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ARCHIVE: AA AAdvantage vs UA / United MileagePlus - status, perks, pros, cons

ARCHIVE: AA AAdvantage vs UA / United MileagePlus - status, perks, pros, cons

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AA AAdvantage vs UA / United MileagePlus - status, perks, pros, cons (consolidated)
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Old Apr 1, 11, 8:11 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: AAdvantage Platinum, HHonors Diamond VIP, Starwood Gold, Marriott Silver, National Executive Elite
Posts: 44
ARCHIVE: AA AAdvantage vs UA / United MileagePlus - status, perks, pros, cons

Ok, perhaps I am going to start a flame war, but here goes...

I am starting to grow tired of AA out of ORD and am considering switching over to UA. My current status is Gold, although I have made it to Platinum in the past. Usually fly about 15-20 trips these days, all domestic.
I fly to DFW, JAX, OKC, SAN (maybe once a year), PHL, CHA and SFO for vacation.

So far this year, out of 10 flights, 3 were cancelled. One weather, two mechanical. Two more flights were 3 hours late...
The two kicks were - most PHL flights are now CRJ700's and not MD80's. And... My favorite DFW flights operating on a 777 was replaced by an MD80

So am thinking about going over to UAL, since they offer econ +, more flight options from ORD. Seems like AA cuts more and more flights from ORD, the expansion is going on at LAX and DFW?

I do like upgrades, although being Gold I know the odds on a Sunday, Monday or Friday are about as good as Chicago lowering taxes

I was also wondering how the UA vs. AA bennies are? My company does pay for lounge access, so thats a wash for me. Although I heard the Red Carpet club has better booze?

Thoughts? I figure some of you guys n' gals do this a lot more then I do and would have some good advice...

Thanks in advance,

-Matt


-------------------------------------------------
MODERATOR NOTE:


To help our FT members access current/germane information, the older posts in this thread from 2009-2010 have been spun off into an archive thread here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...1-archive.html

This will hopefully: 1) help our UA FTers find up-to-date discussion about AA/AAdvantage as compared to UA/COdbaUA/MileagePlus and 2) allow our AA FTers (some of whom are also UA flyers) to provide their anecdotes and experiences.

Thanks again to all our members for helping make FT such a valuable compendium of insights and a great community! ^

/AAdvantage Moderators

Last edited by JY1024; Apr 16, 12 at 1:58 pm
zfxr is offline  
Old Apr 1, 11, 8:30 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: On the road in North America....
Programs: UA 1MM, *G, Global Entry
Posts: 579
Since you know what you get on AA, this is probably better posted in the UA forum to get input on what you get there. Maybe a moderator can move it?

I've flown very little since I retired three years ago, so I don't really have much insight to offer.

joe
FlyingDiver is offline  
Old Apr 1, 11, 8:39 pm
  #3  
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If you are only going to be Gold on AA, or maybe Plat, at UA you are probably better off on UA with E+ and free upgrades. The ACs overall IMO are a bit nicer than RCCs.

I certainly can't think of any compelling reasons to stick with AA unless you are closing in on Lifetime Gold.
elitetraveler is offline  
Old Apr 1, 11, 8:41 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: based out of LAX
Programs: UA 1K, AA Platinum, Hilton HHonors Diamond, National Executive, Starwood Gold
Posts: 701
I was AA first level elite some years ago and had Admiral's club membership. Now am 1K on UA and have RCC. Some stuff I notice:

(a) I occasionally fly domestic F on AA these days so have an idea how those services compare. I think the food is a bit better in AA F than UA F domestic. AA does a much better special meal than UA. Forget the UA special meal.

(b) RCC booze - the basic stuff is now free used not to be. I don't drink much so can not comment on booze. Also UA RCC gets you into CO PC and also US Airways. Also some Air Canada as well if you go there.

(c) E+ is great if you are stuck in coach. UA is mostly flying 757 and 320s on the domestic jet routes. The 757 has 17" Y seats so no fun if you are stuck in Y even in E+ you are flighting the neighbors for armrests etc. Personally I like the 320 first row if Y (E+) seems like infinite legroom and no one in front of you.

