My Response to American Airlines CEO Parker’s Letter to Me

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Hi Doug,

Many thanks for the email. Unlike the email from United’s CEO Munoz to whom I wish a speedy recovery, this one will remain positive though I do have a few recommendations as to how you can make American the best airline in the world.

First, I think AAdvantage points are the best currency in the game. They are easy to obtain thanks to Citi and its diverse product portfolio. Next, they are easy to redeem on great carriers. In a couple of weeks I’ll be flying Etihad first class from Abu Dhabi to LAX for only 90k miles and ten percent of those miles will be credited back thanks to my Citi AA card. While this doesn’t compare to the One World Explorer Award that you ungraciously removed without a moment’s notice, it is still a great redemption.

My greatest compliment to you is in the following recommendation: never change. Changes or the euphemism of enhancements are seldom for the positive. Do not be like United and charge exorbitant points on codeshare flights. I know that Cathay first from Hong Kong is harder to book than before but it still can be booked! And it can be booked at a great rate of 67,000 miles.

Now for the complaints. Sorry, I have some. If I had none then you would already be the greatest airline and you have admitted that you are not.

Here they are:

  • Allow stopovers.
  • Workout a deal with Citi to make ThankYou points redeemable on American.
  • Can’t you squeeze in a deal with Emirates? You’re already BFF with Alaska.

See that wasn’t so bad.

Keep up the good work. And let’s keep climbing.

Warmest & kindest regards,

TPOL

14 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Doug – Let me tell you how much I am taking advantage of your airline’s program and yet not flying on your metal. And let me tell you how much cheaper it is for me to do this thanks to a program that is now out-of-date with competitors. Sincerely, an idiot.

  2. Here’s hoping Doug will listen to you as well as Citi does.

    On a separate note, with a merger between Hyatt and Starwood seemingly fait accompli, do you have any thoughts on doing a SPG Platinum challenge now? I mattress ran for Hyatt Platinum earlier this year, so I’m good through 2016. I understand that SPG gives the rest of the year plus the full following year upon attaining status, so if I contacted SPG to challenge, I’d have 3 months to complete my 18 nights. If I time it out right, I’d hit the status very early in 2016 That would allow me to have top tier status through 2017 for (potentially) both chains. I’d planned on using Hyatt through 2016, then challenging on Starwood, but the only way I could see that still working would be if the programs are kept separate for over a year, which seems unlikely. My concern is that Hyatt would kill off or weaken the SPG challenge terms.

    • I don’t think they will kill off the SPG challenge (which I didn’t even know about) or make any drastic changes to the program for a long time, at least through next year. That’s based on comparing previous hotel/airline mergers.

      And 3 months to complete 18 nights? It’s 21 nights if you have the 2 Amex SPG cards and you get the whole year to do it. Personally, I wouldn’t chase after platinum unless it fell within your normal travel plans. Next year I would try to get status in one or the other and then hopefully that will roll into 2017.

      So for me, I have platinum in SPG and diamond challenge in Hyatt. Next year I will make sure to requalify for SPG believing that some version of Hyatt Diamond will be made available. Otherwise that’s 25 nights in Hyatt and 21 in SPG!

  3. I wouldn’t say you are an idiot, but this letter also makes no sense to me. I presume you didn’t send it (and/or it wouldn’t exactly make it to Parker’s eyes) but surely you don’t think you are any where near a valuable customer?? Unless Im missing something here and you do spend a large amount as a business or even leisure traveler?

    Don’t get me wrong… Im not a good customer either, and milk the system as much as possible. This community that I enjoy a lot and am obsessed with… well… essentially most are parasites exploiting loopholes, mistake fares, weak points in programs etc etc to get outsized value. And Im firmly in that category! Not proud, but not ashamed either. But to ever consider myself a great customer would be ridiculous, and thus I don’t expect to have a voice.

    Actually American does get almost all my business but it is only ever the lowest cheap fares and I cherry pick them. I do hope they stay firmly at the top of the programs, but I won’t be entitled or bitter when the inevitable happens, and they gut the program. Guess what? They can and will, they are a business! Profits matter… Do you go to work to help others get freebies, and not get paid or to lose money when the airlines struggled for decades. I hope they all claw back some of the massive massive losses incurred during the brutal downswings.

    Sorry… Just my humble opinion.

    • Obviously, I didn’t send him this letter just like his letter addressed to me is part of a massive mailer.

      You are right, I am not a valuable customer. My loyalties to airlines are based on my own self-interest i.e., what I can get for free. And you should be proud of your cherry picking ways! I know I am. I’ll ride this first class train till I’m back paying for coach blogging about the extra bag of peanuts I received. http://thepointsoflife.boardingarea.com/points-in-the-front-peasants-in-the-back/

      I agree that their interests should be profits and mine are saving money while riding pretty. What I don’t agree with is this bs story that they lost so much money over the years and now they are entitled to nickel and dime their customers for everything.

      Oil is at an all time low so why are there still fees that were originally meant to offset the rise in oil prices? It’s because it’s a great source of revenue and because the general public has accepted that paying for checked bags is normal. Indeed, people brag that their credit cards provide up to X amount of checked bags for everyone flying. That isn’t a perk! It used to be free!

      And I do help people for free. I write this blog and get paid next to nothing haha.

      • Ummm…. Doesn’t seem too obvious that it wasn’t a serious reply . I completely got the tongue in cheek aspect but it seems some readers didn’t!

        My point…which I concede I didn’t actually make… is that lets not be entitled and if I was AA and people started bitching and acting like Cathay/ Etihad apartment/ Qantas First AND stopovers etc is a right for v low miles, I would be “Oh reallllllly? Lets not do that anymore…watchaya gonna do now, switch to DL or UA programs?

        Of course…. massive devaluations a la Hilton etc are a slap in the face, super annoying and sometimes arrogant. Then we can vote with our feet I guess or adapt.

        Maybe…keep quiet, be grateful, milk it and not be a Rene points or whatever he is called now, and demand that everything stays the same forever and “gimme gimme gimme” I deserve it, I’m a member of your club.

        You claim you help people for free…you potentially ain’t helping me, by maybe acting entitled and encouraging others to do so. However…. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts in your blog. These are just mine.

        Happy travels

        • I try to keep things light here on TPOL but sometimes what I think is obvious sarcasm isn’t understood. Maybe that’s why I don’t do well in corporate America.

          Anyhow, not that I expect you to but if you read more of my posts you would see that I am not entitled. I’ve said in post after post the first class train won’t last forever so enjoy it while you can and adapt accordingly.

          A common misnomer is that bloggers have serious power to influence the decision of billion dollar companies. If American needed someone from BoardingArea to point out to them that they were losing $ due to free one-ways then they should all be fired for being incompetent.

          Read my article called ‘the deal killer strikes again’ for my take on this whole subject.

          In closing, if you don’t find value whether it be monetary or entertainment, then you can choose not to read my blog or any others.

          I’d love to keep you around because I appreciate all comments but in the words of a fellow Michigan grad Tom Brady, ‘this ain’t ISIS’.

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