Rate American AAdvantage

Old Nov 25, 09, 2:35 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: May 2004
Location: DFW/DAL
Programs: AA Lifetime PLT, AS MVPG, HH Diamond, NCL Platinum Plus
Posts: 20,275
Originally Posted by JohnWM View Post
I fly on my own dime, and when & where I please. In that regard, I realize that I am unlike most posters on this thread.

My sense of it is that the AAdvantage program has deteriorated due to two serious failings: the troubling lack of partners and the recent removal of the stopover privilege from award travel.

Because of these failings, I see the AAdvantage program as worth perhaps a 'C'. A few years ago I would have said an 'A'.

Many earlier posters on different threads here at FlyerTalk have said it succinctly down through the years: the frequent flyer programs are simply bribes to accept inferior service.
I am inclined to believe part of the "inferior service" part of this. My wife commented on what my mother-in-law said comparing WN to AA, as MIL had recently traveled to TUL on WN from SJC. The WN planes are a LOT nicer, and service is usually friendlier. Now, I have also flown WN twice in the past month, and I agree. My daughter's mother had an irrop while going SNA-DFW-GSP (Greenville, SC) a week ago, and AA put her on DL SNA-ATL-GSP.
She said pretty much the same thing. The AA flights were dirtier and service was better on DL. She has no AA status, but racks up quite a few miles on her Citibank AA card. Also, on the SJC-SNA route, which I have flown 40 flights on this year, only one twice was I ever offered anything for being EXP, and had I not read about the free drinks/snacks on FT, I would be clueless about this benefit on AE. I haven't had a mainline flight in Y since the change for mainline flights, but I hope it is better implemented than what I have seen on Eagle.... That said, bring AE back to SJC-SNA. I need the miles

AA had my business largely due to the FF benefits. However, there is a lot of work to be done, apart from FF benefits, if they want to be competitive. WN has listened and has changes to their FF program. The one I noticed most is the A-List. This avoids the previous hassle of checking in 24 hours in advance, for people who do 32 segments per year or more. If WN started going International, or had seat assignments, I would be more likely to fly them. AA... if you are listening... It might be beneficial to keep the SNA AC open for people on WN and other flights, and to maybe advertise your club to non-AA flyers. The AC at SNA is convenient to WN..The one in SJC is going to be convenient to JetBlue passengers when they move in to Term A on Dec 3. As it stands now, you are losing one member on Dec 31, as most of my flying NOT on this route, is international, and I don't need AC membership for that.
mvoight is offline  
Old Nov 25, 09, 2:38 pm
Join Date: Mar 2006
Programs: AA EXP, UA 1K, F9 Elite, Hyatt Diamond, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 1,310

+ Ability to use SWU on all fares
+ General abundance of available reward space (compared to other programs)
+ Unique reward options (i.e. OneWorld Awards with mileage bands)

- Co-pays on upgrades
- Ticketing fees even if itinerary not able to be booked online (partner redemption)
denCSA is offline  
Old Nov 25, 09, 4:26 pm
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: SFO/OAK
Programs: AA EXP 3.3MM, BAEC, UAMP, Skyteam (<10k) HH Gold, IHG Plat, Hertz Gold, GE/TSA TT
Posts: 2,707
Originally Posted by fixedwingflyer View Post
For the discount-fare pax, AAdvantage is an excellent program. One can upgrade the cheapest fares (sometimes as low as double digits). What more can one ask for than a first class seat for a $95 fare and a few earned 500-mile stickers? ...
Agreed... as a discount EXP flyer (one of two at my non-profit .org) I definitely have benefited from the relative ease of obtaining upgrades and award tix on AA.
1-- I have only flown in AA Y on two segments in the past 4 years (those when I was PLT), that's out of roughly 110 segments, so >98% upgrade rate. This is waaay better than the ratio for my UAMP 1K colleagues.

2-- Mrs.G and I have used AA miles for several int'l vacation trips to Italy, France, Africa, Australia, and many domestic destinations with relatively little "wheeling and dealing" with AA to get the award tix.

3-- the EXP line can't be beat by any other program, esp. when it comes to irrops situations!

