It’s easy to fall in the trap to think because most North American lounges suck, all lounges are like that. But when I’m gunning for status, I’m not gunning for free upgrades or checked baggage. I’m gunning for lounge access.
If you’ve got to book a domestic award ticket within the continental U.S., British Airways is probably the best program to use. It’s downright fascinating that, in this case, you’d probably want to use an airline that isn’t even based here.