Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Information Desk
Reload this Page >

Help my mother pick an airline to be loyal to -- AA or UA?

Help my mother pick an airline to be loyal to -- AA or UA?

Reply

Old Jul 13, 19, 1:16 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: REP/LHR
Posts: 1,125
Help my mother pick an airline to be loyal to -- AA or UA?

My parents are in their 70s and fly often between SFO-NYC-MXP or combinations therein. They are constantly flying Norwegian or Air Italy and then complaining about how horrible it is. Because they do 2 round trips to Italy each year, and between 2-6 SFO-NYC flights, I think they should pick an airline or alliance and try and stick to it and get status. They usually fly economy but after their last flight are now thinking of starting to fly Premium Economy or Business, and they are also willing to use LHR as a hub and take cheapie flight to Milan.

Based on the above, is there any benefit to choosing UA over AA?

The only one I can think is that UA waives the spend requirement for those with an overseas address (they have both). Any other differences we should factor in? I know questions like this are boring, but your expertise would be appreciated.
JDiver likes this.

Last edited by giblet; Jul 13, 19 at 1:59 pm
giblet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 1:39 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Not here; there!
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 21,284
Originally Posted by giblet View Post
My parents are in their 70s and fly very often between SFO-NYC-MXP or combinations therein. They are constantly flying Norwegian or Air Italy and then complaining about how horrible it is. Because they do 2 round trips to Italy each year, and between 2-6 SFO-NYC flights, I think they should pick an airline or alliance and try and stick to it and get status. They usually fly economy but after their last flight are now thinking of starting to fly Premium Economy or Business, and they are also willing to use LHR as a hub and take cheapie flight to Milan.

Based on the above, is there any benefit to choosing UA over AA?

The only one I can think is that UA waives the spend requirement for those with an overseas address (they have both). Any other differences we should factor in? I know questions like this are boring, but your expertise would be appreciated.
What benefits are they looking for from attaining status? If they fly AA in Business, they might have an easier time attaining oneworld status by crediting their AA flights to an FFP in a different oneworld carrier.
guv1976 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 1:58 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: REP/LHR
Posts: 1,125
Which carrier would you recommend crediting AA flights to?

I'm a UA silver and even at this level I find getting free baggage, seat selections and upgrades to E+ a pretty sweet benefit. I think they're hoping for that sort of thing. And I think if they focus and stop flying all of the flotsam and jetsam airlines out there, they should be able to get gold status somewhere, which presumably could result in some upgrades. I have no idea, I'm a low tier flyer
giblet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 2:40 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 29,376
Why not consider Delta? While Sky Miles are even worse than AA and UA miles, all of them are on the same unfortunate downward trajectory. I like DL these days because it is more civilized than AA and UA.

For SFO-MXP, I noticed that Air Italy has nonstop flights and cheap fares, but a very small fleet. They are part of Avios, though maybe not OW. I used to be BA gold, and I liked it on the whole. However, I didn't fly AA so often at the time, so I can't comment on how useful it would be for SFO-JFK.
moondog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 2:42 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Berlin, Germany; Toronto, Canada; and SW Florida, USA
Programs: UA 1K, BA Gold, Hyatt Globalist, and assorted others
Posts: 22,337
With that amount of travel, they're not going to get any meaningful status anywhere, so I'd focus on best prices and possibly buying business class fares.
Mwenenzi, halls120, cmd320 and 1 others like this.
LondonElite is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 2:57 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 13,864
Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
With that amount of travel, they're not going to get any meaningful status anywhere, so I'd focus on best prices and possibly buying business class fares.
Agreed. If they are flying Norwegian or Air Italy they are selecting flights on price, price & price. Will that really change?
A few flights will not get much in revenue based ffp's or even distance based ffp's.
Often said on FT need ~25 flights or more per year to get low level status. [OW has 3 levels of status]
SFO-middle east-Italy is another route (EY QR EK)

Many UA vs AA comparisons in post 2
General FFP:- Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join? Help Is Here!

https://www.wheretocredit.com/air-italy. Air Italy can earn miles on: Air Italy, British Airways, Iberia (subject to fare booking class and ffp t&c's)

Be mindful of expiry Miles/Points that Do and Don't Expire. Click to open the wiki.

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jul 13, 19 at 3:03 pm
Mwenenzi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 2:59 pm
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 81,252
I'd also strongly suggest that DL be considered. While SFO is UA/AA territory (plus AS of course), DL has good operations and has SFO-JFK nonstops on aircraft with a D1 cabin and flat beds. AZ is a SkyTeam partner, as are AF/KLM. I would pick AMS or CDG over LHR for connections, especially if one is using a LCC with separate tickets.

One big advantage of DL for somewhat less frequent travelers is that redeemable miles don't expire (and there's not even an activity requirement). DL also lets you earn a lot of elite qualifying miles through credit card spend (DL affiliated AmEx cards, some of which give other benefits such as free bags, relatively early boarding, and lounge access).
MSPeconomist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 3:10 pm
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: REP/LHR
Posts: 1,125
Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Why not consider Delta? While Sky Miles are even worse than AA and UA miles, all of them are on the same unfortunate downward trajectory. I like DL these days because it is more civilized than AA and UA.

