TWA FFB/Aviators - Dear John letter from the Ambassador Club.
Aug 15, 01, 10:32 am
Got it in the mail yesterday. As a lifetime Ambassadors Club member I am good until April 30, 2003. After which, I will then be "allowed" to renew to Admirals Club membship with preferred pricing each year provided my membership does not lapse. AA can kiss my money good bye on this deal and future travel.
Aug 16, 01, 4:43 pm
I too often vote with my feet and my wallet. Actually IMHO you got a really GREAT DEAL.
The sadder-but-wiser TWA stockholders should of done as well as you did. TWA went down the tubes into an over-due Chapt 11. AA had no obligation to give you anything. Be pleased you received something. The TWA stockholders got ziltch.
Investing in the stock market is risky. Everyone knows that (or should know that). Some stocks go up, and some go down; TW was one of those stocks that went down (all the way down).
But no one buys an airline club membership to make money, so the comparison is not useful. Anything AA gives you is for customer goodwill (or marketing, same thing). AA bought TWA's assets, not the company itself. A lifetime airline club membership is a liability, not an asset.
Aug 17, 01, 4:29 pm
"...AA bought TWA's assets, not the company itself..."
Somewhat true. AA bought only some of the TWA assets but not all, and AA assumed of only some of the TWA liabilities, but not all. IMHO you received far more than most people have ever received with a company that went Chapt 11, and they had somewhat of a business relationship with that company. As for "good will", with the NEW IMPROVED route structure, my best guess is most former TWA flyers will not be near a NEW IMPROVED AA airport and route structure. Honestly I really wish you received more, but I cannot think of a valid and justifiable reason for this to happen.
Out of curiosity, exactly what do propose is fair in a case like this (assuming you are a totally neutral party).
Aug 17, 01, 5:06 pm
I supported TWA through thick and thin. I did not buy the lifetime membership to make money. I bought it because I travel a lot on TWA, by choice. I could have gotten cheaper flights on other airlines with shorter flight time. I have been Platinum on TWA for the past three years, but I doubt I will be EXP on AA for next year even though I could. I will fly AA when absolutely necessary, but not religiously. Why would anyone buy a lifetime lounge membership if they are not frequent flyers? Does not AA understand this? My question now is: should I go United or Delta?
I understand that AA does not have a lifetime membership program. But, why can I not keep my TWA lifetime card and use it as is? AA does not have to do any thing extra, except let me into their club on my day of flight like what they are doing now. If I loose the card, the deal is over.
FWIW, my preference is UA.
Aug 25, 01, 11:40 am
TWA went Chapt 11. When that happens, all bets are off. Forget your miles, forget your clubs, forget your outstanding credit, forget your already paid for tickets.
But, they did work out some deals. AA did not get the money you paid for the club. It is long gone. The past is of no value.
Aug 25, 01, 3:08 pm
I understand that AA does not have a lifetime membership program. But, why can I not keep my TWA lifetime card and use it as is? AA does not have to do any thing extra, except let me into their club on my day of flight like what they are doing now. If I loose the card, the deal is over.
OK, let's review the facts. 1. Providing Club service costs the airlines money. Rent for the facility, staff, food, drinks, phone lines, etc. 2. As with virtually all other airlines, AA currently charges its FFers a fee for its lounges (with exceptions, such as same day F class, etc.). 3. AA bought some of the assets and liabilities of TW, which went out of business because it could not stay competitive and control its costs. 4. As a part of that deal, AA agreed to give the TW frequent flyers AA miles equivalent to their Aviators balance.
You are advocating that AA should provide lifetime club services for free to you when other AA frequent flyers (many of whom may even fly more than you do) have to pay for the club services? Sorry, I don't see the logic in that.
If you bought a membership in a gym or spa which went out of business, would you expect some other gym or spa which opened up in that space to honor your lifetime membership? You could argue--no, these are two different things, since the airlines are in business to sell seats. But, in fact, they have all decided that club membership is a profit item too, which is why they all charge for it now. It costs them money to provide the service, and they charge for it.
I don't fly more than you do, but do not think there is anything unfair about the deal which AA has offered to you.
2 Million Miler
Aug 25, 01, 3:51 pm
Everyone arguing on behalf of AA on this matter keeps wanting to compare apples and oranges. Yes, TWA went out of business. Yes, AA bought them out, at least in part. Yes, AA technically OWES us (Lifetime Members) nothing. But…let’s look at this from a LONG TERM business OPPORTUNITY angle, shall we?
AA correctly decided that it would be a good idea NOT to alienate Ambassador Club members by cutting them off from club access. It only makes sense since the only people buying memberships are, generally speaking, frequent flyers. Why would you want to piss them off during the acquisition/changeover period? That being said, it makes no sense whatsoever, to limit the Lifetime Members to two years without even giving us the opportunity to purchase/upgrade to the same thing with AA. The only people who bought lifetime memberships are the people who are not only their most frequent flyers, but, people who plan on being so for quite a long time. The only thing AA accomplished in doing by cutting off our “Lifetime” memberships without giving us this, or any other opportunity or option, was to REALLY piss us off.
Two months ago, I decided to switch airline loyalties (I’m not going to get into it here as to why), from Northwest. After two months of trying different airlines, I had it narrowed down to two. AA or Continental. My flying constitutes 120-140 thousand miles a year. A frequent flyer that any airline would kill to get. My final choice? Continental. The deciding factor? No option given to extend/upgrade to a lifetime membership with AA.
