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Switching to AS, as a current UA elite, and the future of AS.

Switching to AS, as a current UA elite, and the future of AS.

Old May 30, 17, 5:41 pm
  #1  
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Switching to AS, as a current UA elite, and the future of AS.

Hi all,

I'm a current UA GS, I know the benefits I get there are pretty special, but I also know I'm not going to be GS forever. I'm well versed in the AS program (it really does seem to be the strongest FFP I've seen), but many caution about the lack of being part of one of the big alliances, and also home route network. I'm based in LAX and need service to SFO/BOS/NYC primarily.

Also, this is probably a ways off, but do you see a world in which AS and B6 merge? Selfishly, that network would be great for me, but I also imagine it'd be good for a combined AS/B6 -- good route compliments but also smart management teams, that haven't seemed to forget that the customer is more than self loading luggage.

Look forward to your feedback!

Last edited by boat9781; May 30, 17 at 6:17 pm Reason: Typo
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Old May 30, 17, 5:57 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
Also, this is probably a ways off, but do you see a world in which AS and B6 merge?
No, I don't see it happening. I think that predicting a merger beyond that reasonably foreseeable future is a fool's errand (I suspect AS has a full plate for 5 years). Far enough out, anything can happen, but by that point any number of things can happen.

I suspect that AS will dump the VX Airbus fleet along with the VX F product, and continue to chase after what they think is their market niche (non-corporate leisure travel that's willing to spend a bit for Y+ and a middle to lower end domestic F product, plus whatever they can get for expanding in CA to add to the base in SEA/PDX/Alaska). This doesn't necessarily make them an ideal match with a B6 that has recognized that Mint is a great product for them.
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Old May 30, 17, 6:53 pm
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
Hi all,

I'm a current UA GS, I know the benefits I get there are pretty special, but I also know I'm not going to be GS forever. I'm well versed in the AS program (it really does seem to be the strongest FFP I've seen), but many caution about the lack of being part of one of the big alliances, and also home route network. I'm based in LAX and need service to SFO/BOS/NYC primarily.

Also, this is probably a ways off, but do you see a world in which AS and B6 merge? Selfishly, that network would be great for me, but I also imagine it'd be good for a combined AS/B6 -- good route compliments but also smart management teams, that haven't seemed to forget that the customer is more than self loading luggage.

Look forward to your feedback!
Briefly, It's a few years away, but to me it looks like a logical merger. B6 and now AS have drawn some of my US domestic revenue away from UA (most of my flying is international though). The original devaluation of MP a few years ago pushed me to look elsewhere. As 1K with GS family, the elite benefits don't make sense for me to diversify too much at the moment though. However I think an AS + B6 merger would likely be the most attractive airline to fly US domestic.
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Old May 30, 17, 8:32 pm
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Originally Posted by ermintrude View Post
Briefly, It's a few years away, but to me it looks like a logical merger. B6 and now AS have drawn some of my US domestic revenue away from UA (most of my flying is international though). The original devaluation of MP a few years ago pushed me to look elsewhere. As 1K with GS family, the elite benefits don't make sense for me to diversify too much at the moment though. However I think an AS + B6 merger would likely be the most attractive airline to fly US domestic.
I agree. Currently, in 2017....
Alaska Valuation is 10.78 Billions.
Jetblue Valuation is 8.51 Billions....

I don't think either company can outright purchase each other....

Jiburi
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Old May 30, 17, 10:06 pm
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
No, I don't see it happening. I think that predicting a merger beyond that reasonably foreseeable future is a fool's errand (I suspect AS has a full plate for 5 years). Far enough out, anything can happen, but by that point any number of things can happen.

I suspect that AS will dump the VX Airbus fleet along with the VX F product, and continue to chase after what they think is their market niche (non-corporate leisure travel that's willing to spend a bit for Y+ and a middle to lower end domestic F product, plus whatever they can get for expanding in CA to add to the base in SEA/PDX/Alaska). This doesn't necessarily make them an ideal match with a B6 that has recognized that Mint is a great product for them.
Well the F product being dumped is already a done deal.
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Old May 30, 17, 10:52 pm
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Originally Posted by jiburi View Post
I agree. Currently, in 2017....
Alaska Valuation is 10.78 Billions.
Jetblue Valuation is 8.51 Billions....

