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So confused about AA & QFF! Help!

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anat0l

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I've read up a bit on the what nots about QFF and AA, and I'm heartily confused!

Why should I consider signing up for AAdvantage?

I've seen a lot of threads here, but I can't seem to see the forest from the trees, so to speak. (Hey, give me a break, I'm an engineer. I need a cue card list of pros and cons.)

Currently I'm QFF Bronze but looking at travel opportunities to increase within the next 2 years. They will mostly be Australia domestic. What I'm scared about is that although joining AA is free, there's little prospect of me travelling in America (let alone on AA or AEagle), so my membership will just wither away with no benefits foreseeable. Then again I've seen several posts here of people able to take advantage (no pun intended) of AA benefits for and from flights in Australia.

Travel within the next 2 years is not anticipated to be able to fulfil one of the AA challenges.

What should I do:?::?::?: :confused::oops::confused:
 

NM

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The AA Platinum Challenge can be a very fast and easy way to achieve OneWorld Sapphire status, which is the equiv of Qantas Gold. However, some of the advantages are:
  • 100% status bonus paid on all OneWorld Flights with AA Platinum, while QF Gold provides 50% bonus only on QF, AA and BA flights
  • AA Platinum, by virtue of also being OneWorld Sapphire, means you get Qantas Club lounge access when flying on Qantas flights. But you don't get AA lounge access when flying on AA domestic flights that are not same-day connections to a OneWorld international flight.
  • In most cases, FF award flights cost less points/miles with AA than with QF. There are some cases where QF costs less, but not too many. This is especially the case for business or first class awards.
The downside is the AA miles earning rate from credit card spending on Australian credit cards is generally lower than for QF earning. And its generally only available from Amex and Diners Club and not from Visa and Mastercard.

And if you can make it to AA Executive Platinum status, there are some great benefits available like 8 x eVIP upgrades that can have value beyond just flights upgrades ;).
 

serfty

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... They will mostly be Australia domestic. ...
AA can still be the one for you; however there are two important things to note:
  1. AA Plat Challenge can now only be done on AA flights numbers, so you will need to book on as many AA codeshares on Qantas metal as you can, and
  2. If you will be traveling a lot on QF red e-deals you need to avoid 'N' class as they won't earn on AAdvantage (N class are the more expensive of the two 'red e-deal' fares).
 
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Soundguy

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serfty said:
AA Plat Challenge can now only be done on AA flights numbers, so you will need to book on as many AA codeshares on Qantas metal as you can,
Probably dumb questions but what is the easiest way to find which QF flights are AA codeshares?

And to be applicable to the AAdvantage Challenge does the AA codeshare flight have to be booked through AA? Or can one just book the codeshare flight via eg qantas.com.au and add their AA FF number over the phone?
 

NM

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Soundguy said:
Probably dumb questions but what is the easiest way to find which QF flights are AA codeshares?

And to be applicable to the AAdvantage Challenge does the AA codeshare flight have to be booked through AA? Or can one just book the codeshare flight via eg qantas.com.au and add their AA FF number over the phone?
All Qantas Trans-Pacific flights have a AA codeshare flight number. Australian Domestic flights and trans-Tasman flights that have AA codeshare can only be booked in conjunction with an AA flight (including AA codeshares) to/from USA, so cannot be booked standalone for Australian domestic travel.
 

drron

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To answer the original question you need to know what you want out of your frequent flyer program.It reaaly does not matter a lot where your travel is.You can have status in the AA program without ever going to the states.
My priority is getting international business class awards.As I virtually always travel with my wife we need 2 awards on the same flight.I have found this particularly hard to do on QF as we do fly mainly to the USA.However it is much easier to do on a Oneworld award.When you look at Oneworld awards in premium cabins they are much cheaper in the AA program than QF.
When JAL joins oneworld your choice of international awards out of Australia using AA miles will be much better.As it is there is usually more chance of an award on CX than QF so again really does not matter whether you are in the AA or QF program.As has been pointed out with better bonus opportunities on AA and awards generally costing less I think the AA program is the way to go.
AnatO1 if you are an engineer does your professional association have a deal with Diners Club.If you can get a fee free Dc then it certainly makes good sense to join the AA program as you can transfer DC points directly to AA.Unlike QF these card points will count to lifetime status on AA.
So in summary if your aim is to get international flight awards from your frequent flyer program then I think AA rather than QF.
 

