Building an AA position

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Old Apr 30, 17, 7:03 pm
  #1  
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Building an AA position

Hi all,

I realise the decision on this is ultimately subjective, but grateful for views. Like many, I've found it difficult to use my avios, other than for short haul RFS flights. Revenue long haul business flights (booked well in advance in I class) are often not much more expensive than redemptions and redemptions are unattractive when you take account of the shortage of availability and the associated flexibility required. I struggle to use the AMEX companion vouchers. Also, the novelty of BA CW and F have worn off, so it's a pleasant way to get somewhere, but I'm not excited by the prospect of my next flight. I've got about 800k avios, so plenty for short haul use.

Where convenient, I've diverted my long haul business travel to star alliance, collecting Krisflyer miles on SQ. I've switched my spending to AMEX gold, so I can convert the MR points to Krisflyer. Target: suites class redemption.

From the UK star alliance is often not convenient e.g. I often fly on business to the Caribbean. I can collect SQ miles on VS, but BA generally work better.

I decided to open an AA account (no status, obviously), as I can use AA points for an EY F apartments redemption. First flight was a holiday J flight to EZE which earned 8,629 AA miles. My wife, as BA gold earned 17,315 avios, so clearly there is a big opportunity cost in earning the AA miles.

Is it worth it?

Thanks
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Old Apr 30, 17, 7:17 pm
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I think this is a question that is perhaps better suited for the AA forum, the resident crowd will be more familiar with the AAdvantage proposition.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 7:58 pm
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Living in the regions it's even worse. The change to connecting domestic flights not being included for shorter redemptions, the lack of connecting LGW service (apart from Glasgow / Edinburgh), the tendency to cancel domestic flights at the first sign of trouble, and even the move of some long haul to terminal 3, all make staying loyal to BA questionable.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 8:14 pm
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Originally Posted by mgiarc View Post
I decided to open an AA account (no status, obviously), as I can use AA points for an EY F apartments redemption. First flight was a holiday J flight to EZE which earned 8,629 AA miles. My wife, as BA gold earned 17,315 avios, so clearly there is a big opportunity cost in earning the AA miles.

Is it worth it?

Thanks
This is a question for the AA forum, but it seems an unfair comparison

Comparing earning as no status AA vs Gold BA is quite unreasonable. With equivalent status, the earning to AA would have been 6903 base plus 1726 class of service plus 8264 status bonus giving a total of 17,253

If you had signed up for the platinum challenge, you would have attained Platinum status ( c.f. BA Silver ) from that flight , so on the return flight you could have been eligible to earn 6903 + 1726 + 4149 = 12,778

There seems to be little "opportunity cost" where comparing like for like statuses.

Also , need to consider the redemption costs too

For example : LHR-AUH is 68000 or 80,000 plus 347.03 BAEC Avios , whilst with AA miles it would be 62,500 plus 192.57 taxes

If wanting to redeem on a peak day , the effective comparison would be that a Platinum member with AA would have 16355 vs 17253 BA earning and for off peak the platinum member will have 13,902 earning

I would suggest signing up for the platinum challenge and the numbers look a lot closer to BA earning. Fly enough for EP status and will be well ahead

Last edited by Dave Noble; Apr 30, 17 at 8:29 pm
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Old Apr 30, 17, 9:45 pm
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For what it's worth I used to have top tier status with US prior to the merger with AA and I target all of my earning to BA. That said, AA non-saver availability has been very poor lately, and that's the only availability that is made available for avios redemptions on AA. For times like this, if I really need a redemption booking, I still have a fair pile of AA miles, but mostly I just accrue enough on AA from some level of credit card spend rather than crediting any flying to AA. That said it's often a better deal to accrue points with Amex which can be used as cash bookings rather than reward bookings, and are often a better value except for last minute bookings when prices are higher and thus require a higher number of Amex points.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 9:51 pm
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Originally Posted by dylanks View Post
For what it's worth I used to have top tier status with US prior to the merger with AA and I target all of my earning to BA. That said, AA non-saver availability has been very poor lately, and that's the only availability that is made available for avios redemptions on AA. For times like this, if I really need a redemption booking, I still have a fair pile of AA miles, but mostly I just accrue enough on AA from some level of credit card spend rather than crediting any flying to AA. That said it's often a better deal to accrue points with Amex which can be used as cash bookings rather than reward bookings, and are often a better value except for last minute bookings when prices are higher and thus require a higher number of Amex points.
AA's availability doesn't really impact awards on partners such as EY

EY seems to have pretty decent availabiltiy ime
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Old May 1, 17, 1:26 am
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I've been crediting my OneWorld flights to AAdvantage for some time now.

