american airlines

Tag Archives for american airlines.

My experience renting a car in Ireland (Woof!)

Outside Blarney Castle. Pretty much the same roads as in Medieval times

Also see: 

Thinking about renting a car in Ireland?

Woof:
verb: to declare something bad, ugly, terrible, or nasty.
interjection: use as an expletive to express disgust or surprise.
Can be a replacement for damn that sucks!

Upon landing at DUB, I knew the next step was to go pick up the rental car.

So here’s how I did it (made the booking not picked up the car).

The booking

I ran a quick search on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website – they generally have fantastic rates on rental cars. That’s how I got such a good deal in Hawaii. Keep in mind that they ONLY service airport locations and you MUST pick up and return to the same location.

They quoted me at ~$325 for a 6-day rental. Not bad.

But when I hopped on kayak.com to compare and they had rentals pricing out at 9 Euros per day. And 85 Euros for the 6-day rental (~$97). Now that was a screaming deal. I booked a car at Dollar via priceline.com.

renting a car in ireland

My Kayak to Priceline to Dollar car rental booking – 85 Euros

My only criteria were:

  • 4-door (for ease of getting luggage in and out)
  • Automatic transmission
  • Unlimited kilometers (I wanted to drive a lot)

So, I did it. I thought I’d gotten a better deal than what the Chase Ultimate Rewards site was displaying.

Now that I’m back safe and sound, I’m not so sure any more.

Pickup

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Use the Royal Jordanian website to check Oneworld bookings

…and to get confirmation numbers. 

Booking those Aer Lingus flights last week with Avios has kicked up a few little issues that I’ve never dealt with, so thought this might be useful to post.

British Airways gave me a confirmation number when I booked the Aer Lingus flights… but not for Aer Lingus. I could only access the reservation on the British Airways website.

I wanted to be able to pull up my flights on the Aer Lingus website, but didn’t have the confirmation code that British Airways gave Aer Lingus.

Enter Royal Jordanian (with a HT to George at Travel Blogger Buzz via Twitter).

Royal Jordanian website interface

Royal Jordanian website interface

On the Royal Jordanian website, hover over “Plan & Book” and then click anything in the “Manage the Essentials” part of the dropdown menu.

Manage

Manage Booking

Once there, click “Manage Booking” or follow this link.

You can plug in your record locator and name and pull up a whole host of interesting services like:

  • Change frequent flyer number
  • Obtain other airline’s record locator
  • Verify fare buckets
  • Easily check flight duration and aircraft type
  • Email yourself a receipt
  • Get a ticket number

All important things for preening and double-checking reservations. I could, for example, use Avios to book a flight on American, and then add my AAdvantage frequent flyer number to make sure I get elite benefits like early boarding.

I can also simply take the record locator for the AA flight and then plug it into the AA website… something that British Airways doesn’t give you on their website or in any of their emails (someone correct me if I’m wrong – I just booked a US Airways flight with Avios and couldn’t find the freaking US Airways record locator for the life of me).

There's my US Airways record locator - how handy!

There’s my US Airways record locator – how handy!

And it shows up perfectly when I plug it into the US Airways website

And it shows up perfectly when I plug it into the US Airways website

Why this works

I noticed in the web address on the RJ website that they were pulling from Amadeus – the same system that Check My Trip uses. It’s a bit dated and still has the copyright as 2014, so take that for what it’s worth. But it works like a charm.

With regard to Oneworld bookings, you should be able to preen the following airline bookings on the RJ website:

  • British Airways
  • Finnair
  • Qantas
  • Royal Jordanian (duh)
  • Cathay Pacific
  • LAN/TAM
  • Iberia

But not AA or US Airways… they don’t use Amadeus. It is handy, however, for adding AA flights booked with Avios to your AA account. And for adding your AA number to the reso to receive elite benefits.

And who knows, sometimes they end up crediting award bookings as paid flights on accident.

