23 Replies Latest reply: Nov 30, 2015 11:47 AM by pluto77 RSS

AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?

clebert Platinum 21 Reviews
Currently Being Moderated

I've got no status with AA or DL, but I can get entry level status with one of them with one last booking this year.  Anyone have a suggestion about which airline has a better status program?  I fly them both quite a bit and have had mixed results, so I'm not sure if I prefer one of these airlines over the other.  AA has a better FF program, but DL has better service.  For my last booking, AA is $90 more expensive than DL but neither schedule/route is really any better than the other, so if I choose AA I'd be paying an unnecessary $90 just to obtain elite status. 

(For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
    pluto77 Alumni Steward Platinum 25 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Couple of questions... Do you have a co branded credit card with either airline?  Because some of the lowest status perks are also a benefit of the co branded card, like for instance with AA, the c/c provides free bags and class 1 boarding, which is only one boarding group after AA Gold status.  The Delta card provides a free companion pass, if that hasn't changed. So the perks of the co branded cards must be considered as well.  Also to consider, from where your flights mostly originate, how likely is it that you would be upgraded to first class with either airline?  I think that is a big question... who, in terms of other frequent flyers, are you competing with on your most traveled routes?  And are the upgrade rules the same for both airlines?  For instance, with lowest status, can you at least upgrade to extra legroom immediately when you book your flights on both airlines?  And also, regardless of which airline you choose to go with for status perks, inform yourself regarding status reciprocity. Since AA and DL are partner airlines, your status with one - either one - should provide the same benefits with the other.  Also, AA is still mileage based (until it's someday not) where as Delta is spend based.

     

    Lots to consider, much of which is unique to your current and anticipated future individual travel pattern. 

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
      clebert Platinum 21 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Thank you for the input!  Yes, I have the AA and DL credit cards so I do get the baggage and check-in benefits already.  Looks like DL has a better program as far as upgrades, but AA has a better FF program overall.  DL is SkyTeam Alliance, but AA is OneWorld, so I was under the impression that they didn't have any type of partnership. 

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
        pluto77 Alumni Steward Platinum 25 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        Hi clebert,

        You are right, AA and DL aren't partnered!  Sorry about that. I think I was confused, because happily, both AA AND DL are frequent flyer partners with AS, my primary. I'd be curious which airline you decide to go with.  I fly about 45-50 segs/year, enough for lowest status with one airline, but not quite enough for lowest status with two airlines or medium status with one airline.  I've thrown in with AS because I know I am essentially guaranteed complimentary extra legroom seating at the time of booking, and have had fair to midland results with 1st upgrades. And I do get some reciprocal benefits with AA, like free or reduced priced extra legroom and priority boarding (and bags).  I have thought that one of these years I might choose to earn status with AA instead, just to see what kind of results it would yield, but I'm thinking not much.  Little fish in big pond (AA) vs. "bigger-ish" fish in little pond (AS), lol.  Either way for you (AA or DL), you will be in a big pond.  For upgrades, depends on how many other status flyers fly out of your home airport (PIE, right?) and where you typically fly to/from (ie hub or not).

         

        I guess you have to determine which airline performs better on the various benefits, and of those benefits, which ones are more important to you.  Kind of isn't an easy decision, is it?

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

        • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
          clebert Platinum 21 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          I think it's going to be DL as AA raised the price on that last flight I need to book this year, making the price difference between the two carriers more substantial for this particular trip.  RSW is one of my home airports although I do sometimes use PIE if flying the dreaded Allegiant and I can also use MIA or FLL.  DL has more flights to and from RSW than AA, so I suppose it is the better option.  My place is not really very close to any airport that has commercial flights, unfortunately!  AA uses MIA as a hub, and that is fairly convenient for me, although that airport is kind of a hassle and can be expensive.  I have some sort of grudge against DL because of past incidents but I will have to give it a rest.  I don't mind hubbing through ATL, but I really detest MSP because it's out of the way and the airport is not laid out well.  DL has more flights than AA at my other home airport, too, but most of them route through MSP.  But ORD is awful, too, and that's where AA hubs a lot of the time.  I wish I could get higher status on one airline, but both of my houses are in little towns in the middle of nowhere, so I have to suck it up and fly whichever carrier meets the schedule and budget.

