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

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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

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.

New American Airlines Elite Level

Welcome to Platinum Pro the new AA elite level. Funny how they mask this with the $$$ EQD requirements.

 

Platinum Pro

Elite status in 2017

New status level

In 2017 you can start earning toward a new level, Platinum Pro, with benefits like:

I’m sure the many other bloggers will beat this to death. Here is the link to see more.

Most likely the ability to use 500 mile coupons by Ex Plats for Award ticket upgrades may be the most interesting.

AAdvantage program updates   AAdvantage   American Airlines

Find your BA record locator from AA without calling

If you booked the BA flight with AA (which happens on award or TATL flights even when trying to avoid YQ) you will want to try and select your seats on the BA flight segments but most of the time the AA website won’t let you do that part. Some times on codeshares, Operated by British Airways, all you need to do is add your British Airways Executive Club number to the booking. After a few minutes, log into your BAEC account, and look at your upcoming bookings. You’ll find in there your BA booking reference for the BA legs, and will be able to select your seat, see avios to be earned etc.

if you booked the BA flight under the BA flight number, eg British Airways flight BA 345, then for some reason your BAEC details won’t get passed over. What you need to do is, bizarrely, go to the Qantas “Manage My Booking” page, and enter your American Airlines reference. Scroll down to the Seats section of the page, and you’ll see something like:

Seat selection is only available for flights operated by Qantas. To select seats and manage your booking, visit British Airways site with your booking reference #12ABCD

Then take that booking reference shown there, go to the BA website, use that with Manage My Booking, then enter your BAEC details + pick seats + see avios details + etc

The advantage (pardon the pun) is that you don’t have to call AA to get your BA record locator. Normally this isn’t a big deal. I researched this because I’ve tried to set aside time to call AA for the last couple weeks only to find myself ready to call on a bad IROPs days or Christmas eve which didn’t seem like a good idea.

Here are a few screen shots.

Manage your Qantas booking   Change flights   Check in   Select seats

Enter your AA record locator and last name

Booking   Details

Then scroll down to seat selection and you should see the above. I wouldn’t worry about the AA flights that show “Not Selected” if you know you did this with AA already. Your just accessing this page to get the “booking reference”# shown above so you can go plug that into the BA website.

 

 

My quickie airline miles earnings so far today

I typically read Boardingarea blogs everyday for tips on earning airline miles and to learn more about being a smart traveler. Well OK to feed my addiction.

So I’m busy today and had a couple minutes so I clicked over to Boardingarea and saw one of my favorite bloggers Mommypoints who had a post about an American AA shopping portal bonus where you can earn up to 2,250 bonus miles through shopping.

Special Promotion   Shop Online at AAdvantage eShopping mall

Not typically that great but if you have stuff you need to buy anyway it can be good. So what did I buy today in less than 5 minutes:

How about dog food. I have several dogs that eat Blue Buffalo Senior food (which is very good and better than most of the RX types even). So it cost be about $33 to $35 a bag plus a 12+ mile each way drive to get it. I clicked on Petco as they had the best price:

Search   Shop Online at AAdvantage eShopping mall

So for 4x per $ I bought about $135 worth or 4 bags. I had to pay sales tax but got free shipping. I figured I saved time and gas money. I’ve ordered dog food online many times so it’s just easy.  So $135 x 4 miles x 1 mile for credit card = 275 AA miles plus 250 mile bonus = 525 miles approx.

I was getting ready to log off when I remembered that I needed to still do my taxes (I’m way behind this year). So I click on H&R block software that I use each year and really like.

All Online Offers   Shop Online at AAdvantage eShopping mall

So for 12x per $1 I bought the $45 version I use so figure $45 x 12 x 1 for card = 585 AA miles plus I’m on my way to the next promo level of $300 so that will eventually add another 750 miles to the 250 I got already.

5 minutes = 1,110 miles added to my AA account. Next trip……

Now you can link your AA American Advantage account to your US Airways Dividend Miles account.

Another step toward combining the loyalty frequent flyer situation at the new American Airlines. You can now link your US and AA accounts. The miles won’t combine yet but should in the 2nd quarter 2015. It might not hurt to go ahead and do this.

When you log into your AA or US accounts you will get a pop up like this one (AA):

My Account   Flight Information

Or this one (US):

us air combine acct on acct page

Once you enter your other account number you should either get a confirmation popup:

aadvantage combine acct confirm popup

Or if they couldn’t match them you will get:

aadvantage didnt match popup

If you had trouble and they didn’t match log into each account and check that all your names, phone number and date of birth, etc. all match. My wife’s account failed because she had only her middle initial on US Air but had her whole middle name on American. Once I fixed it it went through fine.

If you click past the popup or want to do it later you will find a link in your account page. Here is the AA example:

aadvantage combine option on myaccount page

What does all this mean right now? Not much yet but I still think it’s too your advantage (pardon the pun) to go ahead and link them. I think this may hold more true for elites in either program but that is just guessing on my part. As they go through the IT process of combining the programs it will eventually combine your miles and accounts together at some point in the 2nd quarter. Speculation is that it will happen early 2nd quarter but we will see.