US Airways vs. American Airlines Plus Win $50

US Airways and American Airlines post-merger loyalty points, elite status, and alliance.Ed, my nemesis friend over at Pizza in Motion, is going to host a poll determining which upgrade procedure is better–US Airways or American Airlines.

Note: this is about the procedure and not the product.

Well, we all know how I feel, but I still needed to convince him.  I will have a guest blog on his post about why US Airways is the best, followed by his rebuttal.  Then we put it to a vote–which upgrade procedure is better?

We were initially talking about placing bets against each other, but since Ed knew I was going to win is really generous, he’s offered to give away two $50 Amazon Gift Cards to two random people who posted on his post or this post.

He may also intersperse random prizes as we go.

How to win:

Visit Ed’s post and follow his instructions.

Post a comment on this post discussing what procedure you like better and why.  You may post as many times as you like, but it must be about getting upgrades on US Airways and American and must not be a copy of a point you previously made on this post (it is okay if someone else said something similar).

Then stay tuned for more information about this US Airways vs. American showdown as it happens.  And toast with me virtually when I win!  (I’ll pour the e-Krug or Dom–your choice).



About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. I am a lowly no-status flyer so I do not speak from experience, but free seems better than “pay-to-play” unless you have an employer who will pay for your upgrade!

  2. I like US Air – usually get upgraded and so does my husband even though only one if us has status – it usually works as long as we are on the same booking!

  3. I like how it’s basically been a non-issue when I want to upgrade; it’s easy and no-hassle. And, for me, AA flies everywhere I go regularly, whereas US requires layovers galore.

  4. Elaine – as a no status you cannot upgrade using stickers on AA or free on US (mostly). So “pay to play” argument is moot. Moreover, its actually a misconception. AA gives you stickers for flying, just not unlimited. As a mid or low tier elite, it gives them a better shot at upgrading.

    • Hi – I wasn’t talking about what would be best for me, as I am not in the game at all, but rather which program seems best in the context of the contest. Most people are replying based on what is best for them; I don’t have that luxury! 😉

  5. My home airport does not have many USAirways flights so I have never been upgraded by them but last Christmas my 500 mile upgrades worked to get us a steak dinner in flight on our way to Boston. Great

  6. And where & when do you plan on flying anywhere?

  7. Free wins all the time for me!

  8. Simple. American – because I don’t have status on US Air!

    • Ah, but the programs will be integrated soon enough. The question is – would you rather AA stick with their current upgrade scheme or switch to US’s current scheme? Or maybe some hybrid approach?

  9. I definitely like the US Airways process better because I got upgraded several times (even once on a cross-country flight) during my Silver preferred trial for only the cost of the coach flight. For my trips, AA coach flights cost more than US so I’m less inclined to use stickers or pay more for an upgrade (if I were AA Gold).

  10. I don’t have status with US Airways, but I like their policy on upgrading you with your companions at your level. My usual carrier, Delta, moves you to the bottom of the list based on lowest levels of the companions. That’s why I usually split off my ticket from them and smile as I enjoy a PDB while they walk to the back.

  11. US’s is better, cause I have no status on US but LT PLT on AA…looking forward to an occasional upgrade if the US system stays

  12. As an AA ExecPlat I love AA’s system, and as a UA 1K I hate UA’s system, which is basically the same as US’s but there are seldom if any confirmed upgrades at the elite window. I resent someone’s traveling partner having the same priority as me because they are traveling with another ExecPlat and requested their upgrades days ahead of me. And while this might sound greedy, I also believe AA’s system is fairer to lower tier elites who earn 500-mile upgrade credits and actually have chance at an upgrade if few others below ExecPlat have requested one (AA also requires you to positively indicate you want to use an upgrade, it isn’t automatic, another good feature that gives the knowledgable lower tier elite a better chance on flights with dozens of elites). Since only ExecPlats and those willing to “pay” for upgrades get them on AA, there’s often empty seats in F which can be occupied if your inbound flight is delayed and connection missed. With programs like US and UA, there’s never an empty seat in F…and having a few empty seats also increases the perceived if not actual value of F on domestic US flight where standards have generally dropped over the years. This has also permitted AA to offer much better food at meal times than UA (can’t comment about DL, and it appears US flights are adopting AA catering).

    What I do like about the US program is being able to upgrade award — in the same fashion as revenue — flights.

    All I know is that whatever the New AA decides it’s going to upset a lot of elites…and giving CPUs to all elites is obviously going to make more people happy and upset the smaller number of us top tier elites.

