I Now Have British Airways Gold Status: Bye American AAdvantage?

I Now Have British Airways Gold Status: Bye American AAdvantage?

101

I recently wrote about how I was considering changing up my oneworld status strategy. Days later, British Airways Executive Club launched a lucrative status match offer. I took advantage of this — I now have British Airways Gold status, and I think this might finally be the push I needed to switch my loyalty, and stop pursuing elite status with American AAdvantage. Let me explain…

How I earned British Airways Gold status

For some background, British Airways Executive Club has a Gold and Silver status match promotion, specifically for those in the United States and Canada. British Airways is matching status from Delta, United, Air Canada, Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

Not surprisingly, British Airways isn’t matching status from American, as it’s normal for programs to not match status of partners. So, how did I pursue this status match?

First, I took advantage of Delta SkyMiles’ status match challenge. I showed proof of my American AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, and got a temporary status match to Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status:

  • I did this because with Delta, status match challenges aren’t once in a lifetime, but rather can be done every three years (while with other programs they’re once in a lifetime)
  • There’s no opportunity cost to me for this, since I have no interest in going for status with Delta SkyMiles, as I’m pursuing SkyTeam status with Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Impressively enough, the status match challenge was approved within hours; I submitted my request in the evening, and then the following morning my status was upgraded
It’s a privilege to have status with such a PREMIUM airline!

Then I requested my British Airways Executive Club Gold status match request using my Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status. I submitted that request four days ago, and just this morning received notice that my status match has been approved (which is surprisingly fast turnaround, given the demand):

  • The status match is valid for six months, through October 14, 2024
  • Now I need to take a roundtrip British Airways business class trip within that timeframe in order to maintain my status through the end of the next membership year
  • My Tier Points collection period ends on February 14, 2025, so if renewed, I think that means my status would be valid through at least February 14, 2026 (though it might be slightly different, given how British Airways is changing the Tier Points collection period)

Let me note that I very rarely take advantage of status matches, so I wouldn’t usually do a double match like this. However, in this case, it’s a status tier that I have the genuine intent to earn on an ongoing basis, so I thought it was worth it.

I now have British Airways Gold status!

Decision time: leave AAdvantage for Executive Club?

It’s amazing how just a couple of weeks ago I shared how I was considering changing my loyalty program strategy, and just days later, British Airways launched its first US status match promotion in many years. The timing really couldn’t have been any better.

Essentially I’m considering changing my oneworld status strategy, pursuing elite status with British Airways Executive Club rather than American AAdvantage. Let me be clear, this is nothing against American — since I live in Miami, American is the airline I fly most, and that won’t change.

Rather, it reflects a change in the value proposition of elite status:

So even if I keep flying American, there’s huge value to being loyal to British Airways Executive Club, and having oneworld Emerald status with a foreign airline:

American Flagship Lounge access is a nice perk

So I’m heavily leaning toward making this change, because frankly I see little downside. I don’t rely on complimentary upgrades anymore, since I find that they clear rarely as an Executive Platinum member with a low Loyalty Points total. I’d also get significant incremental value from having oneworld Emerald status with a foreign program.

For that matter, I actually think I could earn British Airways Executive Club Gold status at a significantly lower cost than what I spend to earn Executive Platinum status.

I’m of course a massive advocate for US airline loyalty program, and historically think they’ve been extremely compelling. However, it’s quite a reflection of the times if the status I’m pursuing is with Air France-KLM and British Airways, eh?

Bottom line

I now have British Airways Executive Club Gold status thanks to a status match opportunity. Funny enough, I had considered going for this status before the promotion was launched, so the timing couldn’t have worked out better.

While it can be hard to break old habits, I think after over 15 years of AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, it might be time to move on to greener — or at least different — pastures. US loyalty programs just aren’t what they used to be when it comes to elite perks. If nothing else, it can be fun to experiment, so maybe I should do this and report back. I can always return to AAdvantage if this doesn’t work out.

What do you think — should I make the switch? Anyone else considering this?

Conversations (101)
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  1. Adi Guest

    Any thoughts on the earnings rate for Avios and also redemption value? I was extremely close to making the same switch late last year, because I’d clear BA Gold far quicker and easier than I do AA EP, but decided against at the last minute, as I think on a constant currency basis, the earnings rate for Avios on BA Gold was lower than AA’s reward miles, and more expensive to redeem (higher cost awards and carrier fees)

  2. Cruz Guest

    How many people can use the complementary main cabin extra at booking?

