Rate American AAdvantage

 
Old Dec 2, 09, 3:45 pm
  #61  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 544
I would give it an A. Agree with many of these points already made.

+Ability to use SWU on all fares
+Large Availability of award seats throughout extensive network.
+One World Partnership offers expansive route network for redemption on top tier carriers (CX, BA).
+Companion upgrade privileges.
+Incredible Customer Service - US based call centers, EXP desk, Admirals Club Lounge AAngels

- Co-pays on upgrades - getting steeper.
- Baggage pay should go away (although as EXP never had to deal with it)
CityFlyerNYC is offline  
Old Dec 4, 09, 3:13 pm
  #62  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 1,137
AAdvantage itself: A-

Evips/SWUs: A+

Dual nature of domestic upgrades for EXPs, 500-milers for other elites which means that AA doesn't distort in favor of those non-elites "paying" for upgrades like CO or UA and other elites have a chance of upgrading: A

Upgrades based on status and time of request [not fare]: A+

Upgrade batting average near 100% for EXPs [if this changed, I wouldn't be flying AA]: A

2x RDM for EXP and PLATs: A

DEQM if a year when I wouldn't make EXP without: A

Inability of AA to get its staff to follow AA unofficial policies of drink+snack free for EXPs [what's the use of having such a policy if sucky implementation annoys EXPs and FAs]: C

EXP desk [sometimes good but also sometimes poor -- including being told that AA couldn't protect me on another flight on a flight that subsequently was cancelled]: B

Rebooking when WX cancellations: D [don't rebook me on a connecting flight and then strand me in that connecting city -- use your knowledge to rebook on a flight that's going to make it]

Lack of free hotel room for EXPs when WX cancellations [UA has for its 1Ks]: D-

Lack of full earning miles, lack of bonus miles, etc. on partner airlines and BA especially: B-

Awards: B used to be great but increasingly seems inventory is limited -- I can't find 2 tixs from anywhere in the U.S. to LHR next June/July??? cmon AA don't go all Delta....

1st Class Experience: Since upgrades are something EXPs count on, the flaws, dirty seats even on 1st flight of the day, the downgraded sundae (now a Ben & Jerry's blob), and the poor breakfasts (cereal??) make this a B+

Clubs: B Lack of free access for domestic, lack of free drinks, minisicule, horrid free food, international flight free access for elites and business travellers inconsistent and difficult "drink coupon" policy (should paid bus pax really have to fight with doorkeepers to get more than 1 drink coupon??), IFL is better but still not that great, ^ showers in the clubs

Alliance: C Not enough partners, not enough reach, and its biggest partner BA has been reducing bennies left and right...and who'll know what'll happen with
___________________________
Airline itself: B

A B averages out from pluses and minuses: 757s international (yuckity in coach, fewer upgrades to B), dirtiest planes in the U.S., lack of personal inflight entertainment, ^ 2-3 MD-80s (a plus, I hate 3-3), ^ ^AAdvantage program and benefits of EXP
SocietyFlyGirl is offline  
Old Dec 5, 09, 12:37 pm
  #63  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Chicago
Programs: AA Platinum LT Marriott Titanium Platinum LT, Hertz Presidents Circle, National EC,
Posts: 119
My 0.02

To the question at hand - AADVANTAGE I give an A-. Been working well for me for over a decade. I personally don't play much on other carriers, but in comparison with coworkers of mine across the country, our general consensus is that AA and CO programs are pretty much the top ( at least for now) , and everything else starts to fall apart after that.

So what pulls it down from an A would be AA itself, and the OW program. I think you can separate them somewhat, but they do all impact each other, and in this case I feel that they both could use some improvement to make Advantage even more valuable.
hoshman is offline  
Old Dec 5, 09, 1:09 pm
  #64  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NorCal
Programs: AA EXP, Marriott GLD, HH PLT, Hertz 5*
Posts: 763
Originally Posted by SocietyFlyGirl View Post
AAdvantage itself: A-
I would agree with you on almost every point.

I think we need to see AA in light of the cyclical nature of investment.
* More 738's coming online. +
* Dreamliners ordered, but will be late. -
* Removal of A300's +
* My only grip with the MDs is their reliability. -
* Just about to take my first TATL in 75Ls ?

Service reduction in various airports is a gripe but a reality of traffic demands, although seeing WN increase their presence while AA reduce theirs just shows issues with their business model, pricing or product.

