I was pretty pumped when American Airlines made an announcement earlier this week about their 2015 program. In case you missed it, you can see my post about it here. A quick summary:
- Domestic upgrades stay mostly the same for American elites, with the exception that upgrades on flights less than 500 miles are now free.
- The American Airlines program will maintain 3 levels (Gold, Platinum and Executive Platinum) with virtually the same qualifications as before, with the exception of needing 120 segments to get to Executive Platinum.
- No changes to their award chart.
- Miles flown on US Airways will be combined with your miles flown on American Airlines for consideration of million mile lifetime benefits.
- American Airlines will combine your 2014 US Airways and American Airlines EQMs to determine your 2015 status level.
Yup, that last one is my problem.
You see, I have enough elite qualifying miles combined on US Airways and American Airlines to requalify for Executive Platinum (EXP) this year. But, separately, I’m a bit short on the American Airlines side.
I have a mileage run scheduled for a couple of weeks from now that would give me enough miles to requalify for EXP by the end of 2014. But, here’s what American says is going to happen:
On March 1, 2015, your elite status will be determined based on your elite-qualifying activity in each program individually.
In the second quarter of 2015, we’ll integrate our Dividend Miles program into the AAdvantage program with three elite levels.
Your mileage balance, elite-qualifying activity and million mile balance will be moved into a new AAdvantage account or merged into your existing AAdvantage account
If I scrap the mileage run, that means I’m risking a couple of things. First and foremost, I’m risking that I’ll have Executive Platinum status on March 1st. American says they’ll combine those balances in the second quarter of 2015 (April to June). That means I may have to wait up to 4 months, but maybe only as little as a month.
Things could happen more quickly, and they could also run behind. Previous large airline mergers have mostly been a disaster from a technical standpoint (See US Airways/America West, Northwest/Delta, United/Continental). If something went wrong, I could be staring at an awful lot of time in the air without the status I value most.
And, I won’t have access to systemwide upgrades (SWUs, also referred to as digital gold amongst the legacy US carrier benefits) until I requalify for EXP.
Or, I fly one mileage run, taking a day away from my family. The itinerary?
Depart DCA at 10am, connect in PHX, arrive in ANC (Anchorage, Alaska for those playing at home) a bit after 10pm. Board a flight 2 hours later, just after midnight, to PHX, connect and arrive back at DCA around 4pm the next day. Likely to be at least some flights in coach, since the ability to get upgrades early on US Airways is limited.
What would you choose?
Weigh in with your thoughts. I’ll likely tweet a coffee or two out for responses that entertain or interest me.