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Aeromexico Club Premier - Amex's "most improved" transfer partner of 2020

Aeromexico Club Premier - Amex's "most improved" transfer partner of 2020

Old Sep 7, 20, 8:51 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Mexico City, MX
Programs: Chase UR, Amex MR, Capital One Points
Posts: 145
Aeromexico Club Premier - Amex's "most improved" transfer partner of 2020

Has anyone else noticed since Delta's purchase 49% of Aeromexico how much better Aeromexico's program "club premier" has gotten?

I know all fellow FT readers reading this are rolling their eyes , I would be too, but hear me out!

I'm an American who lives in Mexico so I keep up a lot with these things, and a lot of times Aeromexico has a lot of special sales with points that gives you dirt cheap business class on longer routes within Mexico.

I just wanted to address a few things. The last time I used Aeromexico in 2016, it took 2 hours back and forth with Amex and Aeromexico on the phone just to get my account number added. Transfers took 2-3 days or more, and even worse, you couldn't book most flights online, only over the phone. Really until 2019 I just credited all AM flights to Delta, why even bother with that crap program, I said to myself.

Those days are over!

Aeromexico is now a solid transfer partner now in 2020.

1. Transfers are now instant. Its easy to add your FF account, and transfers are totally 100% instant, just log out log back in.
2. You can now book anything online including partner flights. Their new interface works perfectly like any other booking tool. Their last booking tool was a disaster.
3. Most Important: Aeromexico has plenty of Skyteam routes at a 30% discount to AirFrance or Delta's offering. Why? Because they price a lot of their same tickets in "Club Premier Kilometers" as other airlines do with "miles"
Example: MEX to GRU on their 787, AF = 72k, DL = 77.5k, Aeromexico = 46.8k MR points .... (75k but they transfer in 1.6:1),
4. They frequently have "Azul sales" (no relation to the airline) where those discounted seats are discounted even more, check this out guys and gals. Last week they did a sale 52.5k premier kilometers or 103k roundtrip MEX to GRU on their 787-9 reverse herringbone seat. Thats 33k Amex points for a 10 hour flight in J! These sales are almost never covered by the big blogs, sign up to Aeromexico's email list to get informed.

Also Aeromexico is NOT my favorite airline, but i've flown with them a lot and they have improved tremendously as an airline. Some improvements:
  • Less grouchier flight attendants and much improved onboard better service. Previously these flight attendants felt like they were "unfireable" but thankfully Delta found a way to get rid of these grunions.
    This is a flyertalk secret but before Delta's purchase it was a regular thing to see AM flight attendants and oftentimes even the pilots (hate to say it) reaking of tequila, I am not kidding.
  • WAYYYYYY better food in business class (from absolutely disgusting to about on par with Delta)
  • Wifi rapidly being installed on their 737s.
I still rather fly any other airline if I can on a business class flight. Even LATAM's dated 767-300 has a more comfortable seat and way better service. But when it comes to points deals on Delta and Aeromexico, I think Club Premier deserves a second look. For outside of DL/AM the deals were mostly on par with Delta, Air France etc. Anyways most skyteam partners suck so usually it boils down to DL and AF for skyteam awards as Korean got removed from Chase long ago as you guys already know. So this adds a new 3rd competitor to the skyteam points space and deserves a quick look.

Oh and PS: Aeromexico sells Copa space too (even though Copa's biz class sucks, sometimes they have convenient routes)


10 hours layflat for 32k amex points

Last edited by PointsPanda; Sep 7, 20 at 9:14 pm
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Old Sep 7, 20, 11:27 pm
  #2  
 
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I’ve always read the program wasn’t great. It’s good to hear there may be some sweet spots. I just did a random search from LAX to AMS and they wanted ~570K in business class one way. The delta management is showing

I’ll have to make sure to check this as an option when looking for flights next time.
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Old Sep 7, 20, 11:55 pm
  #3  
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Mexico City, MX
Programs: Chase UR, Amex MR, Capital One Points
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Originally Posted by JHake10 View Post
I’ve always read the program wasn’t great. It’s good to hear there may be some sweet spots. I just did a random search from LAX to AMS and they wanted ~570K in business class one way. The delta management is showing

I’ll have to make sure to check this as an option when looking for flights next time.
It depends on the route, its a lot like delta can be 500k one day 75k the next. The sweet spot is clearly AM's own metal, and sometimes Delta (which as we know is a bit unusual as Delta the best sweet spot are partners). And again don't forget to divide by 1.6 to get the MR transfer cost.

