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Is it worth joining AA if you don't fly AA?

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lovetravellingoz

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Hi, firstly I am a newbie to the site (though not to redeeming points as I have redeemed well over a million FF points over the last decade).

Great site with great tips.

I have read with interest the advice to switch to the AA scheme even if you are a Qantas FF.

However I am not likely anytime soon to fly in America...and I note on its site that it says:

""To attain AAdvantage elite status, member must fly on at least four American Airlines or American Eagle flights within the qualifying year.""

So does this mean that as it says that unless at least 4 of your flights are directly ona AA plane that you cannot gain elite status??

Or would it be that if it is codeshare flight ona non-AA plane that these are reagred as AA flights for this requirement of 4??

I have noted that in other strings it has comments such as one round the world ticket (with say only one actual AA flight rather than code-shares) can qualify for AA Platinum??????????? So does the 4 flight requirement apply or not??


If someone can explain that would be appriated.

My apologies if this has already been covered , but I have read quitea number of strings and have not seen it covered.



A second question is on AMEX cc points for the scheme...it was implied that these help to qulaify for status in someway...is this lifetime or yearly or??


Thank you.
 

Dave Noble

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AA does not enforce the 4 flight rule

You can filter points from AMEX to AA by passing through Starwood Preferred Guest

Dave
 

QF WP

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Dave Noble at his usual succinct self :rolleyes: .

I have never heard of anybody not receiving Elite status (including people I have recommended go for the AA Gold or Platinum Challenge). Quite a number of them have neither stepped aboard an AA plane or an AA codeshare, yet have successfully completed the Challenge and maintained elite status. More of a stick waving above your head than anything else.

In fact, one flight can meet the AA Platinum Challenge, it doesn't need to be a RTW nor be on AA at all. My wife's best friend (and Chief Bridesmaid) flew LHR/MEL in BA WT+ and qualified (same as my M-i-L). I have just qualifed on Friday, with all QF flights in Australia. So there is irrefutable proof.

Transferring Amex points through SPG and onto AA appears to be the best method of transferring points. Certainly, Dave Noble and I know from first-hand experience assisting fellow member ozmerish - he has been able to "launder" a couple of hundred thousand points to AA so far. With AA, all points (whether earned by flights or partner earning like CC's) credit towards Lifetime Silver (1 million points) or Platinum (2 million). It's the benefits of those levels that drive us to AA.
 

Mal

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I don't think AA is for everyone, but definately has it's advantages.

I've resisted moving my flights to AA for the moment, but am still considering it.

There are some things to keep in mind if you move to AA. The ones that are most important to me are:

1. AA upgrade certificates are useless to me as I don't fly AA metal.
2. I mainly fly Qantas, so prefer to have top tier with them as my home airline and the relevant perks which go with that.
3. If you fly a lot of Cathay Pacific in discount economy, then crediting to AA is very hard (only B Y and H classes in economy credit to AA).
4. How long until AA's FF scheme is "enhanced"?
5. The lottery effect with certain Qantas classes not being eligible makes booking tickets a little bit harder within Australia.

Those distractions out of the way, I think AA has a much better award scheme (as has been discussed here many times).
 

Dave Noble

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Mal said:
1. AA upgrade certificates are useless to me as I don't fly AA metal.
4. How long until AA's FF scheme is "enhanced"?
5. The lottery effect with certain Qantas classes not being eligible makes booking tickets a little bit harder within Australia.

Those distractions out of the way, I think AA has a much better award scheme (as has been discussed here many times).
The elecgtronic upgrades can be exchanged at 4 credits => 2000 miles ( 4UCs earned every 10000 qualifying miles ). If reaching top tier and having eVIPs available, coupon connection of FT can be worthwhile visiting

I don't imagine that AAs scheme will reduce in value anytime soon since they need to be competitive with the other US schemes

It is quite easy to avoid the one ineligable booking class on domestic flights

There is indeed the issue of cheapo economy on CX which may be of concern to some

Dave
 

NM

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Mal said:
3. If you fly a lot of Cathay Pacific in discount economy, then crediting to AA is very hard (only B Y and H classes in economy credit to AA).
Of course the opposite is true if you fly with CX in B Y and H, or in business or first class. For those fare types, an AA Platinum member gets their 100% bonus miles while QF members do not get the 100% status bonus.
Mal said:
4. How long until AA's FF scheme is "enhanced"?
Indeed. This is always a concern. However, over the last few years the intense competition in the USA airline markets has ensured the AA scheme enhancements have had less negative impact than those in the QF program. It was the last round of QF enhancements (devaluation of points through hikes in redemption rates) that prompted my change.
Mal said:
5. The lottery effect with certain Qantas classes not being eligible makes booking tickets a little bit harder within Australia.
Depends on how you book flights. My work travel is never in anything less than K class, so there is no lottery for me. But for people booking flights via the QF or other on-line systems (and that seems to be quite a lot of people) you comment is indeed true.
 

gaia

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Dave Noble said:
You can filter points from AMEX to AA by passing through Starwood Preferred Guest Dave
Can you please explain the process involved in doing this? Does is have to be a Starwood Amex card? Or can I use an ordinary Amex card?
 

