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United v. American Loyalty
I have a specific question about loyalty programs. Next year I’ll be starting a job based in NYC where I’ll be traveling twice a week, with over 100k miles per year (in economy/business). I’ve been loyal to Southwest thus far, but am looking to change for obvious reasons (lack of fights from NYC, no premium economy or first class, no international alliance). My choices are either UA or AA, disqualifying DL because of less options out of NYC and a less valuable reward system (SkyPesos). Both UA and AA seem to be very similar in their top tiers (EP/1K) in terms of upgrades and status benefits. What are big differences between UA and AA that I should be considering in choosing between the two programs, and which one would you recommend?
Hi [USER=2630]@OBarrett[/USER], I’m not super familiar with AA vs UA but I wouldn’t be so quick to rule out DL. JFK is a major hub for DL plus operationally it is still regarded as the best of the legacy carriers. Skymiles are… well, not great but with the devaluations that are taking place in AA and UA, the difference isn’t so great any more.
FT has some user content about comparing both programs: [URL]http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american-airlines-aadvantage/930167-aa-aadvantage-vs-ua-united-mileageplus-status-perks-pros-cons-consolidated.html[/URL], might be worth a read. Traveling for miles also does a head to head comparison: [URL]http://www.travelingformiles.com/united-mileageplus-v-aadvantage-status-and-upgrades/[/URL]. Good luck!
Hi [USER=2630]@OBarrett[/USER], and welcome!
I agree with [USER=79]@Gaurav[/USER] — I wouldn’t discount Delta, as depending on what airport you frequent in New York they have some of the best schedules, and I believe Delta has more domestic flights serving NYC than any other airline.
SkyMiles are also better for travel to Europe than AAdvantage miles, so it depends where you want to go.
With United you’ll always be leaving out of Newark — whether that’s a plus or a minus depends on your situation.
Airlines in the US are in a bit of a race to the bottom, so I would probably start with schedule and fare, then look at the value of the mileage programs (to you), then the elite programs (to you).