Try looking up MEX to AMS, MEX to CDG, MEX to LHR (if taxes aren't too bad), also MEX to MAD and MEX to BCN. Some of these routes also leave from CUN, so you could try to pair up a Mexico vacation with Europe. Unfortunately MEX/CUN or any airport in Mexico doesn't have dry/sterile transit the way PTY or LIM does, but you could also pair it up with a 2-3 day stop in Mexico City, a great city it its own right.

Its not hard to position yourself from LAX, the LAX-MEX route is one of the most competitive intl routes on the planet with like 6 or 7 diff airlines still flying it even during covid! I've seen recliner J biz class on the 3 hour route for $100USD before.

Also will try not to get too sidetracked here but another hack about flying award from Mexico is even when you fly very long distances to south america many airlines will consider it "intra-latin america" for example Mexico City to Arequipa in south of Peru 30k unitedmileage plus miles J in Copa or Avianca, distance of 3100 miles. Take the same flight from Texas its almost double the cost even though almost same distance. Flying to Mexico first can be a sneaky way to lower the cost of an award flight, esp to South america. (will save this trick for another post)

All this stuff might be irrelevant right now with wide open J saver space on all airlines due to the situation, but in the distant future when things get back to "normal" and its impossible to find biz class space, just keep in mind Mexico City has direct flights without stops in the US to all over Europe, and to some Asian destinations as well (Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo). AM def does not have the most exotic biz class, but when ur in a pinch and need a flat seat, its a good secondary option.

Unfortunately most of these European routes are done on the older 787-8 that is an acceptable hard product albeit slightly outdated 2x2x2 configuration. Lookout for the 787-9, massive difference, these are state of the art reverse herringbone way more comfy and more space. A lot of times they fly both on the same route on different days. Soft product is pretty meh, though as I said on the previous post, def improving with time.

The issue was never that there wasn't sweet spots on the program, as a matter of fact with the previous award chart they got rid of their used to be even more savings. It was that even something as simple as adding your FF to your Amex account to transfer points was a nightmare, then transferring was a nightmare with points disappearing. Then say you got lucky and the points show up you'd have to call over the phone to get it booked with an unhelpful agent. The juice just wasn't worth the squeeze beforehand. Now these issues have been mostly resolved and AM can be considered.
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Last edited by PointsPanda; Sep 8, 20 at 12:11 am
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Old Sep 8, 20, 3:20 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,610
I wish AmEx would add Alaska and Turkish airlines as transfer options.
MaxVO is offline  
Old Sep 8, 20, 10:43 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 52
Curious about your tidbit about Copa, is this space shown through their online tool as well?
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Old Sep 8, 20, 12:59 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Programs: Delta
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Originally Posted by JHake10 View Post
I’ve always read the program wasn’t great. It’s good to hear there may be some sweet spots. I just did a random search from LAX to AMS and they wanted ~570K in business class one way. The delta management is showing

I’ll have to make sure to check this as an option when looking for flights next time.
The big benefit of AM's program is getting a Skyteam RTW ticket on points - very reasonable even in Business Class.

I hope to take advantage of it one day
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Old Sep 8, 20, 1:50 pm
  #7  
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Programs: Chase UR, Amex MR, Capital One Points
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Originally Posted by gbongc View Post
Curious about your tidbit about Copa, is this space shown through their online tool as well?
Yes Copa award space has shown up on Aeromexico's award tool for quite some time now, on AirFrance's as well, though the deals are typically not as good as booking Copa through either United Mileageplus (chase partner) or Avianca Lifemiles (amex, citi and capone partner). Copa's business class might be the worst of all latin american airlines, but they always have wide open availability even last minute, and its still a recliner seat usually with very convenient routing. Just try and time it so you get the 737-8 with the big recline, footrest and TV screen, not the older 737-8 version that has little recline, no footrest, and no screen. (Unfortunately since both planes share the same 737-8 the only way to tell is checking the flights one by one on expertflyer, one extra row in economy = bad plane). Sry, we are getting really sidetracked here think I need to start 2 new threads haha.