Why they wanted to pursue this avenue is beyond my comprehension, and most, it not all, of the other “Lifetime” Members, whose “Lives” now end on April 30, 2003.
Blue Skies to you all!
Aug 25, 01, 4:49 pm
quote by 2 Million Miler:
"...Two months ago, I decided to switch airline loyalties (I’m not going to get into it here as to why), from Northwest. After two months of trying different airlines, I had it narrowed down to two. AA or Continental. My flying constitutes 120-140 thousand miles a year. A frequent flyer that any airline would kill to get. My final choice? Continental. The deciding factor? No option given to extend/upgrade to a lifetime membership with AA..."
I have heard of many reasons for choosing an airline. Some are based upon to/from location, number of flights per day, upgrade policy, upon its ff loyalty program etc. This is the first, REPEAT first time I have ever heard of one choosing an airline program based upon its airline club lifetime membership program.
I am really curious. Just how do you chose the stocks you wish to invest in?
Aug 25, 01, 5:50 pm
Anybody who buys anything labeled "lifetime" in this flaky industry should have their head examined.....and this is living proof. Just ask the former customers of Pan Am, Eastern, Braniff, Republic, Hughes Airwest, PSA, Ozark, Canadian, People Express, the old Midway (and probably the new one), the old Frontier, Eastwind, Alliance, Legend, Sunworld, Air Atlanta, Kiwi, Reno, Air 21,Air Florida, Carnival, Tower, Laker, BCAL....whew, this thread isn't long enough.....
2 Many Miles
Aug 26, 01, 8:38 am
2 Million Miler --
Please don't take this the wrong way, but if that was your deciding factor, AA probably doesn't want your miles anyway. AA looks to maximize revenue yeild. This is why the charge a lot of their clubs -- because they can get it, and it helps the bottom line. This is why they are stingy with their domestic upgrades -- because they can be and it helps their bottom line. In the case of upgrades, it also helps give a better chance of upgrading to those willing to spend some extra money (by buying some extra stickers).
AA figures -- probably rightly -- that if you're spending $25,000 / year(which is less than most EXP's spend) an extra $250 for club access wouldn't cause people to bat an eye. That's only ONE PERCENT of the yearly air travel budget. Those are the customers AA really wants to keep from the TWA deal.
Airlines don't like penny pinchers. They, like most other companies, like the big spenders.
A similar discussion took place on PlaneBusiness:
Petition/Letter to Mr. Carty on Behalf of Lifetime Ambassadors (http://www.planebusiness.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=6&t=001576)
Aug 26, 01, 9:03 am
I am lucky I have been buying only short term membership in TWA. I also had my miles insured. I knew, and I would think everyone else did also, that they have been financially in trouble for the past 5 years. If AA had not bought our TWA - they probably would be out of business anyway. Therefore, I think anyone that purchased anything (long term) from TWA over the past 3-4 years should have known they were taking a risk.
I know a few who bought TWA lifetime Ambassador Club memeberships AFTER the AA buyout was first made public. They thought they could get into the AA Clubs for life for a relative cheap cost - and took the chance that AA would honor their TWA lifetime status. It did not work out, but they know they were taking a chance.
Yes, everyone has the right to disagree with the takeover terms. AA could have given Ambassador Club lifetime members a better deal - but they did what they thought was best for their business. Personally, I would have given a longer timeframe (say, 4 years of Club membership) and tried to gain the TWA members loyality over that time.
Aug 26, 01, 11:14 am
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by AH-64D:
My question now is: should I go United or Delta?</font>
If you live in Arizona, I can't imagine picking Delta.
If America West wasn't so [insert adjective here], it would be a no-brainer.
Of course it depends on what your travel looks like, and what you like out of a loyalty program, but between UA and DL, it seems pretty clear:
UA allows upgrades on lowest fares
UA has a strong West Coast route structure (albeit much of which is served by Sh*ttle)
UA allows companion upgrades
UA has a real alliance and a pacific route structure
UA has economy plus... Compare 35" pitch to 31" on DL. Ugh.
Aug 27, 01, 10:06 am
I just got my Dear John letter from the Ambassador Club, and like AH-64D I am quite dissapointed as had chosen TWA as my carrier of choice after purchasing a Family Life Ambassador Club Membership and achieving their Life Platinum status a number of years ago. For me the Ambassador Club has been one of the major reasons for flying TWA, as it has allowed me to maximize my flying on TW even though many routes had been inconvenient. Even though I have owned other Club Memberships, I have not used them as TW was able to provide me comfortable, safe and a very envoyable experience.
I have started to evaluate which airlines would give me the best experiences and one is CAL. I would be grateful if 2 Million Miler would tell me why he has chosen CAL over the pack.
Aug 27, 01, 11:59 am
Just wondering if you would be happy if AA gave you lifetime access only to the airports where TWA had lounges??????
Aug 27, 01, 7:38 pm
Tango, I would be happy with your suggestion.
Gleff, look like UA will be my airlines of choice.
2 Many Miles, your assumption about AA is wrong in more than one way. If AA is trying to maximize revenue then they should be copying Southwest. Porsche tried to cater to the big spenders and almost gone into bankruptcy. Now, they are trying to make SUV. If AA really loves big spender they would have cross check my TWA Platinum with my Ambassador Club membership and beg me to spend time in their club.
