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HELP: JUST THE FACTS / FAQs: Combined AA/US AAdvantage FFP 2014 on

HELP: JUST THE FACTS / FAQs: Combined AA/US AAdvantage FFP 2014 on

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Old Jun 29, 15, 6:40 am   -   Wikipost
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HELP: JUST THE FACTS / FAQs: Combined AA/US AAdvantage FFP 2014 on


PLEASE NOTE: this thread has been re dedicated for "JUST THE FACTS" in an attempt to raise the signal to noise ratio, allowing members to find germane information about the AAdvantage program (merged pre-merger AAdvantage, and Dividend Miles, now under way) program and get factual answers to your / frequently asked questions from experienced members.

REACTION DISCUSSION: Combined AA/US AAdvantage program announced Oct 2014 – opinions

Please use the thread started for impressions, opinions, reactions, feelings, concerns, etc. and keep this thread for "JUST THE FACTS" and ACTUAL REPLIES. And of course, feel free to add new facts and findings to this wiki for members' ease in finding information on the new FFP.

Thank you, the AA fora moderation team

AAdvantage loyalty program in 2015 - LINK
The AAdvantage program will continue to offer three elite status levels – AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum and Gold – and you’ll still have three ways to qualify with elite-qualifying miles, points and segments. On January 1, 2015, the segment qualification requirement for Executive Platinum will move to 120, and the current 100 segment threshold will continue until December 31, 2014.

Three tiers:
  • Executive Platinum - 100k EQM / 100k EQP / 120 Segments
  • Platinum - 50k EQM / 50k EQP / 60 Segments
  • Gold - 25k EQM / 25k EQP / 30 Segments

Elite Status Benefits:
  • AAdvantage elite status members receive select reciprocal benefits to enrich their travel journey when flying on US Airways.
  • This includes upgrades on US Airways on the day of departure when available, First/Business Class check-in, priority through security checkpoints, priority boarding, complimentary checked bags, access to preferred seats, and priority baggage delivery for Executive Platinum and Platinum members.
  • Upgrades will still be different on American and US Airways flights until we have a single reservation system at the end of 2015. For now, continue flying and enjoying reciprocal benefits and the ability to earn and redeem miles on both carriers. We’ll keep you updated as we move forward with other important integration milestones.

Million Miler Program:
  • 1 Million combined miles - Lifetime Gold Status
  • 2 Million combined miles - Lifetime Platinum Status

Upgrades on American: https://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/A...ex.jsp#500mile
  • All flights 500 miles and under, no stickers needed and are complimentary regardless of elite status for the elite members.
  • Complimentary upgrades will be auto requested for all elite levels at booking. Non complimentary upgrades (aka those needing 500mi stickers) will have to be requested manually.
  • No complimentary upgrades for Y/B fares for Gold/Platinum anymore (unless flight is 500 miles or less)
  • Companion Upgrades still will require 500mi stickers to be used.
  • 8 SWUs for EXP level and EXPs still will not earn 500mi stickers to use for companions.

2015 - January Updates:
  • Executive Platinum and Chairman's Preferred members enjoy complimentary same-day confirmed flight changes on American, a new benefit
  • Redeem all your Special Dividends by early 2015; qualification ends in December 2014

2015 - 2nd Quarter Updates:
  • Move to three elite status levels in the AAdvantage program – Gold, Platinum and Executive Platinum
  • Qualify for elite status based on elite-qualifying miles, segments or points
  • Receive a 100% mileage bonus if you're a Dividend Miles Gold or Platinum member who becomes AAdvantage Platinum
  • Redeem miles for AAnytime awards and mileage upgrade awards on both American and US Airways marketed and operated flights
  • Upgrade on American marketed and operated flights before day of departure

On March 13 2015, AAdvantage sent a letter to members saying "we're on track to bring the US Airways Dividend Miles® program into the AAdvantage program within the next 30 days."

N.B. The previous thread discussing the putative, pre-announcement AAdvantage program, entitled "Speculation and discussion of what the new merged FFP might look like (consolidated)" can be found here; it has been closed and archived.

