You know there is just so much a frequent flyer can take. Being deceived, bamboozled and treated with utter disrespect only gets you so far in the business world and over the past year my beloved Delta has done all of those in spades.
Now this post is more of a personal reflection and I can tell you upfront I know very little about American’s elite program or the day-in day-out bits of flying them. Over the past year I have flown them once. It was fine. I have had access to their clubs before and they are fine but nothing “that” special over Delta (before the latest Skyclub changes they did have better house wines).
I do know that, much like Delta, around 1JULY each year is a good time to get MAX value out of a status match / challenge (there are no straight up matches so it really is a challenge, but I will use the word match in this post for simplicity). With Delta, if you match after 1JULY, your status is good the rest of the current year and the following one. It seems, according to my fellow blogger Ben, after 16JUNE each year is the best call with AA, but really I could do it any time I wanted.
Some of you may be considering a match over to Alaska as my fellow blogger MJ is and he highlights the best time to do that for MAX perks is to wait until October of any given year. That is interesting as well. For me, Alaska is just not the best choice, but that may not be you.
Here is my personal situation. I have a bunch of flights booked with Delta the rest of this year. I will end the year with enough MQMs to rollover Diamond medallion status (almost) and once I spend $30,000 next year in January on my Delta AMEX Reserve card I will be Diamond until February 1st 2018. I will be doing that as I still have SkyMiles to burn and I like the perks of being a Diamond and the choice benefits are nothing to sneeze at. But a January match could work out very nice.
Now I would ONLY do this if AA allowed me to match to Executive Platinum from Delta. There have been on this FlyerTalk thread reports of some success doing this even as a Delta top elite and since I have and will have flown well over 200 segments with Delta in the past two years and spent a bunch of cash I think they would offer this. We will see.
Again, if I do this, it will be a personal choice and if you are considering this you should look at all your options as well, but you can maybe use my thoughts as a guide. Notice for me the map above. South Bend (SBN) has been my “home town” airport forever. It is closest to my home and under a 45 minute drive from my front door to be at the gate waiting to board. That is very nice. However, AA and US Air both pulled out of SBN a while back. Of the majors I have Delta or United (shudder) to pick from. I may one day collect UA points again, but I am not about to fly them (no one should be that desperate). So my options, per the map with AA are:
- AZO. 1hour-ish away is the plus of this airport. Cheap parking too. No tolls but I am always connecting via Chicago. That is less than a great choice of connections.
- FWA. Under 2 hours from home. Not the best drive to the airport but no tolls. There ARE direct flights to DFW but I will be stuck on 50 seat regional jets. This would be a next to last choice for me.
- GRR. Spot on 2 hours from home. I like GRR. They do have direct DFW flights and on CRJ7/9s so that is nice and thus avoid Chicago and get a business class seat. No tolls and drive is not bad at all. I like this choice other than the longish drive.
- ORD. From 2-3 hour drive from home. Lots of tolls. Parking is ridiculous. I can take a bus from SBN, but I might as well go to AZO then. The plus side is Admirals and other clubs at ORD. I just really hate ORD due to weather and constant other possible delays.
Now it is good for me to have choices. If you live in Atlanta you are clearly going to ATL to fly and that is not bad. You do have an AA club there as well as THE CLUB at ATL as choices (again if you have access). Also, I just LOVE the idea of connecting more out of DFW for more Centurion lounge time as that is #Winning to me!
There will be some issues if I go for this. Again, I know just enough about AA to be dangerous but that is fun to me. I do have a ridiculous wealth of knowledge with my fellow BA bloggers and a bunch of them call AA home. I would like to learn and become an expert AA flyer and blog source so many have asked for and be able to fire off the right answer to any question. Also many have asked about matching with AA and how it goes and it would be fun to show my journey step by step. Really this would be a blast to do. And there is award points and space.
I want you to take a look at the Delta.com’s
amazing outstanding enhanced broken award calendar for a one-way award in business class from SBN to LAX for the month of August. Keep in mind per the hidden Delta award charts the LEVEL 1 space for this should be 25,000 $kyRubles but I would have to pay about double that. Now, notice the same search from AZO to LAX on AA in business class award space:
I think I make my point(s). That is a refreshing award calendar. Oh, and AA does not hide their award page btw nor do they pull so many of the deceptive practices Delta does with their award program. Also do notice that in this post award space was not the 1st and most important issue but how I will fly on paid tickets. That is very important but award space does matter as well and is a part of the “who to fly” choice.
I have to tell you I am excited about this idea. Now sure, before the flood of comments begin, that AA will do the exact same thing that Delta has done to their award program, I can confidently say that is not going to happen. I am NOT saying it will not change, but I doubt they will utterly destroy and decimate the program like Delta has. Even United has not gone THAT far (yet).
Anyway, there would be lots of other bits to consider like making sure I am in a fare class, during my challenge, that earns full elite points and so on. I would have to look at getting a card like the Citi Prestige® World EliteTM MasterCard® that gets me AA club access (not membership) when flying AA (oh my wife gets in free too so no $29 Delta +1 upcharge here)! Yeah, the list will be long but again, I think this could be a blast!
What do you think? Should I go for an AA match? Are you considering a match to another airline after all the nasty changes Delta has inflicted upon us this year? – René
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