American

I’m Embarrassed By How Many Upgrades I Have Expiring Next Week…

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As someone obsessed with loyalty programs, I do everything I can to maximize the benefits associated with the status I earn. After all, earning status comes at a cost (both in terms of time and money), so not maximizing benefits is like throwing away money.

No matter how hard I try, I’ll never do a perfect job maximizing these programs, though I’m especially embarrassed by how many upgrades I’m having go to “waste” next week.

Most loyalty program status is earned on a calendar year basis, though typically there’s some grace period before the status expires. In the case of American AAdvantage and Hyatt Gold Passport, earned status for this past program year is valid through the end of February. The same is true of the upgrade instruments earned with those programs.

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I Made An American Agent’s Night By Redeeming Miles

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I’m on a bit of a crazy trip at the moment (I’m excited to eventually share the reasoning), and am enroute from Asia to Europe. Long story short, I saw a flight with four Cathay Pacific first class award seats, which is exactly what we needed. This was two days before departure, and not a single seat was taken in the first class cabin at the time.

For those of you not familiar with Cathay Pacific, they have just six first class seats on the 777. Typically they make up to one award seat available in advance, and then closer to departure they’ll often release more seats. You often see an extra seat, and sometimes even see two seats closer to departure.

However, four seats at a time — and more specifically, a completely empty first class cabin two days before departure — is extremely rare.

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How The Citi AAdvantage Card 10% Mileage Refund Works

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The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard® has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 AAdvantage miles upon completing minimum spend, with the first year’s annual fee waived. While the sign-up bonus makes the card worth applying for, there’s one other card perk I really value long term.

The main reason I hold onto the Citi AAdvantage Personal Platinum Card is because it offers a 10% refund on redeemed miles, for a maximum refund of up to 10,000 miles per year. Since I redeem at least 100,000 American miles per year, this means I’m getting 10,000 bonus miles per year due to this card, which more than justifies the card’s $95 annual fee. That’s like picking up miles for 0.95 cents each.

In this post I figured I’d answer some of the most common questions I get about this perk:

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American Airlines Isn’t Racist. Jason Derulo Is Just Entitled.

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Singer Jason Derulo seems to have had an unpleasant experience at Miami Airport a few hours ago, which he’s going off on a tirade about. To start, here’s his Instagram post:

So, what did American do to racially discriminate against Jason?

Well, according to TMZ, Jason is an American Concierge Key member, which is their invitation only status. He was traveling with his crew of eight people from Miami to Los Angeles, and allegedly they showed up too late to check bags. Unfortunately he had 19 bags to check, which would have been fine if he showed up on time, since his companions traveling on the same reservation can take extra bags as well.

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My Plan For Getting Admirals Club Access After The Citi Prestige Changes

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As someone who primarily flies American domestically, I’ve gotten a ton of value out of the Admirals Club access offered by the Citi Prestige® Card. The card comes with a slew of other benefits that more than justify the annual fee (including a fourth night free hotel benefit), so Admirals Club access was the icing on the cake.

As previously reported, unfortunately there are some changes coming to the card, and as of July 23, 2017, the Citi Prestige Card will no longer offer Admirals Club access as a perk. So now I’m putting some thought into how I plan on getting Admirals Club access going forward. While Admirals Clubs are far from glam, it’s nice to have a (relatively) quiet place from which to work during a layover.

I suppose I could buy an Admirals Club membership directly, but that isn’t cheap. American charges the following amounts for an Admirals Club membership:

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GREAT American Business Class Fares From Los Angeles To San Juan

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While mileage runs as such are for the most part dead due to U.S. frequent flyer programs going revenue based, there are still some premium fare deals that are worth pointing out.

For years, American’s best discounted business class fares have been to Central America. We’ve seen great fares to Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, etc. We’re talking ~$700 roundtrip tickets from the West Coast of the U.S. to those countries, with three connections in each direction.