Aug 27, 01, 8:16 pm
Do you really want to switch airlines? I would assume that you have accumulated over 2 million miles, and if American does honor the lifetime miles then you will be a lifetime platinum member on American. This will give you double miles, access to lounges on international itineraries, preferred seats, etc. forever (well, as you have learned, for as long as the airline is around and their program is around). Do you want to start from scratch with another airline or try to rearn the loyalty each year?
I too am losing my lifetime TWA card and I am quite disappointed. However I have more than earned back the cost of the original lifetime fees (which almost is what American charges for a yearly fee to new members!).
Good luck on your decision making.
Aug 28, 01, 10:29 am
FreakFlyer-I was deeply disappointed by AA's decision not to purchase the assets of the Ambassador Club including their members. I still remain optomistic that AA will discover this is a major marketing mistake, and welcome us to the Admirals Club. When I choose TWA, one of the reasons for that choice was their Ambassador Club was at most of the cities to which I frequently flew. However, I also purchased other Clubs including one that I have a Family Life Membership. Some of the airlines have introductory programs to attract their competitors' best customers, so transferring my TWA status of Life_Platinum to one of these would result in me not starting all over again. All I would need to do is to maintain my current level of flying.
I also am fortunate that my wife flies almost as I on business, and although she is not a Life_Platinum on TWA, she is pretty close, and again already has qualified for an Elite 1. Hence our situation my be different from yours in that we do have other Life Airline Club Memberships, and both of us have a hefty amount of miles in our accounts.
If I were to make the break from TWA, this would be the time for me to do it, especially since so many of those fine employees who have looked after us for all those years will be retired or working part-time on odd shifts. We previously had brought more of our business to TWA when Western was bought out by Delta, and
2 Many Miles
Aug 29, 01, 11:04 am
I must admit that I don't know you. Please don't take any of this personally, but I just can't get my mind around someone who already spends a fair amount of money on travel switching alliances because a company he's never shown any loyalty to won't honor a benefit that they never promised him.
TWA Elites have shown loyalty to TWA, not to AA. Why should AA reward them based on that. Are you telling me that if AA gave you lifetime AC membership, you'd be as loyal to AA as you were to TWA? What if AA slashes service to your local airport by 50% because they decide the TWA routes there were a network planning mistake in light of the larger AA network? Would you still be loyal to AA based on the fact they gave you lifetime AC membership?
If you really spend so much money on travel, you should be using this as a chance to evaluate ALL the airline programs out there and see which benefits/routes/pricing structures give you the best deal. To make the decision just based on lounge access strikes me as silly.
In your post, you say "I was deeply disappointed by AA's decision not to purchase the assets of the Ambassador Club including their members" Unfortunately, the members are a liability, not an asset. An asset is something with value. A liability is a corporate obligation. The members are a liability, not an asset. They are something AA has to spend money maintaining -- in the case of lifetime members, for a very long time.
Aug 29, 01, 1:24 pm
2 Many Miles: In my view, members of any airline club are some of the most frequent business travelers. No airline would be willing to sell their lists of their club members to another, although I think it is very likely that all airlines would like the lists of the members of their competitors clubs. If an airline is trying to market to business travelers because of the expensive fares they buy, wouldn't they like the lists of their competitors? Sure there is a liability of absorbing the members of the Ambassador Club into the Admirals Club, but there also are potential long range gains. That is why airlines have offered club members of the airline their were injesting into their own club.
Just my $0.02.
2 Many Miles, is the glass half empty or half full? Using your argument, the current customers of any business that provides service or support (from car dealers to software companies) are liabilities (from accounting point of view this may be true). However, we all know that it is easier to sell to an existing client (especially if he is a satisfied) as compared to finding and selling to a new customer (too many times you can’t even get through the door).
What AA has done in this case was to turn a satisfied customer (AH-64D) into a dissatisfied customer due to a reasonable request ("give me access to your lounges in airports TWA used to have lounges.") AA is under no obligation to accommodate this request, but in refusing they lose a lot of good will and as a result a likely to spend a lot more money (compared to the cost of access to AC) to find a customer that will replace the revenue that AH-64D and alike would have provided.
Aug 29, 01, 7:59 pm
2 Many Miles, I used to fly for two years PHX-ATL on TWA instead of Delta for almost 30% more in cost. I do it because I can. AA bought out TWA operation and they should take care of TWA best customers. Why should I continue to fly AA if they treat me wrong? I fly mostly full fare business and first so service comparison between airlines is a moot point. Lounge access is not an issue here because I can get in on my full fare business or first class ticket. It is silly that you can not see the different. What AA and you can not see is that I have instructed my department to never travel on AA if they can help it.
Aug 29, 01, 9:03 pm
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">2 Many Miles, I used to fly for two years PHX-ATL on TWA instead of Delta for almost 30% more in cost. I do it because I can. AA bought out TWA operation and they should take care of TWA best customers. Why should I continue to fly AA if they treat me wrong? I fly mostly full fare business and first so service comparison between airlines is a moot point. Lounge access is not an issue here because I can get in on my full fare business or first class ticket. It is silly that you can not see the different. What AA and you can not see is that I have instructed my department to never travel on AA if they can help it. </font>
It doesn't sound like YOU purchased these full fare tickets at a 30% premium over a non-stop flight, but rather your company did, or your clients. I would not be advertising this fact that you are spending 30% more not of your money just to collect some miles. AND you may have spent up to twice the travel time getting there, which you may have also billed to your clients or company. Sorry, I have no compassion here. And I also do not know of any domestic carriers (though there may be some!) that give you club access for full fare domestic fares.
