January 29 2018  |  Jeremy's World

Jeremy's World: Thanks for the memories

By Jeremy Clark

In these anecdotal ditties you won’t usually see me single out a specific airline, caterer or product for special attention. I like to generalize to keep things balanced, except of course if it’s Ryanair who frankly have it coming - but as they pay no heed to anything I, or anyone else says, it doesn’t matter.

Today is an exception as I have to bid a sad farewell to a dear and treasured friend – my American Airlines Executive Platinum Card. Apart from the current (and original) Mrs. Clark, this has been one of my most joyful relationships but after almost 16 years, it’s now due to expire.

It didn’t start so well. To join this elite group you had to “pay your dues” which meant slogging around the U.S. and on long-hauls in economy with no special perks for some time. But trust me, once you became acquainted, the EXP was the best friend you’ll ever have.

The numerous hilarious tales I can relate of experiences with this card and AA in the past could fill this blog for the rest of the year. From the time I flew with AA’s longest serving flight attendant (what stories of Lockheed Constellations and DC-3s!) to the day in the JFK Admirals Club when I presented a cheap APEX ticket (remember those?) to “Irene” and asked her if there was anyway I could pay and get to London earlier. After 12 minutes of furious key-tapping she handed me a boarding pass and smilingly said, “Please hurry to the gate, your flight leaves in 20 minutes. You’re in Business on an aisle, I hope that’s OK. Nothing to pay. Go!”

I looked at her incredulously recalling a recent experience with an un-named British flag-carrier who, when asked a similar question said with disgust, “Oh but sir, this is an APEX Ticket!” handing it back as if I had just presented her with a decomposing rat to resuscitate.

I said to Irene, “Thanks so much but . . . how did you manage that?” “Oh”, she said sweetly “With that card, I have one key here and all the rules just drop away!”

Now, I know that’s not quite true but it demonstrates the influence of my friend and of the airline’s recognition of its value to me. A lesson many Asian and European carriers could learn.

I recently lost a bag in the middle of heaven knows where on a multi sector trip. One call to the EXP desk and the voice says: “Sir, we know where you are, and we know where your bag is so we’re gonna marry you guys up just as soon as we can!” And they did.

I have tons of similar anecdotes. But ending on a happy note, my expired friend has left me with his slightly less prestigious but equally welcome relative. It’s an AA Platinum Card with one key thing missing.

It has no expiry date.

Do you have extraordinary Frequent Flyer experiences to share? I want to hear them.

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