Some useful resources:

FT:Airport Terminal, Gate & Counter Changes

Link to Gary Leff's "View from the Wing" interview with AA's Suzanne Rubin

Link to TravelingBetter with JonNYC's information.

Clarifying contact from AA provided by jmachin:

We want to address all your concerns. Thank you for responding to our most recent email.

I apologize for the delay in answering. I wanted to discuss the point you raised with our executive team and get you a correct answer.

When our frequent flyer programs are combined sometime in the second quarter of 2015, if your 2014 combined elite-qualifying activity meets the requirements for AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, then your AAdvantage account will be updated with Executive Platinum status. The requirements for 2014 are 100,000 elite-qualifying miles, 100,000 elite-qualifying points, or 100 elite-qualifying segments, with at least 4 segments flown on American Airlines or US Airways.

This means that if you end 2014 with 107 elite-qualifying segments and at least 4 of those segments were American Airlines or US Airways flights, then you will receive Executive Platinum status when the programs are combined. Until that point, you will have Dividend Miles Preferred Platinum status.

Please be aware, beginning in 2015, the segment requirements will be 120 segments to re-qualify for Executive Platinum status. We look forward to having you as an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member!

Regards,

Kathleen L.
AAdvantage Customer Service
American Airlines.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:07 pm
  #361  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Programs: AA 1.6MM EXP; UA GS; SPG LTG,Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold
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Originally Posted by MAH4546 View Post
PMAA has larger/equal size F cabins in every case except the A319s.

And F cabins aren't going to go out empty because people don't mind spending $60-$150 to upgrade a flight. I can't remember the last time I saw an empty F seat. Heck, once I didn't even clear on LAX-LAS.
I do agree that it's unlikely that we'll see a rash of empty F cabins any time soon. In large part because even at pmUS stations, there are plenty of pmAA Golds/Plats who are (a) used to and (b) willing to cough up the certs. I suspect pmUS flyers will (not willingly) follow.

What's true is that the loss of CPUs as it stands now for pmUS Golds/Plats (where pmAA elites only clear at OLCI) is a downgrade for them.

However, in a merged entity with equivalent upgrade windows for pmUS and pmAA elites - what used to be easy upgrades in the CPU world will very quickly cease to be so because of the influx of a large number of pmAA elites. Specifically, ubernostrum, I suspect that if CPUs had held, in a merged world, the easy (for example MCI-CLT-BDL or as another person posted, PHL-SAN) upgrades would become pretty hard to come by even for pmUS Plats (regardless of whether the Plat tier were maintained - observe that there are many pmAA flyers who end up between 75 and 99k miles). It's mitigation of this that makes pmAA elites in general prefer the sticker system
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:12 pm
  #362  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Programs: AA 1.6MM EXP; UA GS; SPG LTG,Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 1,478
Actually - and this is a bit of an epiphany to me at least - the loss of CPUs isn't what's hurting pmUS Plats. It's the merger in general and the influx of a large number of pmAA elites who will now clear at the same equivalent windows rather than just at OLCI, well after the windows for CP/Plat have opened.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:22 pm
  #363  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: ROC/NYC/MSP/LAX/HKG/SIN
Programs: AA 1.75MM EXP EMD, UA 1.31MM LT *G, DL SM, AS MVPG 75K, Marriott LT PLT(PP)/ICH AMB PLT/Hertz PC
Posts: 3,207
Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
Not sure how many true HVFs (say 30CPM and up) will be moving to AA, as they'd be missing out on serious RDMs relative to UA/DL.
They can easily just get that resolved by giving the extra goodies aka Elite Rewards. Out of all the Elite Rewards, I found that the 2013 version was the best to accommodate for everyone, including business travelers.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:25 pm
  #364  
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Join Date: May 2002
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Originally Posted by goldengate View Post
However the below FAQ is a little confusing as it references 3 million miles for lifetime platinum..?
"Q:Will I receive AAdvantage program rewards for prior million mile thresholds that I achieved in Dividend Miles before my million mile balances were combined together? A:
If the combination of your million miler miles allows you to reach a new million mile level when the programs combine, you will receive the benefits of that level. Any benefits you would have received for prior million mile levels will not be awarded. For example, if the combination of a member’s million mile balances allow you to reach 3 million miles, you will receive AAdvantage Platinum status for the life of the program along with 4 systemwide upgrades. Any benefits they would have received for achieving 1 million and 2 million miles in the AAdvantage program will not be awarded"

However the link they point to on Lifetime Status still references 1 and 2 mm marks for gold and platinum, respectively. WHEW.
I think they used that to illustrate two points. First, anything over 2MM will get LT PLT, so using 2M, 3M, 8M, etc., would have the same result.