          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

          • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
            pluto77 Alumni Steward Platinum 25 Reviews
            Currently Being Moderated

            "Fly whichever carrier meets the schedule and budget" pretty much says it all.  When my kids moved back to the States from Europe, I had to pick between AA and DL (when they were in Europe I was using LH).  Schedule and budget is exactly what it came down to.

            (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
    702rugbyref Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    Strictly based on airlines, I recommend AA for my service and connections. When I do airfare checks, I do noted Delta is usually cheaper.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
    zukracer Alumni Steward Platinum 4 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Having flown AA for something like 12yrs now and being Exec Plat for most of that, I'm a little jaded.  I do use DL for my backup line though as they, even for normal folks, seem to have a pretty good product. I agree AA seems to have a better FF program and if you "play the game" right you can really rack up some miles and status.  The bonus to DL as far as I can tell is the upgrades.  Now that AA and USAir are combining officially on Oct 15th, I'm very curious how it will actually play out.  I have found in my travels this year, most of the USAir folks are booking USAir flights and most AA folks are booking AA flights, because of the upgrades and equipment.  DL seems to be pretty easy if there's space.  On AA you need upgrade coupons for the lower status levels, I see golds and plats in first from time to time but never on busy routes.  In fact I have missed a few upgrades even as multi million miler and exec plat. 

     

    If you are only ever going to make lower status, then focus on the rewards. AA has the best value for flights between the two, in fact one of the best going.  Target promo's that you can earn extra points, the AA dining program or stuff like that.  I dont know that DL has that same type of thing but if you catch a deal, you can fly short hops for as few as 7500miles each way and cross country domestic for 12500 each way.  The only down side is you have to book often or take the deals when they pop up but inventory is pretty good.  Since you already have the card, consider if there's another card you can get to add to your pile of points.  There's usually a 1.5yr time limit before you can redo it but if you are up for it, consider it.  Also if you enjoy the perks of the Admirals club on AA, look at their top card.  It's expensive yearly rate includes the club membership and you earn elite miles if you spend enough.  Just a thought.

     

    Free bags are nice for sure but if you get that from the card, no big deal.  Also same for priority boarding, it's nice for sure but usually golds and priority folks board about the same time.  DL does however seem more retentive about groupings than AA it seems. 

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
      clebert Platinum 21 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      zukracer, do you have the AA Admiral's Club card?  Citi has a promo on now where you get 75,000 miles.  I might try it out.  I have both the Citi AAdvantage and the Barclay's red card (used to be US Air).  I also have the United Club Card which has built-in travel insurance which I have used when UA strands me overnight, etc.  Not sure if I will renew that one as UA is changing the rules on club access...

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
        zukracer Alumni Steward Platinum 4 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        sorry for the delay, been off the boards a bit.

         

        I actually went with the Amex Plat card for the same $450 over the AA black card.  With my international travel it gave me more function for the same cash.  I get $200/yr towards my Admirals club membership, so it costs me $150 out of pocket.  When I signed up Amex had a 100k point promo, which is roughly worth $1000 plus access to the DL lounge (for just me), Hilton gold status (great for UK/EU travel when MR isnt available), priority club and lots of other goodies.

         

        I have over 1M miles in my account already so the 75k miles really wasnt a huge swing for me.  I've managed to add more than that in the last month and will again in Dec so for me, it was the other features of the Amex that pulled me in.

         

        Did you ever pick an airline to stick with?  Now that AA has changed their program next year I'm cautiously optimistic that I can get back to Exc Plat but time will tell.  I suspect 2016 will be more of a "spend miles" vs "earn miles" year for me.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
    john_thai Platinum 8 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Reality: None of the entry level statuses really mean anything. You won't get much. Everyone and their brother has status somewhere.

     

    Look at the routes the airlines cover. Decide where you will be going to most. Figure out which airline will provide you the best opportunities. Go with that.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
    john_thai Platinum 8 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Reality: None of the entry level statuses really mean anything. You won't get much. Everyone and their brother has status somewhere.

