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AirPass Prepaid Travel (ne AAirpass, not Lifetime Airpass) Master Thread

Old Dec 1, 2015, 8:52 am
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Last edit by: Shawn02139
American Airlines AirPass PrePaid Travel

NOTE: The program is Airpass; no longer named "AAirpass"
Link to AirPass front page

Link to aa.com AirPass contact and links page.

Prepaid, Unrestricted Air Travel at a Fixed Rate

As an AirPass member, you wont have to search for fares or pay extra for last-minute trips. Your airfare is pre-paid at a fixed rate and your account is ready when you need to travel to any of the more than 350 destinations in the combined American Airlines and US Airways network.
AirPass offers significant savings on fares (as well as guaranteed last seat availability) for flyers who know they will fly a lot but find themselves buying expensive last minute walk-up level fares.

AirPass, depending on level of purchase, includes status and may include up to Executive Platinum status and Admirals Club membership, or even Concierge Key, which includes both.

AirPass members get a courtesy drink and a snack if they're traveling in Coach, much as Executive Platinums do; unlike Executive Platinums, their traveling companion does also.

14 Jan 2016 jmappleby said: "...they take credit via wire transfer at $10k (Gold), $20k (Platinum), $30k (EP). Concierge Key is available for $50k individual spend or $75k team spend."
AirPass can be for different classes of service, and except for "PlanAAhead Economy", book into Y, J or F classes (and in 2016 will earn AA Elite Qualifying Miles at Y, J or F levels) and for Economy AirPass flyers offers "instant upgrade" fares that book into A for First or D for Business. These may not be available on all routes, however, and the legal routes may change during your contract.

Contact AirPass

AirPass Customer Service
800-433-6355
817-931-9029 - Fax

Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (CT)

Send us a letter
FedEX / UPS / Overnight mail
American Airlines
AirPass Customer Service
4255 Amon Carter Blvd.
MD 4106
Fort Worth, TX 76155

U.S mail
American Airlines, Inc.
AirPass Customer Service
P.O. Box 619616
MD 4106
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9616
You can get indicative pricing here: https://airpass.aa.com/vt-customer/c...ervations.html
The best deal seems to be the -UP fares, where you pay the standard economy, but book a confirmed seat into business
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AirPass Prepaid Travel (ne AAirpass, not Lifetime Airpass) Master Thread

Old May 31, 2021, 2:52 am
  #736  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: STL/ORD/MCI/SAN
Programs: AA CK MM, AC SE100K, BA Gold, UA 1K, DL Plat, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 1,990
Originally Posted by FleyeSkyHigh
I have read the writing on the wall for quite some time with regards to AA Airpass. AA is killing the program...whether intentional or not is up for debate.

The ability to book on JL or IB is a gimmick and it's only valid for travel originating and ending in North America. So if you calculate the rates its a royal rip off compared to nearly all free market bookable fares on those carriers. Basically using Airpass to book on JL or IB is just a way to overpay (especially in premium cabins) with little to no upside.

Practically all the value of Airpass is gone and it's left with just fixed HIGHER THAN MARKET RATE pricing with no real additional benefits especially since change fees are gone. Is basically now just a UATP declining balance payment card that's limited to a single carrier (AA) and worse of all it's based off of inflated rates (which remarkably continue to be increased for renewals).

Airpass used to be valuable if you (or a team of people) didn't know if they were going to be say returning on a Thursday or Friday from a business trip. The idea was you pay AA a premium for the flexibility to book both return options and then only fly the one you needed. That flexibility is now almost entirely gone as you are limited to only booking how much credit is left in your Airpass account. Then to throw salt on the wound AA takes nearly a week to refund cancelled ticket balances to your account further hindering and limiting the flexibility to book an alternate flight or date. And lastly AA offers elite status for Airpass holders upon contract signing and then takes away the ability to use elite status for upgrades and other elite benefits.

