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Fed up with American Airlines Advantage Frequent Flyer Miles

Fed up with American Airlines Advantage Frequent Flyer Miles

Apr 17th, 2005, 03:23 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 107
Fed up with American Airlines Advantage Frequent Flyer Miles

Can anyone recommend a credit card where you can redeem miles in a reasonable fashion? I am so frustrated with American Airlines Citi card. You have to practically make reservations a year in advance now. It didn't use to be this way. I have flown several times in the past by redeeming frequent flyer miles, and I don't remember it being this hard to get tickets.
schoolmarm is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 03:26 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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All airlines have made it must more difficult to use miles. I've heard similar complaints about Delta, United, and Northwest
MikeT is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 03:37 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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I actually have no problem using my AA miles. I'm fortunate to live near NYC where AA has a large presence at both JFK and LGA. The # of seats available from smaller regional airports I've found is highly limited but (I'm probably jinxing myself now) I've been lucky out of NY so far, especially on routes where AA has a lot of daily flights.

Family of 4 travels at least once/yr on AA FF tix, and I was even able to get 4 tix to St. Thomas for spring break with 1mo notice. I usually book 2-3mo in advance just in case.

I don't believe gold or platinum status has any bearing either, nor does the method of accumulating the miles (flying AA, AA Citi card. Miles is miles. Seats will either be available or they won't.
J62 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 04:28 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 710
I also have no trouble using my AA miles, from Chicago. I like to use them for going one place, stopping a few days, then on to another place, then back to Chicago.
marilynl is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 05:18 PM
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I thought maybe the departure city was the sticking point, but the city is DALLAS, HQ for American. I am trying several months in advance (7 months in fact)but to no avail. I guess if you live in Chicago or New York it's not a problem. My dilemma is having to travel on popular dates that coincide with school vacation, so of course those fill up fast. It's just that I've noticed the difficulty of securing reservations has increased lately. I managed to get two tickets with no problem as recently as Christmas 2004. Thanks for your input.
schoolmarm is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 05:32 PM
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I've always "played the game" with American and have never had a problem redeeming my miles, usually doing two free business class tickets to Europe in summer season each year. But I book them the 11 months ahead to get first choice of flights and seats.

I just booked two upgrades to first class on domestic flights from Florida to Seattle and returning from Reno. I got upgrades on all four segments with no problem 3 months ahead of travel.

I have no complaints.
Patrick is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 06:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I don't understand your question about finding a credit card with easy/easier redemption rules. American Airlines determines the redemption rules, not Citibank. I also use the American Advantage Citibank card and have been able to make several trips to Europe using my mileage. (We fly out of Los Angeles.)

I've always booked at the first opportunity (330 days ahead, I think) and just accept that early planning is a fact when you're talking about getting something for "free."

Although the destination and routing must be kept, American does not charge a change fee if you alter the dates of your trip. There is a fee if you need to cancel your trip and re-bank the miles. As far as I know, the other airlines have the same rules.
Jean is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 06:37 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Have you considered one of those "no restriction" mileage cards like Capital One? There are a few recent threads on the Europe board that debate the pros and cons of this card. I won't use anything else, since I'm also limited by the kids' school schedule.
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 09:22 PM
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Executive Platinums do have access to extended inventory of award seats.


The game is becoming harder folks. There are trillion(s) of unclaimed miles on airlines books and they are not exactly in position to give away free seats at this time.

If you are looking for once a year vacation with the family at the peak times, stop collecting CC miles and just buy the tickets. Get yourself a cash-back card and all your problems will be solved. Cash-back cards are a lot better deal than any miles card, including the Capital One (no restriction) card. The mileage cards are great for frequent flyers that just add more miles to their already rich accounts and that know how to play the game, or for a single or 2 travelers that are very flexible with their flying times.

Family vacation planning around your CC miles is basically useless, unless you are willing to fly in the low season or you know the game. www.flyertalk.com is a good way to start learning if you are still interested.