Also MaxVO Seeing Alaska show up as a Chase or Amex transfer partner would be everyone's wet dream. But Turkish, really ? Unless times have changed to book a ticket with Turkish you have to call multiple times and then when they find the award space you need to actually go in person to an office somewhere and if you don't have one close by, you are SOL. I'd rather just pay cash and not lose a full day thanks. I've heard sometimes they have some crazy sweet spots but when you have a massive amount of points would rather transfer fast then save 10 or even 20k points but deal with lots of phone hassle. Turkish is notorious for messing up award reservations (one time I got stuck in Africa because of them)

Also Citi and Capital One transfer to Turkish but i've never bothered. Seems too risky to transfer the points in and then you gotta go to some office and they tell you you can't actually book that flight, and you just wasted 50 or 80k points or whatever stuck in Turkish.
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Old Sep 8, 20, 2:12 pm
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by namekyd View Post
The big benefit of AM's program is getting a Skyteam RTW ticket on points - very reasonable even in Business Class.

I hope to take advantage of it one day
I've read that the published RTW fares are nice but impossible to actually book. Maybe that has changed.
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Old Sep 8, 20, 4:22 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by PointsPanda View Post
...
Also MaxVO Seeing Alaska show up as a Chase or Amex transfer partner would be everyone's wet dream. But Turkish, really ? Unless times have changed to book a ticket with Turkish you have to call multiple times and then when they find the award space you need to actually go in person to an office somewhere and if you don't have one close by, you are SOL. I'd rather just pay cash and not lose a full day thanks. I've heard sometimes they have some crazy sweet spots but when you have a massive amount of points would rather transfer fast then save 10 or even 20k points but deal with lots of phone hassle. Turkish is notorious for messing up award reservations (one time I got stuck in Africa because of them)
...
Turkish flies their own metal on lots of barely served unprofitable routes in Europe and Asia. Those award fares can be booked online, and have phenomenally sweet pricing. Seat selection still requires a voice call. That scares away enough ppl to assure good availability.
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Old Sep 8, 20, 6:56 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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I actually like AM in a lot of ways, but I'm not as positive on the experience as you are for a few reasons.

The first is fairly obvious - they're currently very, very bankrupt. There's a rescue plan and they will probably still be a going concern after COVID-19, but they aren't meeting their EU refund obligations and their customer service for ticketing issues has been an absolute unmitigated failure even measured against the low bar of other airlines. If you're looking to redeem points for last minute travel on DL in the near future, you're probably fine. But if you're redeeming for a dream trip at T-330, I'd worry about the implications of holding an Aeromexico ticket in case their financial situation continues to worsen.

The other is that I don't share your assessment of improvement in the onboard catering. I've had some truly awful meals in the last 12-24 months on AM, long after the Delta investment took effect. When they do simple food, it turns out okay - the ubiquitous ham-and-cheese-croissant-sandwich is fine, although they serve it with a side of a croissant sometimes, because Xzibit? But anything more elaborate seems to fall very flat, they almost never have actual Mexican cuisine onboard, and outstation catering can be downright inedible. For the low fares I usually pay, I understand this is priced into my ticket going in, but if the current state of the world is 'most improved', I'd hate to see what it was pre-DL investment. CDMX is one of the best food cities in the world - and one of the best value food cities in the world - and Mexican cuisine can be executed pretty well in an onboard oven - so there's really zero excuse for them service bad takes on other countries' cuisine rather than a good take on their own, dangit.

In contrast, I actually think the seating is fine in J. They got rid of the awful 777 config, so now it's just the 787-8 (with a mediocre BE Diamond that's serviceable and fully lie-flat, although not very private) and the 787-9 (with stellar Super Diamond seats that are very private and competitive with the very best airlines out there). Regrettably, they equipment swap regularly, so there's no guarantee you'll get one or the other when you book though

Finally, AM tickets often sell at a huge discount, so take that into account when looking at points value. It's not at all uncommon to see round trips in Clase Premier in the $1600-$2200 range round trip. That can still be a good redemption, just keep in mind that you may want to take the CPM with a grain of salt on AM-operated flights.

