JMB vs. AAdvantage

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Old Nov 8, 18, 9:36 am
  #1  
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JMB vs. AAdvantage

I have 5 planned (up to 6) paid business class flights next year between HKG and NYC.
Currently I'm AA plat and should reach EXP by end of this year. Chose AA this year as I started with no status and I can basically reach EXP with 3 RT flights.
Switching to JMB next year seems to offer some nice benefits but I'm not sure if the switch is worth it
Here's what I gather so far in terms of pros/cons for each program

AAdvantage

Pros
Status requirements seem more straight forward to understand and obtain at first glance. Can likely reach EXP again with 3 RT flights, even with the increased EQD requirement. Leaves me opportunity to also obtain status elsewhere (ANA?) if I choose to.
Miles earning will be much higher initially as I will be EXP at start of year.
Upgrades (J to F) seems easier, as upgrades are auto requested?
Can gift SWU to wife and family

Cons
Can't upgrade JL operated flights using miles?
Can't give wife status
Hard landing once I stop flying frequently

JMB

Pros
Ideally most of the flying would be JL operated flights, and upgrades using points is easier
Most of my points redeption will be used for HKG-TYO family trips
Give wife partner status when she travels
Soft landing possibility if quality for JAL global club?

Cons
Need 4 RT flights to reach Diamond based on initial calculation. Leaves no room to obtain status with other airlines
Starting from scratch. Does not seem to have a status match option?
Program seems more confusing than AA in general?
Initial miles earning will be much less
No auto requested upgrades?

Right now i'm leaning towards sticking with AA but the partner status and potential soft landing (if I understand correctly) seems appealing. Am I missing anything? Given the data points above which option would you suggest going with?

Thanks
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Old Nov 8, 18, 5:22 pm
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Partner status on JAL is a bit further out in to the horizon than you indicate.. You first have to qualify as Diamond in 2019, then wait for the service selection for 2020. And your partner needs to be a JGC member to be elevated to same status as you. So practically speaking, I would not put that in to the equation.

JAL requires 50% of the qualifying points to come from JAL coded flights. If you book an AA codeshare on a JL operated flight it does not count. But then again, a JL codeshare on an AA operated flight does count.
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Old Nov 8, 18, 7:05 pm
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Credit to BA and fly on CX if you can stand their crappy pathetic service. Believe Avios can be used to upgrade on CX flights? You can get lifetime BA GOLD if you fly enough
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Old Nov 9, 18, 12:51 am
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Thanks both. I looked into BA earlier this year, but I also need 4 flights to inside gold and one of the trips will need to be Hkg-LHR-JFK on BA metal. I don't mind CX just because of the time savings of the direct flight but MP sucks. I guess AA is still the best option (now that you can earn gifts once you his certain eqm targets) and when I stop needing to fly frequently then just fly without status.
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Old Nov 9, 18, 7:29 am
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Originally Posted by bszeto View Post
Thanks both. I looked into BA earlier this year, but I also need 4 flights to inside gold and one of the trips will need to be Hkg-LHR-JFK on BA metal. I don't mind CX just because of the time savings of the direct flight but MP sucks. I guess AA is still the best option (now that you can earn gifts once you his certain eqm targets) and when I stop needing to fly frequently then just fly without status.
u get upgrades too when u fly aa so just avoid the jl flights and u can take benefit of aa status.

that said, i thought if u get diamond then spouse wouldnt need to be jgc. (if ure premier then she does)
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Old Nov 9, 18, 3:07 pm
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It really depends on where you are based and who you fly more often.

If you are based in the America and you tend to fly to Europe, I don't think JMB is a better program for you than AA. Within the America JMB may have some advantages given that you still get lounge access rather than needing to pay for Admiral Club, but this gets diminished if you have a high annual fee card. However, if you are flying to Asia, then I think JMB has the edge since JAL may become your preferred carrier..

