British Airways – Seat Reservations for AA Elites

Back in May I took advantage of a fare war that had flights to Europe from around $500s – $600s. When I started getting into traveling I figured out that I needed to gain an elite status with AA so my travel experience could be a bit more enjoyable and comfortable.

After some calculation I found that I was going to reach Gold status around mid-september, something I was surprised about as I did not expect to reach this level until year-end.

So with this fare war going I began to calculate what it would take to reach Platinum, and to my surprise all I would need was a few short trips within the US and a long flight.

I was able to get a good deal to fly from DFW-SFO-LHR and back BCN-MIA-DFW. This trips was interesting to me because I would be able to gain enough EQMs by flying backwards (DFW-SFO) a bit and the forward to London, but also because I was able to get seats in BAs A380, a plane I have wanted to fly in for a long time.

Fast forward to a week before the trip, and by now I have Gold status with AA; according to British Airways website I am allowed to get seats 7 day in advance as One World Ruby (or AA Gold Status). However the system was not allowing me to do so when I tried.

I reached out to them in twitter and after a bit of back and forth communication, they were able to fix the problem. I even got a phone call from them, which is rather interesting to me as I have heard that getting hold of a phone agent can be quite complicated sometimes.

I did learn that if I have a reservation that includes a flight with BA and I get status with a One World airline after it has been booked, I have to get in touch with them so they can “refresh” the reservation so my new elite status shows, otherwise none of the perks will kick-in on their own.

About 6 days ahead of departure I was able to select seats on the upper floor of the massive A380, the only seats I was not allowed to reserve were exit rows.

By the time I return home in mid December I will have Platinum Status with AA, which according to BA’s website should allow me to reserve seats on any BA operated flight at the time of booking.

At this time I have two BA flights next year so I will try to get my seats as soon as my Elite status updates with AA.


AA – Baggage Fee Refund

Back in July I was traveling back from Las Vegas to Dallas with AA. I have the Citi Aadvantage Credit Card, which allows me to travel with 1 free bag per passenger in my reservation (up to 8) anywhere in the US.

I have used the perk before and this time I thought it would be no different than before. However that was far from the case. Somehow to do my check-in I was being asked for my Passport information, but that is information for another post.

When I tried to check-in at the airport and get my baggage tag I was being charged $25 usd. I spoke with an individual who redirected me to a check-in agent to assist me with the matter.

Luck would have it that I had forgotten my CC back at home and therefore I had no proof that I was a cardholder and was allowed to receive 1 piece of free luggage. The agent was not only rude but came up with an excuse about my name being wrong in the reservation as the reason why I was being charged. He said for me to pay the fee and then contact Citi, and so I did.

As soon as I got to the Amex Centurion Lounge I contacted Citi and they responded very fast with a very polite no. They asked me to contact AA as they needed to be the ones to refund me the charge.

When I got home I contacted AA Customer Relation via email. I got a response within the day that my case would be reviewed and I would be contacted to let me know what would happen next.

Due to another long trip I had planned I decided to wait on the email, which never came. However while checking my personal finances few weeks later, I found out that AA had indeed refunded me the fee within 3 days of my email to them.

Later on I realized that I might know why I was charged for my bag even with the AA card. My itinerary was multi-city, with a final destination in Mexico, and even though I get a free piece of luggage within the US, I think the system wanted to charge me due to my final destination, which was Mexico, (AA no longer offers free luggage to anywhere in Mexico) and not where my stop-over was (Dallas) , even though there were going to be 6 weeks between both flights.

If I am correct, then now I know that anytime there is a multi-city itinerary which ends at a country with no free luggage there might be a fee. You can try contacting Customer Relation like I did and hopefully it will be refunded.

I now have Gold which allows me to have 1 piece of luggage regardless of destination, but this is something to be aware of for those who have no elite status with AA.



AA Gold – Preferred Seats Issues

After several months of working towards reaching Gold Status with American Airlines, I finally did last week.

One of the perks of being Gold is that you can select “Preferred Seats” at anytime for free. To some this perk might not mean much, but to me it may come in handy sometimes.

So as soon as I was shown as being Gold level in my AA app, I went ahead and tried to change my seats to preferred seats. However I was met with a weird issue to which I was unable to find an answer at first.

“Preferred Seats” were still being shown with a price, and if selected, the app would try to make me pay for them. I tried changing seats directly with AA’s website, an even though they would show to be $0 usd there, when I would submit the request it would just send me back to the Reservation Page and cancel the request.

I contacted AA in twitter, but they were not much help and asked me to call Reservations to look at this issue.

About 48 hours after I became Gold, everything began to work fine. I was able to select Preferred Seats in all my future reservations for free and did not have to call at all.

Based on my own experience I believe that even though AA’s system will show you as Gold (this happens as soon as you pass the 25,000 EQMs and they are posted) it still takes a few hours to get across that you are Gold.

If you encounter the same issue I would suggest waiting a few days, after which do not waste your time on twitter, and call Reservations or find the AA Gold Priority Line number so you can have them check it out.