Based in Shanghai: Stick with AA?

 
Old Nov 7, 11, 7:30 am
  #1  
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Based in Shanghai: Stick with AA?

Now that I'm based in Shanghai, I am faced with the challenge of deciding whether or not to stick with AA or join Star Alliance or Sky Team. I truly enjoy AA, especially as Exec Plat, for these reasons:

- 8 SWUs are a great benefit, especially since they apply to any fare; and I've had a very good success rate in SWUs, between PEK/PVG and ORD/LAX.
- Flagship Lounge access when flying to/from China (I'm sitting in the Chicago Flagship Lounge, waiting for my flight to PVG)
- Good service, in my view, whenever interacting with AA staff, either on the phone or in-person (Lounge, in-flight, ticket counter)

Drawback to AA, now that I'm based in Shanghai:
- No China partner: It's unbelievable to me that both China Eastern and China Southern are Sky Team partners; I know AA pursued on of those two, but lost.
- I'll fly 50K per year inside China, none of which will be credited to AA.
- I'll only fly 3 times non-personal trips to the US on AA (~45K-50K EQM)

So, I'm looking for a little guidance or advice (especially if you are an AA loyalist based in China): Stick with AA (and probably invest in a lot of mileage runs to stay Exec Plat) or just break down and shoot for top tier status in Sky Team or Star Alliance?
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Old Nov 7, 11, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by nok123 View Post
So, I'm looking for a little guidance or advice (especially if you are an AA loyalist based in China): Stick with AA (and probably invest in a lot of mileage runs to stay Exec Plat) or just break down and shoot for top tier status in Sky Team or Star Alliance?
How about a status match on a *A or ST carrier? That will give you time to decide which way to go.

Last edited by SFO777; Nov 7, 11 at 7:40 am
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Old Nov 7, 11, 7:37 am
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Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
How about a status match in a *A or ST carrier? That will give you time to decide which way to go.
Great idea, thanks for the tip!
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Old Nov 7, 11, 8:34 am
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Asia Miles is a pretty crappy program on the whole, but if you fly enough to make Diamond, and direct your longhaul business to CX, the frequent op-ups are a pretty nice unpublished benefit (arguably on par with AA's EVIPS, depending on your luck). Asia Miles allows you to accrue on both CA and MU.

Since I'm based in BJ, *A is good enough. While CA isn't a great airline by any means, they fly to a ton of places from here, and I like NH/AC/TG/OZ.

Ever since the departure of FM from *A, CA has been moving into SH at a rapid pace, but it is still far behind MU.

Skyteam is the logical choice for SH, but the problem is that DL/AF are really stingy (plus, hard to pad your balance with credit cards when you're in China), and CZ/MU are not extremely sexy. That having been said, if you find yourself on CZ/MU a lot, it might make sense to marry one of the two.

My personal strategy (in BJ) is to throw everything possible toward my BD account (easy to maintain gold status), and burn miles (I collect all varieties) for my discretionary trips to the US and Europe.
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Old Nov 7, 11, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by nok123 View Post
Now that I'm based in Shanghai, I am faced with the challenge of deciding whether or not to stick with AA or join Star Alliance or Sky Team. I truly enjoy AA, especially as Exec Plat, for these reasons:

- 8 SWUs are a great benefit, especially since they apply to any fare; and I've had a very good success rate in SWUs, between PEK/PVG and ORD/LAX.
- Flagship Lounge access when flying to/from China (I'm sitting in the Chicago Flagship Lounge, waiting for my flight to PVG)
- Good service, in my view, whenever interacting with AA staff, either on the phone or in-person (Lounge, in-flight, ticket counter)

Drawback to AA, now that I'm based in Shanghai:
- No China partner: It's unbelievable to me that both China Eastern and China Southern are Sky Team partners; I know AA pursued on of those two, but lost.
- I'll fly 50K per year inside China, none of which will be credited to AA.
- I'll only fly 3 times non-personal trips to the US on AA (~45K-50K EQM)

So, I'm looking for a little guidance or advice (especially if you are an AA loyalist based in China): Stick with AA (and probably invest in a lot of mileage runs to stay Exec Plat) or just break down and shoot for top tier status in Sky Team or Star Alliance?
I agree that AA is indeed a good airline, and AAdvantage is a good programme.