Bottom line

Handy little trick, thought I’d share for my Oneworld peeps out there.

Let us know if something similar exists for SkyTeam. United is really good about showing the other airline’s record locator on their website already.

And on this note, other tips are certainly always welcome!

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Get Me to NOLA – Part Three: Get Me Out of NOLA

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When last we left this saga, I’d made it to New Orleans. US Airways fulfilled their carriage contract and got me to my destination safely, which is all I ever want, really.

What this little “series” is mostly about is the way US Airways/the “new American” handled not just one situation (which I would’ve totally overlooked), but several, in a row, and how that reflects on their overall operations and company culture. That is really at the root of what I’m attempting to get at in what is hopefully a snarky, self-deprecating, maybe even funny, way.

This particular entry showcases my lack of forethought on this whole topic right in the title. I expected to write a one-off post, but when I started going over 1,100 hundred words I was like, holy crap, this is serial – and left the original title.

The Tumi T-Tech saw it all

Shoutout to the Tumi T-Tech that saw it all

Anyway, the return flight from MSY-CLT was fine (how’s that for anti-climactic?). We got to the airport extra early this time, as I wasn’t sure what US Airways had really done with my return flights – I’d be reticketed and reassigned and transferred so many times, I didn’t even know what my confirmation number was any more. Plus, I didn’t want to chance it (again).

I was still a little miffed about losing a layover at DFW – I really wanted the EQPs and to visit the Centurion Lounge again – but I had to miss out on all of that.

This segment was so by-the-book that it was nearly forgettable, which, in this case, is a good thing. Because I remember all of the other segments too well, unfortunately.

In fact, when I got to CLT and to the Admirals Club (see my review here), I kinda had the feeling that it was almost too easy, purely based on my previous experiences with US Airways.

And then the delays starting rolling in.

Air traffic

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New Hyatt Promotion with American… Interesting

There is a new Hyatt promotion whereby they are offering 100,000 AAdvantage miles and a 3-night stay at either Ziva or Zilara all-inclusive resort.

To enter, you simply send a tweet with a link to the promo video, and the hashtags #HyattAllIn and #HZEntry.

The promotion has been open since February 17th and ends on March 10th, so you still have some time to enter – but not if you are a resident of either Florida or New York (hmph).

Here is a link to the complete rules of the promo. And here is my tweet that you are welcome to copy and/or modify if you’d like to enter (and feel free to follow me to Twitter, too!):

Why this is interesting

American is the only legacy airline left that doesn’t have a hotel partnership.

  • Delta is with Starwood (and sometimes Hilton) – all 3 are linked because of American Express
  • United is with Marriott (and deserve each other IMO) – and are linked because of Chase

And American doesn’t have a hotel partnership yet.

Hyatt + American would be a dream come true for me, as I love Hyatt hotels, and am partial – for now, pending further changes – to American.

After the merger completes, American will be the biggest airline in the United States. And Hyatt is far from the largest hotel chain. Their imprint is tiny compared to American’s network. American needs a hotel partner with a similarly large imprint. The obvious choice would be Hilton: they are both linked to Citibank (and to American Express, kinda) and both do not have existing partnerships.

But this Hyatt + American promo is interesting because:

  • 100,000 American miles is nothing to scoff at
  • The implication is that American will fly you to the Hyatt resort
  • This is their first promo together (that I can remember)
  • It signals that they are open to partnerships, which is exciting

In fact, in the linked YouTube video, Hyatt put a little note to American at the bottom of the video’s description: Special thanks to our friends at American Airlines. How cute!

Bottom line

Not only is this a great promotion to enter if you haven’t already (it requires just 1 tweet, and the limit is 1 per day), but it interests me highly because Hyatt and American are starting to work together.

Realistically, we won’t see any changes to American – period – until after the merger completes, but after that, I plan on bracing myself for a whole spate of rapid-fire announcements, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this partnership is in the mix.