For SFO-MXP, I noticed that Air Italy has nonstop flights and cheap fares, but a very small fleet. They are part of Avios, though maybe not OW. I used to be BA gold, and I liked it on the whole. However, I didn't fly AA so often at the time, so I can't comment on how useful it would be for SFO-JFK.
Skymiles are nearly worthless, in my opinion, so I am biased towards UA or AA.

My parents flew Air Italy a few are thinking of dropping the second half of their round-trip ticket because they found it so uncomfortable. It was a 330-200 and looking at the seat map I'm not sure why they hated it so much, but they did.
giblet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 3:13 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: REP/LHR
Posts: 1,125
Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Agreed. If they are flying Norwegian or Air Italy they are selecting flights on price, price & price. Will that really change?
I think so. My father has been selecting on price, price, price and my mother has had enough and is taking over the ticket purchases and she has a very different approach to spend, spend, spend.

As I said upthread, my UA silver benefits have been great! Preferred seat selection, baggage, and free upgrades to E+ means I always sit in better seats than I would have otherwise, and often way better. To me, that's a great benefit even at a low tier.
giblet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 3:14 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 13,864
Originally Posted by giblet View Post
...My parents flew Air Italy a few are thinking of dropping the second half of their round-trip ticket because they found it so uncomfortable. It was a 330-200 and looking at the seat map I'm not sure why they hated it so much, but they did.
Do they pay extra $ for an increased leg room seat, if available?

Originally Posted by giblet View Post
I think so. My father has been selecting on price, price, price and my mother has had enough and is taking over the ticket purchases and she has a very different approach to spend, spend, spend.

As I said upthread, my UA silver benefits have been great! Preferred seat selection, baggage, and free upgrades to E+ means I always sit in better seats than I would have otherwise, and often way better. To me, that's a great benefit even at a low tier.
Yep. Spend the inheritance now for their own enjoyment/benefit (not that I could get my late parents to do that).
trooper likes this.
Mwenenzi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 3:20 pm
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: REP/LHR
Posts: 1,125
Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Do they pay extra $ for an increased leg room seat, if available?


Yep. Spend the inheritance now for their own enjoyment/benefit (not that I could get my late parents to do that).
It's funny you say that because I actually said to my mother a few weeks ago that I am happy to see my inheritance go towards premium economy and business class seats for them! I think that actually had some impact, because they are looking at "seats up front" for their next trip. And once they try it, I can't imagine they'll be able to suffer through economy on these long flights again.
JDiver, Mwenenzi and trooper like this.
giblet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 4:15 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 29,376
Originally Posted by giblet View Post
Skymiles are nearly worthless, in my opinion, so I am biased towards UA or AA.
Yes, they are nearly worthless, but AA and UA are right behind them. My redemption strategy has changed quite a bit during the past several years:
-bank as many AS miles as possible because they are still quite valuable
-don't even attempt to redeem international premium awards with AA, DL, UA
-I save them for short haul awards to/from airports that are usually expensive in terms of cash (e.g. Jac, Ack, Pwm)
moondog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 19, 6:33 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Not here; there!
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 21,284
Originally Posted by giblet View Post
Which carrier would you recommend crediting AA flights to?

I'm a UA silver and even at this level I find getting free baggage, seat selections and upgrades to E+ a pretty sweet benefit. I think they're hoping for that sort of thing. And I think if they focus and stop flying all of the flotsam and jetsam airlines out there, they should be able to get gold status somewhere, which presumably could result in some upgrades. I have no idea, I'm a low tier flyer
Consider crediting to Iberia. One SFO-JFK-MXP roundtrip in Business on AA metal should yield oneworld Ruby; two such round-trips in a single earning period should get them oneworld Sapphire.

Of course, if they don't plan any other flying, they won't get much benefit from status.
guv1976 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 14, 19, 1:49 am
  #14  
Moderator, Iberia Airlines, Airport Lounges, and Ambassador, British Airways Executive Club
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Programs: BA Lifetime Gold; Flying Blue Life Platinum; LH Sen.; Hilton Diamond; Kemal Kebabs Prized Customer
Posts: 39,381
Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
With that amount of travel, they're not going to get any meaningful status anywhere, so I'd focus on best prices and possibly buying business class fares.
If they do go via London or Madrid, in Premium Economy they would be getting fairly close to Silver status on BA or its equivalent on IB, Doubtless the same on Star Alliance too, if you hunt down the right scheme. In the case of BA and IB they would then get lounge access during domestic flights within the USA, which may well improve their travel experience. The Avios collected could also be cost effective for travel within the USA and for upgrades on BA metal.
MSPeconomist likes this.
corporate-wage-slave is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 14, 19, 2:48 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Barcelona, London, on a plane
Programs: BA Gold, TK E+, IB+, VS FC, Hyatt Globalist, MR Plat Prem, IHG Plat, Hilton Gold
Posts: 6,924
Elite status doesn't seem likely with those travel patterns, nor does it really do a whole lot to improve the onboard experience. The value of miles potentially earned should be a higher priority than status.

If there are genuinely 2 trips to Italy every year, then perhaps the best bet is to look at flipping things around to get cheaper fares. i.e. premium fares departing Europe are usually cheaper than those departing the US.

You can easily find MXP-SFO fares in PE for $1000. And there are also ways to get really cheap J fares on TAP.

So instead of booking return trips ex-USA, you book a one-way using miles or something and then just book ex-Italy fares that return your parents home and take them back to Italy for the next visit.
moondog likes this.
craigthemif is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread