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111op May 2nd, 2008 08:23 AM

Pay to Renew AA Plat?
Ordinarily I'd not consider this. I think it's about $650 to renew.

I'm considering it because I'm thinking of going to Europe with my parents, and I'll fly AA and upgrade them if I can.

Would spending the money to renew make it more likely? How can I gauge my chances?

I don't know yet if I'll try to upgrade both ways or one way. I should have enough miles to cover the upgrades.

This is the sort of question that's probably more appropriate for Flyertalk, but I don't have the time to check so many forums.


111op May 2nd, 2008 08:32 AM

By the way, in case more info is needed -- most likely travel in early June with JFK-CDG and ?-JFK. Not sure where we're returning from yet. Could be FCO, but I need to check with my parents.

Most likely it won't be LHR.

Thanks again!

Jeff_Costa_Rica May 2nd, 2008 08:43 AM

It is more a Flyertalk question. You need only post to the AA forum and someone will know the answer for sure.

My guess is that this won't do you much good for the situation you describe.

1) The pay-to-renew option is usually offered early in the year (although never any guarantee from year to year) to those who didn't quite make plantinum or gold the previous year. A lot would depend on how close you came in 2007. I don't know if there's a statute of limitations and you can still do this in May.

2) Your status might make you eligible for upgrades, but not your parents with them having no status.

3) A one-way upgrade on a transatlantic flight costs you a certain number of miles plus a $300 copay per passenger.

4) Would an upgrade even be likely on a transatlantic flight in June? You might be pretty far down the list. No guarantee that the upgrade would clear.

There are people here who know this stuff better than I.

yk May 2nd, 2008 08:49 AM

The difficult part is upgrade seats are hard to come by, esp if you're talking about 2-3 seats. And JFK-CDG is quite popular.

I'd suggest you subscribe to ExpertFlyer and look to see if there are any "C" seats availble for your flights first, before even thinking of paying to renew PLT. C = inventory class for biz upgrade using miles + copay.

If there are C seats available, you can purchase your ticket and then request the upgrade right away - you'll be able to be confirmed right away. It doesn't matter whether you're GLD or PLT.

If there aren't C seats available, you'll end up on the waitlist. Paying to get up to PLT only puts you ahead of the other GLD elites who have already purchased their tix and requested upgrades. I don't think it's worth $650 for a slim chance.

So you have 100k+ miles on AA for their upgrades?

yk May 2nd, 2008 08:56 AM

If you don't want to pay for EF subscription (which is only like $5/month and you can cancel it after you're done using it), you probably can call AA and ask the agent to search for C inventory for you.

You'll need to be very flexible in terms of your dates in order to score 2-3 C seats.

You may even need to fly to MIA or DFW or ORD first and then take the flight to CDG if those flights are the only ones that have C inventory.

If you have to go on fixed dates and fixed itin (nonstop JFK-CDG), then I'd say your chances are ~0.

travelgourmet May 2nd, 2008 09:03 AM

That is pretty steep to me. And I don't think it will open up more availability for you, but rather just move you a little further up the waitlist.

FWIW, I checked ExpertFlyer for the first week of June (return mid June) and saw only a single seat available on the JFK-CDG flight.

There was, however, quite a bit of availability on flights into LHR, so you could always go that route and transfer to BA or take the tunnel.

111op May 2nd, 2008 09:14 AM

Thanks. Unfortuantely we can't fly through LHR this time, so that method is out.

It sounds like it's not worth it.

But I'll elaborate on some details anyway. The upgrade offer is through May 15. They extended it. It had already lapsed, and it only just occurred to me to renew because I figured flying AA is still an option.

I've accumulated about 250,000 miles.

I thought that the Plat passenger can upgrade him/herself + one companion? If so, then obviously I'd just give the two seats to my parents.

But it sounds like even one seat is hard to come by.

This is going outside of the initial question -- how about paying for Business Class directly? It looks like a ticket is over $4000. Are there tricks to this? I don't mind splurging a bit to make them comfortable, but I'm trying to understand the price differentials since I never buy Business myself.

Thanks again!

111op May 2nd, 2008 09:15 AM

I'm sorry -- when I wrote "upgrade offer" through May 15 -- I meant the option to renew Plat. Usually the window is shorter, but this year they have extended it to May 15.

yk May 2nd, 2008 09:43 AM

The PLT can upgrade anyone who's traveling on the same PNR , so it can be you plus both parents.

In terms of tricks of getting Business class tickets, I'm not sure if you can buy a YUP or KUP ticket... I never investigate that so I'm not 100% sure.

