It’s a new year, and I have a whole 12 months to requalify for elite status with my favorite airline. Only problem is, I’m having a really difficult time deciding who that favorite airline is…well, not really, but still. You might remember this post from back in the fall. I wrote that during a 3-hour delay at the hands of American Airlines, only 1 of several that began with losing an entire day of our Roman vacation back in June. Being an ex-airline guy, my expectations are pretty low when it comes to airlines, but somehow, this past summer and fall, American managed to fall below my already low expectations. And just when Mrs MJonTravel and I thought it was statistically impossible for something to go wrong when flying American, it did. In each case, someone at American, and particularly the wonderful folks in the Admirals Club, somehow managed to salvage the trip. But is it wrong of me to wonder why things went wrong so often? Should I always have to worry what’s going to go wrong next? The trendlines when traveling on AA during the last 6 months of 2010 just weren’t good for me. After messing up our trip to Italy, followed shortly thereafter by botching a trip to Scotland (the return more so than the departure), the only one whose opinion really matters about anything, Mrs MJonTravel, declared that “we” would no longer fly American.
I’m not nearly confident enough to declare something done forever, but let’s face it, living in Washington, DC, United really is a more sensible option. Nonstops from Washington Dulles to most anywhere I’d want to fly. And when I don’t feel like trekking to Dulles, US Airways offers a plethora of nonstops from DCA which I could credit to my United Mileage Plus account. I wrote United a brief email advising them that I was interested in flying with them, and attached copies of my AAdvantage Platinum card along with my latest mileage statement. Within 24 hours United had elevated me to Premier Executive status in the Mileage Plus program. All I had to do was fly 15,000 miles in the next 90 days, which I could do in my sleep. By the way, every one of those 15,000 miles was flown on an on-time flight, but I digress.
And now it’s January in the new program year. My Premier Executive status is in the bag, and I’m facing the loss of my Platinum status on American next month. I’ll just drop to Gold, which speaking from experience is a noticeable step down in benefits and upgrade success, but still beats a stick in the eye. In fact, I’ll always be Gold (as long as AA doesn’t change the program) because last year I crossed the 1 million AAdvantage mile marker. (Yay me) I suppose it doesn’t matter, since I won’t be flying AA as much as I have in the past, but I’m still a little apprehensive. As much as American the airline has annoyed me in the past year, American AAdvantage, the mileage program, is tops in my book…..I mean….the best. It’s not like there aren’t things about other programs that I like more, because there are, but overall, AAdvantage has always had the best availability of award seats to places I want to fly….period. So….it’s with some trepidation that I let my Platinum status expire at the end of February. American will let you buy it back once, but I’m going to pass on that. It’s time to try something else….and that something else is United. Then there’s Delta, but that’s for another post. 🙂