What’s been my experience as an American Airlines Executive Platinum?

an airplane seat with a small table and a small shelf
Biz Class seat – courtesy of AA

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What’s been my experience as an American Airlines Executive Platinum?

This is my first year flying as an Exec Plat and I thought it’d be worthwhile to give an update on what I think so far.  First off I’ve noticed a big difference from last year when I was just a lowly Platinum concerning upgrades. I’m 4 for 6 on comped upgrades, including an award ticket, and I honestly think I’d be batting a 1000 if not for a couple things – which I’ll describe later. People are just nicer to me. This could be psychosomatic, but on the phone and in person I feel like customer service is better compared to Plat, and WAY better than when I had no status 3 years ago. Here’s a quick look at what my experience as an American Airlines Executive Platinum member has been so far this year.

Upgrades: 4/6, but without extenuating circumstances I think I’d be 6/6

I’ve flown 6 times this year where my status may have given me an upgrade. My EP status also helped me fly standby the day before my scheduled flight: I was flying back from Japan at the beginning of the year and avail hadn’t opened for a continuation flight the same day as my arrival from Japan. I was supposed to wait til the next morning. I asked the desk agent to give me a standby flight for the same day rather than waiting until the next day when my flight was scheduled. Usually the rules only allow same calendar-day standby tickets. I think my Executive Platinum status bent the rules a smidge – and I boarded the very first flight I was put on standby for – now that was nice.

  • IND-LAX – Upgraded to First Class
    • I used BA Avios to fly. Usually I wouldn’t be eligible for an upgrade, but at the gate they bumped me after I showed them my EP boardingpass.
  • LAX-JFK – No dice
    • I was flying with my girlfriend ( who’s also EP) but it’s a tough route and we were 1,2 on the waitlist. I think had we been on separate record locators we may have been upgraded separately. I also think I would have been bumped up had I been on my own.
  • JFK-LAX – bumped to Lie Flat Business!
    • Cleared a day and a half early
  • LAX-IND – Bumped to First
    • Cleared the morning of before arriving at the airport
  • IND-ORD – Bumped to First
    • Cleared 2 days early
  • ORD-LAX – No dice
    • The whole IND-ORD-LAX itin was a rescheduled flight because of the winter storm. There were a lot of cancellations out of Chicago and so flights filled up very quickly and every flight I looked to book into had, at most 1 or 2, first class seats avail. Combining this with hub to hub flying didn’t bode well. I also didn’t book this flight very long ago. Had the weather not caused they delays I believe I would have gotten an upgrade.
    • I was 1 on the waitlist when I landed and 2 by the time I got to my gate. HOWEVER

The food has improved – Salmon Nicoise – Fancy!

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 12.54.27 PM

Phone bookings

I hit Exec Plat late last year. It came in very handy as I was booking a pretty complex routing back from Southeast Asia and when I called in to change my award ticket I got an incredible rep. She was knowledgeable, polite, funny, and knew exactly how to push the ticket through. I wanted to route from HAN-BKK-NRT-ORD-IND using Qatar, Japan, and AA. She had the rate desk push the ticket through without a hitch. My buddy, Dave, who doesn’t carry any status, had a helluva time getting the same ticket done on the normal AA line. In the end…I gave him my Exec Plat phone line and record locator to match. That made the process much easier.

2 months down, but I hope to make the cut again for next year

I’m not 100% sure I will as I’m trying to get both AA Executive Platinum and Alaska MVP Gold 75k. My strategy, at this point, is to lob all domestic tickets to AA while crediting international premium cabin tickets to AS. That EQD is a big issue, but my hope is I’ll have a few work flights that will be pricey and give me a boost. That, or I’ll do some crazy Qatar flight to earn a grip of EQM and EQD. I’ll keep you updated 😉

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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  • Sandra March 23, 2017

    Any idea if AA might expand their same day flight change to flight options 24 hours before like united vs. current “must be same calendar date”? I would love to put this bug in the ear of someone in authority at AA that might listen.
    I’ve sat in hotels an extra night after meetings ended a day early while a colleague on United changed flight easily to the day before without cost (1K) since United’s policy allows flights 24 hours before, rather than same calendar date like AA. I’m an EP thinking the grass might be greener at United!

    • Miles March 23, 2017

      Sandra – thanks for the comment and I wholeheartedly agree that this would be a fantastic addition to EP. The grass is greener is what lead me to the peaceful mileage earning waters of Alaska MVP75 😉

  • jediwho March 16, 2017

    You and I are in the same boat i.e. AA EP and AS 75K and I have pretty much made up my mind that I will focus on AS 75K. For AS, I have been 16 on 16 so far and 2 on 2 on Delta because of my 75K status vs. 2 out of 4 on AA. There is nothing special about AA and the devalued program is totally useless.

    • Miles March 16, 2017

      Jediwho – I’m prioritizing AS as well…good luck!

  • Nathan March 16, 2017

    EXP status is a waste. Twice this year I’ve flown in coach while an open seat was open in 1st. Both times I waited till boarding was about finished. Basically I could barely get ahold of the attention of the gate agent. This sucked and soured me on upgrades. Also many of their new Airbus only have 8 1st seats. So I’ve missed upgrades even on lame MEM-PHX routes. In the meantime I’m flying on a Platinum status match on Delta and have the same upgrade percentage.

  • Ali March 16, 2017

    Since you flew back from Japan same day, I’m assuming it was a mileage/status run. Can you share class and price if so? Curious because I hope to requalify for EP this year but can’t do long haul flights in coach so I’m always looking for premium cabin long-hauls. Thanks

    • Miles March 16, 2017

      Hey Ali – I was actually on an award ticket on japan air first class with a final destination of IND. In order to make the original ticketing work I had to bake in an 20ish hour layover in Chicago with the hopes a ticket the same day as my arrival from Tokyo would open up. It never did. But after clearing customs I spoke with a rep and she gave me a standby ticket that day even though I technically wasn’t allowed without a flight departing that day. There are a lot of lax, dfw, ord dub $600 fares on AA. If you’re already EP I’d think you have pretty good odds of clearing if you book now and fly before it turns to EQD prioritization.

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