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darcie_InsideFlyer Nov 18, 09 5:46 pm

Rate American AAdvantage
We are going to review American AAdvantage in the January issue of InsideFlyer magazine and would like your input.

If you would like to participate, please post your response in the thread with the pros and cons of American AAdvantage and grade the program from A to F (A being the highest grade). You can include a plus or minus with the rating.

You can also respond directly to me at [email protected].
Thank you!

brp Nov 18, 09 5:57 pm

I give the AAdvantage program A- (not a reflection of the airline, just the program). The recent change to allow all fares to be upgraded goes a long way in this.


Short hair Francis Nov 18, 09 10:13 pm

I say B+, again just rating the program. Props to AA for changing the SWU fare restrictions, although it was sad to see increase in co-pay for mileage upgrades and domestic stopover for int'l award tickets. The changes however have symbolized that AA has put a greater emphasis on EXP with these changes as well as protecting first class integrity with sticker upgrades.

krazieman Nov 18, 09 10:33 pm

I would say somewhere between an A and an A-.
Granted, I've never had status on any other Frequent Flyer programs. Being based in Dallas, my only real options are AA and WN. With WN I have to stopover somewhere, so really I don't have a choice but to go AA.

Spiff Nov 19, 09 12:19 am


I'm able to upgrade almost all of the time, even internationally. I have few complaints, other than no Flagship Lounge in DFW and the inability to upgrade on other oneworld carriers.

Great partners, great people.

I wish I had switched from Delta as my primary carrier sooner.

I do not like the co-pays, however. :mad:

mvoight Nov 19, 09 12:50 am

I'd go with B+

Hate the co-pays for mileage upgrade, happy to have SWUs
Would like to see partner availability online at, even if it isn't possible to book online

I am happy with the award levels.
For example 50K to Europe from the US for a One Way BC ticket, all year
I was looking at DL for February and they wanted double that for Moscow for the entire month. Premium 50,000 100,000 175,000 are the low, medium, high award levels. How is Russia in February not "low"? Also, I was checking for a one way ticket, and was quoted 200K. Does DL not have one way award for 1/2 the RT miles. This was a BIG improvenent by AA this year.

imagineertobe Nov 19, 09 2:28 am

Grade: B

I like the award levels and selection on AA metal, but would like to see a lot more utilization of the oneworld alliance by offering online award ticket booking on partners.

Upgrades could go without the copays as well, to be in line with other carriers. I enjoy the ability to collect and use stickers to upgrade my travel on the flights that are most important to me, rather than automatically getting updated on all flights.

Customer service is stellar at the elite levels, and the program offers the most options for accruing mileage that I've seen. It would be nice to be able to use miles more easily and valuably for services other than air travel (cars, hotels, etc.).

Gamecock Nov 19, 09 3:34 am


A++ SWUs
A Domestic Upgrades, which are by Status and then by date booked. This may hurt last minute high dollar flyers, but does create a sense of equality within each status level
A- 500 mile upgrade coupons. Forces PLTs and GLDs to decide how much they really want an upgrade on any given flight. I like this better than other airlines who wind up having an upgrade waitlist of 50 people on a flight, just because there is no skin off of anyones nose to ask. I rarely miss an upgrade, even when I was a PLT. If I was king for a day I change how the coupons are handed out, to perhaps 4 every 7,500 miles.
B- copays for upgrades
A+ GLD/PLT Challenge. Did a PLT Challenge in December of 08. That is a great way to enter the program with status. Never having had status before, I was amazed at how nice travel can be with the right card in your pocket! Since most of my trips are TATLs lounge access (read: showers) and ability to select exit rows is just wonderful.

I never had FF status until last year. Last November I realized I would be flying a lot, with most trips involving TATLs, so I carefully reviewed the different schemes and decided to go with AA. European schemes tend to be restrictive and complicated, and US based programs are more restrictive with SWUs, or they don't offer them at all.

All in all I am very happy with my choice to go with AAdvantage.

Deltahater Nov 19, 09 8:14 am

I'd give it an A-, simply because you can always do better and improve things.

My opinion is based on EXP status, so that will contribute to the A- simply because of better award availability and fewer charges.

In general, I get the awards I want and I get treated with respect on AA as an EXP.

Adding MX and allowing more SWU to be used are great advantages for me, so I hope that AA will continue to add quality partners (poach other alliances) find more ways for me to go to cool places.

I don't like the inability to upgrade on partner airlines with status.

tkelvin69 Nov 19, 09 10:09 am


The change to the EVIPs on almost every fare was big for me.
Good award availability.
Decent website.
Good customer service.
Good routing to N/S America and Asia. (Good to Europe but BA taxes/fees suck)

Better partners to Africa.
Lack of partner award viewing/booking at
Lack of using upgrades on partners from Y fares.

elitetraveler Nov 19, 09 10:48 am


EXP Line A+
EVip Program A++ (puts DL to shame)
EXP (Emerald) Global OW F Lounge Access A+
Reward Redemption B (better than others, but one needs to be flexible; BA offers GGL level one any seat available redemption per year)


The Airline C (once known for clean, new planes and leading edge products - think International Flagship Service in the 90s), the actual in air product is bottom middle of the pack among domestic legacy carriers IMHO. NGBC was dated from the day it was introduced. Continued management - labor issues have taken its toll on service.

Overall - B+ (AAdvantage is a great program particularly if you can make EXP and want to fly up front on low fares; also if the AA network works )

honu Nov 19, 09 1:07 pm

For me, AAdvantage (not AA) is A- or better. The minus is because of the pervasive upgrade copays, and the antiquated, limited online booking engine (no OW partners allowed).
The pluses are too numerous to count: decent award availability (compared to many competitors), good customer service and AAgents, good AAward schedule (love the flexibility the new AAll PAArtners AAwards offer!), LT Plt at 2MM, and many others I can't think of right now.

AA as an airline is less than stellar, and OW could use a few more partners (but the lack of them is exclusively a problem of BA's making), but overall, AAdvantage as a program works very well for me.

burns28 Nov 19, 09 1:23 pm

Grade: A

From a first year GLD point of view, I like the ability to earn stickers and upgrade when I really want to. Customer service has been very good.

Prefer the upgrades lose the copays, just increase the miles required.

salfcl Nov 19, 09 2:35 pm

B+ : Dislike the co-pay for upgrades.

AAbuzzard Nov 19, 09 3:01 pm


Pluses ^: Upgrade-ability on all fares; lots of upgrade inventory; definite perks for elite fliers (and let's hope we can keep them); the only program that counts non-BIS miles for lifetime status; reasonable lifetime status thresholds; satisfying network of partners, both airline-wise as well as non-flight related; great EXP reps

Minuses :td:: No (current) possibility of top-tier lifetime status; web-based possibilities for many functions either non-existent or very convoluted; one of the slowest websites I have encountered in the travel industry (only surpassed--or underpassed--by Hilton's dinosaur)

I must say, I am very happy to have been an AA member for more than 25 years.

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