What I didn't realise until recently was that I earn (I think) roughly 60% more miles for QR J itineraries compared to my other half who is BA Gold (note that I am Exec Plat on AA, so it's arguably comparing like for like). We're just on our way back from New Zealand with QR and I will earn about 50K AAdvantage miles, he will earn about 30K Avios. We earn roughly the same proportion of our respective statuses for the year too with the trip.

That coupled with the fact that I value an AAdvantage mile significantly more than an Avios also helps. Offsetting that, we find the BA GUFs, RFS and some other benefits better than the corresponding benefits for EXP in AAdvantage though.
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Old May 1, 17, 5:42 am
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Thanks all. I'll look into the platinum challenge.
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Old May 1, 17, 9:28 am
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If you're into mileage running to build the AA status, the Elite Qualifying Dollar leverage available on some flights to Asia is quite high. For example AMS-HKG-HND on CX J can be had for a cost of about US$2000, but earning EQD at 25% of mileage flown will credit about 3800 EQD (and about 22730 Elite Qualifying Miles) and that's not nearly the best one can find.

You do still need 4 AA segments; connecting on a round trip to the USA will do, or run yourself around inside the USA on a few cheap AA flights.

In some vague attempt to bring this back on topic, I'll note that a lot of the BA long haul tier point runs also work quite well for AA EQDs, so if one is booking such a flight in the further future, one could choose to build AA or BA status nearer the travel time. The above leverage only works on non-AA coded flights, of course.
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Old May 1, 17, 10:03 am
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Originally Posted by flatlander View Post
You do still need 4 AA segments
Is that the case? I know I should know the answer to this but I get a bit confused with all the various programs. Isn't it just EQDs plus one of EMMs/EQSs now?
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Old May 31, 17, 8:04 am
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A quick update on this. Thanks for all the advice. I signed up for the AA Platinum Challenge. Cost USD 180 (GBP 140). It was backdated to include my outbound flight a few days previously. I had three months to get 12,500 elite qualifying miles. Now have AA Platinum (OW Sapphire) until the end of January (which seems a bit stingy). Nonetheless, would be worth considering for someone who flies a lot shorthaul/domestic Y and occasionally longhaul J, but would struggle to hit 600 tier points for lounge access, especially if the tier point year cut off doesn't work for your travel pattern.
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Old May 31, 17, 8:18 am
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Big difference between BAEC and AAdvantage is that AAdvantage works on a calendar year and not a tier point collection year like BAEC. It's worth considering.
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Old May 31, 17, 8:44 am
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As an AA Plat, be very wary of the reward seats. They are often difficult to find and when they do come up in blocks a couple of FF bloggers immediately announce them, setting off a stampede to book the seats in J.

Intercontinental flights that one tries to redeem miles upon are usually on BA metal and result in enormous fees for J. (the fees are almost equal to an economy ticket)
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Old May 31, 17, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by mgiarc View Post
A quick update on this. Thanks for all the advice. I signed up for the AA Platinum Challenge. Cost USD 180 (GBP 140). It was backdated to include my outbound flight a few days previously. I had three months to get 12,500 elite qualifying miles. Now have AA Platinum (OW Sapphire) until the end of January (which seems a bit stingy). Nonetheless, would be worth considering for someone who flies a lot shorthaul/domestic Y and occasionally longhaul J, but would struggle to hit 600 tier points for lounge access, especially if the tier point year cut off doesn't work for your travel pattern.
AA challenges with start date 1 January to 15 June - status valid for that year and need to earn the 50k to renew
If you had waited until 16 June to start the challenge, then on completion the status would have been valid for 2018 too

Originally Posted by The smallest state View Post
As an AA Plat, be very wary of the reward seats. They are often difficult to find and when they do come up in blocks a couple of FF bloggers immediately announce them, setting off a stampede to book the seats in J.

Intercontinental flights that one tries to redeem miles upon are usually on BA metal and result in enormous fees for J. (the fees are almost equal to an economy ticket)

Award availability is no different than for someone redeeming BA Avios

The surcharges are no worse than what BA would charge using BA Avios redemptions

The surcharges are only applicable when redeeming on BA - redeem on any other airline and no fees; using BA avios can enjoy carrier surcharges on many many more flights

Availability for redemption ( as desired ) on EY in 1st class is pretty decent and requires less miles with AA and BA would charge GBP155 in surcharges one way on top

Last edited by Dave Noble; May 31, 17 at 1:21 pm
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