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American or SWA for status?

American or SWA for status?

Old Oct 7, 21, 8:22 pm
  #1  
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American or SWA for status?

Hi all,

I'm a reasonably seasoned business traveler and have consistently traveled about once every six weeks or so. However, I've accepted a new job and will commute -- about 25+ flights per year between San Antonio (home) and Phoenix. The job is in Tucson, but there are plenty of direct flight between SAT and PHX and none between SAT and TUS. The two airlines that do the direct flights are SWA and AA. I have held A-List on SWA for the past several years.

I will now be flying direct between PHX and SWA about 20-25x per year and will likely fly for personal reasons another 5-10 times.

I have been doing research on whether I should stick with SWA and try to obtain a companion pass (I hold a SWA Visa) or jump to AA and earn status with them. The issue I have with American (I've not flown them in years -- I'm a UA guy, but no direct flights so they're out) is the way you qualify for status. I won't have any problems with the EQD spend of $10K to qualify for Platinum Pro but I will fall well short of the EQM -- the round trip between SAT and PHX is only 1600 miles and 75K miles would require something like 46 round trips.

Am I misinterpreting the elite requirements for AA? If these are the requirements, I'm thinking of just sticking with SWA, although I do like the idea of being able to choose my seat and potentially earn some upgrades, but the mileage requirements, despite a good spend, is frustrating. I'm open to any advice. (By the way, the EQM/EQD are based on pre-2021 numbers as I assume AA will bump their threshholds up next year).

Thanks for your collective wisdom.

Kevin
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Old Oct 7, 21, 8:38 pm
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Welcome to FT!

I assume you know that AA lets you qualify by segments too.

Have you considered flying SAT-TUS on a connection? That way, you'd get four segments for each roundtrip.

Edited to add: Even if you only want to fly SAT-PHX, you might be able to find routings via DFW for about the same price as the nonstops. It's just a question of whether you are willing to add to your travel time in order to achieve higher elite status.

Last edited by guv1976; Oct 7, 21 at 9:02 pm
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Old Oct 7, 21, 10:53 pm
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@guy1976,

That's an interesting point. I was trying to avoid connections, but AA is really, really efficient on this route. If I factor in my drive time from PHX to the office, its nearly a wash. The only concern I have is connecting through DFW in the spring during thunderstorm season, but being 1.5 hours away from PHX give a whole lotta options.

Thanks for the thoughts. Any other input?
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Old Oct 8, 21, 12:17 am
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One other thought: If you're willing to connect, then UA is not necessarily out of the question for SAT-TUS.

Which airline's status do you value most? AA, UA, or WN (Southwest)?

UA is the only domestic Star Alliance carrier. AA and AS (Alaska Airlines) are both in oneworld, and AA has a new tie-up with B6 (JetBlue), which starts SAT service (to BOS and JFK) at the end of this month. AA elites are expected to get some reciprocal benefits (and redemption opportunities) on B6 in the near future. But if you don't plan to fly AS or B6 -- even for leisure -- then that might be irrelevant for you.
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Old Oct 12, 21, 2:09 pm
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Before making any decisions, read your new employer's travel policy very carefully. There might be a preferred carrier, or there could be restrictions regarding whether they will reimburse travel to PHX rather than TUC. Will they pay fees for checked bags (if needed) and same day confirmed/standby for different flights?

Depending on where you're located (note that I don't know distances in Texas very well), would it make sense to travel from IAH/HOU or DFW rather than SAT to avoid a connection (and perhaps have access to more flight times)?
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Old Oct 12, 21, 3:45 pm
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As much as I have cut back on my use of the AA program to collect miles, the elite status on AA carriers me in ways that SWA status would not. And with AA's tie-ins with Alaska and JetBlue and its international alliance partners, AA works better for me. But if the only flying I was doing was on SWA routes and I had no interest/opportunity to go beyond SWA's network, then SWA could be just fine -- especially if getting great value out of the companion pass.

It could be that you could easily pull off things well with both SWA and American, and that may work out as well or better than putting all your eggs in one basket.
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Old Oct 17, 21, 4:09 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
There might be a preferred carrier, or there could be restrictions regarding whether they will reimburse travel to PHX rather than TUC.
TUC is an airport in Argentina, pretty far away from Arizona . Although Tucson the city name is spelled with T U C as the first three letters, the airport code for Tucson is TUS, not TUC.
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