  3. Hombre Guest

    I can't get teh Delta Match web site to work. When I press submit request it just hangs with loading.... Anyone else having problems. Have done on multiple browsers on multiple computers. Still not working since yesterday when I tried.

  4. Frank Guest

    How many people can you guest at flagship lounge with a BA Gold card?

    1. Zebraitis Guest

      @Frank - According to the gold tier rules, one traveling companion.

  5. Zebraitis Guest

    Delta match was trouble free. However, I have just spent a frustrating two + hours attempting to submit the Delta match info to BA.
    Win10, Win11, Edge Cromium, Google Chrome. Fails every time.
    Finally called, informed there is an "issue with the web page, try again in 24 hours".
    Grrrr...

    1. ZEBRAITIS Guest

      24 hour later, submitting only took a few minutes, had my reponse the next day morning. (Yes, Gold.)
      Have until mid Oct to to fly transatlantic RT to maintain status.
      That means ITA old martix to find the cheapest RT flight.

      QUESTION- Does Gold Tier status then last to Dec 31 2024 or through YE 2025?

  6. Rkaradi Guest

    Looking at the terms of the promo, what do people think of this scenario to keep the status past the instant match.

    I had a business class RT originating in Europe to the US. I did the EU to US prior to the match approval and the return falls in window. So I still need to book 2 more segments, do I need to book a RT or can I book a one way. Just not sure what I need to do.

  7. ORDAAFlyer Guest

    I’m in a fortunate situation where I will be able to maintain both BA Gold and AA Platinum Pro. If I credit my flight to AA (and don’t have my BA number in the PNR), would I be able to access the flagship lounge/flagship check in by showing by BA Gold card? Anyone else run into this situation before?

  8. KK13 Diamond

    I got mine approved this morning: AA Plat Pro --> DL Platinum --> BA Gold.

    Luckily, I have 2 round trips booked flying BA J in the next two months (cash purchased through AA at that time) because of official trips.

    Now I have to change my FFN from AA to BA Avios to get the points credited to my BA account, which I plan to do at the airport.

    1. DW Guest

      Did you use a "physical or digital membership card" or just a screenshot?

    2. KK13 Diamond

      Screenshots worked like a charm.

  9. Johnny Guest

    It’s really useful that BA has great transfer partners: Amex/ Cap One and Chase. American is pretty much a closed system that is tied to Citi cards- which I rarely use.

    Having lots of transfer options will make it much easier to use points as a BA Gold member. Now if BA could only eliminate their award surcharges.

  10. Danielle F Guest

    What I wonder is what if you need the American miles for Etihad or something? Or for QSuites (I guess you can get these with avios but do you need less miles with American for this?)? But maybe you’re sitting on so many American miles it won’t matter much.

  11. MGJG Guest

    I have American Conceirge Key from the 2023 program year that got extended until end of April, not sure why but it was. I submitted to Delta for the status match they declined to match because my status is only good until April 30. My status for 2024 is officially Exec. Platinum. How do I get something from American that provides my 2024 program status? Also, they asked for a statement of my AA flight...

    I have American Conceirge Key from the 2023 program year that got extended until end of April, not sure why but it was. I submitted to Delta for the status match they declined to match because my status is only good until April 30. My status for 2024 is officially Exec. Platinum. How do I get something from American that provides my 2024 program status? Also, they asked for a statement of my AA flight activity. I gave them a print out of my AAdvantage activity from the website. Didn't like that either. I can't locate anywhere on AA to get a statement or my 2024 program year status. Thanks!

  12. Liev Dinesen Guest

    I don't pay attention to miles any more but avoidance of BA for me is primarily two factors .
    1. Their inability to provide a standard service I can depend on
    2. AA Exec Plat phone calls solve almost every problem and the ladies in the DFW lounge desk are empowered to assist when needed (weather, delay, other issues) in ways that are science fiction to BA)
    I am surprised you would make the switch given your random or haphazard experiences with BA.

  13. Chuck Guest

    I understand where you are coming from and i constantly question my loyalty to AA but the deciding factor for me is the Ex Plat phone desk - as problematic as it can sometimes be- if you get the right person (try weekdays between 7-9AM East Coast time it makes the difference in the world

    also, when things go sidewise, you may only have to wait to be called back for 2-3 hours instead...

    I understand where you are coming from and i constantly question my loyalty to AA but the deciding factor for me is the Ex Plat phone desk - as problematic as it can sometimes be- if you get the right person (try weekdays between 7-9AM East Coast time it makes the difference in the world

    also, when things go sidewise, you may only have to wait to be called back for 2-3 hours instead of 2-3 days

    Also, in a pinch, AA will at least try to take care of their ExPlats first before emerald...