Using 3M is a case where you went over both the 2M and 3M mark at the same time e.g. 1.5M in each of the two programs). 2M is LT PLT plus 4 SWU. Crossing 3M would get 4 more SWU.

But jumping straight to 3M just gets the benefits at that level - LT PLT and 4 SWU, not the cumulative result of 8 SWU by passing both the 2M and 3M milestones. It illustrates the point of the sentence that immediately follows the example.

I'm comfortable that it's still 1M=GLD, 2M=PLT.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:25 pm
  #365  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: AUS, GVA, and in between
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 162
Does this "influx" actually exist? Are there a huge number of AA elites who were chomping at the bit to finally travel over the US hubs (which we are of course informed are inferior to those of AA in every way)? Every AA elite on US metal is an AA elite *not on AA metal* and vice versa, so AA people should be happy their upgrade chances are improving...

Unless the merger is hugely increasing the number of flights people are taking on AA+US, or the number of flights is reduced, the US network is not going to be overwhelmed by AA elites, since there's probably an equivalent number of US travelers taking an AA routing. (OK, there are probably exceptions like the Shuttle.)

Originally Posted by scnzzz View Post
Actually - and this is a bit of an epiphany to me at least - the loss of CPUs isn't what's hurting pmUS Plats. It's the merger in general and the influx of a large number of pmAA elites who will now clear at the same equivalent windows rather than just at OLCI, well after the windows for CP/Plat have opened.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:37 pm
  #366  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Santa Monica and Siena
Programs: 10 MM + 2013, AA EXP,Lifetime AC ,Crown Room, Red Carpet,USAIR CLUB ,Hertz Plat, Hilton Dia, GS +++
Posts: 453
The BIG changes have already been implemented -

Originally Posted by Phasers View Post
All flights under 500 miles, no stickers needed regardless of elite status.

Complimentary upgrades will be auto requested for all elite levels at booking. Not complimentary (aka using 500mi stickers) will have to be requested manually.

No complimentary upgrades for Y/B fares for Gold/Platinum anymore.

Still 8 SWUs for EXP.

https://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/A...ex.jsp#500mile
Try using a SWU on a long haul international flight from Y to J - 8 months from now - almost impossible even when the cabins are 100% empty. Try booking a mile saver in Business long haul international - also almost impossible, with a 100% empty cabin. (ok no seats assigned yet). An then there's the multi tiers of award travel which change miles needed several times during any given week.

I understand revenue management. I understand maximizing profits. i also understand that the quite changes at the EXP level which have already taken place and new members won't notice are taking a once great program to the gutter - imo.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:45 pm
  #367  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,990
Originally Posted by MAH4546 View Post
I think they feel safe massively devaluing US fliers because, to be frank, they are nowhere near as important from a revenue perspective. It's far more important to keep AA fliers and AA's corporate contracts happy.
If you're familiar with the "divide & rule" strategy, then you know who's on the losing end of it. Let's not facilitate that process.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:50 pm
  #368  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 3
EQM on AA - does credit card spending count?

Originally Posted by DCAAA View Post
I usually hit 75k-100k through miles, not segments. Credit card is key to hitting 100k. Now, forget it. I'm hitting 50k and stopping, every year. Without credit card, I am not hitting 100k.
Do credit card miles count towards EQM on AA now? They didn't use to.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:53 pm
  #369  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: ORD
Programs: AA EXP, UA GM (2013 Gold, 2014 Silver), Hyatt Diamond, SPG Gold, IHG Platinum, Marriott Silver
Posts: 430
Thanks Jordyn for summarizing the differences in US Platinum vs next year's AA Platinum.

