I’m Cheating On American And It Feels Great!

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I’ve made no secret of my feelings towards the American Airlines hierarchy following the changes to the AAdvantage program but I’ve also pointed out that I’m not really sure where else to turn if I want to earn and burn miles in a loyalty program that hasn’t already been decimated. Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan is a go-to program for a lot of disenchanted AAdvantage members but that program doesn’t work so well if you have travel patterns like mine…so I’m a little bit stuck

Still, I’m only stuck flying oneworld airlines and crediting my flying to AAdvantage for as long as I need elite qualifying miles for status next year and, as things stand, I’ve got more than enough flying booked to take care of that. This gives me the chance to try something new.

AAdvantage Executive Platinum

Historically, even if I had elite status sown up for another year, I’d continue to book the rest of the year’s transatlantic flights on American Airlines to take advantage of my 8 systemwide upgrades, to enjoy my elite status and to earn more AAdvantage miles….but not this year.

This year I’ve finally had enough and I’m branching out.

I’ve recently booked a transatlantic trip and I’m in the process of booking another and neither will be taken with American, British Airways or Iberia and I’m feeling quite good about it.

I’m feeling good that, rather than complaining about the way American is going about things and then doing nothing about it, I’m actually letting my wallet do a bit of talking and seeing what else is out there. It feels a little therapeutic and, at the same time, it will give me some new airline products to review – it’s a win-win situation.

Trip 1

The transatlantic trip I recently booked is with Delta and it was a pretty easy decision which airline to fly.

A couple of weeks ago Delta was offering some incredibly low Business Class fares between Madrid and New York and, as I have never tried out the Delta One cabin, I couldn’t pass up this chance to do just that.

I managed to book a roundtrip Business Class fare for €966,62 ($1,085)…..


….and I used one of the Amex offers I wrote about a few months back to get a further $200 off the fare.


The roundtrip Business Class fare cost me $885 and for that I get to try out the Delta One 767 Business Class product and the Air France 777 Business Class product too.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never booked a cheaper Business Class flight across the Atlantic 🙂

Trip 2

The trip I’m looking to book right now will also be booked through Delta although this time I’m probably not going to be flying on Delta aircraft.

I still have another $200 Amex offer to use and I’m going to use it to try out the Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy cabin (on a daytime flight westwards) and probably a KLM or Air France Business Class product on the return.

American Airlines & BA are making it very easy for me to walk away from them and look elsewhere for my fares because they’re simply not competitive on the route I’m looking at…and its their most prized route!

Right now this is an itinerary I can book through Delta:


That’s £1,215 ($1,580) for an outbound non-stop Premium Economy flight and an inbound Business Class flight via Paris. For a fare in and out of London that’s not too bad.

If I wanted to book though BA/AA this is what it would cost for the exact same dates:


£1,645 ($2,138)…which is $558 more than the fare on Delta and I haven’t applied my $200 discount from Amex yet!

Ok, so the BA routing doesn’t involve having to fly back via Paris…but how much of a hardship is that if you’re saving at last $550 per person or, in my case, at least $750?

Bottom Line

I hate being a oneworld captive and beholden to American and British Airways for my transatlantic flights so it feels nice to book away from those airlines and see what the competition is offering.

There’s something about the relationship between an airline’s rewards program, elite status and the traveler that leads to something not totally dissimilar to Stockholm syndrome – the traveler will find empathy with the entity that actually keeping him/her captive – and it’s nice to feel like I’m making a break from that. I’ve been foolishly loyal to American for too long.

As I’m primarily flying in Business Class on these two trips the benefits of status really don’t matter all that much (so not having Delta/SkyTeam status isn’t going to matter) and, as I have Priority Pass membership, I’m not going to go without a lounge before my flight in Virgin’s Premium Economy cabin – I’m actually looking forward to this.

I’ll be posting reviews of all the cabins I fly in and all the lounges I visit and I’m going to be very interested to see how they all stack up against what I’m used to when I fly across the pond – I suspect they’ll do pretty well.


  1. […] As I mentioned in a post earlier today, I’ve got the opportunity to try out a few non-oneworld… and, thanks to a generous Amex promotion, it looks as if Air France and/or KLM are going to be on my radar….so I’m paying a bit more attention to the news they’re releasing. This week we’ve had both good news and bad news from Air France-KLM but I’ll start with the good news first. […]

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