Over the last 6 years I have flown just enough to maintain a Silver status for USAir. This is the lowest rung on the ladder for frequent flyers at USAir. The last two years, I have been complimentarily upgraded to 1st class on 64% of the flights where 1st class was available. I know this because USAir sends me a monthly statement and this stat is listed. On flights where I didn't receive the upgrade, the 1st class cabin was full. I was lucky(?) enough to qualify for Gold status this December. The perks are a bit nicer. I'm running 100% on the first 6 flights for upgrades since the status took hold.
I achieved Gold (the lowest rung) for American for all of 2013 and again for 2014. I had zero complimentary upgrades. They did deposit four, 500 mile upgrade certificates in my account. They can be used to request upgrades, with no certainty, on flights that don't exceed the miles of the certs. The information that I've read on here leads me to believe that the reason for zero upgrades with American is because they have a zillion members in the levels above Gold that score any and all upgrades. Interestingly enough, I flew on Dec 29 and Dec 31 with American. In both instances, the 1st class cabin was empty. On the 29th, there was one couple using two of the 16 (I think) seats. On the 31st, I used two certificates to upgrade. I was one of just 3 people using any of the 24 seats in 1st class.
My question is twofold..... 1) Was my experience the norm with American? Did they leave 1st Class cabins empty instead of complimentarily upgrading frequent flyers? 2) When the two airlines are merged for good, will the complimentary upgrade be a thing of the past for all frequent flyer levels?
I am Platinum on AA and without the segments, have never been upgraded. If I request one using segments, I usually get it. On pretty much all my flights, first is full. I am surprised that you found it empty.
I would assume that if every coach seat is full and they have some first empty and want to process standbys, they would upgrade an elite and put the standby in coach.
IAHFLYR... I'll take that advice. Which airline do you think I should call? I think you went from Cont. to United. Did you start corresponding with United right away for these type of questions? Thanks
I didn't start any correspondence with UA until I had to, avoided them and all their airplanes like the plague! I dealt with CO until everything went over to being UA.
You might try calling both of them and see what you get for answers, but I'd call the one I had the most miles with since you have some with both of them. I only had a CO OnePass account as I hadn't flown UA since the early 70's.
I wish you luck with trying to consolidate. It is hard guess what they will do.
With AA, you need to fly 10,000 miles to get 4 500 mile segments, which means that you might get upgraded 20% of the time unless you buy more or a higher level.
I think that AA's ff program runs circles around US Air's. They require less miles for a trip and have one way awards. US Air allows stopovers which AA does not. I just hope that they keep AA's program but fear that may not happen.
I am waiting to be able to combine miles into which ever we choose till they combine them.
This is a very true statement cal. I am platinum and have been upgraded only when there were no next level plats (don't remember what they are called because I have never flown enough Thank God to achieve that level) on the plane. I am very surprised you found any plane that was not full, both in coach and 1st, but when the coach is full and there are empty 1st seats, complimentary upgrades happen. My boss (next level up than me) has been bumped up to 1st many times in our travels when they want to put more on the plane or it is oversold (which is more the norm than not) and 1st class is not full.
Here are a couple of articles regarding the AA/US merger. The second one is a prediction rather than fact, but it makes sense.
I Believe this merger is a bad thing for all consumers. Airfares will increase in many markets and there will be a reduction in flight availability in many other markets. Mergers typically work financially by taking costs out. Some of the cutting has already begun with American and US Air leaving AMEX Platinum club access program in March. UsAir was a good airline that offered exit row seats fee free if available at 24 hours from departure. AA charges for everything so I am sure this option is history.
To all of you who are AA or USAir "status" members, please keep us posted as you learn of the changes.