* I think AA should invest in world class comparable F lounges for their Intl customers. Its just laughable even trying to compare a FL lounge to BA First Lounge.

I think two DEQM periods is a sign of a little desperation, we'll just have to see how it affects peoples ability to upgrade next year.

BM
burtonmadness is offline  
Old Dec 5, 09, 1:12 pm
  #65  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NorCal
Programs: AA EXP, Marriott GLD, HH PLT, Hertz 5*
Posts: 763
I also meant to add a A+ for the EXP desk, although at times I've had to wait several minutes for someone to answer. I'm hoping AA does not cut the number of operators again.

With an increased number of EXPs next year, I'm expecting a greater demand on the desk.

BM
burtonmadness is offline  
Old Dec 7, 09, 7:20 am
  #66  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: SJC/VCE
Programs: AA PLT (2.9+ MM), HH GLD, Hyatt Diamond, SPG PLT
Posts: 10,161
A

I stick w/American b/c of the AAdvantage program. In the past year, I have been able to take a variety of friends/family along w/me on int'l business trips - always in business or first - using my miles. I've upgraded using SWUs.
This includes a # of European destinations as well as NRT. I know a lot of people who say "I have all these miles but I can never use them" - that has never been my problem.
bdemaria is offline  
Old Dec 7, 09, 10:12 pm
  #67  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: MIA
Programs: AA GLD for life, HH Gold, SPG gold, Hyatt Plat, Avis Select, TSA pfd
Posts: 92
Program good, planes embarassing

In MIA you pretty much fly AA or you don't go nonstop. Being EXP for 3 years I've forgotten what the back of the plane is like. But I found out recently on MAD-MIA. New discounted BC fares are hurting upgrade chances. Knowing that the airlines are not the Goldman Sachs of the business world, although their fees are as steep as some banks, you would still like to see an American plane that is on par or better than 3rd world airlines.

The highlights:
SWU free on domestic and 8 complimentary on international with 12 possible this year when reaching 125k.
I haven't compared w/ others but my sister is top tier with Delta and can't believe how AAdvantage beats it.
More Int'l Flagship lounges.
The negatives:
Does a change really cost $250? As a FF I need more flexibility.
georgeroads is offline  
Old Dec 7, 09, 10:18 pm
  #68  
brp
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: SJC
Programs: AA EXP, BA Silver, AS 75K Gold MVP, and some hotel stuff...
Posts: 32,601
Originally Posted by georgeroads View Post
Does a change really cost $250? As a FF I need more flexibility.
Not at all. They sell the changeable/refundable tickets specifically for those that need the flexibility. No change fee at all.

Or, are you saying that you want to buy the El Cheapo fare and still change it for no (or very small) fee?

Cheers.
brp is offline  
Old Dec 7, 09, 10:32 pm
  #69  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Programs: aa
Posts: 3
AA gets an A

Being DFW based its my only real choice, and once you learn the ropes, its pretty easy to get what you desire. I would rate them a solid A+. I have had great success in working through things with them.
kconn is offline  
Old Dec 8, 09, 10:34 am
  #70  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Chicago
Programs: American EXP & 3MM
Posts: 2,342
AA+

AAdvantage earns an AA+ as the best all around frequent flier program year over year.
+ Award availability and breadth of selection is excellent, though I would like to see more choices between the saver and standard award level.
+ Lifetime Platinum program is fantastic and the reason many fly AA.
+ Ability to get upgrades on domestic flights is solid and I like that they are not free so that upgrades are easier to come by. PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THEM COMPLEMENTARY
+ Would love to see a lifetime EXP program for reaching some mileage threshold, say 5 MM.
+ Also, I appreciate that AA has kept its call centers in the US, the difference in service shows. EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVES
mktozd is offline  
Old Dec 9, 09, 3:57 am
  #71  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: SFO
Programs: UA GS, AA Lifetime Gold, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 285
A- Overall good but would like to see more benefits for expats & better wines in F/J

Hmmm, A- I think. As an AA EXP based in Europe, I would like to see some ‘extra’ advantages for intl members such as more eVIPs (to make up for possibility of few domestic upgrades). Although have to admit the 4 eVIPs bonus at 1 miles that I will achieve next year will be very very nice, it would nice to see more of such things. [Note that AF offers lower thresholds for Gold status to US residents than French residents for example].

