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Old Aug 4, 12, 9:42 am   #1
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 330
Best Airline Programs for Business Travel (from Chicago)

I apologize if this is the wrong thread. I'm a new member and I couldn't find the most appropriate forum. This could be considered a Miles/Points question, or a general FF question. I didn't want to post in a specific Airline FF (like AA) because I wanted a more objective opinion.

Please move this thread if a more appropriate forum is necessary. I figure you all probably go to multiple threads and most of you are seasoned travelers in addition to Credit Card gurus. Also if this has already been discussed and you can point me to any specific threads I would appreciate it. Searching on these terms has been all over the place...

My home base is Chicago - and I will be starting to do a lot of travel for work (~50%). I tended in the past to favor American when contracting for business travel. I am curious as to what thoughts are now with AA's bankruptcy situation.

Do you think it is smart to avoid AA and get started with United? Or that anything I earn with AA will likely be honored by another airline should they merge? I would expect O'Hare to continue to be a major hub.

Especially for those of you who fly AA and United, and even more so those who do a lot of travel to/through O'Hare might have the best opinions.

Thanks!
BenH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 4, 12, 5:50 pm   #2
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Since you are based in Chicago I'll move the thread there. Lots of business travelers in the Chicago area.
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Old Aug 4, 12, 7:37 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: 12 stops from ORD
Programs: UA, AA, DL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenH View Post
I apologize if this is the wrong thread. I'm a new member and I couldn't find the most appropriate forum. This could be considered a Miles/Points question, or a general FF question. I didn't want to post in a specific Airline FF (like AA) because I wanted a more objective opinion.

Please move this thread if a more appropriate forum is necessary. I figure you all probably go to multiple threads and most of you are seasoned travelers in addition to Credit Card gurus. Also if this has already been discussed and you can point me to any specific threads I would appreciate it. Searching on these terms has been all over the place...

My home base is Chicago - and I will be starting to do a lot of travel for work (~50%). I tended in the past to favor American when contracting for business travel. I am curious as to what thoughts are now with AA's bankruptcy situation.

Do you think it is smart to avoid AA and get started with United? Or that anything I earn with AA will likely be honored by another airline should they merge? I would expect O'Hare to continue to be a major hub.

Especially for those of you who fly AA and United, and even more so those who do a lot of travel to/through O'Hare might have the best opinions.

Thanks!
I highly doubt that if AA is acquired by US that the AA miles wouldn't carryover.

If AA worked well for you in the past and your travel pattern isn't going to change then I don't see any reason to switch. Plus, IMO, UA has been somewhat of a cluster this year with the merger.

Another option is that if you really fly a lot, you could split your travel between both UA and AA and get status on both. This, of course, has its own set of +/-s.
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Old Aug 4, 12, 8:32 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Chicagoland, IL, USA
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If your flying is mostly domestic you might want to consider Southwest.

Anathema, I know, to most here, but it has some advantages such as all-737s, no change fees, no cancellation fees, MDW is closer to downtown than ORD, and the Companion Pass if you have someone to serve in that capacity.

Big presence here.

United flyers are pretty hacked off right now; take a look at the longer threads in that forum.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 12:10 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: AA, UA, GE
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Before you ask what program is better, you need to determine what you want out of a FF program.

If you will travel domestically in coach, you may want a program that will get you upgraded into first more easily.

You may be interested in the easiest and cheapest availability of international award travel, or travel to specific destinations.

I don't know of a master thread on FT where then various programs are compared.
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Old Aug 6, 12, 11:49 am   #6
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Programs: AA Platinum, Avis First, Hertz Club#1 Gold, HHonors Gold, Hyatt Platinum, UA Premier Silver
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As other posters have stated, we need to know more about your travel habits to provide guidance. I'll just walk you through my decision earlier this year to switch from WN (Southwest) to UA (United).

Previous Travel Profile:
- 100% domestic
- Mostly traveling to destinations in the Midwest, Northeast (primarily LGA), South, or Silicon Valley (SJC, SFO, OAK - preferred in that order)
- Was about to get married

Decision: WN (Southwest) - as I was traveling a lot (and all domestically), I valued being able to get Companion Pass (CP) on Southwest since I wanted my wife to be able to travel with me whenever possible. Southwest has a fantastic route network out of MDW and I didn't really care about being upgraded as CP probably saved me $6,000 in terms of free travel. Remember that CP also applies on award travel so I was able to use my Southwest points for free travel ($10 in fees) for my wife and me. Also, MDW is significantly more convenient than ORD for folks who live in the downtown core of Chicago.

Current travel profile:
- 10% international, 90% domestic
- Primarily traveling to DC (DCA, IAD, BWI - preference in that order), SAN, SNA, MSP, PIT, and FLL/MIA
- Wife is busy and can't travel with me much now

Decision: Primarily UA but no true loyalty - I'm focusing on keeping all my international travel to Star Alliance (*A) of which UA is a part but given that UA's low-level elite benefits don't seem super tantalizing, I've flown a decent amount on WN this year. While MDW may not have the amenities of ORD, I do appreciate being able to get in and out quickly and for all the hate that WN gets from FTers, it's still a great airline in terms of reliability and friendliness. WN's customer service is second-to-none but at the end of the day, UA does have some fantastic international mileage redemptions and the *A network is fantastic so all things equal, I will choose UA. When UA is more expensive or less convenient, I will take WN, AA, or even DL (sorry, not willing to fly Spirit).

I am not one of those people willing to fly one-stop flights to earn more miles. We live in Chicago. This is the best city in the US to live in for frequent fliers. Fly direct, nonstops everywhere and enjoy the time you save.
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