Should I buy the AA Platinum Upgrade offer or just do the UA Economy Plus Subscription?

So in 2017 I was Gold with American Airlines. I reached that again by mid year but managed to miss Platinum by a hair at the end of the year. I just didn’t see the profit in doing a mileage run. So far in 2018 I have some AA flights booked and some long haul award trips on AA but some of my business trips have been moved over to United for various reasons in this first Quarter.

So here comes the offers. I can buy up to Platinum on AA for $795

FireShot Capture 4 - Secure your eli_ - https___elite.americanairlines.com_eliterenewal_purchase.cfm

But after thinking about it I don’t think it’s worth that much to me. Sure I might see a few additional domestic upgrades but the main value is the MCE seats. And if I’m stuck flying United more than normal in 2018 I might be better off to just get an Economy Plus subscription for $499.

FireShot Capture 5 - Economy plus choose options I United A_ - https___www.united.com_ual_en_us_su

I’m not sure it’s worth it for either one. I actually wish AA would have given me a bit cheaper of an option to move up to Platinum since I was so close but at least I’m still Gold with a bunch of 500 mile stickers for now. I don’t think it’s worth it to do a status match with United either but we’ll see.

Advertisements

Quick photo review of Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport in Texas GRK

Small airport but easy to get to and simple parking layout. Signage could be improved but you’ll figure it out.

Entrance drive.

Signage

First floor entrance.

Main hall.

Main check-in area on first floor. Spotless and new.

As you can see not a ton of flights but better than you’d expect. The only odd thing about this airport for me is that they don’t allow passengers through security until just before boarding times. So I arrived about 8:30am for a flight boarding at 10:05am but couldn’t go through security until 9am. This would be Ok but I was trying to get some work done on my laptop so I set up in the cafeteria type area and then had to shut down to go through security.

Cafeteria style area outside security. Like a bullpen. Airside gate area was about as big but without tables.

Old style jet bridges altough the longer gate 1 has a newer glass jet bridge.

Major feature for most food choices here in and out of security.

View from tarmac.

American Airlines Playing Games With Award Availability on Non-Stop Flights?

This isn’t an exact science but my theory says that AA plays games with award space to keep it’s loyal customers from booking the best non-stop routes with miles. So say you want to book an award flight from the USA to Europe. We’ll pick DFW to Madrid for an example. So I’m searching 11 months out for my example:

DFW-MAD

I’m thrilled because I found an actual non-BA flight with awards space for 2 passengers!

dfwmad

Now this is not bad but I don’t actually live in DFW so I’m willing to stage from my non-hub to other hubs like say Chicago ORD. Since I’d rather not have an extra leg I just want the ORD-MAD flight. It’s available as part of this booking, right?

Think again here is the ORD-MAD non-BA selections for this same date:

ORDMAD

Gosh that’s weird. Why isn’t that same non-stop Iberia flight available? Oh well it looks like I can just stage to JFK and pick one of the TWO Iberia flights for that date. Not as close for me and I’ll likely need to trek from LGA to JFK but it should work OK. At least I can save that extra leg from ORD, right?

jfkmad

Well think again. I’d have to fly to Boston I guess. Boston is not an easy connection for me but hey at least that one is available. Maybe I managed to corner AA enough into Boston? To me this is silly. It’s either a poor system that doesn’t work well OR….done intentionally to keep you from booking the best flights on awards for some odd reason.

bosmad

LAX Admirals Club Gate 52 Review (Remote Terminal 5)

I’m traveling out of the remote 5 (gate 52) terminal at LAX today and had a chance to visit this Admirals Club. This is a HUGE benefit if you’re flying out of this remote bus terminal. There are not a lot of amenities for these Gate 52A-52Z or well what ever letter. I had low expectations for this lounge as I’m used to visiting the United Lounges at IAH that are tiny and have no toilets.  I’m not sure how crowded this lounge gets but it was very nice, not over crowded at 6am to 8am on a Thursday but maybe that was just luck.

They offer a full bar, typical food. Super nice staff and 4 toilets (2 Female and 2 Male). You could even use this as an arrivals lounge but no showers. The toilets are very large and would be easy to change clothes, etc.

Silly but AA is flying some 4 hour type routes on Regional RJ Jets into this terminal. I’m getting ready to board a non-stop to MCI that clocks in at about 3:40’ish. Thankfully my upgrade cleared at a lowly AA Gold. This route doesn’t seem to be elite heavy on the days I fly this route. This is a nice route for our small’ish Kansas City airport as it gives us a non-stop to a large HUB on the West Coast.

Summary: American doesn’t always get things right but this is one bright spot in a not so awesome terminal area. Thanks AA

AMA Rick Husband Amarillo Airport Review

Fox news on the TVs -Pro

Glass jetbridges -Pro

low volume peak times – Pro

Nice new terminal -Pro

I really couldn’t find any negatives about AMA. It is a nice modern airport. It’s well located, rental cars are just outside the door from baggage check. I’d say the only thing I would change is to add rental car bypass the desk features which this airport lacks. That is pretty minor in my book. 

Quick trip summary El Paso Texas ELP

I was in El Paso for business recently and thought I’d post a few photos. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites West hotel in the Northwest suburbs of town. Good hotel with good staff. I would recommend it if in the area. It’s a little ways from the airport, like say 20 minutes but not bad.

The ELP airport wasn’t bad but I was a bit disappointed in the AA gate employee. Super laid back and in no big hurry to board passengers. Not good about communications, boarded late, etc. It really didn’t effect the flight as it was on time and a small plane but in an IROP situation I can see where things could get ugly here.