I don't think either company can outright purchase each other....

Jiburi
While that likely precludes a hostile takeover, it certainly does not prevent a consensual merger. DL/NW, UA/CO, and US/AA were all cashless mergers where the successor airline just pumped out new shares, rather than paying cash, for the merger partner's shares.
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Old May 31, 17, 12:02 am
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It does indeed seem to be a rational, eventual fit. I think in the meantime B6 is going to try to build out at SFO. They are pretty far behind VX+AS though.
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Old May 31, 17, 12:02 am
  #8  
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Once AS acquires HA, maybe they'll work on B6. But this would be 10-15 years down the road to speculate.
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Old May 31, 17, 12:16 am
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
Hi all,

I'm a current UA GS, I know the benefits I get there are pretty special, but I also know I'm not going to be GS forever. I'm well versed in the AS program (it really does seem to be the strongest FFP I've seen), but many caution about the lack of being part of one of the big alliances, and also home route network. I'm based in LAX and need service to SFO/BOS/NYC primarily.
...
Look forward to your feedback!
I was a 1K many years ago, when the benefits were likely better than your GS benefits (including an exSFO upgrade rate in the 90%+ department). I have flown exactly 1 UA segment in the past few years. I don't miss it. (I'm still MM if I need to fly UA again, so I'll have some benefits.)

I fly mostly paid (discounted) partner premium international and some domestic. I also fly a handful of AS (both paid and upgraded F). VX is also in my flying mix. I've been MVPG or 75K for several years going. It works for me quite well. With the Amex Platinum (as well as paid premium travel), I have lounges in most places. AA JFK transcon is a decent product.

It sounds like you value redemption options. Given that AS int'l awards generally include AS to the gateway and a stopover, and are generally available one way, it comes close to the flexibility of an alliance.

If I flew primarily in Y, and was relying on upgrades to sit up front, I'd probably need a different FFP.

Also note that your AS lounge membership gets you in the AA network during your travels.

I've been an AS FF since 1986, and with very limited exception, when AS has dropped the ball, it has made right. And fortunately, there has been very little ball dropping. When I was a UA top elite, UA also made right by me, but that was a different era. Now, they don't care who I am, or was.

You will find that your glass is usually "at least half full" over at AS. And I know that if I expect the grass to be greener somewhere else, I could well find that the grass is dead over there.
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Old May 31, 17, 12:29 am
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IMO it would not be wise to make any decisions regarding airline loyalty and status over speculation of future mergers that may or may not happen. As mentioned upthread, AS will have its hands full for years because of the VX acquisition.
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Old May 31, 17, 12:41 am
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1. How close is the OP to MM status on UA? It might make sense to get that first before switching.

2. Has the OP checked AS frequencies and schedules for the likely routes to NYC and BOS? Will this work? Are there enough alternative flights for rebooking in case of IROPs? [For example, when I last checked, the AS nonstop to DCA operated once a day, but the merger might have changed that.] BTW, for NYC, do you prefer JFK or LGA over EWR?
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Old May 31, 17, 1:06 am
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I think this depends almost entirely on the regulatory situation––and thus, it's far too early to speculate. From a business perspective, it might make sense, but I have to question whether people would be saying this if AS had purchased a different carrier instead of VX, or if it hadn't merged at all. The "new Alaska" might be more of a fit for B6, but it's still too early to know what that airline will look like, and the current AS really doesn't feel like a match.
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Old May 31, 17, 1:29 am
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I think B6+HA is more possible.
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Old May 31, 17, 1:36 am
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AS+B6 makes sense only if you compare the two route networks and think, hmm, west coast, east coast, they're complementary. It's not that simple. The fleets are different, the products and pricing are different, the cultures and attitudes are different. B6 holds its own in NYC and AS is new to big-city competition. I don't see it happening in the short / medium term, and in the long term only if economic pressures force desperation measures.
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Old May 31, 17, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by beckoa View Post
Once AS acquires HA, maybe they'll work on B6. But this would be 10-15 years down the road to speculate.
So that's how AS is planning on picking up widebody airframes.
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