  13. I think the AA upgrade system is far better for lower-tier elites. Let’s face it, EXPs and CPs will always get upgraded under either system (of course, if space is available), but lower-tiers that are automatically upgraded have less of a chance with the US system. When I was an AA gold or AA platinum, I never requested upgrades on AUS/DFW – if a sticker cost $30, then in my mind that was a $30 cocktail. There were other golds or platinums that may have wanted that $30 cocktail so they had a better chance of getting the upgrade.

  14. Like you, I am surrounded by airports where US (pre)dominates — CLT, GSO, RDU — so I’ve had few opportunities for AA upgrades. Just returned from an RDU-SFO RT with my wife and got upgrades all the way, so I have to say I prefer US’ approach.

  15. I fly US more, so it is best for me!

  16. I don’t have elite status for either but I think AA’s 500 miles upgrade seems like a better deal.

  17. I don’t have status with either. But from reading the rules I would say American.

  18. I think if you’re a top tier elite the question is irrelevant since you’re going to get upgraded either way. For lower tier elites, I think the sticker method gives AA flyers a better shot at getting an upgrade due to selective upgrade requests.

  19. I do not like copay of any sort for upgrades, so US airways is the way to go for me.

  20. I would stick with AA.

  21. I prefer AAs procedures for lower tier elites. As a Platinum, I was 100% on upgrades from my home base, as well as connecting flights that I was taking. Back when I was Gold with United, I was upgraded maybe 10% of the time, and almost always for the shorter leg of my trip.

  22. I’ve left a United hub for a USAIR hub. That said I have AA status. Thus I’d vote for American Air because I understand their rules. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

  23. I like AA’s because it is more generous and their offerings are better.

  24. As long as USAir and AA charge different prices for the same routing (pre-complete merger), the question of elite status can become moot, in my estimation, but I don’t have elite status in either.

  25. I like AA’s system better. You only pay when you really want the upgrade.

  26. Blast! I need to get elite status on at least one of these airlines to make reasonable and effective comments. 🙂

  27. I’ve flown AA for many years, and much prefer their upgrade policies and procedures.

  28. A for vote AA’s upgrade system.

  29. I like how US Airways has a Trial Preferred that instantly gives you your status level of choice (for a cost, of course), and then makes it much easier to then keep the status.

  30. American seems easier to upgrade. Got my vote.

  31. AA gets my vote, had good experiences in the past. Thanks!

  32. My vote is for Usairways – free, no effort and sometimes successful (even as lowly Silver).

  33. I’ve had some success with aa’s upgrade procedure and aa is my preferred airline, so I think aa’s better. 🙂

  34. AA upgrades tend to come in quicker despite I have status with both airlines, so I go for American.

  35. I definitely prefer the US program. It is fair and equitable all the wa – and very simple – if you are loyal to us (US) we will try our best to upgrade you. And it happens more so than not. Even for the lower tiers – consistently. So if you are a Silver with US you run a 20-40% chance of upgrade (depending on the route) every time you fly……even as you start your new year. With AA you stand NO chance of an upgrade at that level unless you BUY it. Where is the reward for loyalty in that scheme? AA low level members don’t know any better, but just let them receive that transcontinental upgrade just once and they’ll get it!

    Earning ‘stickers’ for your loyalty to an airline is just so juvenile. Stickers are for elementary kids, not for loyal flyers. US used to do it and they did away with it. There was a reason why – it just is not fair and equitable.
    Oh – and did I mention upgrades for companions too? The US system is far and away better on that front too.
    I definitely think US has the better system as it stands.

  36. I think the thing the US folks are missing is that you are currently on a relatively small airline. That will change drastically once you are more fully integrated with AA and see routes/frequencies and passenger volumes adjust. My UA experience thus far is that, even as a Platinum, complimentary upgrades are hard to come by. It may be a function of my routes and times (business-heavy), but I had more success with e500 upgrade stickers back in the day than I do now.

  37. My vote is for US Airways. As a frequent flyer you pay enough though the year to be granted free upgrades. You should not have to “pay” more for upgrades with stickers.

  38. US Airways is better. The upgrades process is simple and hassle free. You do not have to remember to check a box with every reservation to ask for an upgrade.

  39. American. Choose when you really want it.

  40. I don’t currently have status with either airline; but I’ll give the edge to US Airways for the ability to upgrade your flight companions.

  41. I still vote for American!

  42. I like being eligible to receive an upgrade on award tickets on US Airways since I have flown over the required 85,000 miles for this perk.

  43. Maybe if I had elite status I would change my mind.

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