class for about 25% more than A class. Aairpass in F class is astoundingly cheaper than buying F class tickets. And that is true for every case I've ever seen. Admittedly, this is only an issue on very full flights, but that has happened to us several times, and it has saved us a small fortune.

    I can't emphasize enough that this is only true if you are booking YUP or F tickets. Take my emergency example. If I had to fly MCO-ORD in ten hours, with Aairpass I could get into first (F class, A is full on that flight) for around $580. If I just bought with cash an F class ticket, it would cost $1567. OTOH, I could get a coach ticket for the same flight for $397, and even the most expensive flight of the day (in coach), is still slightly less than the Aairpass price.

    The thing that really makes the Aairpass an incredible product for us, isn't the price savings (although that is what attracted us at first). It is the flexibility. If you don't get on the plane, you don't pay. No change fees, no cancellation fees, no fees at all. It really takes quite a bit of stress out of the entire travel experience.
     
  8. Microwave
    Original Member

    Microwave Silver Member

    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    340
    Status Points:
    500
    The one caveat I would add to the first sentence is that those who typically buy fully flexible or proper last minute tickets may see some benefit to AAirpass. AAirpass customers also receive many of the benefits of status when flying on AA, such as elite check-in, boarding and security, waived baggage fees, and one perk that's stated for AAirpass customers but not for EXPs: free drinks and BOB items when in economy.
     
  9. horseguy

    horseguy Gold Member

    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    2,009
    Status Points:
    1,025
    You are quite correct.

    I would also add extremely short flights. For example, on Aairpass, MKE-ORD is around $50 because it is so short. But the cash price is usually somewhere between $220 and $700. Another example I have some personal experience with is MKE-ORD. That is around $110 with Aairpass. Fly the same route and buy the tickets at aa.com and suddenly is it $500 to $700.
     
    jbcarioca, YULtide and sobore like this.
  10. ChicagoEric
    Original Member

    ChicagoEric Silver Member

    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    216
    Status Points:
    420
    I can't really comment on the economics of AAirpass as we have a corporate account that is highly negotiated, but the benefits are fantastic:

    - Last minute coach books into A for same price - no more waiting for upgrades to clear.
    - Total flexibility - change tickets at will for free. A inventory is great, so no losing the upgrades when you change. Walk up to the gate and immediately jump to the front of the F upgrade list if there is no A inventory.
    - Great irrops treatment - when traveling in A have more than once had a AAdmirals club agent book me in paid F on another carrier
    - Companion benefits - can book a colleague on your aairpass and receive FF miles for both you and he (quickest way to EXP i know)
    - EQP - booking into A generates 1.5 EQP
    - Intangibles - you frequently get attention from Premium Services and extra help getting problems resolved, even if they have nothing to do with your aairpass. Have heard more than once "you're a good customer, we'll just take care of this for you"

    If you buy a lot of last minute tickets, this is the only way to go.

    Downsides:

    - expensive, particularly for cross country journeys
    - ticketing is wonky sometimes - i frequently have to have the AAirpass or EXP desk force a reservation to ticket
    - AAirpass desk has strangely limited hours, though EXP desk seems capable of doing the same things
     
    jbcarioca and sobore like this.
  11. AnthonyB1609

    AnthonyB1609 Silver Member

    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    151
    Status Points:
    375
    Is it $10,000 for just your or all your co-workers? If I could get it extended to two
    People instead of one it would work out great for me.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  12. John Mcdermott

    John Mcdermott Active Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status Points:
    75
    jbcarioca and Microwave like this.
  13. horseguy

    horseguy Gold Member

    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    2,009
    Status Points:
    1,025
    Nope Aairpass is for a named individual. However, there is the companion feature that ChicagoEric mentioned.
     
    jbcarioca, YULtide and sobore like this.
  14. horseguy

    horseguy Gold Member

    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    2,009
    Status Points:
    1,025
    This used to never happen. I saw it start to happen slightly less than a year ago. I really hope AA fixes this as it is really annoying.
     
  15. ChicagoEric
    Original Member

    ChicagoEric Silver Member

    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    216
    Status Points:
    420
    Agree - it started to be a problem about a year ago. They have told me they now hold off ticketing until last minute because aairpass tickets are changed so frequently, but that really doesn't make a lot of sense.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  16. ChicagoEric
    Original Member

    ChicagoEric Silver Member

    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    216
    Status Points:
    420
    We have probably a couple hundred people on our master aairpass contract, we buy miles in bulk and share a pool, but every individual has their own aairpass account. as a result we use the companion feature not that frequently, usually only when a junior colleague that does not have their own account is traveling as well. They tend not to really like that as they do not accrue aadvantage miles (the miles go to the aairpass account holder).
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  17. horseguy

    horseguy Gold Member

    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    2,009
    Status Points:
    1,025
    Actually, that part has always worked that way for me. Once I book a ticket, it shows as "purchased." The ticket does not turn into "ticketed" until it is 24 hours from flight time. That's been consistent for us for five years. The part that has broken for us in the last year is we'll get a booking done, hit the final button to complete the purchase (with Aairpass), and the transaction fails. Sometimes I can get it to work if I simply try it a few times, but that's still really annoying since I have to reenter everything again. As you point out, the agents can always get it to work since the system they are using is different.
     
    jbcarioca and YULtide like this.
  18. ChicagoEric
    Original Member

    ChicagoEric Silver Member

    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    216
    Status Points:
    420
    Interesting. I've never had that problem - I book probably half my tickets myself and the website has always worked fine for me. I have, however, arrived at the airport and found that my reservation never ticketed. Particularly a problem when making last minute changes, but has also happened when ticket was booked ahead.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.

Share This Page