Aug 30, 01, 11:32 am
As President and CEO of my company, yes I BOUGHT these tickets. May be some day, if you hit the lottery, you will understand the luxury of being a President of a company. My department is every one that report directly to me. I don't want to micro manage every one else in my company.
If you buy a full fare coach on TWA, they will bump you to first class via their Y-UP ticket. Then you will have lounge access for free on the day of travel.
Cut the jealousy and lets get back to the issue at hand.
Aug 30, 01, 2:35 pm
So (if I understand the argument, and I think I do) AA should give you free lifetime AC access to retain your business because you are a very frequent flyer? And if they fail to do so, you will walk and go to another airline?
Well, doesn't this same argument apply to ALL of AA's frequent flyers. Shouldn't they give them ALL free lifetime AC access to retain their business? Otherwise, they "Might" lose their business? Or maybe just to any FF who threatens to leave and take his business to another airline?
I fail to see how or why you should be distinguished from any other AA frequent flyer whose business AA should want to keep.
It's too bad that you paid for a lifetime club membership with TWA, but (and I may be repeating myself here) that money did not go to AA.
My TWA LIfetime member plaque hangs proudly on my office wall next to my Pan Am and Western plaques. Never got one from Delta or AA so perhaps they will survive!
Aug 30, 01, 4:05 pm
An FT posting for got me to make a copy of my Pan Am Lifetime Clipper Club Card (and my spouse's) and to fax them to Delta last month. I should have done it ten or so years ago, but our brand new comp lifetime Crown Room Club cards are spiffy. Thanks FT.
[This message has been edited by dave99 (edited 08-30-2001).]
Aug 30, 01, 9:39 pm
Rumor is that some people have used that same trick successfully with old Eastern cards, getting lifetime Continental President's club cards. Certainly worth a stamp.
Aug 31, 01, 10:05 am
Reread my post above where I've said AA bought TWA operation and how they should take care of TWA best customers. You and ff don't get it because it is not about the money with me. It is about respect. Your argument about giving every FF AC access is flawed. If AA have a lifetime AC membership, I would gladly pay the difference between it and my lifetime Ambassador to join.
2 Many Miles
Aug 31, 01, 10:52 am
I'm sorry you feel this way. I'd suggest you find a new airline. Good luck finding one that treats their top-tier elites better than AA does, though.
Consider, I was told that it was TWA's policy that even top-teir elites don't get hotel accomodations in case of bad weather. That doesn't sound like taking care of your best customers. It certainly doesn't sound like respect.
TWA in JFK also told me that they will not rule 120.20 passengers in case of problems unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. AA will do it for top tiers in a heart-beat.
So, I'm not sure how this is an issue of taking care of the best customers. AA is giving you lounge access for two years. You haven't paid A SINGLE CENT towards that lounge access. What you are getting is a gift. I could make the same statement about any miles you have left with TWA. The fact that AA is honoring them IS A GIFT.
Keep that in mind -- this is NOT a merger of equals. It was not even a hostile (or friendly) buy-out. This was TWA going caput, and AA agreeing to save parts of it.
Aug 31, 01, 3:52 pm
2 Many Miles said:
"Consider, I was told that it was TWA's policy that even top-teir elites don't get hotel accomodations in case of bad weather. That doesn't sound like taking care of your best customers. It certainly doesn't sound like respect. TWA in JFK also told me that they will not rule 120.20 passengers in case of problems unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. AA will do it for top tiers in a heart-beat."
I say: How about some personal experience with TWA? I could tell you many of mine, but I will be wasting your time and mine.
"So, I'm not sure how this is an issue of taking care of the best customers. AA is giving you lounge access for two years. You haven't paid A SINGLE CENT towards that lounge access. What you are getting is a gift. I could make the same statement about any miles you have left with TWA. The fact that AA is honoring them IS A GIFT."
AA is offering to extend my membership at no cost for less than two years if I choose to use it. This is not the same as giving me two years of any thing. I still have time to redeem my miles with TWA so AA has not given me any thing yet. Bottom line, AA has given me zero, nada, empty, and blank. Can you see the different?
"Keep that in mind -- this is NOT a merger of equals. It was not even a hostile (or friendly) buy-out. This was TWA going caput, and AA agreeing to save parts of it."
I never said this was a merger. I said AA bought out TWA operation. How many time do I have to say this. There are other buyers for TWA but the court has decided against them. AA is not a savior, they just got lucky just like Carl Ican did at one time with TWA. There are many parallel between the airlines industry and the automotive industry. Look closely and you will see. I can teach a course on this subject.
Sep 3, 01, 11:53 am
AH-64D -- Your post suggests that I have not read your post. Indeed I have.
On the other hand, you suggest that "it is not about the money." However, that statement is belied by your offer to buy a lifetime AC membership at the difference between such a membership and what you have already paid for your lifetime TW club membership. Why do you think you should get any credit for that money which TW had long since spent? If it is not about the money, isn't your beef just that AA doesn't sell a lifetime membership, which you would like to purchase for full price?
