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Best way to book an AA (ex US) flight (new thread)

JohnK

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

Folks, I am a 21-year veteran and Lifetime Platinum status in AAdvantage and (here comes an off topic remark) I have no clue why anyone in their right mind would join QFF because as an AA member I get better service, lower fees, and more flexibility even flying QF... rant over. The answer to OP's question is dead easy:
Interesting statement. Do you also pay extra for QF airfares to ensure they are not in E, N, O, Q classes?

With my travel I can easily make QF Platinum or Oneworld Emerald and have no chance of attaining AA Exceutive Platinum. What can AA offer me as most of my flights are on QF, self funded in discount economy? Why would I even attempt to credit to AA? Why would I want to settle for Oneworld Sapphire when I can easily have Oneworld Emerald?
 

yeldarb8

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

Interesting statement. Do you also pay extra for QF airfares to ensure they are not in E, N, O, Q classes?

With my travel I can easily make QF Platinum or Oneworld Emerald and have no chance of attaining AA Exceutive Platinum. What can AA offer me as most of my flights are on QF, self funded in discount economy? Why would I even attempt to credit to AA? Why would I want to settle for Oneworld Sapphire when I can easily have Oneworld Emerald?
On rare occasions I fly on QF metal I only do so on AA ticket stock with an AA equivalent flight number so I don't have to worry about the QF -> AA mileage conversion. I always get credit for the class I paid for based upon AA earning rules.

As for your specific situation, obviously I can't say, but here are some of my reasons:

1. No change fees on award ticket changes. On QFF changes were 5000 points last time I checked. Most changes on AA are FREE. Date and routing changes (same origin and end points) are always free. You pay only if you change origin/end points and/or carrier.
2. System wide upgrades. I get 4 of these every two years. Virtually no restrictions.
3. BusinessExtrAA. QF has no equivalent program. Extra mileage redemption opportunities based upon $ value of tickets purchased. Applies in addition to AA frequent flyer miles earned.
4. AA award ticket mileage costs are independent of your flight routing. If I want to fly PER to NRT it's 45,000 points in business regardless if I take a direct or go via SYD or MEL or HKG or whatever. On QFF your routing matters and you will be charged extra corresponding to the actual flight miles flown versus the point-to-point separation.
5. On AA my miles earned by credit card spending earn me lifetime status credits. Not so on QFF.
6. Believe me, AAdvantage customer service is WAY better than QFF. AA's phone system recognizes my number when I call, greets me by name, and routes me directly to the Elite desk. No phaffing around like QFF.
7. Better access to flight awards. I have tested this extensively over 22 years and for flights in Australia and Asia in particular I can get an AA award seat easier than a QF award seat. I have no explanation for this. It even works for me on QF metal... on CX it's chalk and cheese.

You can probably tell my preferences relate to how I actually USE those miles I have earned. Once you get to OW Sapphire in any program your inflight benefits for paid seats are pretty much the same, OW Emerald doesn't add much from a practical point of view in my experience, but when you come to redeem points the features of your "home" FF program come into play...
 

JohnK

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

As for your specific situation, obviously I can't say, but here are some of my reasons:
The majority of people on this forum are in Australia and mainly fly QF metal.

2. System wide upgrades. I get 4 of these every two years. Virtually no restrictions.
Useless if not flying on AA metal.

6. Believe me, AAdvantage customer service is WAY better than QFF. AA's phone system recognizes my number when I call, greets me by name, and routes me directly to the Elite desk. No phaffing around like QFF.
QF has a premium desk as well which is staffed during business hours.

7. Better access to flight awards. I have tested this extensively over 22 years and for flights in Australia and Asia in particular I can get an AA award seat easier than a QF award seat. I have no explanation for this. It even works for me on QF metal... on CX it's chalk and cheese.
AAdvantage would not have access to award seats on QF metal that QFFers would not have access to. In fact I would say it is the other way around.

You can probably tell my preferences relate to how I actually USE those miles I have earned. Once you get to OW Sapphire in any program your inflight benefits for paid seats are pretty much the same, OW Emerald doesn't add much from a practical point of view in my experience, but when you come to redeem points the features of your "home" FF program come into play...
And there in lies the answer. Why join AAdvantage when >75% of your flights are on QF metal in discount economy?
 

yeldarb8

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

The majority of people on this forum are in Australia and mainly fly QF metal.
Yep, got that. But my guess is many are multinational and/or have some interest in the topic because of potential US postings and/or family ties there and/or other reasons for frequent travel outside of Oz.

Unless if not flying on AA metal.
Yes, that's a restriction... but QF don't offer anything like it so... (?)

QF has a premium desk as well which is staffed during business hours.
Yes, no experience with it. Just curious... do they waive posted fees and charges, like the QFF 5000 point award change fee, for elite flyers if you ask?

AAdvantage would not have access to award seats on QF metal that QFFers would not have access to. In fact I would say it is the other way around.
I tested this just today on a PER-NRT flight plan. Not available in QFF J class but was available as an AAdvantage J class. Same flight, same QF metal. I have found this to be the case so many times I have lost count. I can offer no explanation it may be just dumb luck (someone cancels between the two phone calls) but that's an awful lot of dumb luck.

And there in lies the answer. Why join AAdvantage when >75% of your flights are on QF metal in discount economy?
Everyone's circumstances are different. Your particular flight profile means you will reach QFF Plat faster than AA Plat. No argument there.
 