Good luck to those who entered the promotion! Would a Hyatt + American partnership be of interest to you? Do you think it’s a good idea, or would Hilton be a better choice?

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Get Me to NOLA – Part Two: A Middle Seat in Economy

Snapshot 20150215 194752

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This is gonna be a histrionic, text-heavy post, I can just feel it. 

Faced with the prospect of spending 2 hours at EWR, I made my way to the Admirals Club – thank god there was one. Well, it was really a US Airways Club with the branding replaced. Everything about Terminal A in EWR is “US Airways.”

I thought maybe I could get some additional help with my routing and getting down to New Orleans in the Admirals Club. I explained that my check-in had flubbed and that I’d been separated from my companion. Not only that, but the plane had just left with my seat still available. And now, what were my options?

I said I was on standby for the next flight already. Was there anything else I could do? Any way to get a confirmed ticket – I’d even be willing to connect somewhere?

“The next flight to Charlotte after that one is at 1:15pm.” (7 hours after my original 6am flight, mind you.)

“I don’t want to wait that long. Could I connect somewhere else? Philadelphia, O’Hare…?”

“After the 1:15pm, we’re sold out for the rest of the day. You can try again tomorrow.”

Really. So at this point I was not feeling too great. So I grabbed some OJ, a yogurt, and a coffee, and wanted the Departures board like a hawk.

Before boarding, I made my way back to the gate agent before they got too overwhelmed for the flight I was hoping to get on.

“Just wanted to see if I’m having any luck getting onto this flight.” *presented my boarding pass*

The agent furrowed her brow and said, “Mmm. Hmmm. Ahhhh. Not looking too good.”

OK. “What can I do if I don’t get on this flight?”

While she plugged away at her computer, I pulled up flights on the American app. There was a 9:45am from LGA. I noted it mentally.

“Well,” she said finally. “You could always take the train to Philly. Yeah.” I’m not sure what kind of look I had outwardly, but I was thinking to myself, “You have got to be freaking kidding me.”

“You just take the AirTrain to [station] and transfer at [other station].”

“And how long does that take?”

“Two hours. If you leave right now…”

“But what if I get on this flight? And what about this 9:45am from LGA?” I read her the flight numbers.

“Oh, yeah. I see that. American flights,” and she chuckled to herself.

“Yes, American flights,” I confirmed.

“Oh, well that might work. Take a seat. But it’s not looking good.”

Moment of truth

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Barclays US Airways MasterCard holders: did you get a 50% bonus?

Very cool. Barclays is offering a 50% bonus on all spend for March through June for up to $20,000 in spend. This equates to 1.5 miles per dollar, which is a pretty nice rate of return for an airline cobranded card.

I value all my miles at 2 cents per dollar, so this is effectively 3% back if you value your miles the same way. At 1.5 miles per dollar, this matches what you’d earn by meeting the minimum transactions on an Amex EveryDay card for non-bonused spending, and obviously exceeds cards where you only earn one mile or point per dollar

With the merger between American and US Airways happening quickly, these miles will be incredibly useful on American pretty soon.

I’ll still give preference to my cards with category bonuses (groceries on the Chase Freedom this quarter, phone bill on the Chase Ink Plus, etc.), but will probably filter some spend onto this card after I max out the bonus I recently got on my US Bank Club Carlson Visa, which also begins in March – and it’s great to see credit card companies rewarding ongoing spending!

To check if you were targeted look under “Barclaycard extras” after you log in to the Barclays website:

The offer will show up here, if you're targeted

The offer will show up here, if you’re targeted

Then just check the box and click “Submit” – easy peezy.

Screenshot 2015-02-25 00.52.19

I’m just happy I made a screenshot before I clicked

Boom - enlarge to read T&Cs

Boom – click to enlarge to read T&Cs

Bottom line

It seems like a lot of US Airways MasterCard holders are being targeted for this offer without regard to account age, so if you’re new to the card or have had it for a while, it might be worth checking.