Dave Noble

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gaia said:
Can you please explain the process involved in doing this? Does is have to be a Starwood Amex card? Or can I use an ordinary Amex card?
AMEX Rewards Points can be transferred to Starwood Preferred Guest

SPG points can be transferred to AA

There are threads detailing the precise details of the rates

Dave
 

NM

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gaia said:
Can you please explain the process involved in doing this? Does is have to be a Starwood Amex card? Or can I use an ordinary Amex card?
Signup for a regular Starwood Preferred Guest account. Call Amex and have your Starwood account number added as a partner account to your Membership Rewards profile. From Amex Membership Rewards web site you select your Starwood account and initiate the transfer. Rate is 330 Starwood points for each 1000 Amex MR points.

Then from your Starwood account, if you transfer in amounts of 20,000, the transfer rate to AA is 20,000 -> 25,000 AA miles. Amounts less than 20,000 Starwood points transfer at a rate of 1:1 to AA miles.

So if you are earning the Amex points at a rate of 1.5 per A$ spent, you end up with 0.61875 AA miles per A$ spent. So that is pretty close to the earning rate for most US-based credit cards that are earning 1 AA miles per US$ spent.
 

gaia

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Thanks.

I'll do just that.

I'm only 1,500 SCs away from LTG which I should have done by the end of this calendar year and then I think that I'll jump to AA.
 

lovetravellingoz

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NM..thanks for that information..most interesting and useful.

There is so MUCH info on this site and past strings that it taksa lot reading to find out all the wrinkles.

So in my case (and I gain most FF points from CC spend) the AA is starting to look less attractive as

AMEX say 40,000 x 1.25 x 0.61875 = 30,937 to AA vs 50,000 to QFF
(note no yearly card fee is paid)
Plus

VISA 40,000 x 0.5 = 20,000 (as various places such as school fees will not accept AMEX & that this VISA is free for me and that thee is no rewards fee as some VISA have)
some higher earn rate cards are available but require fees up front which ofset the higher earn rate.

So to QFF I can pump in 70,000 points per year vs 31K to AA (ignoring any other points but remember I do not fly much...say 4 to 8 domestic returns and lately no paid overseas trips as I have redeemed for them....but next holiday in 2 years overeas I might pay).

In my circumstances it looks like sticking with QFF will still gain me regular international rewards travel but that with AA it would be a long wait (apart from NZ).....and that any liftetime benefit will be long time coming.

PS and yes I take advantage of any bonus deal..ie the Qantas AMEX with free first year and 7500 points (will most likely threaten to cancel at 1 months unless deal is offered as I have a second free Amex with a 1 ;1 earn rate as part of my mortage. Hopefully another deal would come along or would consider paying for the 1; 1.5 earn rate AMEX)

PSS Unfortunatle my emploer pays all work expenses on his mastercard and so I do not earn any points from this though I do gain the Hotel points.

PSSS I am thinking about another VISA as the earn rate has been halved...but others seem to have greater fees...or limits on points per month.
 
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NM

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lovetravellingoz said:
So to QFF I can pump in 70,000 points per year vs 31K to AA (ignoring any other points but remember I do not fly much...say 4 to 8 domestic returns and lately no paid overseas trips as I have redeemed for them....but next holiday in 2 years overeas I might pay).
But don't forget the burn rate. 35,000 AA miles gets you a business class return flight anywhere in Australia and NZ. I just burned 105,000 AA miles for three of these that would have cost me 100,000 QF points each! And the total extras paid to AA for the 3 tickets was $148.43, while the same flights with QF would have included $710 in extras.

So make sure you understand all the options when comparing the value of 31K AA miles with 70K QF points.
 

lovetravellingoz

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Thanks NM..and yes thanks to your various posts..(along with others my AA training is well adavanced..and I am tempted.....) and am attempting to work out how I can gain enough points into AA. and how I can maximise value to myself.

However the VISA points I don't think I can get to AA ??

My flight redemptions are normally for family holidays (5pax) rather than just I.. (though I guess I can buy some and redeem for others)

So if I can only get say 35K CC to AA per year plus some travel from domestic QF (though mine are often red e deals and so may not gain much or any for some fares).

So for me at present QFF can gain greater points per year from AMEX, VISA and QF flights which as discount economy I will earn more from QFF it would seem from what I have read. I also have some limited hotel travel, but hotel affiliation that I can use is normally determined by the conference venue used as this is my main reason for business travel. Leisure travel is often to connect to a yacht or camping trip where no points cab be earned ..so rather than join a hotel chain I have just picked up Hotel FF points when available.


So say 35k a year to AA vs say 100k a year to QFF...

AA has better Business Burn rates..but my aquisation rate makes it hard to exploit this.