You contend that my argument regarding giving club access to all FF'ers that AA wants to keep is flawed, but I fail to see how it is (and you don't point out in what way it is flawed).
The bottom line is that, because you paid some money several years ago to an airline that has now gone bankrupt and no longer exists, you want AA to give you lifetime club access to retain your loyalty. I fail to see how your pitch to have AA give you something for free is any different than that of its other FFers who would like AA to give them something to retain their loyalty as well. Heck, I'd like AA to give me lifetime club membership too.
I don't think you can explain why you should get free lifetime club membership and some Executive Platinum who flies 200,000 miles a year on AA should still have to pay for his (or use miles to purchase his membership) on a yearly basis. Oh, I forgot. It's all about respect. They should respect you more than that Ex.Plat. person.
Sep 4, 01, 12:12 pm
DJlawman, since you asked I will elaborate.
Go back and read my posts, you will see that I said I will be happy to have access only at where TWA Ambassador clubs used to be.
Not all FFs are Lifetime Ambassador members, you are comparing apples to oranges, hence the flaw. I am talking specifically about TWA Platinum members that are also Lifetime Ambassador members. Go back and read my post. I said if AA is smart they should have cross check my records in their data base and beg me to spent time in their AC. In the event that they do check my record and offer me a lifetime AC membership for the different in price, I would buy it.
If you go back and read my posts, I challenger you to point out where I said that AA should give free lounge access to their EXP or for all FFs. This is a TWA forum and I was speaking strictly TWA issues, which come November will be AA problems.
Bottom line, read my posts, please.
Sep 4, 01, 12:33 pm
Not sure the above discussion is going anywhere, but fun to read.
I see both sides. If AA were to grant lifetime Club status the TWA Ambassador Lifetimes, it would probably gain some loyalty. But the Lifetime member may not be the best TWA customers. I know of many club members who do not fly huge number of miles and, conversly, some very frequent flyers who do not belong to a club. If AA want to "win" the loyalty of TWA flyers, they should probably give some bonus to those that spend the most on airfares - club or not.
I also would think AA would have a problem with their AA members if they gave Lifetime Club status to TWA's members - especially when the TWA members did not pay very much (which was appropriate as they have fewer clubs).
What is fair - depends on point of view. I would have said 4 years, but just an opinion. Like most businesses, they make decisions based on what THEY think the likely outcome and the customers have the options to choose.
If I were AA marketing I would give a couple passes to visit the clubs and a discount on annual renewal. I guess that is pretty close to what they're doing.
Sep 4, 01, 3:00 pm
AH-64D -- Once again, I HAVE read your posts. I know you are not arguing that lifetime club membership ought to be given to other frequent flyers. (Indeed, you would probably be happy if you were the only person that they made an exception for and gave lifetime free AA club access to.) That's exactly my point, though.
If your sole argument is that AA ought to give you lifetime access because you are a frequent flyer and it would "buy" your loyalty, and you would otherwise change airlines, how does that differ from any other AA frequent flyer? Couldn't every other AA very frequent flyer say to AA--"Give me lifetime club access or I will change airlines!" How does AA give it to you and not to everyone else who demands it--under threat of changing to some other airline?
Are there more TW lifetime club members AA is going to get mad by not giving them lifetime free Admirals' access, or are there more AA very Frequent Flyers who are going to be mad if you all (former TW lifetime club members) get this for free and they have to keep paying for it (in $s or miles) every year? I suggest the latter, and it would appear that is where AA has come out on the decision as well.
I am sure AA contemplated the possible ramifications of its decision before it made it. Sounds like a rational business decision on the part of AA to me. AA probably figured it would lose some people on account of that issue, but probably figured that most lifetime TW club members either 1)are tied into the STL-based flight network which TW had, and AA is taking over, and will stick with AA for that reason; or 2) understand that their lifetime TW club membership fee was paid to an airline, TW, that went bankrupt, and that it legally entitles them to nothing from AA. If you don't like it, vote with your feet.
I'm not sure why you keep on insisting that we want AA membership for free. The precedent is that airlines have honored life-memberships when assuming the assets, as is the case with Pan Am Clippers who were honored by DL, EA Ionosphere's, who were honored by CO, PI Presidents, by US, and WA (forget the club name) - again by DL.
UA proposed to honor US lifers had that merger gone through. And UA has no life-memberships.
So AA is breaking precedent.
Sure, I am upset, as I have voiced in previous threads. I am up for suggestions on how to help AA think outside of the box on this one.
DJlawman said: -- " Once again, I HAVE read your posts. I know you are not arguing that lifetime club membership ought to be given to other frequent flyers. (Indeed, you would probably be happy if you were the only person that they made an exception for and gave lifetime free AA club access to.) That's exactly my point, though. If your sole argument is that AA ought to give you lifetime access because you are a frequent flyer and it would "buy" your loyalty, and you would otherwise change airlines, how does that differ from any other AA frequent flyer? Couldn't every other AA very frequent flyer say to AA--"Give me lifetime club access or I will change airlines!" How does AA give it to you and not to everyone else who demands it--under threat of changing to some other airline? "
I said: EASY! Tell the AA frequent flyers to show AA the money. You have not read my post otherwise you would have notice that I recommend AA cross check my flying records. There are frequent flyer wannabe, and then there are real frequent flyers. I have never done a mileage run in my life and I've stopped buying coach ticket about six years ago unless it is a life or death situation (business wise). I am sure I am not the only TWA FF doing this.