Pre UA-CO merger I was Silver (25k) on UA & was upgraded on 50% of my flights including SFO-HNL. I qualified for Gold (50k) the next year, but UA-CO merged their FF bases. Even though I was a higher level my upgrade percentage dropped from 50% to about 5%. I attribute this to the increased # of FFs and the competition for upgrades.

For US FF members, I completely understand why they feel this is a downgrade. I felt UA-CO was a downgrade because my upgrade percentage plummeted. Even if the current CPU system was kept in place, I would expect a significant decrease in upgrades since the # of CP/EXPs will increase (possibly double?). Even if there are only 2 additional EXPs per flight, that means 2 FFs who aren't CP wouldn't be upgraded. What is the best way to approach upgrades? I could argue either way, but the point is the upgrades are going to decrease for both AA & US FFs. As I revisited my needs and moved to AA, I expect everyone here to evaluate their options and make the move that's right for them.

I was surprised at the lack of a overall devaluation, but the one item I expected was the 75k level. In my mind, the main value of the 75k level was upgrade priority. Besides for the free upgrades and upgrade priority being the same at 50k & 99k, does anyone feel strongly about any of the other lost benefits?


Originally Posted by jordyn View Post
I don't understand all the angst about the loss of the 75K tier. As I understand it, here's what US Platinum fliers got before:
  • Free upgrades at 96 hours out
  • 75% mileage bonus
  • 2 free bags and priority baggage handling
  • Reserve preferred seats
  • Some sort of priority reservations line
  • Guaranteed full-fare availability if booked 24 hours in advance
  • Priority check-in, boarding, etc.
  • No award processing or close-in fees
  • Priority standby
  • Confirmed move to an earlier flight (within 6 hours) for free
  • $400 club membership

Whereas, here's what AAdvantage Platinum gets (differences in bold/strike-through):
  • Sticker upgrades at 72 hours out
  • 100% mileage bonus
  • 2 free bags and priority baggage handling
  • Reserve preferred seats
  • Some sort of priority reservations line
  • Guaranteed full-fare availability if booked 24 hours in advance
  • Priority check-in, boarding, etc.
  • No award processing or close-in fees
  • Priority standby
  • Confirmed move to an earlier flight (within 6 hours) for free
  • $400 club membership

So it seems like you're complimentary upgrades for sticker upgrades, losing 24 hours in terms of the upgrade window, and losing the confirmed move to an earlier flight for free or to buy a full Y ticket on 24 hours notice. On the other hand, you get 25% more RDMs.

The swap from complimentary to sticker is a philosophical change more than an upgrade or a downgrade. You'll note that a lot of people on the AAdvantage side prefer it. I certainly liked being able to pick my spots when I was Platinum, knowing that I'd have a greater probability of upgrading on the flights that I really cared about. In any case, even if there was a 75K tier, this change would likely have applied so it's unrelated to the loss of the 75K level.

The other three changes (72 vs 96 hour upgrade window and loss of Move Up and buying a full Y ticket on a full flight) seem really minor to me, and probably more than offset by the bigger RDM bonus. To me all the grousing about the lack of a Platinum level seems really petty in the face of a program that appears much, much better than any other domestic option in the US for next year.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:53 pm
  #370  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: PBI/FLL/MIA
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Originally Posted by ONTRandy View Post
It looks like they're keeping the "sticker" upgrades, which I think it great.
+1000
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:55 pm
  #371  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: CRW
Programs: AA-EX PLAT, Hilton Diamond, National Emerald Executive, Marriott Silver
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Originally Posted by Cannonball Run View Post
Try using a SWU on a long haul international flight from Y to J - 8 months from now - almost impossible even when the cabins are 100% empty. Try booking a mile saver in Business long haul international - also almost impossible, with a 100% empty cabin. (ok no seats assigned yet). An then there's the multi tiers of award travel which change miles needed several times during any given week.