Were you targeted for this bonus? Will it encourage you to shift spend over to this card for a while? 

HT to Frequent Miler.

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Get Me to NOLA – Part One: No Boarding Pass for You!

I need to vent.

If you don’t like to read about people bitching/whining, I don’t blame you. It can be annoying. But I gotta get this out. It’s also pretty text heavy. So feel free to skip this one. #disclaimer

A mess fit for a King (Cake)

So as you guys know, I went down to New Orleans this week for Mardi Gras. I spent most of it pretty indisposed, which explains why I had to brush away cobwebs around here just now.

With near-record lows in the Northeast lately, I was ready for any type of warmup, even if it was just up to the 50s (beats single digits!).

On Sunday, I was originally scheduled to fly LGA-DFW-MSY, which I was really looking forward to.

I wanted to gain some EQPs toward my AAdvantage Platinum Status Challenge, visit the Centurion Lounge @ DFW, and get to New Orleans before the Krewe of Bacchus – all of which would’ve been accomplished by this routing. Oh, and it was all on American metal.

So my heart sank a little when I got this email:

They're succinct, I'll give 'em that

They’re succinct, I’ll give ’em that

But life goes on.

I got re-booked to EWR-CLT-MSYall operated by our friends US Airways. But whatever, I wanted to stay optimistic, and maybe it would all be fine. At that point, I just wanted to get out of the city. Was not looking forward to EWR, or to CLT to be honest, and I knew I’d be giving up EQPs. But on I went. I would still make the first parade in plenty of time.

Then the beads hit the fan

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Just booked: New Orleans for Mardi Gras!

We have lost our minds here at the Out and Out headquarters in NYC (AKA me in my living room in Brooklyn) – and my dog is giving me the side eye for using the royal “we.”

I’m going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras! (That is kind of a misnomer. “Mardi Gras” is a 3-week celebration. I am just going for the Baccus Parade and Fat Tuesday. But still – super stoked.)

How it happened

Really, I was just tinkering around on the Hyatt website looking at Category 3 and 4 hotels on a dark, snowy evening because that’s what points junkies do in the evenings, right?

But really, I had a free night cert from the Chase Hyatt Visa that I needed to use and wanted to maximize my value. I noticed, in the Category 3 list, the Hyatt French Quarter New Orleans. And then thought hmmm…. I wonder if…. (Basically a repeat of Oktoberfest booking.)

I couldn’t get the website to cooperate with redeeming the free night cert, so I called up Hyatt and a very patient agent plugged in a variety of dates surrounding Fat Tuesday (February 17th this year).

While she did that, I played around with points bookings with both Hyatt and Club Carlson (my two fave programs).

Paid $75 for the Hyatt card annual fee, getting back $315

Paid $75 for the Hyatt card annual fee, getting back $315

Hyatt French Quarter availability - 15,000 points or $500?

Hyatt French Quarter availability – 15,000 points or $500? #nobrainer

Now, I’d been saving my Club Carlson points for when I go to Ireland in May, but seeing that the Country Inn and Suites on Magazine Street in New Orleans was eligible for a BOGO booking sent me over the edge. I figure I can always manufacture some more Club Carlson points in the next couple of months, anyway. I still have my eye set on their Radisson Blu in Cork, Ireland.

Anyway, the Hyatt agent found a night at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans that was eligible for the free night cert. A quick Google search showed me that it was on the route for the Bacchus Parade. PERFECT.

But then, flights…

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It’s On: AAdvantage Platinum Status Challenge 2015

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Thanks to FoundersCard, I just enrolled in another American Airlines status challenge.

The T&Cs say I have to accumulate 10,000 EQPs (NOT EQMs) during the time period of February 12th, 2015 through April 12th, 2015:

FoundersCard Status Challenge T&Cs

FoundersCard Status Challenge T&Cs

Why I care

About a month ago, I resigned myself to the fact that I would have no airline status of any kind when the clock struck midnight on February 28th, 2015 – and that was fine.