(d) I believe AA has a large pitch in F on the domestic jets than UA. But I just flew this week both AA and UA in F in the first row on transcons and those seats were virtually identical. 3B on the AA 737 and 1B on the UA 320. Same legroom and similar seat. So if you are in the very front it does not matter much. I have been in UA F in row 3 (actually the third row) and could not work on my computer due to the passenger in front of me with full recline.

(e) The star alliance is the real clincher for me. I'm traveling US Air, Air Canada a fair amt and I get UA miles for both of those carriers.
businesstraveller2 is offline  
Old Apr 2, 11, 5:06 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: US
Programs: UA GS 2MM
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There are a ton of posts on here asking the proverbial UA vs AA question. You can search and read about it (probably for hours) if you want more info. businesstraveller2 gave you an excellent CliffNotes version though.

If you aren't EXP, UA is probably a better deal out of ORD because of E+. Domestically, coach service is identical. You get a drink, maybe the whole can if you're lucky. I guess UA has Channel 9 and AA has Dr. Pepper, but that's the only way I can differentiate them...

I am sure that if you look at average delays and cancellation rates, UA and AA are very close, so your issues this year might be better chalked up to bad luck rather than an AA-specific issue.

As for the lounges, AA's ACs are, generally, nicer than UA's RCCs. I also find the agents in ACs to be MUCH better. But this may all change with the CO merger.

I'd go to UA if I were you.
cmhua777 is offline  
Old Apr 2, 11, 5:34 am
  #6  
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No consideration for the situation of AA charging fuel surcharges on award tickets that include its primary international partner while UA does no such thing?

If being EXP with AA is not going to be achieved by the OP, UA's program may indeed be a better one in terms of the in-flight aspect at least. However, the on-the-ground picture (lounges and check-in process) at ORD isn't an incentive for me to go with UA over AA.
GUWonder is offline  
Old Apr 2, 11, 10:01 am
  #7  
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: AAdvantage Platinum, HHonors Diamond VIP, Starwood Gold, Marriott Silver, National Executive Elite
Posts: 44
Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
No consideration for the situation of AA charging fuel surcharges on award tickets that include its primary international partner while UA does no such thing?

If being EXP with AA is not going to be achieved by the OP, UA's program may indeed be a better one in terms of the in-flight aspect at least. However, the on-the-ground picture (lounges and check-in process) at ORD isn't an incentive for me to go with UA over AA.
Thanks to everyone for the feedback! I did some searching, it looks like UA has better mileage redepmtion options with Star Alliance? The fuel surcharge is B.S. - heck AA even charges you for a Platinum challenge these days
I did some calculations, looks like I am going to make Gold this year, and my Admirals Club expires in Feb of 2012. So I think I might stay with AA for 2011, then switch on Jan 1, 2012?

I have no chance of making EXP in my current role, PL *maybe* this year (if I take a personal Europe trip).

Back in the day I made Platinum (= EXP) one year on NW, wow, that was great. Got upgraded to F probably 70% of the time domestically- even got two free international upgrades when flying in coach (paid coach ticket). That was in 2004, tho... Different times I suppose.

Thanks again,

-Matt
zfxr is offline  
Old Jul 5, 11, 12:14 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: East Coast
Programs: UA GS, UA MM, AA LT PLT, AA 2.6MM, Intercontinental Royal Ambassador
Posts: 827
If you are in the middle of your flying career...

I just passed 2MM on AA last week which was a goal of mine for the past few years. I am an EXP/CK and love the way I am treated and the service I receive on AA/OW. However, I have major concerns about AA going forward and since I am in my late 30s with about two decades worth of flying yet to go, I wonder if I shouldn't switch all of my business to UA/*A. I know it might take me a year to regain my full status assuming that there are no matching programs. Here is how I see it:

1) AA is shrinking its network while UA is increasing
2) UA is on firmer financial footing even though AA took the high road and didn't declare BK. This puts AA at a disadvantage.
3) With the merger, UA/CA seems to have a wonderful global network and I fly globally.
4) I have secured lifetime platinum on AA regardless so if it survives and prospers, I could always return.

I am also a Premier Exec on UA which has typically been the result of last second changes to my itinerary where I end up flying UA. I don't have any experience of being a 1K/GS on UA so I don't really know what I'd be getting into. I am aware of many 1K/GS folks looking to defect to AA and I have also read the recent stories of AA looking to make a massive purchase to upgrade its domestic fleet which would be very helpful in my opinion.