"Are there more TW lifetime club members AA is going to get mad by not giving them lifetime free Admirals' access, or are there more AA very Frequent Flyers who are going to be mad if you all (former TW lifetime club members) get this for free and they have to keep paying for it (in $s or miles) every year? I suggest the latter, and it would appear that is where AA has come out on the decision as well."
This is strictly a guess on your part. I am willing to bet that you do not speak for AA.
"I am sure AA contemplated the possible ramifications of its decision before it made it. Sounds like a rational business decision on the part of AA to me. AA probably figured it would lose some people on account of that issue, but probably figured that most lifetime TW club members either 1)are tied into the STL-based flight network which TW had, and AA is taking over, and will stick with AA for that reason; or 2) understand that their lifetime TW club membership fee was paid to an airline, TW, that went bankrupt, and that it legally entitles them to nothing from AA."
Again, you are only guessing what AA is doing and nothing more. What make you think that AA will not reverse their decision?
"If you don't like it, vote with your feet."
I said UA is my choice for future air travel in previous post, if you really did read it.
2 Many Miles
Sep 4, 01, 8:02 pm
I spent somewhere north of $40k on AA last year. That doesn't entitle me to AAdmiral's club. I spent somewhere around $20k on DL, and I do have free access -- because DL gives free access to PM's. If you want free club access, chose a carrier that gives it.
Of course, thoser are only the second tier carriers in the US. They're the same carriers that give free alcohol in their clubs. AA and UA don't offer free memberships, or free drinks -that's a business decision they made.
I have lifetime with US air, and if UA had bought them out, they would have honored that. Of course, that's completely irrelevant to this discussion because that was a purchase of a going concern. The other cited examples are also moot. They were not an asset purchase of a bankrupt carrier.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by 2 Many Miles:
The other cited examples are also moot. They were not an asset purchase of a bankrupt carrier.</font>
DL's purchase of some of PA's assets after bankrupcy gave many life CRC memberships from their Clipper memberships.
Sep 6, 01, 8:37 am
"I have heard of many reasons for choosing an airline. Some are based upon to/from location, number of flights per day, upgrade policy, upon its ff loyalty program etc. This is the first, REPEAT first time I have ever heard of one choosing an airline program based upon its airline club lifetime membership program."
The FACT is that AA has CHOSEN to alienate TWA lifetime Ambassadors by being the first and only airline in history to break with acquisition precedent and not honor lifetime club memberships.
There's no legal requirement here. Just standard industry practice...as a result, the reasonable expectations on the part of TWA Ambassadors have not been met -- hence disappointment and alienation.
I would think from a straight cost/benefit analysis, it makes much more sense for AA to NOT alienate these customers: the incremental revenues to be earned from their continued AA loyalty far offset revenues to be earned from their purchase of annual AC memberships (or the converse, the revenue to be lost far offsets the income to be gained from selling such memberships).
It's a simple argument and matter. The fact is that this decision breaks with the precedent of every other airline merger, including all the other defunct airline asset purchases, and in doing so alienates many of TWA's best customers, and strong potential AA customers.
I suspect some bureaucrat within the Admiral's Club hierarchy made this decision trying to protect/maximize his/her fiefdom without considering the best interests of the airline as a whole.
End of story.
[This message has been edited by nologic (edited 09-06-2001).]
Sep 6, 01, 9:04 am
Nologic-You've stated the case well, and I completely agree with you. As you know, I am in the same circumstance as you and others, but perhaps bring even more to the table, as my wife is approaching Life_Platinum status within TWA as well. One time we were told by a Concierge desk personnel that we were the couple with the most miles flown in our TWA accounts. Perhaps this determination was just a guess by one of the Concierge desk personnel, but it serves an examples of how AA has succeed in alienating high mileage flyers because of a poor business decision on the behalf. We have begun determining which airline will win our loyalty.
AA *is* honoring lifetime club memberships. The deal is two years free and discounted rates for life.
Look at the Admiral's Club rates and compare them to the TWA lifetime rate already paid. Even if you use the lowest AC rates (ExPlat), AA is offering a deal that is more than fair.
It's more than fair because AA didn't get TWA's lifetime rate; TWA spent that money. AA is eating the TWA lifetime rate, and hoping that it can be replaced with AA ticket purchases.
The PlaneBusiness link I posted earlier in this thread is temporarily unavailable. What I posted near the end of that thread was this:
The value of a lifetime Admiral's Club membership at ExPlat rates for person & spouse (i.e., present value of $350/yr for person & spouse; $250/yr for single; age 40; 3% inflation) is about $9000.
The TWA person & spouse lifetime rate was $1200 according to another poster. $1,200 vs $9,000. That is a huge difference.
If the discount after two years is 6%, you break even. If the discount is more than 6%, you are better off.
The value of a lifetime AC membership starting two years from now is about $8300. To keep it simple, and bias the result in your favor, ignore past use of TWA clubs. Take the $1200 already paid, and add $8300 less discount:
6% discount: $1200 + 0.94*8300 = $9002
10% discount: $1200 + 0.90*8300 = $8670
Of course, marketing plays a role, but that's difficult to quantify. That's what bean counters are for.