As many already know, I am a card-carrying, true believer in American Airlines. I am executive Platinum as well as a very select designation 'Concierge Key'. I flew over 100 segments last year (even though I was out of pocket for 8 weeks after surgery), and was upgraded on at least 90% of the flights. All correspondence from the company suggests that combining elite programs will happen some time later this year, and we are already able to book flights on either airline from either website and choose the Frequent Flyer program we want to accrue the mileage ad well as the segment awards. We can also use mileage on either airline for free travel. I do not think one's status is completely recognized yet, but is somewhat recognized. One last thought, it has been my impression that us air ended up with about 25% ownership in the new company and shareholders from the old American own 75%. Either way, it seems those heavy users of us air and aa both feel their program was the best. It's always in the eyes of the beholder. Finally, both companies are doing a great job keeping the frequent flyers up to date with changes prior to them happening.
I'm Platinum with USAir and have flown American twice since the merger was announced. The current flight is the first where USAir Elite Status has been acknowledged and were allowed to board first. I have opted to use my USAir FF number in my American reservation because I get the elite miles plus 75% bonus miles added to my USAir FF account whereas on AA I would only receive base miles in my AA account where I have no status.
I can't speak to upgrades with AA as both flights I booked in First Class. On USAir, I was probably upgraded 95% of the time for my flights in 2013.
I will most likely use USAir for east coast north and south travel from my home base and American for west coast travel west and east from home.
I agree with Shoeman that the best program is in the eyes of the beholder. I'm going to watch, listen and see what transpires as the two companies merge assets and we find out where the end game takes us.
Thanks tef. I'm afraid only the highest of high will get upgraded in the new American. It only makes sense that once they merge, the zillion AA FF and the millions USAir FF will be lining up for that tiny 1st class cabin. Booking in 1st class looks like the only sure thing.
I think you're right. I booked First Class on AA because I knew that I wouldn't get, or even be considered for, an upgrade. Unless one lives in the uber category (like Shoeman with Exec Plat with AA) there won't be first class seats unless one books them when they buy the ticket. First Class upgrades, in my opinion, are going the way of the Edsel when all this merger stuff gets finalized.
That is pretty much how it is with UA, a bundle of Global Services, 1K, and Platinum travelers once both the CO and UA programs were merged. Flying to or from a HUB you pretty much don't get upgrades unless you booked the right fare which you get the upgrade when you purchase it or you are the GS or 1K. On a recent flight from PDX to IAH there were two or three GS travelers who got to board first, but when we got to our seat in FC (I booked the FC ticket) those folks were already sitting in Econ Plus.
Good luck all you AA/US flyers, learn the new program well when it comes out so you can use it to your benefit.
If I remember correctly, I have only been on two or three AA flights in the past six years or so where there was an empty seat in First or Business Class (three class cabins). I have been Exec Plat a couple of years and if I have been able to book my flight and request complimentary upgrades more than 30 days out I have only had one segment where I was not upgraded. Will fall down to Platinum at the end of February and don't expect many upgrades. But, the program works and rewards 1) the most frequent flyers 2) those who can book in advance. I think an Exec Plat will get an upgrade seat even at the last minute over a Plat. But, if there are seats for Plat, it will go to those who have ticketed and requested first.
Thanks lakersfan. If the new AA program remains unchanged, it may be tough sledding for guys like me. If the new airline includes some USAir flavor, it may work out for everyone.
I expect things to remain AA status quo throughout the merger. After the merger, I expect to see a significant devaluation of AAdvantage, as well as tightening of the rules. AAdvantage has remained unchanged for years and is one of the most generous programs around. The reason for this is likely a goodwill gesture to retain loyal fliers, as well as to attract disgruntled UA fliers... right IAHFLYR??
But once full integration is achieved, I expect to see a lot of negative changes. Why wouldn't they? All of their competitors have already done so... even international carriers like CX & LH are making it harder to get upgrades, redeem miles for premium classes, etc.
I received an email I believe two days ago regarding an AA promotion where you receive 50% bonus aa miles when booking with US Air between now and a certain date. I registered but don't remember the details. You can probably find it on AA site if interested. They also have a buy-back program for expired miles going as well, but who wants to pay to get them back when you probably wouldn't have let them expire in the first place if you wanted them right?