Love AA customer service on the EXP line, unlimited upgrades as EXP (when I am in the US, 100% this year, including trans-continental routes), international lounge access for OW (something you do not get in skyteam), but especially the eVIPs (which have so far always cleared on flights to/from CDG when I have chosen to waitlist, unlike on LHR routes).

My only ‘complaint’ and additional reason for not putting an A or A+ as my score is the lack of superior wines in F compared with J, especially champagne. I still remember Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque (Fleur de champagne) in J on CDG routes only a few years ago and I think it a shame that they serve Piper Heidsick now (and worse, Pommery on LHR routes). In J it would not be so bad, but I think in F, you should expect better champagnes and wines. While most of you may think such touches unimportant, it really is what distinguishes their F from their European and Asian counterparts IMHO (think Salon on JAL, Krug on CX, Cuvee Elise on AF etc). Voila ^
almostfrench0612 is offline  
Old Dec 9, 09, 10:26 am
  #72  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Programs: AA EXP/3mm+, UA 1k/1mm+, National EE, IC Plat, Marriott Plat
Posts: 2,601
A-

AAdvantage is the best program in the US, IMO.

Pros:

- unlimited domestic upgrades (for EP) that clear nearly 100% of the time
- good award availability
- 8 SWUs
- AA ExecPlat Service Desk (AAngels)
- Double RDM for EP and PL
- Earning full mileage on all published fares
- Sticker upgrade system for Plat and Gold
- FL lounge access on intern itins (for EP)

Cons:

- OneWorld is not Star and a such, mileage redemption and coverage is not as good a Star.
- in recent years, award availability has gotten increasingly tight on certain routes. Europe in particular is getting very difficult. There are no 4 seats on AA from TX to anywhere in Europe in June, July, or August 2010 as LHR is not available at all. That used to not be the case in my experience. When I compare that with Star, where plenty of availability is present on LH, CO, UA etc, AA's availability seems disappointing. One now has to plan ahead much farther in advance.
- DEQM promos. They add a significant number of status flyers that dilute the product for those of us who do fly enough to easily earn status on AA under any circumstance.
AAExPlat is offline  
Old Dec 9, 09, 10:57 am
  #73  
brp
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Originally Posted by AAExPlat View Post
- DEQM promos. They add a significant number of status flyers that dilute the product for those of us who do fly enough to easily earn status on AA under any circumstance.
No, it really doesn't. It would seem so from reading here, but talking to people in the real world makes it clear that this number is not significant at all. Many elites don't even know about the promotions and, among those who do, few actually change travel plans just to qualify for a new level. This comment is often made, but there is no support given and the real world effects certainly don't show any appreciable increase.

Cheers.
brp is offline  
Old Dec 9, 09, 11:51 am
  #74  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: LAX
Posts: 6,768
My parents fly a lot and this year are very close to 1P on UA. They're off by about 4000 and 3000 miles. However, they're still not modifying their travel plans to get that last part. I think brp is right, at least for the people I know. And trust me, I've told them they could plan a trip (non-MR) to see my brother on the east coast. They just don't want to travel.
FlyMeToTheLooneyBin is offline  
Old Dec 10, 09, 4:10 am
  #75  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: SFO
Programs: UA GS, AA Lifetime Gold, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 285
Originally Posted by brp View Post
No, it really doesn't. It would seem so from reading here, but talking to people in the real world makes it clear that this number is not significant at all. Many elites don't even know about the promotions and, among those who do, few actually change travel plans just to qualify for a new level. This comment is often made, but there is no support given and the real world effects certainly don't show any appreciable increase.

Cheers.
I have a theory about that. I think the people who really benefit most from the DEQM promotion (and thus the population AA is targeting) are people like me who already have elite status (be it GLD, PLT or EXP) and who would have otherwise gone down a notch because they are not travelling as much in the current economy. If not for the promotion this year, I would have dropped to PLT (and was expecting to) despite making EXP easily for the last 3 years. Obviously there are going to be people on FT that will make the next level up because of the promotion – but I am betting the majority of those people are just flying the same amount as before (the actual amount of people willing to fly MORE because of the promotion is very very small I would imagine) and that would automatically take them to the next level. In reality though, most people are not travelling as much as before.
almostfrench0612 is offline  

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