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Non-hub airport (Sarasota). What to do? Strategy advice needed!

Non-hub airport (Sarasota). What to do? Strategy advice needed!

Old Aug 7, 22, 12:23 pm
  #16  
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Originally Posted by angetenar View Post
For UA, $1 spent = 1 PQP, a premier qualifying point. Qualification for status is based on PQPs and PQFs, premier qualifying flights, which are just flight segments operated by UA and Star Alliance partners. You also need a minimum of 4 segments of UA metal. Then, to qualify for status, each tier has a PQP only threshold, and a PQP + PQF threshold. For example, you can qualify for UA Silver with 3000 PQPs and 4 PQFs, or 3500 PQPs. There are some additional complications when you consider how earning works on partner airlines, but I won't go into those for now, as they're not super important.

Personally, I also would not pick AA because of the JetBlue partnership; I have my doubts as to whether or not it will survive long term.
So if you took Jetblue out of the equation, you'd choose UA over AA?

Originally Posted by lwildernorva View Post
Let me suggest an alternative strategy that still involves AA. Since you may fly twice per year to the UK from Tampa, enroll in BA's Executive Club. Two trips to the UK from Tampa in any class above coach credited to BA will provide you a potential pathway to BA Silver status, which is oneworld Sapphire.

Based on two trips per year, if you fly only in World Traveller Plus, BA's premium economy product, and do not make a connection onward from London, you'll earn 360 tier points in BA's status program. You need 600 to get to Silver, but you can credit AA flights to BA for tier point purposes.

If you have connections beyond London in your plans, that will add an extra 80 tier points (four flight segments times 20 tier points each), meaning you need to credit fewer AA flights to get to Silver. Take Club World and only to London, you'll earn 560 points. Any one connection with a Club World fare gets you another 40 tier points, hitting the Silver threshold.

When you get to Silver, you not only get access to BA's basic lounges, you'll get access to AA's clubs in the US. AA's own elites don't get that access unless flying on international flights while I get it for every basic economy flight I take on a regional jet in the US.

There's also a free bag allowance on AA and better seat selection. The major disadvantage to BA elite status as opposed to AA was the systemwide upgrade program, but because of the excess of AA elites, you needed top elite status to make use of that. I happily ignored that benefit. I've followed this strategy for years since my home airport is also not a hub but has a lot of AA flights.

If you're going to fly AA a lot, would prefer to credit all your flights, including your BA flights, to AA--which I'd understand since unless you decide to credit all your AA flights to BA, you'll have miles spread across two programs and maybe you'll only be taking coach to the UK or wouldn't earn enough from your AA flights to hit the Silver threshold--I'd still consider taking two AA credit cards, the regular AA credit card through Citi or Barclays and the Citi AA Executive card. The first, for $99 per year, gets you a free bag and modestly moves you up the passenger loading order. The second, at $495, gets you access to the Admirals Clubs. If you're doing that many flights on AA each year, that's $600 well spent.
That gives me a lot to mull over. I like your thinking but not sure if I want to depend on those UK flights with BA or not. I need to further research into OneWorld (and potentially Skyteam and United too) to understand how each status works. I've never really dived into that side of things!

Last edited by beckoa; Aug 7, 22 at 9:17 pm Reason: merge consecuritve posts
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Old Aug 7, 22, 3:00 pm
  #17  
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Originally Posted by PigsCanFly View Post
That gives me a lot to mull over. I like your thinking but not sure if I want to depend on those UK flights with BA or not. I need to further research into OneWorld (and potentially Skyteam and United too) to understand how each status works. I've never really dived into that side of things!
The concerns I would have about going with BA (or IB, which does not require any IB flights to attain status) and acquiring Avios are:

1. You are located in a non-hub airport; both BA and IB charge extra for connections on award redemptions.

2. Although there have been a couple of reports to the contrary, Avios should only be redeemable on AA when AA has "MileSAAver" awards available. These days, a lot of AA awards are "Web Specials," which sometimes cost fewer miles than MileSAAvers, but are not available for redemption by partner programs.