  14. Jason Guest

    I tier matched to BA Gold and have an existing AA domestic flight booked through AA. Am I able to access the LAX Qantas First class lounge showing my scannable online membership card? Or do I need to have AA add my BA FFN to my reservation?

    1. Stew Guest

      You probably need to add the BA FFN to your reservation. At DFW last I tried to enter the Admiral's Club. The lounge agent changed without telling me my FFN on my reservation from my AA to BA credentials which caused me to lose my seat assignment and the gate agent initially couldn't even see me on the flight (was luckily restored, but was definitely a surprising turn of events). On top of that, at...

      You probably need to add the BA FFN to your reservation. At DFW last I tried to enter the Admiral's Club. The lounge agent changed without telling me my FFN on my reservation from my AA to BA credentials which caused me to lose my seat assignment and the gate agent initially couldn't even see me on the flight (was luckily restored, but was definitely a surprising turn of events). On top of that, at the Admirals Club the lounge agent couldn't see my BA gold status online and showing in the app wasn't enough. So... no lounge access and almost denied boarding on my flight. Be aware.

  15. Gregsdc Member

    Probably makes sense for you as a MIA flyer, Ben. As a DCA EXP, I have no Flagship Lounge to access and get upgraded on probably 2/3 to 3/4 of my flights, so I'll have to stick with AAdvantage.

  16. John H Guest

    Sounds easy until either airline changes the rules.

  17. DSK Member

    My match just got approved to BA Gold from Delta Platinum. I have three trips coming up during the next six months which are all on Aadvantage miles--two on American and one on Qatar. Is there any way to switch my Aadvantage number to my BA number, and would American agree to do that on American-operated flights paid for with Aadvantage miles?

    1. hexagonsarethebestagons New Member

      You should be able to change these on your reservations online. If not, just ask at check in.

    2. Eric Guest

      If you enter your BA record locator on the Finnair website it’s super easy to switch out your frequent flier number

  18. Robert A. Guest

    I'm really intrigued by this idea but in your article you failed to mention how your planning to keep this status long term. Once the promotional match period expires are you going to fly BA enough to retain Gold status? Do they offer a credit card which enables someone to qualify on spending alone? If you aren't able to maintain your status it will be harder to regain AA status without the better multiplier of EXP.

    1. Andy Guest

      He's still going to fly American & other Oneworld airlines - just credit to BA. Only BA requirement is 4 actual BA flights a year.

    2. TravelCat2 Diamond

      Aren't 1,500 Tier Points needed annually to retain BA gold status after the promotional period ends? That would take 11 paid business class transatlantic flights credited to BA.

    3. nc-retiree Guest

      A long business class trip with a connection will yield 560. LAX-JFK-Europe, MIA-LHR-DXB, etc.

      I only aim for Silver, so a BA marketed 4 leg PE trip via LHR (it can be AA metal) and 10 short-haul AA F segments does it. From RDU it's easy enough to just take the 40 minute flight to CLT or the 60 minute one to DCA and then connect. I don't get as many perks as a Sapphire but I do get MCE at ticketing in coach as well as AC/FL access.

  19. Cwyfan Guest

    Now get a BA credit card earning free companion voucher and your really flying!

    I did this year's ago, and have never looked back, though I still have not used up all my AA points

  20. Eskimo Guest

    Miles & Points game is nearing the end. Having STE+, OWE and *G, but no good place to credit miles into.

    Maybe it's time to collect cruise status.

  21. Robert J Fahr Guest

    In all the years of OMAAT, Ben you have never had the courage to do without. Prove me wrong.

    1. digital_notmad Diamond

      no disrespect but if you thought this game was about "courage" rather than strategy, you've epically missed the boat somewhere along the line. what's next, code of honor?

    2. hexagonsarethebestagons New Member

      Isn't "with" kind of the whole point of this site?!

  22. Satforlegroom Guest

    Do you get most benefits with basic economy tickets? If so it’s a no brainer. I read some dated posts on flyer talk that you don’t get to change the date of your flight but same days are allowed. If you get mce, baggage allowance and club access that’s a huge benefit

  23. Scott Guest

    I did a tad over a year ago as ba gold can be achieved so much more affordably and gives Admirals club access on domestic which is a money saver too. I have to pay for first class tickets to avoid possibly not getting an upgrade as a result of health so the biggest perk of aa has been gone for quite a while. No more explat to achieve emerald for me. Gold all the way on ba.