SeaWolf

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I've seen mention of the AA Challenge several times on the forum and I gather it's a quick way of getting higher status on your FF, but I haven't seen anyone outline details of exactly how it works, how many points you need etc.
Does anyone have a link with this info?
 

Soundguy

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Thanks NM!

SeaWolf said:
I've seen mention of the AA Challenge several times on the forum and I gather it's a quick way of getting higher status on your FF, but I haven't seen anyone outline details of exactly how it works, how many points you need etc.
Does anyone have a link with this info?
In addition to Dave's excellent info in the sticky above:

http://www.frequentflyer.com.au/community/american-airlines-advantage/aa-platinum-challenge-mileage-8595.html

....you can check:

AAdvantage Platinum - FewMiles' Unofficial Guide to American Airlines AAdvantage
 

Evan

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I am about as confused as you anat0l, but one thing i did learn from all my reading was that if you make elite status and mostly fly short hop domestic then to keep status you need approx half the sectors on QFF compared to AA to retian status.

I personally decided to stay with QFF for the moment, but if i see i can earn AA status with some US flights then i may just take up the offer.

Evan
 

Dave Noble

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Evan said:
I am about as confused as you anat0l, but one thing i did learn from all my reading was that if you make elite status and mostly fly short hop domestic then to keep status you need approx half the sectors on QFF compared to AA to retian status.
With short hop discount economy, you can get status quicker with AA. AA requires 30 sectors or 25k miles or 25k points

If doing journeys such as SYD-MEL/SYD-BNE/SYD-CBR which earn 10SCs, then you would need 35 sectors to get QF Silver, whilst 30 would do it for AA Gold. If travelling on sectors where 15SCs would be earned, then QF would require 24 Sectors.

It is fairly similar

Dave
 

Evan

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Dave, I could very well be going crazy and imagining what i read and figure out. Sorry about that guys.

One thing i guess to point out regardless of AA or QFF is that J & Y class travel will very quickly bring you status (AA plat being very easy to get with the challenge), where as economy flights will take quiet a while, and a lot of time in the not so desirable end of the plane ! (I should know how un-desirable it is as well, company policy is economy tickets)

Evan
 

vt01

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Evan said:
I am about as confused as you anat0l, but one thing i did learn from all my reading was that if you make elite status and mostly fly short hop domestic then to keep status you need approx half the sectors on QFF compared to AA to retian status.
Evan
This is a very important point and one I didn't really consider when I switched to AA.

I had 2 main reasons for switching to AA
1. Better earn and burn rates
2. No fuel fines.

Other considerations:
1. I don't need to use upgrades on QF very often as on domestic flights I don't mind sticking with Y as they're so short. All my international flights in the last few years have been past the 8 hour mark so company policy is J class. If however all my long haul were Y, I would probably stay with QF so I could try to upgrade.

2. I used an AA Plat challenge last year when you could use QF to complete it. Before I did the challenge, I requalified for QF Plat so I have that until Aug 2007. My AA Plat challenge gives me this until Feb 2008. So even though I won't requalify for QF plat this year, I will only drop to QF gold until Aug 2008 and still have free QP access. I'll then lose the 100% bonus points but with the better burn rates on AA I should still be slightly ahead.

3. My AA plat challenge was started and completed on a SYD-LAX QF J class flight. As this was my qualifying flight, I received 100% bonus miles as well as base miles. So it didn't cost me any miles to switch from QFF to AA.

4. QP membership under our corporate rate is only $195 per year so if I don't achieve AA plat normally after Aug 2008 I can always pay my membership and still have access to the QP. This is probably cheaper than trying to do mileage runs to keep status.

5. I am more or less guaranteed one trip to the UK once every 2 years in J class. I plan to do these as DONE4's which can easily be used to achieve AA Plat and with careful planning AA EXP or close enough that my other odd bits of travel will achieve it.