However, if you look at the plain old numbers, you can see that AA is not alienating TWA FF's.
[This message has been edited by JS (edited 09-06-2001).]
Does AA even have lifetime memberships for their clubs? They don't right? Yet AA somehow is expected to create a new class of memberships for people who have demonstrated loyalty to... some other airline? To me, this is absurd and beyond the pale. Most TWA people realize that their airline was not a truly viable concern when AA snatched up the remains, TWA was in fact bankrupt. The destinction is an important one, yet seems to escape some people here. TWA members have benefits in an airline, that went bankrupt. AA has been gracious and intelligent in extending several benefits. Hey, I can understand the attempt to get a freebie, the whole elite mileage thing breeds a class of complainers and beggers with unreasonable expectations, sometimes taken to an extreme among the most elite members as we can see here, nudge nudge http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif
Wouldn't giving a lifetime freebie to people loyal to a different airline, totally shock the sensibilities of those who had instead been loyal to AA, spending many thousands on tickets each year, and still never getting a freebie memberships like a few TWA people insist they are due? Isn't the perspective of existing AA members worth considering? I believe so, this is exactly why they dumped giving free elite status referrals, it upset and alientated people who had to put considerable money and effort into what others got for free. Even executive platinum members, or 2 million mile members, are not given club access for free, yet these TWA people are acting like it is an entitement. Unreal.
The other oddity is the confidence these TWA members have in asserting that not extending totally free, lifetime memberships to them is a bad business decision. Do they have access to accounting projections and strategic marketing analysis AA does not? No, I think the logic goes like this. 1) AA won't meet my totally unreasonable demands to give me a completely free, lifetime benefit so I will unreasonably huff away and spend my money elsewhere. 2) Because I took my money elsewhere, it is a bad business decision for AA.
I think in any airline aquisition and merger, there simply are going to be some huffy primadonnas whose demands are so extreme, that accomodating them is simply not good business. With some of these people, the sooner you write them off the better, because it's questionable they were really interested in AA anyway. In this case, the nature of the demand is telling -- it involves no demonstration of loyalty to AA whatsoever, not even a single dollar in purchased airfare, they just want the lifetime freebie immediately. They haven't even considered how such a move would alienate existing AA club members.
If you want AA perks, and you spend lots of money on travel, it is easy to do. AA has transferred over your elite memberships. You can even advance and maintain the tiers more quickly with gold and platinum challenges. With elite status you can even purchase club memberships more cheaply. AA is even going well beyond the call of duty, giving you two years free and an unending discount. If after all these enticements, another airline and FF program is more appealing, go for it.
[This message has been edited by benoit (edited 09-06-2001).]
Nologic has posted above "The FACT is that AA ...[is]... the first and only airline in history to break with acquisition precedent and not honor lifetime club memberships" is not entirely true.
When CO took over certain assets of EA (mainly domestic routes and equipment, AA having already bought the SA routes and Trump the Shuttle), CO did not immediately recognize the Lifetime Ionosphere Club memberships. Several months after EA ceased flying, CO made an offer (at least to me) to convert mine to LT Presidents Club - but only if I flew 4 roundtrips on CO in a very short period of time. CO did not then fly where I needed to go so there was NO way I could take it up on this "offer". I have also read posts for the past year or two on the FT CO board that not everyone even received this proposal.
Even now when CO has a much improved reputation and does fly where I go (although not from the airport I prefer), I seldom fly them - at least partially because of their failure to accept the EA Club Lifetimers. Somewhere I read a suggestion of mailing them the LT IC card and asking for LT PC membership. Since I have a dupe card, maybe I should try it. If successful, it could prove nologic's point. Otherwise, he should vote with his feet, as I have with CO.
What is the discount they are offering after the first two free years?
AA and UA do have (Did have?) lifetime memberships as does DL. I now get comments from all 3 when they see my cards, I guess there aren't that many left.
Sep 7, 01, 7:36 am
A couple of points here:
1) TWA filed for bankruptcy as part of a pre-packaged buyout deal with AA. This is different than if AA came in after the fact and picked up some pieces of the airline.
2) AA, at one time, did offer lifetime Admirals Club memeberships, just as it offered a lifetime AAirpass option.
3) AA is offering TWA FF's, even those who have never set foot on an AA plane, equivalent miles and status in the AAdvantage program. In addition, while offering TW Elites matching status in the AAdvantage program, AA did not do same for current AAdvantage members for the rest of the Aviators program.
4) High level Elite flyers do have complimentary access to One World lounges on international flights. While not the same as granting same-day Admirals Club access, it is an important Elite benefit.
5) The number of TWA Platinums, and I would guess, the number of Lifetime Ambassador Club members, is very limited. I would imagine that there is a fair degree of overlap here. Whatever financial impact there is to AA, plus or minus, of this decision, is pretty minimal.
6) If AA does in fact decide to honor "lifetime" TWA miles towards AA million mile status, will there be similar complaints from AA flyers, even those who stand to benefit from this decision?
Sep 7, 01, 7:36 am
TWA's Lifetime Club Members Get Cold Welcome From American
When is a lifetime not a lifetime? When you're a member of TWA's Ambassador Club program.
