Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > British Airways | Executive Club
Reload this Page >

BA Tier Point Run Trip Report: 470 tier points in 30 hours!

BA Tier Point Run Trip Report: 470 tier points in 30 hours!

Old Jan 7, 14, 5:59 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Arizona
Programs: BA (GGL), AA (statusless), HH (Diamond);
Posts: 2,990
BA Tier Point Run Trip Report: 470 tier points in 30 hours!

Here are my notes from my first ever tier point run, in mid-December, 2013. Apologies on the lack of photos, the pictures I took were not particularly inspired, and I was mostly in aisle seats during the flights.

Depart home: 13:00 MT
Arrive PHX East economy parking: 13:30 MT

This was my first time using TSA PreCheck, and it was like going back in time eleven years. That said, there were more PreCheck passengers than those going through normal security.

PHX US Airways Club
13:45 - 14:35

US Airways Club in Phoenix is pleasant enough, but really offers nothing in the way of food. I've been to these clubs many times, and they are a step down from the BA lounges in terminal B.

PHX-SAN US 679 (A320, seat 2D).
Depart: 15:05 MT
Arrive: 15:06 PT

This was my positioning flight for a tier point run to start in San Diego. It was also my first experience with the relaxed electronics rule. The combination of PreCheck + gate-to-gate electronics really made the experience more pleasant.

Boarding was delayed about 15 minutes (though we still arrived on-time), so I grabbed a quick lunch from one of the terminal restaurants. Terminal 4 in Phoenix has received a significant upgrade to its restaurants recently, replacing most national chains with a mix of well known local restaurants.

The flight was short, about 45 minutes in duration. The domestic first class seats are fine for very short flights, though the only food that is served is their "savory snack mix" that is anything but savory, and will hopefully die with the merger with AA.

SAN Admirals Club
15:10 - 17:00

They seemed a bit surprised that a Los Angeles passenger would be in the terminal, as they have a separate commuter terminal for all Los Angeles bound flights.

This AA club is rather old, though it looks like it will get a refresh soon with the other airport renovations occurring at the moment. I spent an hour or two here, then had a dinner in the nice terminal, before heading to the commuter terminal. I had a 5 hour layover, as I didn't want to risk a misconnect to start my AA flights.

SAN Terminal 2

The new resaurant and mall area is a nice improvement, and they have a Be Relax that looks very much like the one in Heathrow T5B. The area where the BA 777 was waiting is in the older part of the terminal that appears to be starting renovation work. I found dinner in the newer terminal area, and it was nothing special (a bad attempt at Thai food), but the view of the airplanes was decent.

Walk to the commuter terminal.

While there is a shuttle bus, a tier point run pretty much begs for as much exercise as possible, so I walked outside from Terminal 2 past terminal 1 to the commuter terminal. The walk is about 10-15 minutes.

The security at the commuter terminal has no dedicated PreCheck, but they hand you a small laminated card that allows you to use the x-ray machine rather than the body scanner. You still need to remove your liquids and laptop from the bag scanners, as they have not updated their bag scanning equipment in this terminal.

The waiting area is modest in the commuter terminal, with free wifi that needs to be renewed every thirty minutes. It's more like a bus stop with security and airplanes, than a proper terminal.

SAN-LAX AA 2590 (CRJ, Seat 8C)
Depart: 19:45 PT
Arrive: 20:18 PT

The 108 mile, 45 minute route to Los Angeles is surprisingly popular, with AA and United running near hourly routes throughout the day. I wonder how many people actually commute by plane between San Diego and Los Angeles, versus how many use this as a feeder flight to other destinations from LAX?

The flight itself was an incredibly short 20 minutes on a very uncomfortable CRJ. I had the exit row which meant a few extra inches of leg room. The flight up the coast was quick, and the approach to LAX is very efficient compared to a normal mainline aircraft. Unfortunately, when we arrived, there was no gate available, and we waited 15 minutes before we could exit. Then the lovely bus across the airport to get between Gate 44 and 44C added another 10 minues to the journey, cutting into precious lounge time. The gate 44 area is undergoing some pretty major renovations. For anyone that has not been in this area, it is actually at the front of the airport, past all of the United terminals.

Admirals Club LAX
20:45-21:10

The LAX Admirals club staff were very welcoming, and I quickly received access to a shower room. The Admirals club showers lack most amenities that you will find at some of the international shower rooms (Asiana, Thai, Singapore Air, etc.), but were fairly comparable to a shower at T5. The lounge itself provides food for purchase... while BA silver and golds may receive food for free, I didn't bother to find out as I would be boarding pretty quickly.