I understand revenue management. I understand maximizing profits. i also understand that the quite changes at the EXP level which have already taken place and new members won't notice are taking a once great program to the gutter - imo.
I will be really curious on how easy using the SWU will be to use on International flights compared to the CP Certificates. The CP certificates were difficult to use at times.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:55 pm
  #372  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Originally Posted by pjbca View Post
Do credit card miles count towards EQM on AA now? They didn't use to.
You can get 10,000 EQM with $40,000 spend on the Citi card (only the one that carries a $450 annual fee.)
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:56 pm
  #373  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,549
Originally Posted by scnzzz View Post
Actually - and this is a bit of an epiphany to me at least - the loss of CPUs isn't what's hurting pmUS Plats. It's the merger in general and the influx of a large number of pmAA elites who will now clear at the same equivalent windows rather than just at OLCI, well after the windows for CP/Plat have opened.
Yes, that's exactly right. This is why I refer to the sticker vs. complimentary upgrades mainly as a question of philosophy. The real problem is that there is going to be more upgrade scarcity. There is no future in which non-CP US elites are going to get upgraded all the time for free, because even if the combined airline would have adopted US-style complimentary upgrades there would be sufficient demand for upgrades that they'd no longer reliably clear. How do I know this? There already exist routes where EXPs don't reliably clear complimentary upgrades, so surely lower tier elites are not going to manage to do so. If you come to the table with the assumption that you're not going to qualify for EXP but that you're going to get regularly upgraded for free, you're either flying particularly odd routes or just not being realistic about what the mix of fliers is going to look like in the future.

Or, put another way: I'd be really interested to hear from current US PLTs a year from now who request upgrades on every flight and hear just how much they had to spend on upgrades during the year. That will give us some sense of how big of a devaluation this actually was, since I suspect there will be a bunch of flights where they don't get upgraded even with less overall demand for upgrades.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:56 pm
  #374  
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
Not sure how many true HVFs (say 30CPM and up) will be moving to AA, as they'd be missing out on serious RDMs relative to UA/DL.
If all it takes to attract and keep true high-value flyers is a huge pile of RDMs on expensive fares, then all Parker has to do is implement an RDM bonus program for premium cabin and very expensive economy fares.

While you could go the routes of UA and DL and reduce the RDMs earned on lower fares, there's no need to do that. Just offer huge RDMs to the target audience.
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Old Oct 28, 14, 1:58 pm
  #375  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: MYF/CMA/SAN/YYZ/YKF
Programs: COdbaUA 1K MM, AA EXP, Bonbon Gold, Omni Black, Hertz PC, NEXUS and GE
Posts: 5,445
So far, so good. No revenue-based changes either, which is excellent.

Originally Posted by ONTRandy View Post
It looks like they're keeping the "sticker" upgrades, which I think it great.
It is really a huge reward for EXP/CP who don't book far out.

Originally Posted by gemini573 View Post
Cautiously optimistic. With the segments going up to 120, I think it's just a matter of time, the miles to re qualify will go up to 120k for EXP.
That didn't happen on United.

Originally Posted by flyingmusicianlax View Post
Doubt it. United has been at 100k PQM / 120 PQS since their programs merged.
Yup, though its kind of weird. Segment qualifiers are usually on higher yielding tickets.

Originally Posted by Catbert10 View Post
The 120 EQS hurts the short haul flyer, which is unfortunate for myself. Being Austin based, each trip typically goes through DFW. This adds 2 EQS per trip but only 1000 EQMs. I'll still qualify but it will take longer and will be via miles and not segments. This will drive away some of the short haul flyers over to WN, I think.
You'd be surprised how much those 500 mile minimums make a difference as a miles qualifier.

Originally Posted by riastradh View Post
Looks like US CP get SWUs next year, does that dilute the value of the SWU, or not really because AA ppl can now use them on US flights?

Also the one thing that's not definitively address is how upgrades will work moving forward. But I'm assuming that they're keeping the sticker system because US ppl are going to get some to get started, why bother acclimating everyone to the system unless it's going to stay in place.
First part - I think the second part is right. For all its foibles, US has a very nice network to Europe with an excellent seating product on the A330s. With the food product going back to AA standard, this is a good thing.

Second part - I think this has to do with a couple of things.

1) The US hard product is not as good as the AA one - particularly on retrofitted planes with PTVs and the like.

2) SHARES seems to have a problem with a sticker-based system. It took years for CO to do SWUs, and there were major problems with the CO/UA integration of upgrades.