JohnK

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

Yes, no experience with it. Just curious... do they waive posted fees and charges, like the QFF 5000 point award change fee, for elite flyers if you ask?
The QF premium desk does waive many fees and charges. They have for me anyway.

Oh and occasionally they also release additional award seats if you ask nicely. ;)
 

NM

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

AA EVIP upgrades are "transferable" to anyone. I have used them upgrade friends, work colleagues etc. But that said, I am about to have quite a few "expire" at the end of Feb.

As for QF award availability, my own anecdotal evidence suggests that all AA members see the same award availability as QF Gold and Platinum members. But QF Bronze and Silver members see less availability. This primarily applies to economy cabin awards. So it seems that QF restricts access to awards to it lower status members while AA provides access to the same award inventory as QF provides for its elite status members.
 

kpc

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

AA EVIP upgrades are "transferable" to anyone. I have used them upgrade friends, work colleagues etc. But that said, I am about to have quite a few "expire" at the end of Feb.
If they are going to "expire" unused, would you consider them for an AFFer who has long AA flights in Feb?;):cool:
 

Mal

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

I tried to use the "UK Method" to book a flight that you can't price on the AU website. Didn't work.

I still have a residential address in the UK, but as this flight involves US immigration, and another countries immigration, I'm not sure I want to use that as my address.

Has anyone recently booked through AA.COM, put a booking on hold and ticketed via AA (Australia)? What is the process - any "special charges" added?
 

Sprucegoose

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

It seems to have been touched on earlier in this thread, but a bit ambiguously, so just in case anyone was wondering - you can now book, pay for and enter your QFF number directly in a booking from the AA.com site (it re-directs you to the Au site), and pay with an Australian credit card. :)

I just paid for 3 US domestic return tickets. Much easier this way. :)
Good and the pricing was as expected?
 

Mal

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

Good and the pricing was as expected?
The AA(Australian) site (as in American Airlines | Airline Tickets and Airline Reservations) does have good pricing. They've improved it since it first came into play, but it doesn't have the same flexibility of the AA (US) site.

You can put your QF FF number onto a booking at either site.

For my current situation, I've now tried fudging things a little and I live in the Suburb of Australia in California, postcode 0xxxx. This didn't work a few years ago, but I will see if it works now. The other option is to put the booking on hold and call the Oz Call centre - but I've seen reports that a $60 fee can be charged - ie more than the Amex conversion fee I'll pay.

-- Edit: Status Ticketed <date>. Phew. It does work! (Now to see if there are any immigration issues!!)
 
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serfty

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"El Segundo" has worked fine for me the last year or so.

Interestingly the last time I booked I was logged into my AAdvantage account. It offered me the use of "my registered" credit card (from prior bookings) and no address details were requested.
 

Mal

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

Interestingly the last time I booked I was logged into my AAdvantage account. It offered me the use of "my registered" credit card (from prior bookings) and no address details were requested.
I'm curious what you have in "My Account"/"Reservation Preferences". I've noted that it does adjust (with your permission) to what you use for various bookings. The address in that section isn't selectable back to Oz, so if you've booked before with a dummy address it will retain that.

BTW, this sticky probably needs to be de-sticky'd. Several years old now, and most advice in the first few pages (at least) is no longer useful.
 

Sprucegoose

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

Do I need to create an AA account in order to purchase off their website?, I will want QF credits.

Sorry quite a long thread and important topic.
 

Blackadder

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

Do I need to create an AA account in order to purchase off their website?, I will want QF credits.

Sorry quite a long thread and important topic.
Nope only needed if you are joining the AA FF program.
As for crediting to your QF account, when you go to make your booking you will see a field for your FF account number, just select QANTAS from the pulldown list and enter your number.
 
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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

this all looks very complicated / bordering on dodgy (which when dealing with US Immigration I don't want to risk).. Can the Instant upgrade fares be booked via a travel agent?
 

Mal

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

this all looks very complicated / bordering on dodgy (which when dealing with US Immigration I don't want to risk).. Can the Instant upgrade fares be booked via a travel agent?
Have a look and see if the fare is available on American Airlines | Airline Tickets and Airline Reservations . If so, no dodginess needed.

Also, Travel Agents should be able to access the fares too.

PS Mods, please cast this thread free and/or lock it. The first few pages contain a lot of information that was very relevant in 2007, but is quite miisleading today.
 
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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

Have a look and see if the fare is available on American Airlines | Airline Tickets and Airline Reservations . If so, no dodginess needed.

Also, Travel Agents should be able to access the fares too.

PS Mods, please cast this thread free and/or lock it. The first few pages contain a lot of information that was very relevant in 2007, but is quite miisleading today.
I had a look at AA.com.au .. the flights i wanted didn't even come up in the search, and ones that i didn't want where about $700 more expensive :(
 

Mal

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Re: Best way to book an AA (US dom) flight?

I had a look at AA.com.au .. the flights i wanted didn't even come up in the search, and ones that i didn't want where about $700 more expensive :(
Yeah, the search engine on AA's (AU) site is a little less flexible than the one on the AA (US) site. I do see that problem at times too. There are a few options:
- Book on AA (US) the dodgy way.
- Create reservation on AA (US), put booking on hold and complete via AA's Australian call centre.
- Find the routing you want, visit a travel agent and hope they can find it.

I really want to get GDS access one day so that I can book my own fares...

Might investigate splitting it - there is good contemporary information.
Yeah, that's a good compromise. The main issue I see is that now the AA (AU) site exists, most workarounds aren't needed for run-of-the-mill type tickets, and now that AA (India) call centre is no more, there is better incentive to call up.
 

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