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Mark Kahler

Announcing the Finalists: 2011 Readers' Choice Awards

By February 11, 2011

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Voting has concluded in the 2011 Readers' Choice Awards. Please accept my thanks for your nominations and then your finalist votes in this first year for three budget travel categories.

More about the Finalists

February 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm
(1) alice landon says:

American Airlines is THE BEST. When we moved from NY 40 yrs ago our daughter (age 6) (not an AA employee) said she wanted to be “one of those.” ………meaning a flt attendant….and she is one. Flew her first flight on her 21st B-day.
Why because the flt attendant on that trip was so wonderful to us….a family of seven!

February 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm
(2) DJ says:

i have been ussing AA for many many years and i feel that even though i have had some negetive expiriences with them they still one of the best in teh business

February 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm
(3) GH says:

Accumulate 1,000,000 lifetime miles from any combination of methods (miles flown, credit card miles, other partner mileage credits, etc) and you get lifetime Gold status. That’s pretty good :)

February 25, 2011 at 9:03 pm
(4) Lottie Brown says:

I always fly AA when I can. I have made 49 trips from USA to Honduras, C.A. and have given all our FF miles to family. I love AA.

February 25, 2011 at 9:14 pm
(5) Frequent AA Flyer says:

I have lived in Japan for 18 years and flown back and forth to the US too many times to count. I’ve flown all the different airlines over the years but have found American to be the best, especially because their mileage program is hands-down SO much better than United and Delta(NW). I belong to all the mileage programs, and have earned and used miles on all, but American is the BEST.

February 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm
(6) Nancy Whitlock says:

I accumulated enough miles over the last several years to fly my grandson and me to China in December. The best part was that we were both able to fly First Class and it was the absolute best. It was certainly a trip we will never forget.

Have also used my miles to go to Italy, New York, Washington DC, Chicago and Paris. My CitiAAdvantage card is the credit card I use for everything and those $’s add up fast.

February 25, 2011 at 9:33 pm
(7) R Delaney says:

I usually fly AA but, I never find a round trip flight for 25,000 miles no matter how far ahead I try to make my reservations.
So I guess you would say I’m not a happy user of AA awards

February 25, 2011 at 9:42 pm
(8) budgettravel says:

For those who are AAdvantage fans: What did you think about Delta’s announcement of no expiration for SkyMiles? I’m wondering if American and other airlines will follow…

February 25, 2011 at 9:46 pm
(9) Laurie says:

I fly from Haiti to Colorado many times every year and I usually have enough miles to be able to upgrade my flights which now when you are in 1st class with AA you are allowed 3 pieces of luggage at 50 lbs each! So it pays to do the upgrades as I am always traveling with supplies. Also when you book your tickets there are many times I find their “instant upgrade” prices for the same price, if not cheaper, than the economy tickets! Using their AAdvantage program is so easy also. I’m sure there are bad experiences on all airlines, but I always fly AA and always will because of their mileage program.

February 25, 2011 at 10:06 pm
(10) Carlos Alberto Santos says:

American Airlines means going to USA,and I like it !

February 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm
(11) Stella Estrada says:

I have made some trips from Colombia to USA, and I ‘ve flown in Delta, Avianca and AA: I think American is the best, but I haven’t use my miles jet.

February 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm
(12) Paula says:

I have used American Airlines for many years.

I have always been extremely happy with my over all trips.

With my miles I have been able to get several trips free and

also to upgrade to first class. Although I only fly domestic

flights I still like the ease of upgrading.

Using their AAdvantage program is easy.

February 25, 2011 at 11:00 pm
(13) yaz says:

AA ff is great especially when you can accrue miles and use european carriers accross the atlantic…most carriers in the oneworld for example Finnair’s business class is superb way surpassing AA’s First Class….aa’s first class is a joke , plastic cups, unfriendly f/a’s in general and aa’s coach is like a cattle car……the airline employees act like they are doing you a favor….whatever happened to customer service…pitiful really

February 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm
(14) Sonny Steele says:

You’re kidding with these frequent flyer results, right? Highly unlikely, from a purely statistical standpoint, and moreso from an actual comparison of the programs.

Seems like yet another case of the “American Idol” syndrome.

February 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm
(15) Budget Travel Guide says:


The results are based on actual votes, and AAdvantage has been posting their finalist status in the Readers’ Choice Awards on social media sites.

The other frequent-flier programs have the same opportunities to send their supporters over for voting. There’s still plenty of time remaining — voting ends March 8.

February 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm
(16) David Kaufman says:

The Question is Best Frequent Flyer program not best Airline.
AA might be a good Airline but quite frankly have no idea how it can be rated as a good FF program (Note: I have ~750k miles flown on it).

We won 2 round trip awards to Hawaii from the corporate perks plan. There were no available flights on a reasonable date to use them. We had to shred the useless certificate. RIPPED OFF!!!

