Contemplating Double Status which other program should I choose

 
Old Aug 17, 09, 2:13 pm
  #1  
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Contemplating Double Status which other program should I choose

Hi there (long time traveler)

I started flying full-time on AA (and actually love it) last September, and have clocked in over 170K since. I am contemplating one of the following:

1. Aim for million miles by end of 2011 and stay all AA
2. Pick another program to earn status

If I decide #2 ... and understanding the AAdvantage is the one of the better programs out there .... and having a preference to getting status equivlancy asap .... which airline program should I choose?

Some specifics ...

1. home base out of IND or CMI if in a pinch
2. Fly heavily to West Coast
3. Always use the airlines club.
4. Have over 500K in lifetime miles on CO ...

Thoughts?

TIA,

+-ADT
tegelad is offline  
Old Aug 17, 09, 9:23 pm
  #2  
ffI
 
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Originally Posted by tegelad View Post
Hi there (long time traveler)

I started flying full-time on AA (and actually love it) last September, and have clocked in over 170K since. I am contemplating one of the following:

1. Aim for million miles by end of 2011 and stay all AA
2. Pick another program to earn status

If I decide #2 ... and understanding the AAdvantage is the one of the better programs out there .... and having a preference to getting status equivlancy asap .... which airline program should I choose?

Some specifics ...

1. home base out of IND or CMI if in a pinch
2. Fly heavily to West Coast
3. Always use the airlines club.
4. Have over 500K in lifetime miles on CO ...

Thoughts?

TIA,

+-ADT
That depends on if the travel is yours or the company's.
Whether in J or Y
and mainly domestic or international
(both for earning miles and plans for spending miles)

I would go first for 1MM (accelerate the process with Citi cards) then
I would consider Delta (NW flies to IND) with almost guaranteed
free domestic upgrades for DM which you would be with 125k of travel
(US is very similar to Delta in the benefits with free upgrades, but less useful).

UA is very close to AA in benefits and if you really FLY 200k each year, you should get as many lifetime benefits lined up, one after the other.
You already have CO miles usable on *A,
you can have all 3 major groups.
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Old Aug 17, 09, 9:57 pm
  #3  
 
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UA will comp you 1P for your AA EXP status. You'll have all the 1P benefits immeadiately. This is good for 90 days. If you fly 18,000 miles in 90 days, and before the the end of the year, you'll have 1P until 2011.
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Old Aug 17, 09, 10:48 pm
  #4  
 
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I would lock in the 1MM on AA if it is meeting your needs. Having lifetime status is a very good thing. After that, I think flying UA might be more convenient for you, but you may want to see how CO treats flying on UA - it might be worth making 1MM on CO for their lifetime status as well. However, the key thing is to keep reearning your AA EXP.
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Old Aug 17, 09, 10:49 pm
  #5  
 
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What do you want? Do you want another OneWorld Sapphire/Emerald card for access to the Admiral's Club or Flagship Lounge?

Do you want a Star Gold card in your back pocket? (Or SkyTeam Elite Plus, but I know of no easy ways to get one of those. *G is easy in the right program.)

Do you want to actually fly a lot on another US airline? DL's award availability is bad, and upgrades only become easy at 75,000+ miles a year. UA has *Net blocking, maing awards on partner airlines difficult. And, unless you make 1K and get SWU's and HK-9's, you'll be paying through the nose for upgrades- their stickers cost a LOT more than AA's.

Some fo the same complaints about DL apply to CO- only their Plat's have a nice upgrade percentage.

If you want to put 100,000 miles somewhere else, UA's 1K is likely the best choice. If you want to stay on OneWorld, and fly decently high fares, QF Gold is a relatively easy one to get. If you want a *G card for a back-up plan, Asiana Diamond is only 40,000 miles every two years.

It all depends on what you want.
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Old Aug 18, 09, 8:27 am
  #6  
 
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It's a tough choice.

Out of IND, NW/DL seems to be an obvious choice since they're the dominant carrier there, but the miles earned are almost impossible to redeem at the lowest redemption levels. Expect to use twice as many miles to redeem any awards.

CO is a good choice, and you're well on your way to lifetime status there. That would sway my decision quite a bit.

US is a personal favorite of mine, due to excellent upgrade percentages, companion upgrades, and good award redemptions. Many (most?) others consider US to be inferior, but they work great for me.

UA doesn't give free upgrades even to their top tier, if that matters to you. That's a deal-killer for me, but many don't mind paying an extra $50 per 500 miles.

Dittos on ffI's suggestion to churn Citi AA cards to accelerate your LT AA status.
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Old Aug 18, 09, 8:42 am
  #7  
brp
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Originally Posted by KD5MDK View Post
I would lock in the 1MM on AA if it is meeting your needs. Having lifetime status is a very good thing.
If the OP plans to be at least GLD on AA for the near future (and it sounds like s/he plans quite a bit more than that), then there's no hurry to reach 1MM. Lifetime GLD status means nothing while one remains EXP. So, just let that happen naturally and don't modify other plans to accelerate the process, IMO.