So although I had 2 main reasons for switching from QFF to AA, I had a number of other considerations which made the decision easier. I would have liked to stay with QFF to achieve lifetime gold but this would have been another 5 or 6 years. And I really, really hate QF fuel fines on award tickets!
 

serfty

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One important thing to remember if using AAdvantage is to avoid Qantas N class red e-deals. They do not earn anything at all on AA. (Also Q class, e.g. Trans Tasman 'Sale" fares)
 

Evan

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I assume the same for other deep discount tickets from the oneworld carriers as well ? The earn rate on BA and Iberia discount fares is low, and i thought Qantas 50% was bad.

Given once your a QFF member you only need to have activity every 3 years the is always an advantage in QF membership to pick up some points on flights you can't credit to AA

Just got to figure out if its worth the $82.50 to join.
E
 

NM

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And yet another consideration ....

If using FF points/miles for an award ticket in business class and it involved travel with AA through the USA (as many people would like to do), then a QF business class award will have you seated in the economy/coach cabin on the AA 2-class domestic flights, while an AA business class award will have you seated in the First Class cabin on AA 2-class domestic flights.

So not only does it cost less AA miles than QF points, but you also get to sit in First and not Coach for the AA domestic sectors.
 

simongr

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One small part of me is slightly disillusioned with AAdvantage at the moment. I have yet to receive the benefit of the the increased earning rate (havent booked any award flights yet). Looking at a possible trip July 2008 I want to get me and mrssimongr to Europe (UK or Cyprus or Italy) and fly in J - and think even with some flexibility on dates its going to be a struggle to get there - so the benefit may not crystallise any time soon.

On the downside if I had stuck with QFF I would now be QF WP - so I would have missed out on about 26K points btu I would F lounge access check in etc. I would have better long term access to AC whilst travelling in the US etc.

Now this is just a temporary blip for me - I will get EXP this year (and maybe QF SG if I do 4 DONE4s this year and credit some to QF if I want lounge access in the US) so will get those benefits but I am basically going to miss out on about 9 months worth of OW Emerald that I would have previously gotten.

Its a toughy - and only when I get the Europe trip locked in will I see a benefit.

YMMV

S
 

NM

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simongr said:
One small part of me is slightly disillusioned with AAdvantage at the moment. I have yet to receive the benefit of the the increased earning rate (havent booked any award flights yet). Looking at a possible trip July 2008 I want to get me and mrssimongr to Europe (UK or Cyprus or Italy) and fly in J - and think even with some flexibility on dates its going to be a struggle to get there - so the benefit may not crystallise any time soon.
Availability for premium cabin award seats is the same for members of QF FF and AAdvantage. So if its not available for an AA Plat member, then there is no availability for a QF Plat member. The only time there is a difference is for QF FF members booking economy class awards on QF flights as they can also access seats from T inventory.
 

simongr

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I wasnt implying that AA was part of the problem - just generally the availability of two J awards :(

I might be starting a new thread on that in a a month or so once I have my 240K points in the bag and can actually start planning for Jul 2008...
 

wombatcountry

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simongr said:
One small part of me is slightly disillusioned with AAdvantage at the moment. I have yet to receive the benefit of the the increased earning rate (havent booked any award flights yet). Looking at a possible trip July 2008 I want to get me and mrssimongr to Europe (UK or Cyprus or Italy) and fly in J - and think even with some flexibility on dates its going to be a struggle to get there - so the benefit may not crystallise any time soon.
S
You might have tried this already, but did you check if there was award inventory to/from any Asian destination for a OW award? In the past, often I couldn't find availability through SIN or BKK, but, if I was creative, I could almost always find a couple of biz seats through NRT and LHR, combining QF, CX, and BA availability (and don't forget AY through HEL).

One thing to keep in mind, which I discovered recently: CX seems to be more generous with award availability to QFFF than AAdvantage members. I was checking for availability between Europe and Australia, and connecting in HKG would have been a possibility when I checked inventory on QF, but the same seats weren't available with AAdvantage.

P.S.: I'm editing this comment to explain that I was specifically discussing OW awards as opposed to AAll partners awards, which come with so many restrictions (no stopovers, unless travelling to/from N. America, you need to use specific routes and airlines between Europe and Australia, etc.) that they're practically impossible to get. For just a few more miles (130K each), you could build a OW biz class award between Europe and Australia, which allows a lot more flexibility in routing.
 
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