Originally Posted by jaimelannister View Post
"Executive Platinum members will enjoy complimentary same‑day flight changes on both airlines"

Is this new, or just strange wording? Are they talking about confirmed flight changes, or just the usual complementary standby?
Its complimentary confirmed SDCs, which was sorely needed.

Originally Posted by miffSC View Post
Oh how I wish I could get you to comment on my blog! Sometimes I feel I am the only one waving the US Airways flag.... however, that being said:

The American sub-elites (Platinum and Gold) have never known any other system so for them, it is business as usual. US Airways had the sticker program back in the late 90's and did away with it because it felt it wasn't working for its elites. So sad to see it reinstated.

Yes, it is a major downgrade and slap in the face for US Airways flyers and no, the American flyers have no idea how we really feel about this.
I know how you feel about it, because I'm a refugee from United. Its a huge upgrade for the US CPs, because the sticker system protects upgrades for super elites (EXPs and CPs) who need to book close in. I can't tell you how many times I've seen Plat or even Gold on UA sitting in F, while I'm sitting in Y, simply because I had to book late. Same with the absence of YBM auto-upgrades. You reward loyalty instead of one-off purchases by lower tiers.

Originally Posted by anaggie View Post
^ on the mileage bonus for J class tickets to 50%.

Most of my flights are on intl paid J -- so I should make EXP even sooner, right ??
If you qualify by miles, yes. If you qualify by points, it would be the same.

Originally Posted by YouGeeElWhy View Post
How hard is it to understand that the stickers ($$$) based upgrade system helps fund a better F experience.
Yep. It also rewards brand loyalty above all. There is massive value in that.

Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
We already got screwed when we inherited your F class soft product. I fail to see why most of this is a concern for you as a CP though. Most things based upon this announcement have little to no effect on top tier at either airline. If anything you may get to experience lighter loads in F with the potential to have a row to yourself. That's one great thing about stickers.
Yep. Thankfully, they are already reversing course on the soft product problems.

Originally Posted by mgarrett96 View Post
As an AA GLD who flies STL-ORD round trip twice a month, I'm not sure what I feel about the comp. upgrades. I have no issue paying $35/sticker for my seat up front, and I haven't missed an upgrade on that route ONCE this year. I feel like my UPG percentage is gonna fall under the new rules, but all in all, this is much better than what I expected.
Actually, I think your percentage will do the same under these rules - unless you are on US metal.

Originally Posted by MAH4546 View Post
AA/US already announced MCE on the US fleet; though as of yet no planes have been retrofitted.
Pretty similar to the CONUAL merger. It took a while to get E+ on CO planes, but it happened reasonably quickly (except for some 738s) once it did happen.

Originally Posted by MAH4546 View Post
PMAA has larger/equal size F cabins in every case except the A319s.

And F cabins aren't going to go out empty because people don't mind spending $60-$150 to upgrade a flight. I can't remember the last time I saw an empty F seat. Heck, once I didn't even clear on LAX-LAS.
I see empty F seats from time to time on AA. A few times on LAX-LAS, once on LAX-YYZ, a few other times.

Originally Posted by UAPremierGuy View Post
All I can say is: ^^^^^^^^^^^^

THANK YOU, Suzanne, Doug, and the entire team at AA. I will remain a loyal AA flyer, and will make the push to qualify for EXP based on this announcement.
Agreed. This is excellent. I also like the willingness of the former US, current AA managers to reverse course on changes that their best customers clearly don't like.

Originally Posted by superweak View Post
Does this "influx" actually exist? Are there a huge number of AA elites who were chomping at the bit to finally travel over the US hubs (which we are of course informed are inferior to those of AA in every way)? Every AA elite on US metal is an AA elite *not on AA metal* and vice versa, so AA people should be happy their upgrade chances are improving...

Unless the merger is hugely increasing the number of flights people are taking on AA+US, or the number of flights is reduced, the US network is not going to be overwhelmed by AA elites, since there's probably an equivalent number of US travelers taking an AA routing. (OK, there are probably exceptions like the Shuttle.)
I'll say that the UA/CO merger saw a huge jump in CO flyers going to/through UA hubs.
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