^^^ I too own both AE and Peal (though mine are CJ and not AS) and I will summarize my experience this way: I will never again buy another pair of AE shoes (poor fit, materials and construction), and inversely I actively seek out BB Peal CJ and AS made shoes due to their inherent quality, fit and materials. No disrespect to the AE lovers in this thread.
The argument for buying AE shoes is simply this: You save money (due to the shoes lasting several years longer) and get a far better look and feel when compared to buying non goodyear welted shoes.
I wouldn't be able to say from experience how AE shoes compare to the likes of AS or CJ, but I would imagine it going something like this: AS and CJ and the like have a better looking, better quality shoe but I don't necessarily think buying those shoes instead of AE's will save you money in the long run. So, if money is not a concern, by all means buy the higher end brands. They no doubt are nicer looking, but if money IS a concern, AE is a good choice in my opinion. AE offers good (not top of the line) quality, and a reasonable price, especially when sales come around.