How often will you fly to Hong Kong and Japan? You will have CX, KA and JL to make up your journey. And OW Emeralds are treated correctly at HKG and NRT/HND.

If I'm you, I'd join a *A/*S programme with a good earn/burn ratio. What class do you normally travel?
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Old Nov 7, 11, 9:59 am
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When flying domestically, *G will have lounge access (when you fly Air China). SkyTeam Elite Plus will not. That's a point to consider.
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Old Nov 7, 11, 10:49 am
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I'm based in HKG and tried the switch over to CX for a bit. I found my EXP was of more value. I fly monthly if not twice monthly to the US and the VIP's make it worth it for the upgrade. I like the time of the outbound PVG-LAX flight because I can work a whole day in HKG and take the 1700 departure up to PVG and connect to LAX. The return to PVG does not make the HKG connection so I am left with NRT. For intra-Asia I either use my AA EXP card to get into the lounges and credit miles to CX MPC/ Asia Miles or as I have found the case to be lately fly TG because of price compared to KA/CX on routes I need.

As far as a match from CX. They only offered me silver. I fly about 120,00 + miles a year on Oneworld so the downgrade didn't quite work for me to really give them a shot and get the benefits I am accustomed to.
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Old Nov 7, 11, 8:03 pm
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Anybody know what the status is of Hainan Airlines potentially joining Oneworld? I'm also often in China and hate that I'm pretty much screwed for domestic travel with OW.
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Old Nov 7, 11, 8:12 pm
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Originally Posted by pongben View Post
Anybody know what the status is of Hainan Airlines potentially joining Oneworld? I'm also often in China and hate that I'm pretty much screwed for domestic travel with OW.
Nothing has changed; CX doesn't want them to join the party... plain and simple.
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Old Nov 8, 11, 6:40 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Skyteam is the logical choice for SH, but the problem is that DL/AF are really stingy (plus, hard to pad your balance with credit cards when you're in China), and CZ/MU are not extremely sexy. That having been said, if you find yourself on CZ/MU a lot, it might make sense to marry one of the two.
Arrived in PVG this afternoon from ORD ... another successful upgrade (with SWU) to business and a pleasant journey. I've been reading more about the stinginess of DL that you referred to above; for example, for the fare class I was in on this AA ORD-PVG flight, I wouldn't be able to use an SWU on DL. That's a huge negative.
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Old Nov 8, 11, 6:42 am
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Originally Posted by SKRan View Post
I agree that AA is indeed a good airline, and AAdvantage is a good programme.

How often will you fly to Hong Kong and Japan? You will have CX, KA and JL to make up your journey. And OW Emeralds are treated correctly at HKG and NRT/HND.

If I'm you, I'd join a *A/*S programme with a good earn/burn ratio. What class do you normally travel?
I travel to HK and Japan twice each per year. So, that's an alternative to make sure to use One World on those segments (if the fares are reasonable).

I normally travel economy.
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Old Nov 8, 11, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Nothing has changed; CX doesn't want them to join the party... plain and simple.
I think it will happen finally within few years.
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Old Nov 8, 11, 8:04 pm
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Originally Posted by untamed View Post
I think it will happen finally within few years.
Only if CX leaves OneWorld and/or the HNA Group divests of HK Airlines/Express.
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Old Nov 8, 11, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Only if CX leaves OneWorld and/or the HNA Group divests of HK Airlines/Express.
Don't even say that! I don't want CX and their great F redemptions to HKG to go away. I'd be very
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Old Nov 9, 11, 6:49 pm
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I'd stick with AA. The 8 eVIPs and the F lounge access is a huge plus. Don't forget that OW is the only alliance that grants status-based F lounge access.

If CA works for your domestic travel, then you might want to think about banking miles with UA or some other *A carrier. 50k/yr is enough to make *G with lounge access - some *A carriers offer *G at <50k. If you do want to combine miles in one alliance, UA would be the way to go, though you won't earn as many SWUs and you may want to look into how difficult the PVG routes are for upgrading.

DL is not the carrier for international uprgades or lounge access. Getting to the forward cabin on DL involves purchasing only the most expensive Y fares and then dealing with the upgrade shenanigan lottery. The only benefit would be to have MU and CZ for mileage earning.

My advice, stick with AA and consider Priority Pass for lounge access on non-OW carriers. The domestic flights will be short anyway.
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