Another factor is that I also have between my wife and I about 40K QFF and 80 K Altitude( = 40K QFF)...with a nother 10-15K from AMEX bonus points about to go through to QFF.

So another 2 to 3 years and 5 can go to Thailand again...or in AA say 2 to NZ in business class (though yes I would still be getting some QF Points).

I also get cheap QC membership per year..$200 which is tax deductable = $110 after tax. Can you use QC membership to access a lounge if it is AA Code-share?



Now I am dreaming of buying a OTW ticke, but realistically this will be some year away. So yes I could punt on this and start stockpiling AA points now...with the hope ofa BIG AA payday...but this may then mean quitea few years before I redeem which in itself is a risk (something I am conscious of as I redeemed luckilly 500K of points with ansett just before they went belly up).


I am just gathering facts at presnt...attempting to make up my mind what is the best call for me and my situation....but I greatly appreciate your advice and information.

I suppose an additional question is is their any way of getting VISA or Masteracrd points to AA (as there are many bills I pay that will not take AMEX but who accept VISA & MC)?? A pity that I cannot get an American CC card...

Thanks
 
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Dave Noble

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lovetravellingoz said:
I also get cheap QC membership per year..$200 which is tax deductable = $110 after tax. Can you use QC membership to access a lounge if it is AA Code-share?
According to the Description page and the T&Cs , yes

From the benefits page...

Both you and your guest need to be travelling together further that day on a Qantas or British Airways flight. Platinum Frequent Flyers and their guest are welcome in the lounge, even when not travelling on Qantas or British Airways.

From the T&Cs

10.1 Qantas Club Members are entitled to access The Qantas Club lounge in the departure port when the Member's next onward flight on that day is with Qantas, a QantasLink, Australian Airlines or Jetstar service.

An AA codeshare on a QF flight is still a Qantas service

Dave
 

NM

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Personally I don't know if I will transfer my Amex points to AA or keep them for something else. My options remain to use them for QF upgrades (I have QF Platinum status until Oct 2007 and lifetime gold after that), or to transfer to Hilton Honors and use for accommodation.

My Visa points will end up eventually going to Qantas and used for upgrades. But I don't earn great quantities on Visa (maybe 10K a year).

I can earn at least 100K per year on AA through flying, and perhaps well above that depending on my travel pattern in any given year. If I had put all of last year's flying to AA, it could have been close to 400,000 AA miles. So for me, all my flight earning will go to AA, and some credit card earning to QF for upgrades. But every person's situation will be different.
 

lovetravellingoz

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Thanks Dave..

Oh for my past days when I used to fly fornightly...;)

still it has got me thinking now...

ie rather than targetting my next holiday as FF redemption that I may instead pay and incorporate a challenge...

I have picked up on one idea of using a OWT ..with some add on airfares so that one can actually have two overseas trips based off it....with some effectively free domestic flights off it as wel. So three trips ata reduced cost....with bonus points and status.

This would give me good bonus points earn on both trips and my occassional business travel over say a two year period....leaving me post platinum witha reasonable number of points to burn.


Without something like this it looks like AA would not stack up for me...or at least would be of only marginal advantage.

Still that is what this site is great for..it stimulates ideas on how to create scenarios that best advantage one.
 

Ekka

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Wouldn't $40,000 spent on an AmEx result in a choice of 60,000 QFF points or at best 24,750 AAdvantage miles?

If you spend $40,000 on an AmEx Gold Maximiser or AmEx Plat, surely you multiply the 40,000 by 1.5, then by 0.33, then by 1.25.

Also, isn't the QFF equivalent of the 35,000 AAdvantage miles AUS/NZ award 72,000 QFF points, not 100,000?
 

NM

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Ekka said:
Wouldn't $40,000 spent on an AmEx result in a choice of 60,000 QFF points or at best 24,750 AAdvantage miles?

If you spend $40,000 on an AmEx Gold Maximiser or AmEx Plat, surely you multiply the 40,000 by 1.5, then by 0.33, then by 1.25.
Yes, that is correct.
Ekka said:
Also, isn't the QFF equivalent of the 35,000 AAdvantage miles AUS/NZ award 72,000 QFF points, not 100,000?
In my example (a real example I redeemed in July), I wanted three seats on the same flights, and the only routing with award availability was BNE-MEL-AKL and the reverse for the return. That routing would require 100,000 QF FF points in business class, but cost me 35,000 x 3 AA miles. The need to route via MEL would have also added extra fuel fines for the QF reward flights while AA does not charge fuel fine for award flights.

Similarly, my last redemption using QF FF points was between BNE and PER and the only availability was via ADL in one direction and via SYD in the other. So that would have been 35,000 QF FF points in one direction and 50,000 in the other, or 85,000 total. AA would have been 35,000 miles total.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Depends on where you're going and availability. AA 35,000 miles could cost much more than QF 100,000 miles (or could be less).
 
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