Any savvy corporate travel department or individual is much better suited to now just hire a third party travel agency to pay as you go and account for credits and not be loyal to any one carrier. Booking through an agency and using unused ticket values, particularly on AA, is seamless/instant and not subject to the week or so waiting period for Airpass refunds. Many agencies now offer virtualized and automated systems to accomplish this across multiple carriers (albeit the unused credits are not portable). AA markets and sells all the same Y, J, F, Y-UP and J-UP fares (H,D,I,R and C-THRU and A-THRU) directly to the public at rates equal to or better than Airpass bands. We have crunched the numbers up and down and right to left and you will always make out better using a third party travel agency as opposed to the next gen Airpass. Yes, there is an exception less than five percent of the time but 1 in 20 flights will not make up any meaningful savings because you will be loosing 19 out of 20 times on price.

Earlier this year AA made the unfortunate decision to accelerate their conversion of ALL Airpass accounts to the NextGen platform regardless of contract term. They were going to wait and abide by the terms of their existing Airpass customer contracts and wait until contract renewals/replacements but they threw caution to the wind and are forcefully converting all accounts this year. For those customers that have 2020 and early 2021 contracts AA is absolutely in violation of multiple contract provisions and you have the right to terminate for a refund of the remaining balance.
Strongly-worded, intriguing analysis! I agree that it's extremely odd to make huge mid-contract changes, whether they may be technically allowed (or not). I like Airpass as a whole. The reps are absolutely the most pleasant department in this company (with the possible exception of the Executive Liaison team, but they're both close lol). I find that they're maybe less empowered now... a couple of the reps specifically mentioned that to me. NextGen seems to be a big change for the program, and while I see most of the changes as customer-unfriendly, I still see where Airpass is a decent value proposition worth considering.
metallo is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 6:51 am
  #737  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: AA: CK
Posts: 2,230
Originally Posted by FleyeSkyHigh
I have read the writing on the wall for quite some time with regards to AA Airpass. AA is killing the program...whether intentional or not is up for debate.

The ability to book on JL or IB is a gimmick and it's only valid for travel originating and ending in North America. So if you calculate the rates its a royal rip off compared to nearly all free market bookable fares on those carriers. Basically using Airpass to book on JL or IB is just a way to overpay (especially in premium cabins) with little to no upside.

Practically all the value of Airpass is gone and it's left with just fixed HIGHER THAN MARKET RATE pricing with no real additional benefits especially since change fees are gone. Is basically now just a UATP declining balance payment card that's limited to a single carrier (AA) and worse of all it's based off of inflated rates (which remarkably continue to be increased for renewals).

Airpass used to be valuable if you (or a team of people) didn't know if they were going to be say returning on a Thursday or Friday from a business trip. The idea was you pay AA a premium for the flexibility to book both return options and then only fly the one you needed. That flexibility is now almost entirely gone as you are limited to only booking how much credit is left in your Airpass account. Then to throw salt on the wound AA takes nearly a week to refund cancelled ticket balances to your account further hindering and limiting the flexibility to book an alternate flight or date. And lastly AA offers elite status for Airpass holders upon contract signing and then takes away the ability to use elite status for upgrades and other elite benefits.

Any savvy corporate travel department or individual is much better suited to now just hire a third party travel agency to pay as you go and account for credits and not be loyal to any one carrier. Booking through an agency and using unused ticket values, particularly on AA, is seamless/instant and not subject to the week or so waiting period for Airpass refunds. Many agencies now offer virtualized and automated systems to accomplish this across multiple carriers (albeit the unused credits are not portable). AA markets and sells all the same Y, J, F, Y-UP and J-UP fares (H,D,I,R and C-THRU and A-THRU) directly to the public at rates equal to or better than Airpass bands. We have crunched the numbers up and down and right to left and you will always make out better using a third party travel agency as opposed to the next gen Airpass. Yes, there is an exception less than five percent of the time but 1 in 20 flights will not make up any meaningful savings because you will be loosing 19 out of 20 times on price.