  24. CXP Member

    Would love to hear Ben's and others' thoughts on how to look at status for Star Alliance. More specifically, I am a United flyer who has been at least United Gold for over two decades. GS for several years, now 1k, and with the new way United awards elite status and my current lack of business travel, I might be losing status altogether come next year (yes not even Gold, that hurts). It seems United...

    Would love to hear Ben's and others' thoughts on how to look at status for Star Alliance. More specifically, I am a United flyer who has been at least United Gold for over two decades. GS for several years, now 1k, and with the new way United awards elite status and my current lack of business travel, I might be losing status altogether come next year (yes not even Gold, that hurts). It seems United shows better award availability (and redemption rates) for elites but hard for me to evaluate the difference. I'd like to maintain *A Gold at least - anyone have thoughts and tips on this?

    1. DT Guest

      I am flying mostly OW, am Emerald through AS. Occasionally I do fly *A, not a specific carrier, sometimes AC, sometimes LX/LH. Often short haul. I felt, if easily achievable, *G would be nice, but nothing I wanted to invest too much into. I ended up going for status through A3. Yes, the first six A3 legs are bit of a hassle, but re-qualification will be rather straight forward, if you see yourself in Europe for at least a week every year.

  25. T'Om Guest

    Can I use my AA two million miler club card in a status match like this?

  26. eaci Guest

    If you do switch, will you book your AA flights through AA or BA?

  27. Greg Guest

    Very interesting idea. I am interested in hearing how it goes and the value and benefits that stick out for your travel needs. You are very wise and on point to real benefits. I am also wondering about the points you earn flying AA but credited to Avios. Some potential sweets spots or conversions possibly to Qatar or Finnair etc that I might not be aware of. Keep up the great blog.

  28. Chris d Guest

    The European airlines may smell of roses now, but that is only because they haven’t yet devalued.

    As you know, airlines have a funny habit of copying each other, and I feel it’s only a matter of time before some European airline copies the US - re-levelling the playing field.

  29. Randy Diamond

    Ben - you are probably still sitting on likely 6 Million AA reward points (from the 7M miles you got with the $30K Simplymiles charity promo). I don't find that AA EXP gets any special reward availability.

    Likely just go for BA Gold and cancel the Exec card. But you will be flying AA out of MIA - and won't have access to EXP priority line.

  30. Lee Guest

    Among its competitors, BA remains the only airline without a path to tier status via credit card spending.

  31. Sel, D. Guest

    Another benefit - dumping the expensive Citi card.

  32. Ziggy New Member

    Welcome to the club Ben. I moved from EXP to BA Gold a few years ago and have never looked back.

  33. Kyiv Guest

    After a recent lengthy rant on the phone to the embassy RSO in a train station about trafficking crime and the futility of trying to find a better airport that CDG in Europe, as bad as it is, an Algerian couple passed by and this nice defeated woman muttered "this is why we have to fly on Saudia", and they are probably right. I don't have any ideas about a points strategy for geopolitics and global security, so I stick with American.

  34. JT Guest

    BA's Gold line for the call centre is excellent. Zero wait and nice people. Gold also has significantly better BA redemption availability. I am Lifetime BA Gold and a big fan of the benefits.

    1. khatl Guest

      I'm also LTG... but I've never been that enthusiastic about the benefits. Yes, there is a benefit but other than extra BA economy redemption availability as Gold (does not result in extra availability in biz or first), the good is tied to access to lounges and upgrade to MCE on AA, and not paying for seat reservations in biz. That's about it.

  35. cbchicago Guest

    I got matched to BA Gold from my lifetime UA 1K. I am doing it just to have fun in my senior years. Just keeping my fingers crossed thay BA doesnt switch to revenue based earnings before the fun ends, Thank Ben for the post. This is what the old OMAAT was about. PS Dont forget the Brightline to MCO for more BA opportunties to LGW.

    1. seanp78 Gold

      BA is already Revenue-based earnings (for Avios). Just tier points left for status.

  36. julian zentner Guest

    Funny for someone who never pays full price for a ticket and always criticizes British Airways.You are just doing what anybody who travels regularly could do and reviewing various aspects of air travel mainly Premium classes and hotels which anybody could do and set up a web site for it and call it a job while you travel around the world.Amazing how you get away with it tbh.Have fun.

    1. Chris Guest

      Most jobs/businesses are literally doing what anyone else could do. It really is amazing when you find a way to make a living doing something you absolutely love. Good on Ben for achieving that.