Some of those are still alive in some markets, while others aren’t. However, in general they’re less interesting than before, given revenue based programs (unless you’re crediting to a partner airline with a more lucrative rewards structure, like Alaska Mileage Plan).

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American Raises The Cost Of Business Extra Gold Status Nominations

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American has a business rewards program called Business Extra. This program is run in addition to AAdvantage, meaning you can double dip — you can earn miles with AAdvantage and points with Business Extra for a given flight. Reader Sam F. wrote a post last year sharing all the details of this program, which is a no brainer to join, assuming you have a business (though there’s not really anything in place to prevent someone without a real business from joining).

Through this program you earn two points per $10 spent on eligible flights, so you don’t earn points as quickly as you would with AAdvantage, but I don’t think anyone expects that to be the case. The cool thing is that you can credit points from multiple people to your Business Extra account, and over time rewards should nicely build up.

You can redeem your Business Extra points for all kinds of things, ranging from free flights, to upgrades, to nominating someone for AAdvantage Gold status, to Admirals Club memberships.

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All American 777s Will Feature Fully Flat Beds By June 2017

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While American is working on improving their international business class product, there’s not much consistency in terms of their product offering.

Some 777s still feature American’s old angled business class product, which is uncompetitive at this point.

Then all of American’s 777-300ER aircraft feature Zodiac reverse herringbone seats. I love the 777-300ERs for how consistent the product is — all the planes have the same configuration.

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Here’s What American’s CEO Had To Say About This Weekend’s Airport “Turmoil”

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On Saturday, Tiffany wrote about President Trump’s executive order, which created chaos for many international travelers, as those with passports from seven countries were banned from entering the U.S., with immediate effect.

Regardless of how you feel about the decision as such, I think we can all agree this created confusion and chaos, given the lack of notice, and the lack of clear directives for those who were supposed to enforce the rules. Furthermore, there were protests at airports around the country that contributed even more to the chaos.

President Trump blamed the chaos largely on Delta’s outage on Sunday night, though we haven’t heard much from airline executives, both about the travel ban as such, and about the state of airports this weekend.

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Is China Playing Dirty With American’s New Los Angeles To Beijing Route?

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Well here’s the latest never-ending drama in the airline industry…

Last March, Delta announced that they planned to operate daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Beijing as of December 16, 2016. Exactly two weeks later, American announced that they planned to operate daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Beijing as of December 16, 2016.

Obviously the announcements coming just days apart is no coincidence. As it turns out, there was only one slot available for Beijing, so when Delta requested permission to fly the route, American quickly followed. I doubt the route would have been on American’s immediate radar, but when they saw that Delta was going to operate it, they wanted to make sure they got it instead. After all, American is trying to turn LAX into their Pacific gateway.

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American & Qantas Are Cutting Ties So They Can Strengthen Ties

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In November I first wrote about how the U.S. Department of Transportation blocked the expanded transpacific joint venture of American and Qantas.

American and Qantas increased their cooperation when American added their first two routes to the South Pacific. Specifically, American launched flights from Los Angeles to both Sydney and Auckland. American and Qantas already had a joint venture, though American didn’t operate any of the flights across the Pacific.

The intent was that American and Qantas would be expanding together under their joint venture, giving passengers more transpacific options. For example, as part of this Qantas also relaunched flights between Sydney and San Francisco, instead taking some frequencies off their Los Angeles route, since American would be filling that gap.

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6 Alternative Facts About Basic Economy

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There is a good deal of confusion in the marketplace about basic economy fares, the no-frills tickets that Delta has been selling for several years now and American and United are poised to begin selling this quarter.

My biggest concern with basic economy fares is that there’s no good way to identify them when searching using Google Flights, or really anywhere other than the airlines’ websites. This seems like an easy feature for Google to add and would go a long way toward helping consumers make an informed decision about what they are about to buy. Of course I’d like to see all of the online travel agencies implement something similar, and honestly, I think that is coming.

But it turns out that there’s a lot more confusion about basic economy than just our inability to identify these fares. Let’s look at six alternative facts about basic economy.

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