Switching from NW - Is it worth it?

Old Feb 14, 2005, 1:58 pm
  #1  
BCH
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Switching from NW - Is it worth it?

Switching from NW - Is it worth it?
Does anyone have any personal experience or advice with this?

I am Gold on NW and considering switching to US, UA, or AA for convenience purposes (I live in Chicago). I know those airlines will match my Elite status, but I don't like the idea of giving up my unlimited upgrades, my guaranteed flight miles (regardless of how cheap the actual ticket), and regular bonus promotions.

Thanks!
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 2:16 pm
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Originally Posted by BCH
Switching from NW - Is it worth it?
Does anyone have any personal experience or advice with this?

I am Gold on NW and considering switching to US, UA, or AA for convenience purposes (I live in Chicago). I know those airlines will match my Elite status, but I don't like the idea of giving up my unlimited upgrades, my guaranteed flight miles (regardless of how cheap the actual ticket), and regular bonus promotions.

Thanks!
At US you get guaranteed flight miles regardless of how cheap the ticket and as gold would get unlimited upgrades. My impression has been that NW has the largest FC cabins of the legacy carriers so upgrades may not come as often and at US they don't have the automatic system for notifying you of such things. On the other hand, I find the US flight attendants to be much warmer than those on NW although NW has always provided professional and efficient service in FC. Finally--if this is important to you; it is to me--much more access to in-seat power and IFE on the US airbi that can't be found on NW's domestic fleet.
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 2:20 pm
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Where does most of your air travel take you? From Chicago you can fly nonstop on US Airways-operated flights to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, and Washington Reagan National. All four of these airports offer connecting service to just about everywhere on the East Coast, and from Philadelphia and Charlotte you can connect to multiple European and Caribbean destinations.

For points west it'd be easiest to fly United, which of course has a hub at O'Hare. You can credit all United flights to your US Airways account and still get a 100% mileage bonus.

I've only flown NW once (in coach) so I can't compare it to US, but here are some of the benefits you'll experience if you do a status match to US Gold Preferred:

1) Unlimited upgrades. UA and AA don't offer this (except for AA top tier), so this is one clear advantage of the US program. Upgrades for Golds clear 3 days before departure if there's space available. You can only upgrade US Airways-operated domestic flights for free; to upgrade on United you have to buy 500-mile certificates, which are relatively expensive.

2) 100% mileage bonus for all paid US Airways and United flights, regardless of fare class.

3) No blackout dates on award tickets, and generally good award availability. No silly last-minute "expedite fees" if you book online.

4) Lounge access, to US Airways Clubs and Star Alliance lounges, when traveling internationally (Canada & Caribbean excluded).

5) Seating in the Economy Plus section on United, which gives you extra legroom on most flights.

6) A dedicated reservations phone line so you'll spend less time on hold.

US does tend to offer a number of bonus promotions each year, many of which give you ways to earn extra Preferred (elite-qualifying) miles.

The US Airways/United/Star Alliance partnership gives you service to hundreds of destinations worldwide, and because of the unlimited upgrades I personally prefer the US Airways FF program to United's. You won't be disappointed with a switch to US Airways Gold, but just be prepared to fly United on routes to other cities in the Midwest and West - everything on US Airways metal out of O'Hare goes east.

Welcome!
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 5:15 pm
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Like wahooflyer, I think that where you fly most should determine your choice of airline FF programs. Although I have a choice of airlines where I live, I find that US provides me with what I want - many connecting flights to CLT and from there to most places I usually go, great front-line employees (usually), etc. Since I'm now CP, the upgrades come much easier , and the service from the CP desk is also truly remarkable.

I'm also NW Gold, primarily from transPacific trips. Domestically, I prefer US to NW, unless the pricing is significantly different. Both are good airlines. If your future travels take you where US goes, I don't think you can go wrong with the Dividend Miles program - it's one of the most generous ones out there.

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Old Feb 14, 2005, 5:38 pm
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Originally Posted by EnvoyBoy
At US you get guaranteed flight miles regardless of how cheap the ticket and as gold would get unlimited upgrades. My impression has been that NW has the largest FC cabins of the legacy carriers so upgrades may not come as often and at US they don't have the automatic system for notifying you of such things. On the other hand, I find the US flight attendants to be much warmer than those on NW although NW has always provided professional and efficient service in FC. Finally--if this is important to you; it is to me--much more access to in-seat power and IFE on the US airbi that can't be found on NW's domestic fleet.
One thing to note about NW is that it's F class cabins on it's DC-9's have less legroom than UA E+ (34" vs. 35" or 36") and there Y has the girzzly 30" pitch - worse than a CRJ.
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 10:40 pm
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I switched from US to NW last summer and have never looked back. US cannot compare its F service to NW, so if you're doing a lot of transcons, stick with NW.
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Old Feb 15, 2005, 4:08 am
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Originally Posted by USFlyerUS
I switched from US to NW last summer and have never looked back. US cannot compare its F service to NW, so if you're doing a lot of transcons, stick with NW.
Me too, I just got so tired of the big hassle of the black hole called "Philadelphia International Airport" and, at the time, the just total lack of foresight of the previous management group of the airline. The web site was a total joke, the condition of aircraft interiors, waiting too long for someone to pick up the phone (even on the gold line) and constantly delayed or cancelled flights.....but I loved the airline because of their people and my loyalty went back to the Piedmont days. NW's F product is far superior to US's as mentioned before. I've noticed some positive changes at US, so as other posters have mentioned depending on where a majority of your travel will take you should determine which airline to pick.
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Old Feb 15, 2005, 7:55 am
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WahooFlyer definitely makes some good points - I'm a NW Gold & was comped Gold to US (I requested Silver, but they gave me Gold) - this year, by the end of March, I'll have flown about 17K EQM on US & 27K EQM on NW. My observations as to the differences:

1) The Upgrade Process - US' upgrade process sucks. You have to actually request to be placed on the upgrade list - no EUA like on NW - However, as a Gold on US, I've been upgraded 100% of the time & I've noticed that the flights are less full in F (More US elites leaving US? Also, NW shares it's F cabin with CO elites - US doesn't share with another airline - so if you can remember to request the upgrade when you book, then maybe go with US.

2) US also has more RJ's in it's fleet it seems - not sure what its planes are like out of ORD, but I see a lot of 1-class planes out of my area for the routes I've flown on US

3) US' elite line is a good group of people - they are a little more helpful sometimes than the elite line at NW - however, YMMV - I can't complain about US' elite line at all - they've been flexible with me - although, I've run into more challenges with US than NW - so I've had more experiences with them.

4) If you're going to be flying a lot on UA tickets/metal out of ORD, then I'd go with UA - they have a heck of a lot of promos & I feel that overall, they're better than US' promos. I did have Premier status on UA & I'm based near IAD, a UA hub. As a leisure traveler, I found UA's prices to be more expensive & UA's FF program to be lacking versus NW's - also, too many damn UAX flights out of the ghetto terminal at IAD.

5) Whereas NW operates older planes often times, US's planes are just as old & sometimes just really dirty. I recently flew BWI-PHL-HVN & back & 3 out of the 4 flights were on Dash-8's - decent planes, but loud as hell & just dirty unsanitary interiors.

Don't know if any of that helped...hope it did, but probably didn't...
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Old Oct 14, 2005, 2:48 pm
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jtn
 
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Sorry to hijack this thread...but it was the closest match to my question.


I faxed in a status match request for my wife (NW Gold Elite) about 2 weeks ago. I haven't heard back from US yet. I called the GP desk and they have no idea when it will be looked at. Actually, they don't even have tracking system to see whether they've received the request.

For those who has the status matched by US, about how long does it take for the request to go through?

Thanks a lot.
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Old Oct 15, 2005, 6:24 pm
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Arrow Hi jtn

Just last month I faxed in a request to US to match my NW Platinum status.
I think it was right at 2 weeks before I heard from them. The gentelman said he couldn't see the faxed copy of my Elite cards so asked that I fax a statement to him. The comp to Gold showed up on their website later that afternoon. The card arrived today.

It was Oct 3rd when they called. He gave me a link to a new website announcing the benefits of the new program when combined withAmwerica West. I was all ready to start flying HP/US for the convienince out of Phoenix, but after looking at that website I think I'll stick with NW for all my eastbound flying.
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Old Oct 18, 2005, 8:23 pm
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When I got my match from US it happened within a few days.
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Old Oct 18, 2005, 8:46 pm
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I was recently given a status match over the phoen for americain, with a challange for plat. I was going back and forth between AA and US, wiht some up coming flights to San Juan. I choose AA, becaus eof the direct flights to LGA, but mostly of the match on the phone.
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Old Oct 19, 2005, 8:27 am
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Originally Posted by troyintn
I was recently given a status match over the phoen for americain, with a challange for plat. I was going back and forth between AA and US, wiht some up coming flights to San Juan. I choose AA, becaus eof the direct flights to LGA, but mostly of the match on the phone.
Good luck with AA. I used them for about a year on my twice monthly journey's from DCA-STX and eventually had to give up on them. I was delayed about 80% of the time. The straw that broke the camel's back was the last journey I took when I had a meeting on a Tuesday afternoon that I left on Sunday morning for and I missed it. After all that they had the nerve to want $100 for me to extend the end of my trip by the 2 days I missed. AA's Miami and SJU hubs are terrible, IMO they make Philly look great.

Also, FWIW, if you can connect in PHL (which hasn't been bad for me) US flies a beautiful A330 daily to SJU. This gives you International FC seats on a domestic route with unlimited upgrades (not Internation FC meals though). To the best of my knowledge this is by far the nicest plane that goes to SJU from the east coast and is why I chose US for my Caribbean travel.

Sean
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