That all may sound negative but I do agree with a lot of what you're saying. Pre-COVID, I was a huge evangelist for AM overall as a way to get nearly all the things that matter about a J product for a price frequently approaching premium economy, with huge Delta earnings potential on paid tickets. The staff are actually very very competent in the air, with several examples I've seen of them taking huge pride in their work and delivering a great customer experience. The amenity kit is weirdly nice. And while I've never used them as an MR transfer partner, I appreciate you sharing this post and highlighting the potential to find useful redemptions through them!

Just want everyone to go in with eyes open knowing that AM is not a particularly healthy company right now and that they should assign an appropriate amount of risk to holding an AM ticket or mileage - and that the product is surprisingly competent but also not anything approaching top tier, either.
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Old Sep 8, 20, 7:00 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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Originally Posted by namekyd View Post
The big benefit of AM's program is getting a Skyteam RTW ticket on points - very reasonable even in Business Class.

I hope to take advantage of it one day
This is awesome - I didn't realize that a Skyteam RTW was even still possible with points; it dropped off my radar when Delta stopped offering it.

I am suddenly very, very intrigued. For just under 200,000 MR points, it's not exactly free, but if you maximize the redemption it could be amazing value.
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Old Sep 8, 20, 7:27 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by BenA View Post
... For just under 200,000 MR points, it's not exactly free, but if you maximize the redemption it could be amazing value.
Are there published rules for that RTW? Is it booked as a multi-stop itin, or a separate process?
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Old Sep 8, 20, 7:44 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
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Originally Posted by PointsPanda View Post

Unfortunately most of these European routes are done on the older 787-8 that is an acceptable hard product albeit slightly outdated 2x2x2 configuration. Lookout for the 787-9, massive difference, these are state of the art reverse herringbone way more comfy and more space. A lot of times they fly both on the same route on different days.
Originally Posted by BenA View Post

The other is that I don't share your assessment of improvement in the onboard catering. I've had some truly awful meals in the last 12-24 months on AM, long after the Delta investment took effect. When they do simple food, it turns out okay - the ubiquitous ham-and-cheese-croissant-sandwich is fine, although they serve it with a side of a croissant sometimes, because Xzibit? But anything more elaborate seems to fall very flat, they almost never have actual Mexican cuisine onboard, and outstation catering can be downright inedible. For the low fares I usually pay, I understand this is priced into my ticket going in, but if the current state of the world is 'most improved', I'd hate to see what it was pre-DL investment. CDMX is one of the best food cities in the world - and one of the best value food cities in the world - and Mexican cuisine can be executed pretty well in an onboard oven - so there's really zero excuse for them service bad takes on other countries' cuisine rather than a good take on their own, dangit.

In contrast, I actually think the seating is fine in J. They got rid of the awful 777 config, so now it's just the 787-8 (with a mediocre BE Diamond that's serviceable and fully lie-flat, although not very private) and the 787-9 (with stellar Super Diamond seats that are very private and competitive with the very best airlines out there). Regrettably, they equipment swap regularly, so there's no guarantee you'll get one or the other when you book though
I fully agree with BenA regarding the equipment swaps. When booking paid fares on AM, I try to pick flights with the 787-9, but 50% of the time the equipment was swapped. With the 787-8, I didn't mind it so much, because we move to the first row which gives you huge footwells (I am tall). But once we were switched from a 787-9 to a 737 from JFK to MEX--not the longest route, but a big let down.

Food on AM is such a mixed bag. For breakfast they often serve tamales, which I find delicious (they hold up well on airplanes). But some dinners have been terrible, particularly at outstations.
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Old Sep 9, 20, 11:35 am
  #14  
 
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Good to hear transfers are instant. This was one of my concerns in transferring miles. But with bankruptcy hard to say what will happen next.
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Old Sep 9, 20, 11:48 pm
  #15  
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OP, thanks for the update on AM especially about the instant transfers. I redeemed miles with them a year and a half ago and it took a week or two just for Amex to link the AM account. Then another week for the points to transfer over. By the then the award space was gone. Do they allow redemption on Avianca Ecuador online or over the phone and stopovers when booking online and fuels surcharges?
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