...so, the bottom line for me is aadvantage get an "A"^ (it would be A+ if we could book awards with OW partners online at aa.com)

p.s. I have so far recruited 5 colleagues into aadvantage PLT status via challenge. One will achieve EXP status for the first time next month.
billgrates3 is offline  
Old Nov 25, 09, 7:11 pm
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: Marriott Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 475
I'd give it an A. The customer service reps are outstanding.
stheller is offline  
Old Nov 26, 09, 10:28 am
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1
AA Advantage Cut Value in HALF

I hope I'm misunderstanding the changes in AA's Advantage Program, because it seems to me that they have HALVED the value of the miles this year and no one noticed. People are too busy complimenting the improvements: new one-way booking simplicity, great on line booking system, easy (though costly) upgrades etc.
I've been with Advantage for more than 10 years and would have given them an A+ grade, until this month when I tried to book a flight (which I have done at least once or twice EVERY year for >5years) for my mother to come from Trinidad to Los Angeles to visit me. That used to cost 35,000 miles ROUND-TRIP, but now with one-way booking, it will cost 70,000 miles (economy) round trip, because the identical award is now good for just ONE-WAY. That's more than it used to cost for even a First Class round trip.
I pay costly annual credit card fees just to accumulate Advantage miles. I consider it deceitful to change the value of the miles so drastically without explicitly informing members. The program slips to a C grade this year for me, even with the great new on line booking system.
GabbyB is offline  
Old Nov 26, 09, 11:45 am
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Location: Benicia CA
Programs: Alaska MVP Gold 75K, AA 3.8MM, UA 1.1MM, enjoying the retired life
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Originally Posted by GabbyB View Post
That used to cost 35,000 miles ROUND-TRIP, but now with one-way booking, it will cost 70,000 miles (economy) round trip, because the identical award is now good for just ONE-WAY.
Appears you're looking at an Anytime award (70K RT) versus a Milesaver Peak award which is still 35,000 miles RT. AA can restrict availability for those 35K awards. Have you looked at flexing your date to get a 35K award?


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Old Nov 26, 09, 5:31 pm
Join Date: Oct 2009
Programs: AA EXP 2.5 MM, AA Concierge Key
Posts: 320
Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
Appears you're looking at an Anytime award (70K RT) versus a Milesaver Peak award which is still 35,000 miles RT. AA can restrict availability for those 35K awards. Have you looked at flexing your date to get a 35K award?


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AA could certainly increase it's Milesaver availability a bit for its EXPs. I couldn't tell the difference when I went from PLT to EXP. Supposedly there's expanded Milesaver availability for EXPs and yet there are entire months were I've been unable to find a seat on certain routes.
fixedwingflyer is offline  
Old Nov 27, 09, 5:20 am
Join Date: Aug 2001
Programs: AA Plat & LTG; QF LTG
Posts: 9,837
For my particular flying patterns and desired outcomes, I rate AA Program as an A. And that is without setting foot (or butt) in an AA aircraft this year, while requalifying EXP status this coming Sunday lunch time.
NM is offline  
Old Nov 27, 09, 9:21 am
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Charlottesville, Va. USA
Posts: 1,570
I would rate the program A! I like the following aspects in particular:
All miles count toward lifetime status.
Customer service is almost always excellent.
Very good award availability
jmj9905 is offline  
Old Nov 27, 09, 10:08 am
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Toronto and Switzerland
Programs: AA EXP - Lifetime Platinum - SPG Platinum and HH DIA - SPG PLT
Posts: 163
Also on 'A' from moi - or as we say in Canada, an "eh"!

I had the misfortune of changing airlines from AA to Air Canada (AC) in 2008 and was a 'Super-elite' (SE) with AC in late 08' and 09' - due to flying patterns. anywho, the SE is their equivalent of EXP and it is truly a joke. I was upgraded less than 40% with them and one pays much higher fares.

I switched back to AA in March 09' and made EXP in October. I have been upgraded 100% so far with AA and the service is great.