Any other lifetime Platinums out there struggling with the same decisions? I want to pick a horse and stay with it and crossing the 2MM marker has me reevaluating both airlines. I am based in Chicago by the way and welcome any and all advice. Thanks.
RealFan is offline  
Old Jul 19, 11, 6:33 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1
Which Frequent Flyer Program for me ex-SJC? AA or UA?

If I am going from SJC to SGF every month, so 3,200 miles per month. Should I join the UA or AA Frequent Flyer Program?
drblack is offline  
Old Jul 19, 11, 6:56 pm
  #10  
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Location: dallas texas usa
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Posts: 14,828
cheapest fare?, or in front, or refundable?...good luck...

what are your ytd qualifying mi this year on aa & ua?.....what other flying will you be doing the rest of the year?

Last edited by JY1024; Jul 19, 11 at 7:13 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts
clacko is offline  
Old Jul 19, 11, 8:34 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Originally Posted by drblack View Post
If I am going from SJC to SGF every month, so 3,200 miles per month. Should I join the UA or AA Frequent Flyer Program?
Hard to miss the very first thread listed at the very top of the forum you're posting in, eh?

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...lame-free.html

Welcome to FT.
Ritz is offline  
Old Jul 20, 11, 9:10 am
  #12  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: London, England
Programs: UA 1K, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum, National Exec, AA EXP Emeritus
Posts: 9,133
Originally Posted by drblack View Post
If I am going from SJC to SGF every month, so 3,200 miles per month. Should I join the UA or AA Frequent Flyer Program?
This is a huge question... Here's some questions that will need to be answered to help narrow it down. Where else will you be flying? What is the most important frequent flyer benefit to you (upgrades? free bags? award availability?)? Is quality of catering important (for upgraded flights)? Is the idea of Economy Plus drawing you in? Do you currently have a miles/points earning credit card that you intend to keep (AmEx Platinum? Chase/UA/CO? Citi/AA? None of the above?)? And most importantly, have you looked at fares and schedules between your city pairs to see whether UA/CO or AA would better serve your needs? If one airline or the other requires a 3 hour layover, that would be a big factor.
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Old Jul 20, 11, 9:17 am
  #13  
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will either get you to an award level from your current balances?
clacko is offline  
Old Jul 20, 11, 9:20 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Missouri
Programs: AA, JPM
Posts: 62
When I lived in Denver several years ago (I now live near SGF), I flew DEN-SGF almost monthly. Did it on UA because of the non-stop.

I know that the flights to ORD on UA aren't the most reliable.

Since then, I've switched to AA. I tend to prefer their schedule, and they have service nearby if I can't get in/out of SGF (XNA, STL, JLN...) I've been on one too many canceled UA flights.

If I were in your shoes, I would evaluate how the service is getting to/from the hub. AA flies from DFW, UA from DEN, and both from ORD. XXX-SGF is a RJ with Y only and flight time is usually ~1:30-2 from either airports
fueldude is offline  
Old Aug 30, 11, 9:07 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,894
Question What would you? - UA/CO/SA vs. AA/BA (1K & EXP)

Okay, a bit of dilemma here and I'd like your opinion on this.

I have a travel coming in October to CPT from YVR or SEA. Ticket prices are similar between UA/CO/SA combo vs. AA/BA combo to CPT (AA/BA is about 150 dollars more). Overall EQM are same since YVR-LAX-LHR-CPT routing is same for both options.

However, mileage earning (RDM) is higher with AA/BA combo since AA gives 100% bonus RDM for EXPs flying with BA. This difference is about 12K miles RDM.

Upgrade question is not issue since both fares are upgradable fares with EVIPs or UA SWUs.

I have been shifting most of my business to UA, but in regards to elite qualification, I am pretty much set for this year with UA (1K). I won't be able to requalify (no where close to EXP) with EXP this year (not even PLAT ).

As EXP, lounge options are much better @ LAX and LHR... that's a nice plus...

I am leaning towards AA/BA combo, but was wondering what you'd do if you were in my shoes (someone leaving AA for UA, but still have top tier status in both for the time being).
brahms77 is offline  

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