The rumors can finally be put to rest. AA has unveiled it's new earning/redeeming/elite qualifying structure, which is similar to DL and UA.
As feared, redemption costs have risen for business flights between NA and Europe, and no surprise, really.
Thoughts, anyone? As it appears to me that between NA and Europe, MileSAAver redemption rates have increased by 15%, where as AAnytime awards have increased by 10%, I guess I'm feeling neutral about it. While I'm not happy about these increases, I am at least glad that the increases are not more steep. I have no elite status with AA, so the rest doesn't really affect me. I'm curious to read about others reactions.
I wonder how that will change partner earning on AS. Earning AS mileage on DL is not as great (unless you buy a FC ticket). I imagine earning "actual miles flown" on AA will also become a thing of the past.
With AA jumping on the "dollars spent" bandwagon for earning, the big three are all competing for "Worst major FF program." I was thinking about moving more of my travel to AA. Guess there's no reason to do that now. That UA silver courtesy of Marriott Platinum is looking ever so slightly better now. At least I get a free checked bag (oh, wait, I don't check bags) and an occasional upgrade.
Harder to earn miles. More miles to book award travel. It makes me wonder if I'll ever get another award ticket again.
You could always do as many others before you and get all the airline credit cards and get your points from that avenue. My least favorite trick to get any sort of status period. Either you have your butt in a seat or laying in a bed, otherwise you get no Elite benefits or status with airlines or hotels.........but I'm afraid that flight has already departed the gate early.
bejacob, how do you usually earn AS mileage on DL metal? Do you book your DL flights on the DL engine and plug in your AS FF#, or do you book your DL flights on AS' reservation engine? Would it make a difference as far as mileage earning goes? When you fly DL using your AS FF#, how does AS credit the mileage to your AS FF account? By miles flown or by spend?
Usually, I book my AA flights on AA's website and plug in my AS FF#. When I do it that way, my AA flight mileage (actual miles, not revenue based) gets posted to my AS account, and I also still get bonus miles because of my status. I never thought about doing it the other way around, booking AA flights using AS' engine. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how AS will post the AA miles next year - by miles flown (AS' model) or by spend (AA's new model.)
Now that AA is setting up shop like the rest of them, combined with the fact that AS has started flying routes between SEA and BNA (where I fly 4x/year), I'm seriously considering flying to BNA on AS via SEA vs. on AA via DFW. It's a longer route, but surprisingly, the same price as flying AA via DFW (and maybe even slightly less, depending on dates), plus the planes are better (739 vs. MD80) and I can pretty much count on a FC upgrade. Next trip to BNA, I'm thinking of giving it a try.
I have noticed that AS has really been expanding it's routes over the past couple of years, and especially from it's major hubs. As the airline expands, I have concerns that it too may someday decide to pay homage to the Darkness. I sure hope not. Their smallish-ness is what makes them so great.
I book on Delta and enter my AS FF number. In fact, unless I'm booking award travel, I always go to the airline I intend to fly. Check this out for info on earning AS mileage on DL (Delta Air Lines - Airline Partners | Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™). So far, AS mileage earned on DL is not based on revenue, but some percentage of actual miles based on fare class (from as low as 25% up to 200% for full fare FC tickets-class F and P = actual miles + 100% bonus).
I found a great FC fare from CMH to MCO in January (might have been 25-30% above the economy fare). Instead of earning 25% of actual miles, I ended up in fare class "G" meaning 100% of actual miles. The bump in miles was significant (along with the FC perks) and the price was only a little above economy. If I had booked economy and added "Comfort+" I would have ended up spending more than what I did on the FC ticket. I'm sure that's not the norm, but I'm pleased about how it worked for this trip.
For now AA is still crediting actual miles flown for AS frequent fliers with a bonus for business or first class. I expect it will go to a model more like DL after the change. I may have to take advantage of the actual miles scheme before it goes away (like my upcoming CMH-DCA trip).