Earlier this year AA made the unfortunate decision to accelerate their conversion of ALL Airpass accounts to the NextGen platform regardless of contract term. They were going to wait and abide by the terms of their existing Airpass customer contracts and wait until contract renewals/replacements but they threw caution to the wind and are forcefully converting all accounts this year. For those customers that have 2020 and early 2021 contracts AA is absolutely in violation of multiple contract provisions and you have the right to terminate for a refund of the remaining balance.
Very thorough and interesting analysis! A few comments from my end, playing with the NexGen system:
  • I'm actually seeing some decent fares on JL, namely $1700 YUP->J, $2900 J/JUP->F JFK-NRT.
  • FWIW I booked a flight JFK-LAX with the new system on Friday, clicked cancel yesterday, and this morning, I got an email that my refund was complete.
  • That said, my Airpass balance wasn't updated with either the purchase or the refund, so I don't know what's going on there.
  • My Airpass balance makes no sense to me. I purchased a $60K card, I've used $7K of it, and my balance is about $50K. The math doesn't add up.
  • The system is buggy as hell.
BlooJoo is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 1:20 pm
  #738  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: STL/ORD/MCI/SAN
Programs: AA CK MM, AC SE100K, BA Gold, UA 1K, DL Plat, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 1,990
Originally Posted by BlooJoo
Very thorough and interesting analysis! A few comments from my end, playing with the NexGen system:
  • I'm actually seeing some decent fares on JL, namely $1700 YUP->J, $2900 J/JUP->F JFK-NRT.
  • FWIW I booked a flight JFK-LAX with the new system on Friday, clicked cancel yesterday, and this morning, I got an email that my refund was complete.
  • That said, my Airpass balance wasn't updated with either the purchase or the refund, so I don't know what's going on there.
  • My Airpass balance makes no sense to me. I purchased a $60K card, I've used $7K of it, and my balance is about $50K. The math doesn't add up.
  • The system is buggy as hell.
Thats exactly what I was talking about... I had thousands of dollars just missing for weeks, despite the refund notifications saying everything should have been back in the account. They apparently had to manually intervene, and the whole thing was so convoluted, they said theyd have to do extensive research with their accountants. I was told Id receive an email detailing the results of their investigation by the end of April, but it never came.
metallo is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 1:26 pm
  #739  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: AA: CK
Posts: 2,230
Originally Posted by metallo
Thats exactly what I was talking about... I had thousands of dollars just missing for weeks, despite the refund notifications saying everything should have been back in the account. They apparently had to manually intervene, and the whole thing was so convoluted, they said theyd have to do extensive research with their accountants. I was told Id receive an email detailing the results of their investigation by the end of April, but it never came.
Did you eventually get the money back?
BlooJoo is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 1:37 pm
  #740  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: STL/ORD/MCI/SAN
Programs: AA CK MM, AC SE100K, BA Gold, UA 1K, DL Plat, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 1,990
Originally Posted by BlooJoo
Did you eventually get the money back?
I believe so (at least with regard to tickets they manually fixed that took weeks -- before that, refunds just simply weren't being made), but there have been additional tickets since then, and I haven't done all the accounting yet. I have a spreadsheet but have been so busy lately, I haven't updated it the past few weeks.

That's one of the biggest problems with the new system for me, anyway... my travel isn't part of a big, travel-heavy company where I have someone doing all that accounting for me. I'm on my own with regard to my Airpass, and it's been really cumbersome to have to keep track of all this without being able to rely on AA's refund system doing everything accurately.

I have already supplemented the funds in my original contract, but I won't do that again until I see how things go. I'll use the rest of this contract as a trial to decide whether to renew. This seems to be a big transition time for Airpass, and it's been fairly rocky so far for them (and me as a customer).
metallo is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 4:29 pm
  #741  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Dallas/Orlando
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 2,717
New to Airpass, but I specifically signed up as there are some markets I fly to where the Airpass rates are better than what I can get through normal channels.

To me, theres value, but Im not a business traveler and can direct away whatever percentage of spend from Airpass I see fit.
tismfu is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 6:06 pm
  #742  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: AA: CK
Posts: 2,230
Originally Posted by metallo
I believe so (at least with regard to tickets they manually fixed that took weeks -- before that, refunds just simply weren't being made), but there have been additional tickets since then, and I haven't done all the accounting yet. I have a spreadsheet but have been so busy lately, I haven't updated it the past few weeks.

That's one of the biggest problems with the new system for me, anyway... my travel isn't part of a big, travel-heavy company where I have someone doing all that accounting for me. I'm on my own with regard to my Airpass, and it's been really cumbersome to have to keep track of all this without being able to rely on AA's refund system doing everything accurately.