For me, AA is a far superior product for their FF's.
billbarilko is offline  
Old Nov 28, 09, 6:47 pm
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: HKG
Programs: JL/JGC Diamond (OWE), AS MVPG, AA LT Gold 1MM, A3 *G, Marriott Plat, Hertz 5*, National Exec
Posts: 3,212
It's nice to see a fellow Canadian with a similar viewpoint^ and I could've went for AC Elite the last 2 yrs, thanks for proving my viewpoint billbarilko
Short hair Francis is offline  
Old Nov 28, 09, 7:31 pm
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Germany
Programs: Currently without any status :(
Posts: 1,555
In general: B+
Before I started travelling in 2006 I carefully studies FT for my supposed travel pattern and chose oneworld with BA. I have switched over to AA completly for my tatl travel 2-4 times a year because of the miles earning potential as well as the awards, the good enough Y class and additional perks in the AAvantage programm.

Extra Plus:
Fa are way more friendly in Y and J than their BA colleagues (although older, but I rather take friendly and service oriented over 'younger to look at')
Although I am always hoping for my upgrade I do not expect it and am very pleased with the way they treat the passengers.

- usually no check in possible via online due to BA / AA problem
- german website does not allow what the american does
- all offerings are made based up flights through Fra although for me going through LHR is a much better option
- I do read english. I see the offerings for the american market and more often than not they are only limited to that although they would not hurt in offering them as well to European flyers.

Sum: B- because of the German market problem
nixande is offline  
Old Nov 29, 09, 10:23 am
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London
Programs: AA EXP, 1MM
Posts: 633
I'd give Aadvantage a B+.

I particularly like:
  • The ability to use SWUs on cheap fares and that the SWUs tend to clear,
  • The ability to earn full mileage on cheap fares and then have that mileage doubled due to elite status,
  • The sticker upgrade system,
  • The ease of using miles with partners (BA in particular for me),
  • The ability to earn lifetime status.

I think improvements could be made to:
  • The preferred seating system - I would like to see the best seats being only available to PLT and EXP members until close to departure,
  • Sticker upgrades should be available on LHR-BRU,
  • FAs could be better informed (or motivated?) about elite status benefits such as free drinks and snacks on American Eagle flights for EXPs.
jlsw7 is offline  
Old Nov 29, 09, 11:01 am
Join Date: Feb 2008
Programs: UA AA MR HH B6
Posts: 1,374

Pros: easy to redeem. Customer service very helpful. Stickers are nice. Upgrades are reasonably available. Easy to earn miles. Lots of promos. It does everything I need to do. I can't complain.

Cons: its easy to always say I could use more perks so I'll leave it a - to all the things everyone else has mentioned. One con is that miles don't post right after a flight which is a bit outdated.
closetasfan is offline  
Old Nov 30, 09, 11:40 am
Join Date: May 2009
Location: MSP
Programs: AA, DL, AS
Posts: 183
From this PLT who will be EXP next week:

A rock solid A-.

Pros: Generally excellent and professional service across the board. Some FA's could be friendlier, but mostly I just want to be dealt with in a straightforward and aboveboard manner, and I get that from AA. The GA in MSP for my recent FRA MR is a case in point: I was late for my 7:20 am flight, got on standby for the next plane out; with 25 available seats in Y, the GA had my boarding pass ready before I got to the gate. Another example: on a very full 763 FRA-ORD, the only empty seat I could see in coach was between me and another PLT doing an MR himself, which made the flight much more comfy.

What can be better:

1) Flights to/from Beijing on AA metal. This would save me $250 or more every time I go visit my GF in China, either I fly into Beijing directly, and fly her down from Shenyang, or spend a weekend in Shanghai then fly up to Dalian to be with her. Either way, I save $$$.
2) An OW partner in China that flies to all the cities I like there: Chengdu, Dalian, Hangzhou, Hainan, etc, so I can get AA miles for all my domestic segments in China. Maybe China Eastern.
3) Free wifi across for everyone in the AC. C'mon, I have *never* been in any other OW lounge that didn't offer free wifi. There's no excuse for this at all. At the AC in FRA, T-mobile wanted 8 Euros for 60 minutes of access, so I walked over to the JAL lounge in Terminal 2 and got 2 hours of wifi for free. ACs should ditch T-mobile like the overpriced garbage it is.
ceverett is offline  

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