    2. KK13 Diamond

      It's amazing you have to log in to his blog to criticize.

      His criticisms of BA or any other services are valid, and we all have the right to criticize when it's not good. I don't know if you can exercise the same way where you come from.

      And speaking about jobs, I actually value someone creating jobs for themselves (business). You or others could be traditional-minded, but this is the new world...

      It's amazing you have to log in to his blog to criticize.

      His criticisms of BA or any other services are valid, and we all have the right to criticize when it's not good. I don't know if you can exercise the same way where you come from.

      And speaking about jobs, I actually value someone creating jobs for themselves (business). You or others could be traditional-minded, but this is the new world order. So, while you sweat yourself off from 8-5, he gets to enjoy his life that you can only dream off.

      Pissed off much? Well, no one cares.

  37. Beachfan Guest

    Any opportunities for mere AA platinums?

    1. digital_notmad Diamond

      you could run the same sequence Ben did and achieve BA Silver (oneworld sapphire) via a match to DL Gold. BA Silver still gets you into flagship lounges and Greenwich at JFK domestically; IMHO the only notable lounges that you'd miss out on due to being Silver rather than Gold are Soho JFK and Qantas First LAX.

  38. Sel, D. Guest

    Set the clock for using flagship on domestic itineraries.

  39. Mechteach Guest

    This might be an ignorant question, since I live mainly in the *A mileage programs, but I was wondering if you had made any mental calculation of additional fees for redeeming Avios vs AA miles? I have a stash of both of those from various times in my life when I was flying BA or AA more often, and when I go to redeem them for FF tix, it seems like the fees are generally higher on BA vs AA redemptions. Perhaps that is just for the routes I have needed?

  40. Mark Guest

    Why not just match to Virgin Atlantic with your BA status and forget about Delta and Flying blue?

    1. yoloswag420 Guest

      He's trying to get FB status to book AF F and FB Platinum is the only way

  41. Will Guest

    Congrats, Ben!

    Out side of this topic, can you report if KLM Gold can use SkyClub on a domestic itinerary please? Like before showing your Amex Platinum for access, simply show them you are a SkyTeam Elite Plus member. I am asking this because I saw mixed report on FlyerTalk saying that Delta still granted them access despite SkyTeam policy said otherwise (Even a foreign SkyTeam elite plus cannot access any SkyTeam Lounge unless it's...

    Congrats, Ben!

    Out side of this topic, can you report if KLM Gold can use SkyClub on a domestic itinerary please? Like before showing your Amex Platinum for access, simply show them you are a SkyTeam Elite Plus member. I am asking this because I saw mixed report on FlyerTalk saying that Delta still granted them access despite SkyTeam policy said otherwise (Even a foreign SkyTeam elite plus cannot access any SkyTeam Lounge unless it's an international itinerary)

    Thanks!

    1. yoloswag420 Guest

      No you cannot, he's written about it in articles before. SkyTeam is the only one that doesn't let you get lounge access on fully domestic itineraries, even w/ foreign carriers.

  42. Brett Guest

    Ben, do you know if the business class flights have to be booked after the tier status is matched? Or will the extension work with an existing booking? The terms aren't clear to me.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Brett -- The lack of anything in the terms about when you need to book suggests to me that a previously booked ticket would qualify, as long as travel takes place during the promotion period. It's possible I'm wrong, though.

    2. Brett Guest

      This is the part I find confusing:

      "9. Eligible Participants who book and complete their journeys on Qualifying Flights within the Promotional Period will qualify for an extension of their Executive Club Status for a further year."

    3. GUWonder Guest

      It should work based on existing bookings too since BA hasn’t typically used ticket/PNR issue date as a basis for calculating much of anything that shows up on BAEC accounts. Theoretically they could run a batch query to filter out bookings made before the status match, but they haven’t said they will do it for those beneficiaries of this status match campaign and the terms of the status match don’t indicate that PNR/ticket issue date...

      It should work based on existing bookings too since BA hasn’t typically used ticket/PNR issue date as a basis for calculating much of anything that shows up on BAEC accounts. Theoretically they could run a batch query to filter out bookings made before the status match, but they haven’t said they will do it for those beneficiaries of this status match campaign and the terms of the status match don’t indicate that PNR/ticket issue date is of any relevance to the needed flight activity to retain the status from this status match promo.

      You could say I am pretty confident that pre-existing bookings’ flights will be treated as eligible flights for this promo just as are the exact same flights booked after signing up for the status match.

