Switching loyalties? AA to DL

Old Oct 25, 01, 8:27 am
  #1  
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Switching loyalties? AA to DL

I'm living in Italy for a while, and AA is discontinuing all service here. I am a long-time AA Exec Platinum (2mm+ miles). Will DL do anything for me? Are intl. upgrades possible or, as I've heard, very difficult on DL?

I would very much appreciate any feedback/assistance.
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Old Oct 25, 01, 9:47 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by laxflyer:
I'm living in Italy for a while, and AA is discontinuing all service here. I am a long-time AA Exec Platinum (2mm+ miles). Will DL do anything for me? Are intl. upgrades possible or, as I've heard, very difficult on DL?

I would very much appreciate any feedback/assistance.
</font>
Int'l upgrades on DL aren't impossible... just very very hard (I live in Frankfurt and the only flying I do with DL anymore is trans-atlantic...). You have to buy one of the top three fare classes (Y, B or M, in descending order) in order to even be eligible for an upgrade. Sometimes there's room right then when you book, sometimes you won't know till minutes before you fly whether the upgrade clears. Unfortunately there's no chance of getting a refund if you buy the more expensive class and don't get the upgrade (!!!) . But the question of whether or no you even have the ability to upgrade is another one altogether... there are a few ways, mostly via either a) miles earned which you can spend on upgrades or b) certificates you get upon reaching the Platinum Medallion (the highest elite level). You don't get that many per year, which caused great outcry amongst us PMs when the changes were announced last year. I don't know the exact numbers you get, but I'm sure someone else can fill in the missing details.

Then again, Alitalia is joining the Sky Team so you will (or should) get miles flown on Alitalia (and Air France, too) credited towards status on DL.

If you're planning on flying a lot within Europe, I would recommend calling DL and trying to get comped to the Platinum level based on your AA status (do it after the first of the year, though, so you have the whole year of 2002 to re-qualify for PM and thus keep your promise of flying DL as much as you say you will if they comp you...). Most agents will say that they will only comp you to the Gold Medallion level, but if you're persistent, you can probably find one who'll agree to upgrade you. But make sure they think you're flying DL, because they probably won't be too psyched about comping you and then having all your revenue going to Alitalia or Air France.

Just my two cents, I'm sure that others have much more to offer...

Best of luck!
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Old Oct 25, 01, 10:31 am
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Ajax, thank you for that very useful information!
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Old Oct 25, 01, 10:43 am
  #4  
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As a PM you get 6 PMU's per year. I didn't quite get the comment about not being able to refund your ticket however if you do not get the upgrade. All Y tickets and some B's are refundable with no penalty. M tickets are normally refundable as well with a $125 or so penalty. I have never done so, but have witnessed passengers at the airport who didn't get their upgrade refund their existing tickets and buy a lower fare class.

In a nutshell, with AA you got 4 systemwides, at DL you 6, but are useable on higher fare classes. For domestic upgrades are unlimited and are of the 800 mile variety, they are not however useable on the lowest two fare classes.
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Old Oct 25, 01, 10:49 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by hfly:
I didn't quite get the comment about not being able to refund your ticket however if you do not get the upgrade.</font>
Good catch, I wrote this in a hurry... I meant that you still have to pay for an M fare even if there are no upgrades available... meaning you can't "downgrade" to a much lower fare.

Good luck!
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Old Jun 12, 03, 11:41 am
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Switching from AAdvantage to Delta

I'm currently reconsidering my travel options. I fly ex-NYC and the vast majority of my travel is to SFO, LAX, LON and AMS. I choose AA mainly because of the J service between JFK-SFO/LAX, however, I am not thrilled with the relative J service between JFK-LHR and it's pain to connect in ZRH for JFK-ZRH-AMS. I'm barely a PLT on AA. I would choose another airline for international travel but it literally takes every single flight for me to requalify.

I am thinking of switching to a DL/CO/NW portfolio, especially with the upcoming possibiliy of reciprocal agreements. My reasons are the J service DL offers between JFK-SFO/LAX, the codeshare CO has with VS on JFK-LHR and CO/NW offer direct routes for EWR/JFK-AMS. Here's the catch. While I'm paid for in J on trans-atlantic flights I'm only paid for discount Y for domestic flights so I have to upgrade on the JFK-SFO/LAX routes. My upgrade rate as an AA PLT is 100%.

