I posted over the weekend that I was conducting an experiment with US Airways. In summary, I took my first flights with US in a few years on Saturday and Sunday in search of an answer to the question – “Can a 30 minute flight to Charlotte just be a cost of doing business?” I’ll soon post an answer to that question, but in the meantime, I wanted to share the details of an “issue” I experienced during my weekend quick trip with US Airways.
As background, I am an American AAdvantage lifetime Gold member. Along with that comes Oneworld Ruby too. As you are likely aware, AA and US are offering reciprocal elite upgrades until AAdvantage and Dividend Miles are merged next year. The way it’s supposed to work for an AA elite flying on US Airways is that you are presented the opportunity to upgrade when checking in if upgrade space is available, or you can add yourself to the upgrade list. When I booked my reservation, I dutifully inserted my AAdvantage # into my reservation, and all was well until I attempted to check in online the day before my flight. It was my lucky day as there was lots of upgrade space available – for $79. I’d read on one of the blogs, which one I’m uncertain at the moment, you go through the upgrade process, and it looks like you might get charged, but when you select a seat, you get a “$0” balance owed. Don’t quote me on that, because it didn’t work out that way for me. Instead, US Airways wanted $130 to upgrade my entire trip. No way around it.
Once I arrived at Charlotte, I spoke with an Admirals Club (US Airways) agent about my reservation. She confirmed my suspicion, US Airways was not “seeing” my AA Gold/Oneworld Ruby status. She tried deleting, and re-adding my AAdvantage number. Frankly, she tried a couple of times, and could not have been nicer and more helpful. Upgrade space was available on my next flight, and she confirmed it for me. I tried again at the RDU Admirals Club Sunday morning. They have a US representative in the club, and again, she could not have been more helpful….but no luck. She could not even put me on the upgrade list for my flight because US did not “see” my Gold status. She even confirmed I was showing up correctly in AA’s computers with one of her colleagues. I was stuck with my Zone 5 boarding pass, but I presented my AA Gold card along with my boarding pass when they called for Oneworld Ruby/Gold/US Silvers and all was well.
I’m speculating this could be a bad data push of AA elite data to US. It could also be something on the US side. One thing is certain, I’m apparently the first case of this being a problem that any of the agents I spoke with were aware of. I’ve reached out to AA via Twitter, and I’ve stumped them too. I’m going to give the AAdvantage folks a call on Monday, and I’ve emailed US Airways too. My advice – if you have a US reservation that you’re crediting to your AAdvantage account, call US and see if they have your correct status. I’ll let you know how this gets fixed.
-MJ, November 17, 2014