If you do the price and schedule search on (not multi city) - you should get the screen that shows discount Economy, full fare Economy, discount BIz etc. Sometimes there's a column for "Economy - Instant Upgrade" which I believe is the YUP/KUP fares. I know those exist for domestic but I'm not sure about Int'l flights.

yk May 2nd, 2008 09:56 AM

If you want to use your miles - you can consider:

180K for one Anytime Biz award for either your dad

60K for one Milesaver Economy award for your mom

Then pay $ for one Biz ticket for yourself.

When you get on the plane, give your mom your paid biz seat and you sit in Economy award seat.

[Reason why I suggest this is so you can earn bonus miles as GLD for the Biz ticket you "bought."]

yk May 2nd, 2008 10:01 AM

I think the last option is really the best.

Since you rarely use your AA miles anyone.

240K miles is still a pretty good deal considering it'll cost you $5000 for 1 biz + 1 economy seats.

And you'll still get to earn miles for yourself.

since you're flying open-jaw, you need to call AA to book the award tix.

You need to do it soon as AA charges a fee if you book award tix less than 21 days in advance.

111op May 2nd, 2008 12:58 PM

Wow. That's a lot of miles.

I've always had this thought of using the miles for a RTW trip some day when I'm not working, but maybe it's better to cash some of this in right now.

I think the 60K award may not be available for the dates I want.

What about the Amex Plat buy 2 business get 1 free option? Will that make things cheaper? I guess you need to pay full fare and maybe it's too much.

AAFrequentFlyer May 2nd, 2008 01:04 PM

The renewal is not just about upgrades.

Depending on how much flying you will do this year, you can earn 100% bonus with Plat and only 25% with Gold.

You will have access to OneWorld business lounges with Plat when traveling internationally, nothing with Gold.

I would not base the renewal on just this one trip (not worth it IMHO) but if you do plan on flying internationally at least 2 or 3 times in the next seven months then perhaps it is worth it.

Just the extra miles may be good enough for a free trip to Europe.

111op May 2nd, 2008 01:12 PM

I think the lounge access is nice, but really my interest in it is net access rather than anything else. And a lot of times the computers are taken.

It's hard to say how much flying I'll do for the rest of the year. In the past couple of years I've done a few trips to Europe, but I tend to fly what's cheapest. This year I've flown to Europe twice. But after June I most likely won't fly again until September. But even if I end up flying a few more times I may not use AA.

So I guess the consensus is probably not worth it for this trip, if it doesn't improve my upgrade chances.

I think for next year, I can use the shortcut of flying 10,000 miles within 3 months again?

AAFrequentFlyer May 2nd, 2008 01:17 PM

20k miles or 10k points

111op May 2nd, 2008 01:20 PM

Thanks. I think I did 10K points the last time to qualify. I bought a slightly more expensive fare to make it, now that I recall.

yk May 2nd, 2008 01:26 PM

AFAIK, most folks who use miles for RTW plan it at least a few months in advance.

In your situation - if you're not working and want to go somewhere in a short notice, I really doubt you can find a RTW route w/miles for say, 1 month from now.

If you save $5000 this time by blowing 240k miles, you can probably use that amt for a RTW ticket when you do decide to go.

There has been some threads on flyertalk about repeated Gld/Plt challenges ~ I can't recall what the consensus is...

111op May 2nd, 2008 01:30 PM

Why is Business class to Europe so expensive, by the way? It just doesn't make any sense to me.

Supposedly Taipei-JFK on China Airlines is about $7000 in First Class. And it's quite easy to upgrade from Economy to Business. It takes just 30,000 miles in low season, one-way (and no cash required).

Maybe that's because China Airlines is horrible? :-)

AAFrequentFlyer May 2nd, 2008 01:32 PM

Forget Fyertalk! The AA board is nothing short of total misinformation.

A new and improved forum has been up for few months. It was started by the old flyertalk guard that just got fed up with the bs on flyertalk.

the same people that had inside info and now includes AA "insiders" is much more informative and accurate.

WillTravel May 2nd, 2008 09:58 PM

AAFF, why is the AA Flyertalk board "bad"? From FT, I have gotten so much information for other airlines (AA doesn't fit into my travel plans so far) and for hotels, various tricks, etc. that I'm surprised to hear the AA board is no good.

111op, I have to agree that it simply does not quite make sense why business class is so expensive. But it's also true that much of the associated expense is due to the business class seat generally having more refundable terms.

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