My 15K chat with American Airlines

I received an interesting voice mail from American Airlines the other day:

Hi Mr. Davis-Kean this is […] with American airlines ticket liaison and […] I’m giving a call to some of our customers today, some of our high value customers.  I just want to thank you for your business and also we noticed that your flights have tapered off a little bit this year and just want to make sure it wasn’t anything that we had done.  Please call us back at your earliest convenience at […]

American Airlines mileage runThat makes sense.  My AA flying has tapered off to almost nil.  Last year I flew enough with American Airlines to re-qualify for top-tier Executive Platinum status.  I almost didn’t make it, but one exciting last travel day got me there.  See: My final AA mileage run involved actual running. Here’s the story.

Beginning with that crazy final AA travel day in 2015, I’ve had terrible luck with American Airlines flights.  One after another my flights have been cancelled or severely delayed.  This culminated with an exasperated Tweet last month:

I’ve retreated back to Delta as my primary go-to airline for domestic flights.  They tend to actually get me to where I’m going.  To me, that’s a good feature.  And, when there have been problems, I’ve often been alerted many hours in advance.  That has given me plenty of time to make adjustments.  Of course they’re not perfect, but my experiences with Delta (or really any airline) compared to AA have been like night and day.

I was intrigued by the call, though.  Would they offer me something great to come back to AA?  Maybe an easy option to re-qualify for Executive Platinum status?  I might consider flying them a few more times if they make it easy enough.  After all, even if I don’t want to fly AA, Executive Platinum status is valuable for the ability to change and cancel partner awards for free.  And, sometimes AA flights really are the only good option. When that happens, I’ll take my chances — and with Executive Platinum status, more likely than not I’ll be upgraded to first class.  That’s a sweet perk — if the flight isn’t canceled of course.

I called and connected immediately to the person who had left the message.  I was pleasantly surprised about that.  I was asked why I had left AA and what it would take to get me back.  I truthfully said that they should improve operational performance.  Of course, there was nothing he could do directly about that other than note it down.  And he gave me 15,000 miles.  That was nice.

In retrospect, when asked what they could do to get me back, I probably should have asked for an easy challenge to re-up Executive Platinum status in 2017.  That would have been nice too.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. Ouch. Would have been a great opportunity to mention how their miles went from near the best value to the clearly worst value of all carriers.

  2. American sucks and they don’t care about there frequently flyers. I am also Exec Plat, and just switched to Delta (which gave me a status match). I left American for 2 reasons: the devaluation of miles both on how they are earned and award travel. Also they use the distance method, after Aug 1st on one of my tickets. When I called they claimed it was due to the fare code (this was on an expensive ticket). So they want to pick and choose how they award miles. And final issue was in PHX when I was unable to enter a lounge – I was traveling on a domestic First Class ticket and with Exec Plat status. Walking into a lounge should not require a membership.

    • “And final issue was in PHX when I was unable to enter a lounge – I was traveling on a domestic First Class ticket and with Exec Plat status. Walking into a lounge should not require a membership.”

      And yet it does. Exceptions for top tiers on domestic flights don’t exist today for ANY domestic airline outside of premium transcon routes and have been almost non-existent from the beginning. Lots of reasons to be unhappy with AA – this is not one of them.

  3. Delta’s operational record is why I stick with them. Other airlines have better alliance partners (Lufthansa and Singapore, anyone?), but with 90% of my domestic travel being for work… I want to get there on time. None of the big 3 can come close to their network and on time ratings (or communication when when things aren’t going well, as you pointed out). Even with the mess with the hurricane, I was on hold for less than two minutes when I had to make changes to my travel plans. Their award rules might be all kinds of questionable, but they at least get you where you need to be.

  4. I would have mentioned the devalue also you can just do the AA Challenge and jump up to Platinum. I am about to cross 200k next week for the year and I am sure there won’t be any recognition.

  5. Had the same call, asked for an easier way to requal for 2017, got denied. Brought up the devaluing of AA miles, the overall AAadvantage program, the emphasis on D0, etc.

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