I’ve given up on Delta, though still find I’m forced an opportunity to fly their metal from time to time.

But unequivocally, American Airlines has the best thing going of all the legacy carriers with their AAdvantage program.

If I lose Platinum status, my rate of earning goes back to 1 mile earned per 1 mile flown – generous these days – but as a Platinum, I’ve been earning a 100% bonus each time (for economy, more miles earned and higher bonus for premium cabins).

I simply like that earning rate and want to keep it – especially if it’s free to get the status. I also only have to earn 10,000 EQPs instead of the usual 50,000 EQMs -or- EQPs. If it’s going to be this (relatively) easy, I’m gonna go for it.

Well, not completely free because now I have to earn 10,000 EQPs on paid fares. But it beats the pants off American’s “Step up your elite status” promo they have going on right now.

What American would charge to keep Platinum Status

What American would charge to keep Platinum Status

You bet your tooshie I’ll be watching The Flight Deal like a hawk for the next month or so. I want a fare that earns 1 EQP per mile flown, but American is notorious (to me at least) for booking economy into N, O, or S (sometimes Q, hardly ever see G) fare buckets. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, they say.

AA fare buckets

AA fare buckets

This will also be a nice jumping off point into Executive Platinum, which I’ve never attained. I’m of the mindset of “if it happens, it happens.” Most of my flying last year was on mistake/ultra-low fares or award redemptions, so we’ll see what shakes out in 2015.

Regarding the second Challenge: you cannot repeat Status Challenges for two consecutive years. So if you did one in 2014, you can’t do another one in 2015. I did my last one in 2013, so I’m eligible to repeat the Challenge. The final say is up to American, of course, but they allowed me to repeat the Challenge this year.

Bottom line

FoundersCard is offering free Platinum Status Challenges to their members, which would otherwise be $200. Here’s a link to the Flyer Guide Wiki about AA Challenges.

I’ve also written extensively about FoundersCard in the past, which I personally find to be a great complement to my travel goals.

Is anyone else doing a Status Challenge this year, on American or another airline? Is having “status” even more it any more?

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FoundersCard offering free AA Platinum Status Challenge for members

Also see:

New AA perk this quarter from FoundersCard

I’ve written about FoundersCard extensively in the past. They are one of my favorite auxiliary programs for travel, business, and lifestyle benefits.

Many of the travel benefits they offer are the same ones given as perks for holding co-branded premium credit cards (free TripIt Pro [Barclaycard Arrival], Hertz #1 Club Gold membership [American Express Platinum Card], Hilton HHonors Gold status [Hilton credit cards], 10% off British Airways fares [Chase British Airways Visa Signature], free Shoprunner membership [American Express cards] – just to name a few).

And, they’re always switching things up each quarter. The one I watch like a freaking hawk is the American Airlines perk. And this quarter, they’ve really stepped it up.

Free AA Platinum Status Challenge

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Points and miles as insurance – why it’s good to have a stash

Everyone knows I’m Mr. Earn and Burn: I typically like to keep my miles balances as close to zero as possible.

I don’t trust any mileage or point program, really. Not for a second. Every major airline has had a drastic, no-notice-given change to their mileage program this year.

That being said, I like to have a little stash.

Where to keep the stash and how many to tuck away

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American Airlines changed my flights without telling me :/

Had a bit of a scare yesterday. I went to check in for my Airberlin flight TXL-HEL (that was to connect to Finnair HEL-JFK) to end my Eurotrip 2014.

I booked the one way award flight on aa.com and up until I went to check in the day before the flights, it showed up in the “My Trips” section of aa.com.

Trouble in Euroland

When I logged in, it said “No upcoming trips” so I typed in the confirmation number and it found the reso after a few heart palpitations, thank gods. But the flights were wrong. Read More

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