Cheers.
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Old Aug 18, 09, 8:43 am
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by StrandedinSC View Post
What do you want? Do you want another OneWorld Sapphire/Emerald card for access to the Admiral's Club or Flagship Lounge?
I have this- the benefits include lounge access are as you say and the ability to credit flights to the program where the impact is greatest (premium fares to BA; discount to AA; remembering the TATL restrictions.) Downside is that it doesn't really add any to the footprint of where I can fly with status. I have been an AA junkie for 10-15 years, the BA status came up in the last 5 years or so due to heavy Europe travel for business, particularly to two OW hubs- so no regrets as such but if I could do it again I would have put more effort into getting status with *A as I think it would be more more beneficial to be broader across two alliances than deeper in only one.
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Old Aug 18, 09, 9:34 am
  #9  
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Possibly counter-intuitive, but you might also take a gander at Alaska's program. Earn (EQM)/burn with AA, DL, and also with several Oneworld and Skyteam carriers and indies (QF, AF, CX, BA, KL, LA, FJ, KE) some of which also provide EQM. Good lounges where they have 'em, and excellent redemption options. If your travel to the west coast involves SEA, their route choices and frequency are tops. I believe they'll happily comp you to MVPG (top tier) to help you get a fast launch on elite bonuses.
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Old Aug 18, 09, 10:10 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by pauleeepaul View Post
I have this- the benefits include lounge access are as you say and the ability to credit flights to the program where the impact is greatest (premium fares to BA; discount to AA; remembering the TATL restrictions.) Downside is that it doesn't really add any to the footprint of where I can fly with status. I have been an AA junkie for 10-15 years, the BA status came up in the last 5 years or so due to heavy Europe travel for business, particularly to two OW hubs- so no regrets as such but if I could do it again I would have put more effort into getting status with *A as I think it would be more more beneficial to be broader across two alliances than deeper in only one.
I also have BAEC Gold status and, sour though I am on BA right now, have really enjoyed the lounge access when flying AA domestically, but then I fly out of JFK a great deal (and a number of my other flights are from LAX and ORD), so access to the FL's is meaningful (I could get into the AC's anyway, though without the drink coupons, as I have an Amex Platinum card). But if you're not frequently flying out of those locations or MIA, I'm not sure it's that worthwhile. I have in the past enjoyed some of the other Gold card benefits not available to OneWorld Emeralds when flying BA, like spa and Arrivals lounge access even when flying WT+, but have been flying CW whenever flying BA of late, so haven't really needed them. And if you're not going to London frequently, I wouldn't bother with BA; LHR is simply inexcusable.
I think status in another alliance is a better choice, as it really gives you far more flexibility, and particularly since I think OneWorld has more limited global reach than *, at least (I'm not sure about SkyTeam), I'd take a good look at what makes most sense for your particular travel patterns.
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Old Aug 18, 09, 11:37 am
  #11  
 
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If you choose option 2 then I would go with UAL as it has E+ seating (unless you fly all Bus. class). No other airline offer E+ and it is a leg saver. Note since CO is joining A* you would the have the option to credit miles to ether UA or CO.
Like someone above has said--if you keep flying AA having lifetime status is of no value if you keep the Exp. status while reaching the lifetime status at some point later.
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Old Aug 18, 09, 12:29 pm
  #12  
 
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Looking back at my past 10 years of travel:
- the first 6 I was AA PLT and UA 1P
- years 7-8 I was AA EXP and UA 1P
- years 9-10 I was AA EXP

Years 7-8 were great times to be flying as I had both Oneworld (Emerald) and Star Alliance (Gold) carriers to choose from - plus the EXP benefits. This made route options siginificantly easier for me and I only worried about topping up miles in the lagging program at the end of the year. For me, spreading out status worked.

It turned out great for AA when UA pulled out of NYC (international). I do miss having the top 2 alliance programs in my pocket but have come accustomed to solely relying on Oneworld.

It sounds like you're doing more deomestic travel so this may not 100% relate to your situation. The good news is that there are no bad decisions here ... just better ones!
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Old Aug 18, 09, 12:49 pm
  #13  
 
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You did not mention which classes you purchase. If you purchase any premium fares, BD's program (*A) is excellent as A and Q-up fares on UA & US (and presumably CO once they join) earn 300% EQM & RDM. You could match instantly to BD Gold (*G) but you would not get the E+ benefits on UA if you mostly fly/buy coach fares.
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Old Aug 18, 09, 2:09 pm
  #14  
 
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If AA serves your destinations well, I wouldn't worry about a second carrier. However, there's no rush for Lifetime status, it is only gold and will happen in due course anyway.

Each year, you should first focus on getting PLT or EXP, whatever you decide. Only if there's still a lot of flying left, move to earning status on another carrier. Next year, start over.
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Old Aug 18, 09, 4:44 pm
  #15  
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I have to earn my miles the hardest way possible LLF + <$250 (which meant given CO's miles policy during those years I earned that at a 50% clip rate which was "special").

I also have a preference for free upgrades, and will of course will always start the year out with AA to ensure that I keep my EXP status. The preference is due to the fact that being out of IND, I have no directs anywhere, so my weekly trips are more like a 8-12 hour festivus each way ...

My initial thoughts (after finishing the status match threads (wow that took some time):

NW has a positive as I have an account; and they will do platinum. Also, I can use the bump up now without an effect before Delta takes over. A negative is that it will merge with Delta and their upgrade issues ... but I will have that until 2/2011

CO has a positive as I am 1/2 way there, they will be in the star alliance however, I don't know if now is a wise time to burn the once-in a lifetime status match. I also have had a pretty good experience with them (with the only time being the 3 day mess in CLE ...)

UA is intriguing for me as I think it has a very wide coverage and fills alot of holes ... but it concerns me that I have to pay the piper per 500 miles ... (I fly to SJC alot and I had to do that for about a month while I acrewed the remaining status miles). But ... then it makes me think ... wouldn't CO give me some beneift being in *A .... with United?

+-ADT

Last edited by tegelad; Aug 18, 09 at 4:53 pm
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