When you look for low mileage awards it blacks the lowest mileage choices out as it sees you are attempting to use it. You have to pay to a LOT of $$ to transfer miles then pay $30.00 Rape and Plunder Service charge then Tax on top of that for your earned FF miles. ??? I try to book 10 months out on non holiday weeks and rarely or never find a round trip for 2 on the same flights. It frequently forces you to sit in the airport overnight to use the low mileage award. I have to fly on a different flight to use the award for 2. The freakin planes are EMPTY!! Do they only allow one award per flight? I am trying to burn up my remaining miles so I never have to fly AA again. Sorry I cannot “gift” them to you without it costing me $100s of dollars and a $30.00 fee.

February 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm
(17) Bill in Illinois says:

I’ve always been loyal to American and their employees because they have always treated me well since my first flight 30 years ago. A few hiccups along the way, but nothing major. Their FF program has sent my family to Hawaii and many other places over the years and those memories are fantastic. While my home base is St. Louis, you’ll have a hard time finding nicer people than the ticket agents in Austin and, my favorite, Sacramento. I don’t fly as much as I used to, so my Platinum days are behind me for now. But as long as they keep me with Gold status, AA will be gold to me.

February 26, 2011 at 12:05 am
(18) Bob says:

One thing I do not like about the FF program is one cannot fly on the flight of his or her choice.

I am flying to Scotland later this year and because I cannot fly on my choice of flight I have to endure a minimum of five extra hours on my journey.

Also seating is a problem because they have the good seats blocked out at present for the days I will be flying.

Other than that AA has been good to me.

Inspite of the above my wife and I are flying to Montreal on AA in the not too distant future.

At present my wife flew to Seattle using a perk I had from AA she is flying on Alaska Air.

February 26, 2011 at 4:08 am
(19) Richard says:

I have over 2 million miles with AA. Writing this from China, flew AA over in business class. Had a great trip with very nice FA’s. If you want true first class service fly business class on Emerites from Dubai, back to the States. They do the best job of SERVICE. After that trip, I judge every flight to Europe and Africa by Emerites standards.
One gripe about the China trip is I used upgrades for my wife and I to fly business. AA made a major deal out of the upgrades, yet business clas was only about 2/3′s full. Go figure.

February 26, 2011 at 5:13 am
(20) Alice from UK says:

I always fly AA when I go to to America. However, to my amazement I discovered that AA does not fly direct to Washington DC from LHR. Not wanting to take a chance with BA, who at that time were threatening to strike, I have booked tickets with another airline that DOES fly direct to Washington DC from LHR.
I resent doing that as there are two of us flying, so I would have gained double the Advantage miles.
How surprising that AA doesn’t fly direct to the capital of USA!

February 26, 2011 at 5:46 am
(21) Celia says:

American’s AAdvantage Program is by far the best Frequent Flyer Plan. It’s easy to understand (some of the other plans require a college degree to understand them), it is generous and all in all an excellently thought out program. Congratulations American!!!

February 26, 2011 at 8:34 am
(22) Laura says:

I belong to AA, Delta, BA, and USAirways FF programs, and AA’s is the clear winner. I flew First Class this summer from Dallas to Tokyo, and the service both over and back were superb. I used miles and had tried to book in Business, but since no seats were available, I made the “sacrifice” and booked in First. I’ve also flown to Lima and Anchorage using miles, and booking FF online has been painless. Like everybody else, there have been small dramas in my flying history. However, AA’s employees are tops in the profession, and my first choice for flying.

February 26, 2011 at 9:04 am
(23) SFret says:

Airtran could be the best if they would just cover more areas. I live in NW Arkansas which is the home to THREE GIANT BUSINESSES: Walmart, JBHunt, and Tyson.

But, the only direct flight to Atlanta is overpriced Delta.

400,000 people who make up the 2nd fastest growing region in the country during the boom.

February 26, 2011 at 10:07 am
(24) Not and AA Fan says:

I am in complete agreement with David Kaufman. I have no idea how people can rate this as a good FF program. There are never any of the low point flight choices available on reasonable flights. AA would like you to believe you can get a round trip ticket for 25,000 miles, but the reality is that even when trying to book 10 months out, you can’t get seats. Frequently their program forces you to take suboptimal routes with very long layovers. That is, of course, unless you want to pay 50,000 miles for coach ticket or upgrade to first or business.

The only reason AA is getting high votes on here is because they are pushing this vote through their communications department with a blitz thorugh social media and email blasts to customers (that is how I found this). It is a readers choice award, so it is hard to complain about the non scientific nature of the polling. It is just frustrating to see a lopsided vote in favor of a company that in my opinion is running an awful program.