If you want to take a family of 4 to a prime vacation spot during the high season, - (it can happen, but) in most cases it will not.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 05:19 AM
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I don't agree that the cash back is always better than a Capital One card. With my Go Miles card I can earn a $1000 ticket to Europe for 65,000 miles (spending $65,000). That's certainly better than the 1% cash back option that most cards offer. The catch here is that we've had this card for years and years, and I don't think this program is available for new cardholders. I assumed they'd switch us over when they introduced the new program which is not as profitable for us, but they haven't yet.
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We have had no problem redeeming miles with the Alaska Airlines FF program. Their B of A card gives the standard 1 mile per $. They also give a $50 companion ticket every year.
bigtyke is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 12:46 PM
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Just booked 4 tickets DFW to Anchorage and Seattle back to DFW, right in the middle of the summer with no problems using AA miles.

Relatives booked 5 tickets to Hawaii in the middle of the summer last year with AA miles--no problems.

Nearly all my miles are from my Citi Card--not actual flying miles.

I keep hearing all these doomsday stories about not bothering collecting miles but it doesn't cost me to do it and so far I've been able to use them when I wanted to.

Connie is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 01:19 PM
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Used it several times for domestic and international and never had a problem. Every airline has restrictions about how many seats are used up w/ FF users but I've been lucky to get the flights I've wanted.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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On the Europe board I just posted my success story for booking our next summer flights from Ft. Lauderdale to New York, to Madrid, to Rome, and home from Paris to Miami. (stays at all these places). All on business class except the FLL to New York which is First class. These tickets would have been nearly $7000 each. They cost each of the two of us 90,000 miles, also mainly earned with our Citibank AAdvantage cards and related I-Dine dining miles.
I played the game and made the reservations as they became available. I have no arguments with the AA frequent flyer program.
Patrick is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 01:45 PM
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I've also taken two more family trips on AA w/ FF miles since my last post. One was 4x coach, no problem getting seats with 3mo notice, and the other was 3x seats.

Couldn't get coach seats on the LGA to DFW flights on short notice to my family 'had' to fly 1st class. Yes, it cost me 45k miles x 3 but the kids sure liked it. The youngest one even suggested to always fly first class in the future!

With gas prices up and a new set of braces charged to my AA Citi MasterCard I'm really racking up the miles left and right!!
J62 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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This subject comes up often and the answer is always the same. In order to use FF miles for free travel one has to plan early (the closer to 330 days out the better your chances of success), be flexible with travel dates, and avoid trying to travel at peak times such as schols breaks, major holidays, etc. Remember, Award Travel is a perk not a right.
A_Traveller is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 02:35 PM
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Also, remember that not all flights have any FF seats available ever - so if you called at precisely the right moment, you still might get shut out.
gail is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 07:02 PM
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I can't comment on AA, but if you already know you are planning to go on school vacations, just plan on calling 330 days out. I know people don't usually plan this far out, but we've never found this to be cumbersome, as we usually have an idea where we want to go anyway.
karens is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 08:39 PM
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This is an old thread so I'm not sure the OP is even around.

Interestingly enough the current Consumer Report magazine came out with rankings for airline FF programs and guess which program was picked as the best?

1 AA
2 NW
3 Alaska
4 DL
5 US
6 CO
7 UA
8 America West

I don't have this issue so I really don't know what factors were used for this rating, but Consumer Reports is a fully independent organization and their magazine does not sell adds. The organization is supported by donations and magazine sales only, so it will be hard to argue that they may be playing favorites.

The website is a pay site so I can't give you a link to the article.


AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 08:45 PM
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AAFrequentFlyer, I see schoolmarm has posted a couple of times in the past month.

Meanwhile I'm not surprised by that survey. Everytime I hear some of the stories about other FF programs, I'm glad I stick with AA. Hard to book and needing to plan ahead is not unique to AA's plan. But things like being able to upgrade the cheapest ticket is pretty unique with them.
Patrick is offline  

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