LAX-MIA AA 9 (737, Seat 5E)
Depart: 21:55 MT
Arrive: 05:29 ET

At the gate, there was an event with a band, and some fairly ridiculous flamenco dancers dressed in the AA color scheme. I'm not sure if they were inaugurating a flight to South America, or what the occasion was. Boarding commenced on-time, and we were quickly served a light meal. I had the Italian beef, which was a cold, not overcooked cut of beef on top of a salad. It was reasonably tasty.

The AA 737/757/MD80 domestic first class seats are not conducive for comfortable sleeping, as they are comparable to World Traveler Plus without any sort of foot rest. That said, I booked this tier point run only 2-3 weeks in advance, and any of the routes with better seats tripled the cost of the trip. I slept for an hour or two between work and iPad movies, and we arrived in Miami about 15 minutes early.

Admirals Club MIA
05:45-06:30

While both my arrival and departure were near the D15 Admirals club, I took the train to D30 based on FlyerTalk advice to use this club instead. Upon arrival I was escorted to the shower room, which was comparable to LAX. The lounge wifi was reasonably fast. The food offered in the lounge was minimal. I then took the train back to my departure gate gate.

MIA-SJU AA 1341 (757, Seat 1E)
Depart: 07:25 ET
Arrive: 10:51 AT

The gate area for boarding was fairly chaotic, and we were delayed about 10 minutes due to an ill cabin crew member. This didn't slow us down, as we ended up arriving a few minutes early.

For the meal, I had preorded a fritata that was passable. The flight itself was relatively short. It's a bit disappointing that Gogo wireless doesn't work for the last hour or so to Puerto Rico. I'm not sure if it's out of range of the satellite, or simply not licensed outside US airspace.

Admirals club SJU

The Admirals club is probably the nicest feature of SJU, a very modest airport terminal. The club was so empty that the upper level was not open, so I missed the photo opportunities of the runway. After about 40 minutes, it was time to board my flight to Dallas, which was on the same plane as the inbound flight.

SJU-DFW AA 2353 (757, Seat 4E)
Depart: 12:15 AT
Arrive: 15:19 CT

This flight was a lot longer than I had expected, probably because I hadn't done the math correctly in my head with the Puerto Rico time zone. Gogo wireless started working after the first hour. The flight was uneventful, I was a bit relieved that it wasn't the same crew as the inbound flight! The meal wasn't great or memorable, but edible. AA makes up for their mains with decent cookies for dessert. We arrived a touch early, and I got a fair amount of work and sleep done on this flight. That said, I was pretty exhausted by the end of the flight and was nodding off pretty frequently by the end. A foot rest would make these seats far more comfortable for shorter passengers (I'm 5'8").

Centurion Lounge DFW
15:20-18:00

I was excited to arrive at the gate closest to the Centurion lounge! It's an interesting lounge, though some aspects of it seem a bit poorly conceived. For example, I waited nearly an hour for a shower, and there was no one waiting before me. They have only two shower rooms, and the person responsible for cleaning them was nowhere to be found. I would expect a lounge of this size to have more than two showers, given its proximity to many international flights.

The lounge itself was rather crowded the entire time I was there. I'm a bit surprised that there are that many American Express platinum or centurion card holders, which makes me think that the Admirals Club and US Airways Clubs are going to feel empty in mid-March when they're no longer provided free access.

The chairs are swanky and comfortable, and the food was a decent TexMex offering. I spent about as much time as I would want to spend in the lounge after traveling this much in domestic first class. It's a pretty noisy lounge, and not particularly conducive for work. It's safe to say that the lounge is no Air France first class lounge, but it has probably the best food of any US domestic lounge I've tried. To be fair, I've yet to try most of the better JFK lounges including the CCR, or the new LAX Star Alliance lounge.

DFW-PHX AA 2435 (MD80, Seat 3E)
Depart: 19:00 CT
Arrive: 20:14 MT

My final flight boarded from the A gates, so I took a quick ride on the SkyTrain. We boarded a bit late, and then there was a minor mechanical issue, delaying our departure for about 30 minutes. Not surprisingly, I fell asleep. I was so tired that I barely remember the meal. The first class seat was the same as all of the other non-CRJ flights. After the meal, I slept until landing in Phoenix.

Other thoughts

The next day, my body clock was back on schedule, and overall I wasn't too tired or worn out from a sleep perspective, though my body was more stiff than flying from the US to Asia in business class. This is really due to the relatively uncomfortable seats for the better part of 30 hours.

It took ~2 weeks for my points to post to my MAEC account, a rather long time. There was a wider issue at the time, with no points on pure AA tickets posting to BA.

If I had to do it again, and wasn't in a rush to get back home, I would spend a night in either Miami or San Juan, and split things up a bit, and I would try to book earlier to find a 767 or 777 for the longer flights.
dylanks is offline  
Old Jan 7, 14, 6:23 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: North West, UK
Programs: BA GfL (GGL/CCR), Hilton Diamond
Posts: 1,937
Nice trip report. Interesting routing as well. So this was a mix of US and AA flights? Good to rake in a decent amount of TPs in a short space of time isn't it!