February 26, 2011 at 11:55 am
(25) Nick shroff says:

I accumulated 2,000,000 lifetime miles from a combination of methods (miles flown, credit card miles, other partner mileage credits, etc) and you get lifetime Platinum status. Then my wife started and she almost has a gold status. We try to fly AA as far as possible. Its pretty good deal

February 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm
(26) Latif says:

I have been a frequent flier for more then 10years. In that time I have lived in different areas of the US (NYC, CT, currently in Dallas). My preferred airline has been AA, but my favorite airline is US Air. So I have kept status with both airlines. Reason being, upgrade system. AA has the worst FF upgrade system by far. Depending on what your status is you receive upgrade points per X amount of miles traveled. No points no upgrade whether there is room in first class or not. There was even an instance where I asked for an upgrade at the gate without using points and was denied. Shortly after they announce the flight was oversold and needed volunteers to get on a later flight ( they would of course receive a voucher of $300 or $350). During this flight there were 4 empty first class seats, but instead of upgrading people they decided to give out vouchers so travelers can take a later flight. I absolutely love US Air’s upgrade system ( United may be doing same now). I receive an e-mail a day or two before my flight whether there was an upgrade for me or not. No hassle. I don’t have to even speak to angry gate person who can’t be bothered with your upgrade question, where the answer is always, it’s full whether true or not.

February 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm
(27) Jill says:

My 12 year old used his own frequent flier miles to fly with my husband to Prague this fall – and the best part is it was only 20,000 miles each way! He still has 10,000 miles left. Can’t beat that!

February 26, 2011 at 4:36 pm
(28) Martin says:

I agree with 24 and David Kaufman as AA is pushing this vote from their e-newsletters and AAirmails…
I don’t think they are the best but certainly they are not the worst.
Personally I have had DREADFUL experiencies with several FF programs including Krisflyer (Singapore Airlines)and OnePass (Continental). There should be an international COMPLAINT CENTER for all the abuses FF programs do and nobody cares (if Randy Petersen reads this, he is welcomed to run it).

IN most FF programs non-air activities many times do NOT get credited and some partner airlines either do not get credited…

February 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm
(29) Budget Travel Guide says:

It’s not a scientific survey, folks…but I don’t know why people are so quick to discount AAdvantage’s popularity because they put vote requests in their newsletters and social media. Personally, if I got such a request and didn’t like the product, I’d ignore it. So there’s no denying there are a lot of people out there who like AAdvantage.

As I said before, I know there are people who like the other four finalists, too. After all, they wouldn’t have made it this far if there wasn’t significant support out there for each of them. They’ve all been notified of their status as finalists.

Although the race in this category isn’t all that exciting so far, I do like all the discussion about the pros and cons of various frequent-flier policies. Good stuff!

February 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm
(30) HPR2 says:

American AAdvantage is absolutely the easiest program to work with on award tickets. We recently worked very hard together to structure a Business Class award to Lisbon.

The agent and I worked for every possible way to get to Europe for the Lisbon connection.

At my suggestion, we were able to route through Brussels on AA, and connect on Iberia via Madrid to Lisbon. The wonderful agent was an ambassador for American !

February 27, 2011 at 9:02 am
(31) magnolia says:

Hi American! hope to see you soon,and fly…..

February 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm
(32) CJC says:

I voted for AA over Southwest because it only takes 30K miles for me to fly from Denver to Bogota, which I go to frequently.

I also like Southwest because they do not have blackout dates.

February 28, 2011 at 5:56 am
(33) Alf Larsson says:

AA have the best advantage from Europe to Hawaii. I see foreward to have AA back to Sweden. From the summer we have AA from Finland And this is an alternative even from Sweden. The AA point Will also be valid for long time.

February 28, 2011 at 9:19 am
(34) Tim says:

I generally use and collect AA miles since I live in Dallas. I am, however, routinely aggravated by their policies and inconsistent customer service. The latest policy of selling the seats in the first 2 coach rows for a $39 premium is making me crazy. I used to plan ahead and get those premium seats as a platinum traveler. The seats rarely sell so now they go to whomever is on standby or runs the fastest as the plane pushes away from the gate regardless of elite status. Very annoying! I’m pretty close to changing allegiance.

February 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm
(35) Kim A. Wheeler says:

What’s the deal with never finding a time when the advertised 25,000 miles is available for any flight, no matter how far in advance I try to book a flight. Is it now false advertising? Otherwise, I don’t get it. Can someone let me know why?

March 1, 2011 at 10:30 am
(36) DAL says:

American has a great program for when you are flying on revenue tickets but their redemption program is appalling. There are never direct flights and you still have to pay the miles upcharge anytime, regardless of how far in advance you book or how full the flight is. I am seriously considering a switch to Southwest now that they aren’t restricted out of Dallas, but I like the extra room and workspace in first.
Anyone with experience with Southwest care to comment?

March 6, 2011 at 1:19 am
(37) CT says:

For those unhappy AA customers that complained about never been able to find award seats get your facts right in 2010 AA sold over 5 million mileage saver and anytime time awards combined plus almost 1 million all partner awards but keep whinning no matter what you say the Advantage Program is the best !!!!

March 6, 2011 at 1:35 am
(38) CT says:

If you dont want your miles and dont want to pay to transfer them like Mr Kaufman why not donate them to the Make a
Wish Foundation thru American Airlines, they really have a good program to help kids in need!

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