    4. HB Guest

      Any thoughts on whether a BA business class ticket booked through AA will count to keep the status match for an additional year? The flight already appears in my BA app, and I could replace my AA frequent flyer number on the reservation with my BA one if that is what's necessary for the flight to qualify.

  43. Hotcrab Guest

    I am really intrigued by this concept, but I just can’t seem to make the math work for me. 3 round trip business class flights to London on BA, assuming around $8k round trip, gets you to over the 250k LP threshold if you credit to American, but only gets you maybe two-thirds of the 1500 tier points for gold. Unless you take 2+ segments per flight? Or are you multi segment domestic class itinerary-ing...

    I am really intrigued by this concept, but I just can’t seem to make the math work for me. 3 round trip business class flights to London on BA, assuming around $8k round trip, gets you to over the 250k LP threshold if you credit to American, but only gets you maybe two-thirds of the 1500 tier points for gold. Unless you take 2+ segments per flight? Or are you multi segment domestic class itinerary-ing your way to to gold? Isn’t that winning the battle but losing the war?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Hotcrab -- I don't plan to primarily earn this status through flying British Airways, but rather through flying with American and other oneworld airlines. You need to take four British Airways flights per membership year, which is the major restriction.

      For example, Gold required 1,500 Tier Points per year, and a roundtrip Tampa to Charlotte to Los Angeles ticket in first class would earn you 360 Tier Points. So as you can see, if...

      @ Hotcrab -- I don't plan to primarily earn this status through flying British Airways, but rather through flying with American and other oneworld airlines. You need to take four British Airways flights per membership year, which is the major restriction.

      For example, Gold required 1,500 Tier Points per year, and a roundtrip Tampa to Charlotte to Los Angeles ticket in first class would earn you 360 Tier Points. So as you can see, if you travel domestically in a premium cabin with some frequency, earning the status isn't that hard.

    2. Phillip Diamond

      Remember that on two class domestic service in the US, First credits as Business for tier points on BAEC.

    3. Hotcrab Guest

      Right. So you would need to fly 10 of these rts a year!

  44. uldguy Diamond

    I think I’m going to do the same thing, Ben. AA simply has too many Exec Plats now that they opened the floodgates through credit card spending. Upgrades are few and far between since the switch to loyalty points, and I refuse to get on the credit card hamster wheel. The U.S. programs just aren’t worth the effort anymore. Besides the majority of my intl trips are via Europe and I might as well fly BA. And the good news is DL already confirmed my status match!

  45. Morgan Diamond

    Looking forward to reading about the experiences as a new elite!

  46. Darin Member

    One thing to note is that as a OWE you do lose out in several areas where priority is given to AAs own elites. I had AA Gold and OWE via Finnair last year, and when I wanted to standby for an earlier flight, the GA advised to keep my AA number in the reservation as it’s prioritized above OW elites (I pressed the agent on this, and she insisted that Gold AA would be...

    One thing to note is that as a OWE you do lose out in several areas where priority is given to AAs own elites. I had AA Gold and OWE via Finnair last year, and when I wanted to standby for an earlier flight, the GA advised to keep my AA number in the reservation as it’s prioritized above OW elites (I pressed the agent on this, and she insisted that Gold AA would be above higher status levels from OW). Also the phone hold times at AA are intolerable even as an EXP, can’t imagine what that would look like as a OW elite, where I don’t believe you get any priority.

    1. yoloswag420 Guest

      I don't think he cares about standby, nor do most people.

    2. Lee Guest

      Yet many are fixated on the increasingly infrequent upgrade.

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Darin -- Great point about standby, though to be honest, I don't actually use standby that often, so it's not a major consideration for me. And your point about phone lines is definitely true. Unfortunately even the Executive Platinum line often has a ridiculously long wait, so I can only imagine how long the general phone number would take...

    4. Andrew Guest

      As someone who ditched EXP for OWE via AY/BA several years ago, the call wait times is definitely a pain point. Nowadays, I use the chat function in the app (though the quality of the help does vary), or occasionally the OSO line when there are severe IRROPS. The app also has gotten marginally better at allowing rebooking. But calling the regular line is only an exercise in frustration.

      I’ve also gotten in the habit...

      As someone who ditched EXP for OWE via AY/BA several years ago, the call wait times is definitely a pain point. Nowadays, I use the chat function in the app (though the quality of the help does vary), or occasionally the OSO line when there are severe IRROPS. The app also has gotten marginally better at allowing rebooking. But calling the regular line is only an exercise in frustration.