In the wake of TWA's bankruptcy-court proceedings and subsequent purchase by American Airlines, members of TWA's Ambassadors Club program are being folded into American's Admirals Club. But their welcome there will be short-lived for some: American has notified some 30,000 TWA fliers with so-called lifetime memberships that their access will expire April 30, 2003. "Lifetime members will then be allowed to renew their Admirals Club membership," according to American's letter. The price: $250 per year.
George Bulow, a New York entrepreneur, says he resents having to "keep paying" after he shelled out $1,500 for a TWA lifetime membership in the late 1980s. "American has now put the wood to people like me," he says.
American says it will stop honoring TWA's lifetime members at its 50 clubs world-wide because it sells only yearly memberships for its Admirals Club. "It's not a comparable product," says an American spokesman.
Even so, once they're inside club doors, former Ambassadors shouldn't expect too warm a welcome. TWA fliers should consider themselves lucky, says Bobby Finken, a Dallas sales executive and Admirals Club member for more than a decade. "Why should some guy who had no loyalty to American be able to come in?"
Sep 7, 01, 7:44 am
---------------------------------------------Benoit, your wrong when you posted -----------------------------------
"Does AA even have lifetime memberships for their clubs? They don't right? Yet AA somehow is expected to create a new class of memberships for people who have demonstrated loyalty to... some other airline?"
American Airlines has had Lifetime Memberships but they no longer sell them. TWA has had Lifetime Memberships but they also no longer sell them. AA has continued to honor their Lifetime Memberships although they no longer sell them. AA will not honor TWA's Lifetime membership.
Many have posted that other airlines have honored the Life memberships of an airline they have ingested, and now AA is breaking with the tradition. I can validate that USAir has honored a Club Family Life Membership of an airline they ingested in our case. I was unaware that any Club Members had complained when their Airline had honored membership of other airlines.
Only AA can judge if this is a good or a bad business practice, but there appear to some who will be taking their business to another airline because of the break in tradition in honoring TWA's Ambassador Club. How many Life Ambassador Club Members does this include? I don't think any of us know, but there is a letter writing campaign underway by one of the members of this board about this loss. I can report that when I called one of AA's competitors and talked with their highest level frequent flyer agents, he told me that they have received "lots" of calls from Aviator Members who want to leave AA. You can guess many is "lots" as well as I.
Most people who fly on premium fares are doing it on their company expense. Most of these companies have contracts with certain airlines for reduced rates. Even if a person wanted to change to a different airline they may not be able to unless they convinced their company to change to a different airline.
For the people who buy their own tickets on their own dime, I doubt there is enough of them to have any impact on AA.
For people looking to change airlines, the only two airlines that offer something more similar to TWA would be NW and maybe CO. Both of these programs come up short when you compare the depth and advantages of their respectful programs.
If the competition was serious about getting people to move away from AA/TWA, they would be offering a lifetime membership in their lounge programs to current lifetime Ambasador lounge members.
Even if you do not like how AA is treating you, your lifetime membership has some value if you stay with AA. It has no value if you jump ship and move your business elsewhere.
Sep 7, 01, 10:08 pm
I have been following the various posts regarding the whole Admirals Club/Ambassador Club debate for awhile now. It's really getting tiring listening to all of the TWA folks complain about not getting their LT memberships transferred to AA. Let's face it - if selling a lifetime mebership for $1500 bucks was a good business decision, TWA would still be in business. It was a ridiculously low rate and if you got 4 or 5 years year out of the deal, I would say you broke even. When you compare the sheer number of club locations that AA has (50+) versus the 10 locations that TW had, you will be increasing by 500% the number of facilities you have access to. That alone has got to have some value. Of course, if AA had not bought TW, there probably wouldn't be a TW at this moment and you would have to pay for a membership anyway. At least now you are getting two years at no charge.
Like many TWA LT Ambassador Club members have said, they will express their displeasure by flying other carriers. That's cool - it will mean one less person who is competing for an upgrade and one less person at the bar!
Sep 10, 01, 5:26 pm
It baffles me that some of you have no clue as to what going on and still trying to be expert on the subject. For example, there were 14 Ambassador Clubs not 10 so ORDPLATAA math is fuzzy at best. There are other posts above that are just pure fictions, or assumptions from people that think they know how airlines operate. Can we all talk facts instead of shooting from the hip?
AA treatment of their TWA lifetime Ambassador members left me wondering if Carl Ican could have done any worse if the court let him buy out TWA.
AH-64D: I hope your are joking about Uncle Carl. He is probably the main reason why TWA ended up on the ropes. He bled the airline dry. There should be a law keeping these types out of the aviation business.
If you want a list of all the stupid things he did just let me know.
Sep 11, 01, 7:54 am
I have a simple solution for you-if you "are getting sick of reading".... posts about the Life Ambassador Club issue, then simply don't read this topic. What could be easier?
When Delta took over the original Pan AM Ionospheres club I remembered they honored all the lifetime memberships, thus some Crown Room members are still lifetime! I think the same thing happened with Western Airlines as well... Shame on AA http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/mad.gif
And by the way their are many lifetime Admirals Club members because AA was selling them until 1998.
Ionosphere was Eastern (which BTW CO comped), Clipper Club was Pan Am, and yes they did comp lifetime when DL bought them. Slightly different scenario though TWA went bust. Pan Am went bust in a much more drawn out fashion. In fact DL bought some of Pan Am's operations and then took a large equity stake in the new Pan Am. So the situation was different.