Also, you could just try JMB for a year and then if you don't like it switch back to AA, and then retain your JGC Sapphire.
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Old Nov 9, 18, 10:43 pm
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It'll mostly be HKG-JFK in biz with occasional leisure travel ex-HKG or ex-JFK/LGA in coach.
The problem with lounge access is, when I travel in leisure (either ex-HKG or ex-JFK/LGA) it would be with family of 4 (2 small kids) and not every lounge makes an exception of allowing me to bring extra guests based on status (e.g. HKG Qantas lounge was a yes, NRT Sakura lounge was a no). Priority pass works well enough in HKG and some other places we usually travel to (TPE/LHR/etc) but not so much in NRT/JFK, which is why partner status is appealing, but as CPH-Flyer said, it's probably at least a year away. When I travel for work it's not an issue at all, with the slight benefit of having OW Emerald gets me to F lounges in Wing/Pier or JAL first class lounge, which is why the ease of obtaining emerald is also a consideration.
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Old Nov 10, 18, 9:16 pm
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Originally Posted by bszeto View Post
It'll mostly be HKG-JFK in biz with occasional leisure travel ex-HKG or ex-JFK/LGA in coach.
The problem with lounge access is, when I travel in leisure (either ex-HKG or ex-JFK/LGA) it would be with family of 4 (2 small kids) and not every lounge makes an exception of allowing me to bring extra guests based on status (e.g. HKG Qantas lounge was a yes, NRT Sakura lounge was a no). Priority pass works well enough in HKG and some other places we usually travel to (TPE/LHR/etc) but not so much in NRT/JFK, which is why partner status is appealing, but as CPH-Flyer said, it's probably at least a year away. When I travel for work it's not an issue at all, with the slight benefit of having OW Emerald gets me to F lounges in Wing/Pier or JAL first class lounge, which is why the ease of obtaining emerald is also a consideration.
Note neither AAdvantage status nor domestic First grant lounge access for North American (except tcon and MEX) itineraries, which makes AA status not as appealing compared to other ow status. An oneworld status is definitely nice for HKG departures for accessing HKG lounges.
Talking about points - it really depends on how you collect them. You do not need a JAL status to upgrade yourself with points, and you could always get massive JAL miles by converting SPG (now Marriott) points. I sometimes prefer crediting to AS on some airlines offering up to 300% bonus, as I could just transfer SPG to JAL if I need them.
If you consider upgrade a big factor, go with AA. AA is space-available upgrading while JL likely only op-up (which means less change getting upgraded... unless you are always on oversold flights). Also you can confirm or standby upgrades with SWU while it is not a thing on JL.
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Old Nov 10, 18, 11:02 pm
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Upgrades (J to F) seems easier, as upgrades are auto requested?
It's possible I'm misunderstanding you, but outside of operational upgrades in oversold situations, AA doesn't have any complimentary upgrade from J to F. You can use one of your system-wide upgrades (SWUs) on both international and Flagship transcontinental routes to go from J to F. On domestic routes, you'll also enjoy unlimited auto-requested complimentary upgrades from from Y to the next-highest cabin on a space-available basis.
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Old Nov 11, 18, 8:24 am
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Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
It's possible I'm misunderstanding you, but outside of operational upgrades in oversold situations, AA doesn't have any complimentary upgrade from J to F. You can use one of your system-wide upgrades (SWUs) on both international and Flagship transcontinental routes to go from J to F. On domestic routes, you'll also enjoy unlimited auto-requested complimentary upgrades from from Y to the next-highest cabin on a space-available basis.
Didn't realize that, although I guess it's not a big deal since most reviews have indicated there's not too much of a difference between AA J vs F for either int'l (on the routes that I'll most likely fly on) or transcontinental. SWU is probably more useful as I can use it for family members
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Old Nov 11, 18, 8:33 am
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Originally Posted by JALOO5-Flyer View Post
Note neither AAdvantage status nor domestic First grant lounge access for North American (except tcon and MEX) itineraries, which makes AA status not as appealing compared to other ow status. An oneworld status is definitely nice for HKG departures for accessing HKG lounges.
Talking about points - it really depends on how you collect them. You do not need a JAL status to upgrade yourself with points, and you could always get massive JAL miles by converting SPG (now Marriott) points. I sometimes prefer crediting to AS on some airlines offering up to 300% bonus, as I could just transfer SPG to JAL if I need them.
If you consider upgrade a big factor, go with AA. AA is space-available upgrading while JL likely only op-up (which means less change getting upgraded... unless you are always on oversold flights). Also you can confirm or standby upgrades with SWU while it is not a thing on JL.
You're right about not having lounge access for NA itineraries but I guess in my case it doesn't matter as much. Probably will stick with AA.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 2:09 am
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Originally Posted by CPH-Flyer View Post
Partner status on JAL is a bit further out in to the horizon than you indicate.. You first have to qualify as Diamond in 2019, then wait for the service selection for 2020. And your partner needs to be a JGC member to be elevated to same status as you. So practically speaking, I would not put that in to the equation.

JAL requires 50% of the qualifying points to come from JAL coded flights. If you book an AA codeshare on a JL operated flight it does not count. But then again, a JL codeshare on an AA operated flight does count.
Quick notice: If you only get 80,000 while you're JGC you get JGP which was also OW/E but needs your wife to be a JGC to get nominated to JGP.
If you get 100,000 to DM you can just drag her up directly to DM without anything pre-qulification...
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Old Nov 16, 18, 5:59 am
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Originally Posted by qxk970517 View Post
Quick notice: If you only get 80,000 while you're JGC you get JGP which was also OW/E but needs your wife to be a JGC to get nominated to JGP.
If you get 100,000 to DM you can just drag her up directly to DM without anything pre-qulification...
I think I can get to diamond with 4 JL Hkg Jfk flights in biz. If so, having partner also as diamond may be worth it
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Old Nov 16, 18, 8:07 am
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Four return flights on JAL in J booking class X and above will give 101,456 FOP, and thus Diamond status. Service selection for 2020 will then make your partner Diamond as well.

If you buy tickets that book into I, you will need 6 return flights to make Diamond.
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Old Nov 16, 18, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by CPH-Flyer View Post
Four return flights on JAL in J booking class X and above will give 101,456 FOP, and thus Diamond status. Service selection for 2020 will then make your partner Diamond as well.
My calculation is 100976FOP. Anyway, it qualifies Diamond status.
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