      I’ve also gotten in the habit of checking in at the last minute. With no need to worry about getting on the upgrade list, waiting to check in allows for flexibility to make last minute changes via the app.

    5. Ely Guest

      Yes, I recently had a paid J tkt from CDG to PHL purchased on AA but routed on BA which canceled the flight, the day before. I was automatically rebooked into a middle seat in PE on the direct AA flight. As an AA ExPlat from my Paris hotel room I was able to quickly get transferred into a J seat on a flight through ORD, with a First-Class seat from ORD to PHL and a few hours in the Flagship lounge. Doubt a BA OWE would have had the same service ...

  47. seanp78 Gold

    Data point: I requested a BA Gold status match on Wednesday and it was granted in 50 mins.

    That was incredibly quick! Good luck to others.

    1. digital_notmad Diamond

      Congrats! I applied Tuesday and am still waiting lol. I did receive a "thanks for your submission" email yesterday, so I guess that's something.

    2. Cliburn Guest

      same... still waiting on BA's response.

    3. Greg Guest

      Yeah same here did we use the wrong form - i chose the 'other' subject since there wasn't one for status match

    4. seanp78 Gold

      "Other" is correct. I typed STATUS MATCH in the next field. Worked for me.

  48. EndlosLuft Guest

    BA had a lot of operational issues over the last few years. Especially their IT had some interesting meltdowns. Since Ben flies a lot of international BA Gold might make more sense for him than AA status. What definitely is crazy are the revenue expectations from the US frequent flyer programs. It's gotten out of hand. I'd rather fly less and simply buy the least expensive premium tickets than care about buying the equivalent of...

    BA had a lot of operational issues over the last few years. Especially their IT had some interesting meltdowns. Since Ben flies a lot of international BA Gold might make more sense for him than AA status. What definitely is crazy are the revenue expectations from the US frequent flyer programs. It's gotten out of hand. I'd rather fly less and simply buy the least expensive premium tickets than care about buying the equivalent of a small car every year for United, American or Delta.

    I still fly BA and credit to their program over AA but until they become more reliable AF/KLM is a more attractive program to credit too if flying a lot of international.

  49. Lee Guest

    I fully understand Ben's motivation for wanting OW Emerald: US-domestic lounge access and international first class check-in/lounge access. But, other than those, tier status affords what benefits that a premium cabin ticket doesn't? I'm fortunate enough to garner the benefits Ben seeks by other means and my tickets are paid with points (earn rate is irrelevant). Within One World, I find no value to tier status and am off the hamster wheel.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Lee -- Oh, you're totally right, if you can mainly just redeem then that's your best bet, and it's worth being a free agent. I wouldn't be going out of my way to earn this status, but rather this is just about deciding where I'd credit the revenue flights to that I'd take anyway. Nowadays first class is often priced reasonably on domestic flights, so that's often what I find myself booking.

  50. Joey Diamond

    If you can, I say keep both. I recently became an AA exec plat (usually a skyteam flyer), and I've been upgraded on all my domestic flights from JFK/LGA so I can't complain.

  51. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    Not sure how I feel about this. I started going for EXP, and multiple AA credit cards because of you (and through your links). But I do understand ypur reasons (being based in DFW it's even "worse" with 16 CK's on a flight for example).

    bet a bunch of people are going to copy you Ben and then BA will either close the status match or cancel a bunch of folks.

  52. Scott Guest

    I earned BA Gold after years as an AA EXP. That program used to be worthwhile for excellent phone service and upgrades. Both are gone now, so I get — as you say — Flagship lounge access and priority services at the airport. I don’t miss EXP at all, and I love Flagship lounges. Lifetime status is compelling, too. AA’s switch to focus on credit card spending just didn’t work for me as a person who values my relationship with an airline as a flyer not a consumer.

    1. Ron Guest

      Interesting. I also am in S FL. So you say in the status match you have to fly BA. I get that but does fulfilling the match require all BA metal or will the rules allow us to assign AA metal flights to BA Exec Club?

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Ron -- You can get a fast track of having your status extended by taking a simple roundtrip transatlantic business class journey on British Airways. However, you could otherwise requalify primarily through flying on American and crediting your flights to British Airways. Just keep in mind that Executive Club requires you to have four flights per year on British Airways to earn status.

  53. Nicolas Guest

    Would be very interesting to hear how this works out. I have been an AA exec plat for 27years now (more than 5 million miles) and I have seen the same devaluation of the program since US Air management took over. Over the last 7 years my company now pays all trips in Business Class that are over 5hours, which is almost 50% of my trips, so for me the 6 systemwide upgrades dont really...