So, I'm seeking your advice. I was wondering what the relative upgrade rate for a DL GM would be on the JFK-SFO/LAX routes. I fly these routes more often, so ultimately they will drive my choice of airlines.

Thanks!

[This message has been edited by AAlton (edited 06-12-2003).]
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Old Jun 12, 03, 11:50 am
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While I always had 100% upgrade rate on the LAX-JFK route, you should really make your research. I think DL is slowly phasing out the transcon BusinessElite service. I was booked on a BE service aircraft (B767) in August and last week they changed the equipment to B757 (domestic first class seating). I don't know if this a temporary measure, but I fear it may not be. Furthermore, DL does not currently have direct JFK-LGW flights, you would have to connect thru ATL or CVG. If I were you, I would stick with American.

[This message has been edited by DeltaNYC (edited 06-12-2003).]
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Old Jun 12, 03, 11:54 am
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Leave AA for DL? You're on crack, right?

That stop in ZRH may be a little painful, but you'll get better service to ZRH and it's a relatively short flight to AMS. You'll also lose out on the ability to upgrade J to F on AA. Also, it will cost you plenty to upgrade those cheap coach fares on DL with segments. You will pay the same # of segments on AA but you can also use miles to upgrAAde. DL restricts mileage upgrades to Y/B/M fares.
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Old Jun 12, 03, 11:54 am
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You must be the ONLY one thinking about actually switching to Delta WOW
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Old Jun 12, 03, 11:56 am
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You should post this over at CO and NW as well, for their thoughts. With the upcoming DL/CO/NW you'd be able to cover almost everything you mentioned.
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Old Jun 12, 03, 12:00 pm
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Should join CO out of EWR for their trans-cons, upgradeable from any discount fare, and their European service.
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Old Jun 12, 03, 12:03 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by DeltaNYC:
While I always had 100% upgrade rate on the LAX-JFK route, you should really make your research. I think DL is slowly phasing out the transcon BusinessElite service. I was booked on a BE service aircraft (B767) in August and last week they changed the equipment to B757 (domestic first class seating). I don't know if this a temporary measure, but I fear it may not be.</font>
Yes, I've heard this may be the case as well. I figured the best way to find out was to ask the experts... here I am!

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by DeltaNYC:
Furthermore, DL does not currently have direct JFK-LGW flights, you would have to connect thru ATL or CVG. If I were you, I would stick with American.</font>
That's okay, I was going to use the CO codeshare with VS for JFK-LHR. Thanks for the tip.
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Old Jun 12, 03, 12:09 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Spiff:
Leave AA for DL? You're on crack, right? </font>
Perhaps, but it's healthy to explore my options.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Spiff:
That stop in ZRH may be a little painful, but you'll get better service to ZRH and it's a relatively short flight to AMS. You'll also lose out on the ability to upgrade J to F on AA.</font>
Actually, I was going to use CO/NW for EWR/JFK-AMS. I've found the seats to be more comfortable in J on CO than AA which was why I was considering.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Spiff:
Also, it will cost you plenty to upgrade those cheap coach fares on DL with segments. You will pay the same # of segments on AA but you can also use miles to upgrAAde. DL restricts mileage upgrades to Y/B/M fares.</font>
Currently, I upgrade on AA using segments, but I appreciate the miles option. Is the segment pricing structure similar (roughly $0.08 per mile in 500 mile increments)? It is expensive (often more expensive than the ticket) but it's also covered.

[This message has been edited by AAlton (edited 06-12-2003).]
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Old Jun 12, 03, 12:12 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by RobertS975:
Should join CO out of EWR for their trans-cons, upgradeable from any discount fare, and their European service.</font>
I always thought CO transcontinental service was domestic F, 40" pitch, as opposed to the 50" pitch and 60" pitch J service AA and DL offer respectively. Or is CO flying international 757-200's on these routes?

[This message has been edited by AAlton (edited 06-12-2003).]
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Old Jun 12, 03, 12:32 pm
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AA on-line purchases of upgrades are the same amount as DL, $40 per 500 miles when purchased in groups of four.

I just did the switch from PM on DL to Plat on AA and I think AA's domestic F service is MUCH better. International J is a split decision- DL has a better seat but AA has better food and wine.

Also, as others have noted, if domestic B/E service goes away, you'd be very sorry if you made the switch. If DL keeps domestic B/E service, then you'll just be moderately sorry.
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