Even though my status is now green (oneworld Emerald), having been exploring my airline options somewhat, I’m not convinced that the grass is greener on the other side.
I’ve talked about my experiences flying American Airlines while partaking in the US Airways Preferred Trial. I’m pleased to report that I have completed the trial, and thanks to a few longer domestic hops, and one trans-Atlantic trip, I credited enough miles to get to Chairman’s Preferred status. That is is top tier in the US Airways program, it also means oneworld Emerald status, and will eventually become American Airlines Executive Platinum through February 2016.
Now that I’ve reached this smaller goal in my travel plans, I’m still working out what I should for the remainder of 2015. Should I stick with AA/US, or return to United. I’d have a hard time giving up the United Global Premier Upgrades if I don’t requalify for 1K, but thanks to Million Miler status, I’ll at least have United Gold for life, or at least until the next devaluation.
Since I’ve completed the trial, I’ve been trying to get some United EQMs in the bank for this year. So far for my typical domestic business trips, United has been pricing quite a bit higher than other options, so I’ve stayed with AA thus far. Maybe that will make the decision for me.
Before I started this trial, much of what I heard about AA and to a lesser extent US was how great the airline and the frequent flyer program are. While I’ve enjoyed the refreshing changes of scenery and new experiences, to be honest, I really don’t think the AA experience is that much better than what I’ve had on United. Despite flying nearly all mainline flights, I’ve had a high percentage of irregular operations while flying American. I’ve been stranded overnight twice on American with only 6 trips over few months and less than 25 flights. In over 100 segments in all of 2014, I only was stranded overnight once on United.
I’m also not a fan of the information technology experience, although to be fair, I’m still a newbie with regards to US and AA. In my opinion, the American Airlines mobile app is pretty weak, and the US Airways app seems worse. There are many functions that require a phone call. Since I’m using my US Airways number, getting through to an agent can be a pain over the phone. Especially in a noisy airport, I much prefer to deal with things electronically. The United app is really strong in that regard. Granted, with so many issues on United, I’m much more experienced with their systems.
In any case, now fun begins. I’m excited to take advantage of the status on international trips, which will include first class lounge access. Having options is always a good thing.
I’m again asking for suggestions. Where should I focus my routine travels in 2015? I’ll eventually have lots of upgrades to use for international flights. Hopefully they will clear, whether they are on United or American.