    Would be very interesting to hear how this works out. I have been an AA exec plat for 27years now (more than 5 million miles) and I have seen the same devaluation of the program since US Air management took over. Over the last 7 years my company now pays all trips in Business Class that are over 5hours, which is almost 50% of my trips, so for me the 6 systemwide upgrades dont really amount to anything especially since i lost 3 of them last year not being able to upgrade on many flights. And flying domestically I am ok in Coach but the benefit of using the Flagship/Admirals club is indeed interesting. I am still not willing to jump to BA since I'd hate to have to rebuild status with AA, and would be keen to see how this goes for you.

  54. John G Guest

    @Ben,

    I live in Miami too and I wouldn't give up on EP status despite having Finn Air Gold (until January) and soon BA Gold. I have had high upgrade percentages (100% to NYC and DC) (80% going to LAX). The only times I've really missed upgrades was because the cabin was full. It did not take me much effort to earn EP status and I exceeded the requirements to earn the extra SWU's. I've...

    @Ben,

    I live in Miami too and I wouldn't give up on EP status despite having Finn Air Gold (until January) and soon BA Gold. I have had high upgrade percentages (100% to NYC and DC) (80% going to LAX). The only times I've really missed upgrades was because the cabin was full. It did not take me much effort to earn EP status and I exceeded the requirements to earn the extra SWU's. I've never had any issues with my SWU's as I'm usually buying last minute tickets and even clear the waitlist.

    So, between AA hotels, Simply Miles, AAdvantage Shopping Portal, the 20 and 30% LP bonuses you get after reaching certain LP benchmarks- is it really difficult to hit 200K LPs?

    Keep the BA Gold as a secondary status- it's not that hard to keep buying domestic first class on AA/AS. I don't value Avios more than AA miles- the only thing that might help is the ability to do Avios multipliers at a pretty fair price during certain promotions.

    Also, after three years off Finn Air Platinum/Gold- The Flagship lounges got boring pretty fast. I lived in LA for two of those years and after 20 or so times the Qantas F lounge lost its appeal too. I think it's best to save those lounges for a long/special trip vs. using them all the time on your weekly commuting flights.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ John G -- Totally fair perspective, and I think you probably just have a higher Loyalty Points total than me? I consistently just barely squeak by with 200K Loyalty Points, because I'm not interested in putting more spending on my American cards. Even between Miami and Tampa, I'm finding that I'm often number five or six on the list after everyone has cleared. If I had as high of an upgrade percentage as you have, then I'd definitely maintain my status.

  55. Dan Guest

    The only downside, if not flying first class with American on domestic flights, is that as Emerald with BA you will “only” be in boarding group 2. Not a huge thing but worth noting.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Dan -- That's a good point. It's minor, but still a noticeable change, I suppose.

  56. GUWonder Guest

    I ditched my long run as an AA EXP and coupled it with BA Gold or Silver status for many years. While I don’t really care about BA Gold for life, it provides more than AA is willing to provide me in terms of lifetime status. That said, I find lifetime elite status to be like regular elite status in being worth less than they used to be worth 10-20 years ago. And the miles...

    I ditched my long run as an AA EXP and coupled it with BA Gold or Silver status for many years. While I don’t really care about BA Gold for life, it provides more than AA is willing to provide me in terms of lifetime status. That said, I find lifetime elite status to be like regular elite status in being worth less than they used to be worth 10-20 years ago. And the miles earned are increasingly subject to balkanization practices so redemption values are worse than they were before; and that is before even factoring in the devaluation of points earned from flights to be redeemed for flights.

    I will likely hit a few more lifetime elite status milestones across a few more airlines during the course of the coming years, but this is in an environment where “loyalty” is devalued and we are more measured as “you are your rate/fare today” than used to be the case when there was way more competition.

    1. Mark P. Guest

      The access to Flagship, JFK premium and Qantas LAX lounges on domestic itineraries is an amenity I wish I could secure. I have been solely focused on my AA Exec Plat status and now regretting that as I have no other airline status to participate in the BA Gold status match.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Lee Guest

If it's so easy, then you do it. Troll.

3
Chris Guest

Most jobs/businesses are literally doing what anyone else could do. It really is amazing when you find a way to make a living doing something you absolutely love. Good on Ben for achieving that.

3
Sel, D. Guest

Another benefit - dumping the expensive Citi card.

2
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