Pros: Generous elite bonus, Anytime awards on all flts, eVIP upgrades, uniform partner awards
Cons: Partner awards difficult to get. Merchandize awards too expensive. Demand for popular awards exceeds supply.
I am an EXP (executive platinum) flyer on AA with a lifetime Platinum status (getting close to 4 Million lifetime miles - including citicard miles and others). I appreciate the benefits for elite flyers (unlimited domestic upgrades for EXPs, no expedite fee for mileage awards within 21 day window, no phone agent charges, etc.) but with planes so full and average service, the delight of being a frequent flyer has dramatically come down.
The value of the miles has dropped a lot ever since international upgrades required $250 each way fee. Availability of popular awards has came down. With load factors of 85% where is there room left for flight awards.
When MRTC was removed, upgrades became important. If you're not EXP, you have limited domestic upgrades (or buy upgrade credits). United has E for its basic and mid-tier elites.
There are not many alternatives either. In flight service is better in Continental but AA has a better top-tier elite benefits. Mid tier elites are probably better off at some of the competitors.