UA would probably be my second choice after AA if based in SRQ with your expected flying patterns.
​​​​​​
The biggest difference now between AA's FFP and DL's and UA's when it comes to attaining status is that with AA's Loyalty Points scheme, lots of activities other than flying count towards status, so you might be able to attain a higher level of status -- or at least reach first-level status more quickly -- with AA than with the other two.
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Old Aug 7, 22, 5:13 pm
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by PigsCanFly View Post
So if you took Jetblue out of the equation, you'd choose UA over AA?
I've picked UA as my airline of choice for several reasons:
1. UA has the best lifetime status accrual out of AA/DL/UA
2. I view UA and Star Alliance as being the best fit for my international travel needs
3. UA is the exclusive transfer for Chase points, and I have several Chase credit cards
All this in spite of the fact that they do not serve my primary route (LAX-DTW) non-stop. I don't mind layovers as much as most people do, so I don't really care. Any of these may apply in varying amounts to you. I've also had very good luck with redeeming awards so far.
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Old Aug 8, 22, 7:35 am
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
The concerns I would have about going with BA (or IB, which does not require any IB flights to attain status) and acquiring Avios are:

1. You are located in a non-hub airport; both BA and IB charge extra for connections on award redemptions.

2. Although there have been a couple of reports to the contrary, Avios should only be redeemable on AA when AA has "MileSAAver" awards available. These days, a lot of AA awards are "Web Specials," which sometimes cost fewer miles than MileSAAvers, but are not available for redemption by partner programs.

UA would probably be my second choice after AA if based in SRQ with your expected flying patterns.
​​​​​​
The biggest difference now between AA's FFP and DL's and UA's when it comes to attaining status is that with AA's Loyalty Points scheme, lots of activities other than flying count towards status, so you might be able to attain a higher level of status -- or at least reach first-level status more quickly -- with AA than with the other two.
Agreed, and another reason that a BA strategy may not work for awards, but for status, there isn't as much of a concern. Since BA flies directly from Tampa to London, there is not as much of a concern about connections for TATL awards although clearly the surcharges on BA are a signficant problem--one of the reasons my suggestion for status only works if it doesn't require the OP to credit all of his AA flights for tier points and miles/Avios. Of course, the potential usefulness of Avios for domestic flights must be viewed through whatever main routes the OP will consider using them. For me, the ORF-JFK route factors heavily in my travels; other routes, such as ORF-[connection]-MCO or ORF-[connection]-SFO/SJC/OAK, I'm more likely to use AA miles.
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Old Aug 11, 22, 4:09 am
  #20  
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
The concerns I would have about going with BA (or IB, which does not require any IB flights to attain status) and acquiring Avios are:

1. You are located in a non-hub airport; both BA and IB charge extra for connections on award redemptions.

2. Although there have been a couple of reports to the contrary, Avios should only be redeemable on AA when AA has "MileSAAver" awards available. These days, a lot of AA awards are "Web Specials," which sometimes cost fewer miles than MileSAAvers, but are not available for redemption by partner programs.

UA would probably be my second choice after AA if based in SRQ with your expected flying patterns.
​​​​​​
The biggest difference now between AA's FFP and DL's and UA's when it comes to attaining status is that with AA's Loyalty Points scheme, lots of activities other than flying count towards status, so you might be able to attain a higher level of status -- or at least reach first-level status more quickly -- with AA than with the other two.
You can reach DL's highest tier through credit card spend only, using DL affiliated AmEx credit cards (USA based). More realistically, spend on these cards gives DL status miles ar the rate of either 10,000 MQM per $25,000 spend or 15,000 per $30,000 spend.

Does BA status require a certain number (four?) of BA operated flights per year? Some programs have such requirements, which can be hard if you're crediting to a program other than the airline you actually tend to fly.
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Old Aug 11, 22, 5:00 am
  #21  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
...Does BA status require a certain number (four?) of BA operated flights per year? Some programs have such requirements, which can be hard if you're crediting to a program other than the airline you actually tend to fly.
Yes. From BA forum--->Your guide to the Executive Club, attaining status and earning Avios | 2022 edition
<snip>
Blue entry level
Bronze equivalent to oneworld Ruby
Silver equivalent to oneworld Sapphire
Gold equivalent to oneworld Emerald

In addition to these, there is a upper Gold level called Gold Guest List (Gold GL or GGL) and Premier. The latter is an invitation only level.

01 Moving between tiers
The promotion process is not as simple as it could be at first glance. First off, in addition to accruing the Tier Points required to qualify for promotion to the next tier or retain at the current tier, you also need to fly either two (for Bronze) or four (for Silver or Gold) qualifying flights during your membership year.

02 What is a qualifying flight?
Examples of criteria used to determine a qualifying flight:
BA operated + BA flight prefix
BA operated + other flight prefix
Other carrier operated + BA flight prefix
IB operated + IB flight prefix
<snip>
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Old Sep 5, 22, 8:31 am
  #22  
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Thanks everybody for your input. I'm still not fully decided but I do think AA is going to be the best choice especially with JB, AS and BA in the mix. My wife and I are also still due a honeymoon to Japan at some point, though we've just had our first baby so will be putting that off. Would love to be able to fly business or first with JAL whenever that trip comes around.

One slight wrench in the works is that I now have a customer in Atlanta and there is no reasonable way to be able to travel there without either flying DL or a maddening connection.

EDIT: I haven't started traveling for work yet as I've been on paternity leave.

