Sunday, July 05, 2009

Is it always better to upgrade?

Since I've made 1K on UA a while ago for this year (thanks to DEQMs) I've been working on my AA status, and EXP is in sight (thanks to DEQMs!).

On UA 1Ks get the same e500s that all elites do for space available upgrades 1,3 or 4 days before the flight and we also get 8 confirmable (in advance) regional upgrades.

On AA EXPs get unlimited upgrades (no e500 earning or deducting) but no CR-1s.

As a less than EXP, it's more painful to fly domestically on AA than UA as I can't confirm my upgrades in advance and when they are available I'm always having to ration them (or buy more - at least they are 40% cheaper to purchase than UA's are!).

However, what happens when I make my EXP next month?  If I fly AA to maximize my free upgrade utilization, I'll end up letting my UA e500's expire unused and that's no good too!!!

I can take e500s out of equation since unlimited and more-that-I-can-use are roughly the same and stick to UA for upgradeable-in-advance transcons or none-elite-heavy routes (tough out of SF!).  Or I can use UA when traveling w/SO so he can maintain his status and AA otherwise (work trips).

International is another consideration. UA gives me 6 SWUs (plus 2 more for each 50KEQMs over 100K), AA gives 8 eVIPs which I gather are the same or similar to SWUs so I'd have to split the international flying to make sure and use both of them up!

All of this is on my mind as I wait for my delayed AA DFW-MCO flight and mulling over whether I should upgrade - there was no one on the list and seats available, and it's only 2 stickers for over 900 miles.  On the other hand I've only got 5 now so this will leave me short if my upgrade MCO-LAX on Friday clears.

Oh well, I went with the old FT mantra "F>Y, always" and give up my bulkhead emergency row seat for an aisle in F.

Now I hope we board soon so I can maximize my utilization of it!

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