     

    Look at the routes the airlines cover. Decide where you will be going to most. Figure out which airline will provide you the best opportunities. Go with that.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
      clebert Platinum 21 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Good advice.  I picked DL as I fly to MSP a lot for work, and DL is the only carrier that goes there direct for me.  But I am going to be dangerously close to entry-level status at AA, too.  So maybe I will sneak in another AA flight if I can find a reason to do so.  I sure wish I could get higher status at one airline instead of the lowest status at 2 or 3.  But both my houses are near small, regional airports with really limited choices.  The good thing about that is the lack of high status flyers from both my home airports.  I find that the high net worth folks and business road warriors near my houses have their own planes and/or charter planes and fly from the FSBs instead of flying commercial.  That leaves me at the airport with the occasional travelers who do not have status.  So I do actually get lots of upgrades from my home bases to the nearest hubs which are usually ORD, DEN, ATL, MSP, or DFW.  And one of my most common flights for work is ORD-MCO which is usually families without status, so I get upgraded to first class most of the time on that one.  Also got upgraded to first class on the last few LGA-ORD flights.  So I've had a good run with my Silver Premier status on UA, believe it or not.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
    carat Community Manager Marriott Associate Silver
    Currently Being Moderated

    Great insight here!!

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
    tprophet Silver
    Currently Being Moderated

    Why not accrue to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan if you fly both airlines? Then you can pick either one, and Alaska status will get you entry-level status benefits with either airline (although the benefits are more generous on American than they are on Delta). You don't have to fly Alaska to make good use of their program.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
      jerryl Platinum 2 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I Would go with whichever airline flys the most direct flights out of your airport

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
        clebert Platinum 21 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        jerryl, that's what I did.  So DL won out.  I will check out the Alaska angle as well, even though AS doesn't cover my market.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
      pluto77 Alumni Steward Platinum 25 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      tprophet, that's brilliant and is exactly what I do, being in the AS market, which folks might want to check out, as their route map is ever expanding.  Flying to/from one of their main hubs, LAX, PDX or SEA is cheap!

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
    Platinum 28 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Is there any entry level program that offers real benefits?

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
      zukracer Alumni Steward Platinum 4 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      honestly, you can get the same entry level benefits by having the airline's credit card.  The biggest perks I've seen is that you get some of the fees waived and with AA you get priority boarding.  Now there's some airports that actually let gold's board ahead of paid priority but very rarely.

       

      If you are just an occasional traveler having the card is probably easier than trying to get/maintain status.  Not paying to check bags can save you a good bit so it's a good perk.  Flight upgrades though, probably not something to look forward to with any entry level status

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
      clebert Platinum 21 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      After I reached silver medallion status (i.e., entry level) earlier this month, DL gave me a complimentary upgrade to first class on a red eye long-haul from HNL, so that is a real benefit to me.  I actually had given serious thought to paying for the upgrade so that I could get some sleep, but the cost was $498 so I got an upgrade that would have cost that much for free.

       

      I am also regularly upgraded on UA even though I have only silver premier.  I think it's because I fly ORD-MCO and back a lot every year for work, and that's a route that's full of families with small children and tourists who aren't regular business travelers.  UA also usually upgrades me from my home airport to DEN and on my ORD-LGA flights, and I'm not sure why LGA except that I usually fly home on Saturday mornings from LGA and maybe not a lot of business travelers on that route?

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
      pluto77 Alumni Steward Platinum 25 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I must respectfully disagree with both misterchk and @john_thai.  I get real benefits from my entry level status every time I set foot on AS/Horizon metal.  Free bags, which the credit card does not provide, and free seat upgrades, best seats on horizon planes, and 1st class upgrades on Alaska planes, and so far, I'm batting 1000 on these bennies.  Plus bennie crossover with their partners DL and AA, priority boarding, free bags and free seat upgrades, though no 1st class.  These benefits equal real savings and added comfort.  I am very happy with my AS entry level status, much more than if I had chosen to put all of my segment eggs in another airline's basket. 

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
        Platinum 28 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        pluto77  My comment was a question not a statement - thanks for the info.

        I'm unfamiliar with Horizon as it probably doesn't service the areas where I usually travel.  I will though check them out.

         

        Take care.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

        • Re: AA or DL:  Which entry level status is better?
          pluto77 Alumni Steward Platinum 25 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          If you fly out of LA, check and see if AS flies where you are going.  (And sorry, I, smart butt that I am, took your question as rhetorical.)

          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

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