I have already supplemented the funds in my original contract, but I won't do that again until I see how things go. I'll use the rest of this contract as a trial to decide whether to renew. This seems to be a big transition time for Airpass, and it's been fairly rocky so far for them (and me as a customer).
Interesting (and annoying)! Keep us posted, and I'll do the same!
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BlooJoo is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 6:50 pm
  #743  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 5,699
So could someone clarify or verify the other poster who state you do not get your elite benefits if I buy a non air-pass ticket or on a award ticket?
Centurion is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 7:30 pm
  #744  
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: AA: CK
Posts: 2,230
Originally Posted by Centurion
So could someone clarify or verify the other poster who state you do not get your elite benefits if I buy a non air-pass ticket or on a award ticket?
Yeah, I was curious about that comment as well. I get CK benefits whether I'm on an Airpass ticket or not.
BlooJoo is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 7:31 pm
  #745  
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: AA: CK
Posts: 2,230
Wait, wait, wait, does the new system mean I can buy tickets for flights after the expiration of my Airpass contract??? And since they're fully flexible/refundable, basically extend the validity of my contract??
BlooJoo is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 8:10 pm
  #746  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 222
Originally Posted by Centurion
So could someone clarify or verify the other poster who state you do not get your elite benefits if I buy a non air-pass ticket or on a award ticket?
I should have been more specific. I was only talking about Airpass tickets. For other rev or miles tickets normal elite benefits are unchanged. Just for clarification though, AA is no longer allowing EP or CK members to use SWU upgrades for Airpass tickets. It use to be you could book a Y=UP to J Airpass reservation and then use your SWU to from from Business (D) to F (Flagship First) on routes that offered first class. SWUs are arguably the most valuable EP and CK benefit. The new contract also is vague on whether economy Airpass tickets are even eligible for 500 miles upgrades for themselves and companion travelrss. I have told by AA they they should not be allowed but in practice so far they are working on NextGen tickets allow the Airpass holder to upgrade but not the companion. Sticker/500 miles upgrades are another elite benefit that most likely will not apply to Airpass issued tickets once the dust settles. Business Extra upgrades which once worked (albeit barely) with Airpass tickets are also now prohibited.
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FleyeSkyHigh is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 8:11 pm
  #747  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 222
Originally Posted by BlooJoo
Wait, wait, wait, does the new system mean I can buy tickets for flights after the expiration of my Airpass contract??? And since they're fully flexible/refundable, basically extend the validity of my contract??
Try booking one and let us know. I highly doubt it and remember the penalty for excess charges.
FleyeSkyHigh is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 8:16 pm
  #748  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: AA: CK
Posts: 2,230
Originally Posted by FleyeSkyHigh
I should have been more specific. I was only talking about Airpass tickets. For other rev or miles tickets normal elite benefits are unchanged. Just for clarification though, AA is no longer allowing EP or CK members to use SWU upgrades for Airpass tickets. It use to be you could book a Y=UP to J Airpass reservation and then use your SWU to from from Business (D) to F (Flagship First) on routes that offered first class. SWUs are arguably the most valuable EP and CK benefit. The new contract also is vague on whether economy Airpass tickets are even eligible for 500 miles upgrades for themselves and companion travelrss. I have told by AA they they should not be allowed but in practice so far they are working on NextGen tickets allow the Airpass holder to upgrade but not the companion. Sticker/500 miles upgrades are another elite benefit that most likely will not apply to Airpass issued tickets once the dust settles. Business Extra upgrades which once worked (albeit barely) with Airpass tickets are also now prohibited.
Is this confirmed and official? A YUP/D cannot be upgraded to three-class F? Is this stated anywhere? Sucks because I do that a lot. Edit to add: I do not have a new contract; I've just been forced onto NexGen portal. I always called the CK desk to upgrade my YUP/D's with a SWU or miles. Would CK even know they're not upgradeable?
BlooJoo is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 8:23 pm
  #749  
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: AA: CK
Posts: 2,230
Originally Posted by FleyeSkyHigh
Try booking one and let us know. I highly doubt it and remember the penalty for excess charges.
Well, it lets me get all the way to the Pay Now page. I'm nervous to proceed, since you mentioned a penalty for excess charges. What is that? I don't recall.
BlooJoo is offline  
Old May 31, 2021, 8:26 pm
  #750  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: AA: CK
Posts: 2,230
I see the problem with my contract balance. They transferred the wrong amount in when transferring me to NexGen. Plus that $1858 ticket purchased since is the one they told me is already refunded!
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