Last edited by PigsCanFly; Sep 5, 22 at 8:32 am Reason: Added context
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Old Sep 5, 22, 9:14 am
  #23  
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Originally Posted by PigsCanFly View Post
One slight wrench in the works is that I now have a customer in Atlanta and there is no reasonable way to be able to travel there without either flying DL or a maddening connection.

Yes, SRQ <=> ATL would be problematic on AA.

Southwest offers early morning and late afternoon SRQ-ATL nonstops on weekdays, and mid-morning and late evening nonstops in the opposite direction.

Would you ever be flying directly from ATL to another client, or would you always be returning home first?
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Old Sep 5, 22, 12:57 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Yes, SRQ <=> ATL would be problematic on AA.

Southwest offers early morning and late afternoon SRQ-ATL nonstops on weekdays, and mid-morning and late evening nonstops in the opposite direction.

Would you ever be flying directly from ATL to another client, or would you always be returning home first?
I really dont know. Doubtful, and if it does happen it probably would be a rarity
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Old Sep 14, 22, 7:54 am
  #25  
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So I'm pretty sure AA is the one to go for. I have to admit, they're not my favorite airline out of all the options in the US, and the Atlanta thing is still a pain in the a$$ but I feel like with the non-hub airport, there's always going to be one or two destinations that will require an alternate strategy (save driving three hours to Miami haha).

I don't know if I answered the question but I guess the biggest takeaway from a FFP would be status and upgrades. I generally don't have a problem with purchasing trips outright, I've just been around long enough now where I really think I deserve flying premium or business and above, especially over longer segments.

One question I do have. Does status help when you're traveling with your partner and child? I would assume the chances of upgrades are slimmer when you're looking for two potential seats rather than one?
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Old Sep 14, 22, 8:02 am
  #26  
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Originally Posted by PigsCanFly View Post
One question I do have. Does status help when you're traveling with your partner and child? I would assume the chances of upgrades are slimmer when you're looking for two potential seats rather than one?
Information about complimentary domestic upgrades for AAdvantage elites and their traveling companions here:

https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...y-upgrades.jsp

Note that AAdvantage members with higher elite status than you get upgraded first.
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Old Sep 14, 22, 4:52 pm
  #27  
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Information about complimentary domestic upgrades for AAdvantage elites and their traveling companions here:

https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...y-upgrades.jsp

Note that AAdvantage members with higher elite status than you get upgraded first.
Amazing, thank you!
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Old Sep 14, 22, 11:05 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by PigsCanFly View Post
So I'm pretty sure AA is the one to go for. I have to admit, they're not my favorite airline out of all the options in the US, and the Atlanta thing is still a pain in the a$$ but I feel like with the non-hub airport, there's always going to be one or two destinations that will require an alternate strategy (save driving three hours to Miami haha).

I don't know if I answered the question but I guess the biggest takeaway from a FFP would be status and upgrades. I generally don't have a problem with purchasing trips outright, I've just been around long enough now where I really think I deserve flying premium or business and above, especially over longer segments.

One question I do have. Does status help when you're traveling with your partner and child? I would assume the chances of upgrades are slimmer when you're looking for two potential seats rather than one?
To attempt to partially answer your last question, it depends on the airline and especially the upgrade method, but many airlines permit you to upgrade *one* other person (who might be required to be on the same PNR for the highest priority to apply), but upgrading both a spouse and child (who isn't a lap infant) is likely to be problematic. Some airlines permit some elites (such as MMers) to gift annual status to a spouse or other traveling companion, in which case, the spouse or other traveling companion would be eligible for upgrades with basically the same priority, so that the kid could be a traveling companion to either spouse (with kid plus one parent on one PNR and the other parent on a separate or split PNR) without decreasing upgrade odds by much.
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Old Sep 19, 22, 3:05 pm
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Two minor thoughts - be aware of flights from PIE and RSW. PIE is currently mainly Allegiant (which most folks agree is best avoided), but in the winter and in years past they've had some interesting direct service on other carriers.

I recognize RSW isn't any closer than TPA, but they might have a flight that fits your plans for some trip, and they have service from first tier airlines:

https://flylcpa.com/routes.php

https://flylcpa.com/airlines/

Lastly, if you do focus on AA, they have credit card affiliations with Citi and with Barclays, each of which offers you several cards that will get you a "mile" exchangeable for reward tickets for every dollar you spend on the card. Each of them also gives you some "loyalty points" (which count towards status) after set amounts of spending. One of Citi's cards (with an annual fee of $500) gets you a free Admirals Club membership (there is an Admirals Club in TPA, I believe). The American forum here should have a sticky that explains this in more detail, and the flight attendants on every AA flight you take will be shilling the cards, as well.
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