Will take me a while to work out the best routes for US flights from a BAEC perspective. I'm relatively well versed in the AA routes now.
billinghamn is offline  
Old Jan 7, 14, 6:43 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: London-etc
Posts: 3,893
Nice one, the cost of each TP around 1.2 or less?
Polomarc is offline  
Old Jan 7, 14, 6:50 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: London
Programs: BAEC bouncing from Blue to Gold to Blue VSFC Red CXGreen Club Accor Platinum Hilton Silver.
Posts: 897
thanks for the TR we will be doing a TP run when we visit in march from LAS-MIA-SJU so your TR is helpful re 738 as we have those on 3 of our six flights 757 the others. we are overnighting in SJU so the effects shouldn't be to bad for us.
John
thejohn is offline  
Old Jan 7, 14, 10:55 am
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Arizona
Programs: BA (GGL), AA (statusless), HH (Diamond);
Posts: 2,990
Originally Posted by Polomarc View Post
Nice one, the cost of each TP around 1.2 or less?
I paid closer to 1.4 per point, because I booked it on fairly short notice ( < 3 weeks ), and wanted to end up in Phoenix so I wouldn't have to wait until the next morning to return home. If I had returned to San Diego, I could have been at 1.2/point, but then would have required an additional flight back to PHX.

At the time of the flight, my very patient wife was 8 months pregnant, and I'm not traveling until April when my year ends, so I wanted to get over 1500 quickly!
dylanks is offline  
Old Jan 7, 14, 10:57 am
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Arizona
Programs: BA (GGL), AA (statusless), HH (Diamond);
Posts: 2,990
Originally Posted by billinghamn View Post
Nice trip report. Interesting routing as well. So this was a mix of US and AA flights? Good to rake in a decent amount of TPs in a short space of time isn't it!

Will take me a while to work out the best routes for US flights from a BAEC perspective. I'm relatively well versed in the AA routes now.
It definitely would have been nice if US could have also earned TP, but that won't happen until late March. I am currently also *G on US.

I was also slightly concerned that some of the excellent TP runs would change once the merger was completed, so I was in a rush to book before the merger was official. It's great to see that most of the TP runs are still available, and I hope that will continue after the airlines are fully merged.
dylanks is offline  
Old Jan 7, 14, 10:58 am
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Arizona
Programs: BA (GGL), AA (statusless), HH (Diamond);
Posts: 2,990
Originally Posted by thejohn View Post
thanks for the TR we will be doing a TP run when we visit in march from LAS-MIA-SJU so your TR is helpful re 738 as we have those on 3 of our six flights 757 the others. we are overnighting in SJU so the effects shouldn't be to bad for us.
John
You're welcome, and a much more sane approach!
dylanks is offline  
Old Jan 7, 14, 10:59 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: London-etc
Posts: 3,893
Originally Posted by dylanks View Post
I paid closer to 1.4 per point, because I booked it on fairly short notice ( < 3 weeks ), and wanted to end up in Phoenix so I wouldn't have to wait until the next morning to return home. If I had returned to San Diego, I could have been at 1.2/point, but then would have required an additional flight back to PHX.

At the time of the flight, my very patient wife was 8 months pregnant, and I'm not traveling until April when my year ends, so I wanted to get over 1500 quickly!
^ Congrats, then TP run with baby
Polomarc is offline  
Old Jan 7, 14, 11:16 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: London
Posts: 16,864
Originally Posted by Polomarc View Post
^ Congrats, then TP run with baby
Do it right you can set the kid up with Lifetime Gold
Calchas is offline  
Old Jan 7, 14, 8:10 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Arizona
Programs: BA (GGL), AA (statusless), HH (Diamond);
Posts: 2,990
Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
Do it right you can set the kid up with Lifetime Gold
Ha, my wife actually asked the other day if infants traveling in the CW cot seat are eligible for TP. I assume the answer is no, but that would be great if it did count towards lifetime TP!

(And no, let's not degrade into a discussion about whether or not babies should be allowed in CW or F please, this was a hypothetical question!)
dylanks is offline  
Old Jan 7, 14, 11:53 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA CCR/GGL, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 3,473
Originally Posted by dylanks View Post
Ha, my wife actually asked the other day if infants traveling in the CW cot seat are eligible for TP. I assume the answer is no, but that would be great if it did count towards lifetime TP!
Unfortunately not
LondonAndy is offline  
Old Jan 8, 14, 1:54 am
  #12  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,336
Originally Posted by dylanks View Post
I waited nearly an hour for a shower, and there was no one waiting before me. They have only two shower rooms, and the person responsible for cleaning them was nowhere to be found.
Should improve when the Mexicans get some American cleaners in
nth_utsera_sth_utsera is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread