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Old Jun 9, 12, 4:13 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Programs: BA,LH,LY,OK
Posts: 254
Bye Bye CSA, looking for a new SkyTeam FF program

Hello,

after all the changes made on OK-Plus...i spent all my miles on 2 RT TLV-AMS on J. with only 20,000 miles left to spent...who will probably just expire on october...

i'm looking for a new FF program. and need your help!

i'm not a big traveler, i probably fly once a year RT from Israel to N.america and once a year to europe. so i probably need a program that:

1. miles never expire (or doesnt expire of you travel once every 3 years - i dont always travel skyteam)
2. i can transfer miles from other friends or family account with no fee or low fee
3. gives miles for high discounted fares or just discounted
4. good value for miles


help will be much appreciated!
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Old Jun 9, 12, 7:24 pm   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.1MM
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DL satisfies criteria 1 and 3. Miles never expire and I've never personally received less than 100% credit for flights but YMMV depending on carriers and routes flown. Also, there are rumors of changes to DL's FF program.

You can transfer miles (not just within your family) but doing so invokes fees that tend to be more than the miles are worth, although this (or purchasing miles) can be useful and worthwhile to top up an account for a particular award that is available now.

Value for miles is notoriously bad with DL. Award tickets exEurope can have high fuel surcharges and other fees too.

If you fly DL within North America, either connecting flights on international tickets or separate domestic tickets, elite status on DL gives you some (small for many routes unless you do 75,000 status miles per year) chance of a free upgrade into FC. You also get free domestic Economy Comfort seats at the time of booking for crediting 50,000 status miles per year. This level also gives enhanced domestic coach award availability and SkyPriority ground handling, with special check in and security lines, plus early boarding. At 25,000 miles, you get a free checked bag, sometimes special lines, and somewhat early boarding, plus even fewer free domestic upgrades into FC and free Economy Comfort at T-24, when OLCI opens. There are reduced fees for international Economy Comfort seats, which have more recline and free hard alcohol in addition to more legroom/increased pitch.
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Old Jun 10, 12, 12:55 am   #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Australia
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With these criteria, AfKL is not an option for you.
(But in general I doubt you will find a FFP that will satisfy you with respect to all of these.)
But you should check BA in any case, if it does not have to be Skyteam. Might work for you.
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Old Jun 16, 12, 5:18 am   #4
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Programs: BA,LH,LY,OK
Posts: 254
thanks for the help!

i will probably use DL because it's miles never expire

i do have a BA account (with a household account) and i at least fly IB once every 2-3 years...so hopefully they will never expire also
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Old Jun 28, 12, 6:50 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SYD
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Posts: 1,594
Partly related question, I see that the requirement on the recently joined Middle East Airlines for the equivalent of SkyTeam Elite Plus is 40,000 miles flown in a year.

Is this the lowest threshold amongst all the ST programs?
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Old Jun 29, 12, 3:49 pm   #6
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At least in the past, some programs gave ElitePlus at 40,000 miles but I don't recall ever noticing a lower magic humber. But this might not matter if Middle East doesn't give many or any miles for certain fare classes.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 8:14 am   #7
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Prague
Programs: Delta Skymiles (gold), ČSA OK Plus, Lufthansa
Posts: 66
I wanted to ask the same, also leaving OK PLus of the Czech Airlines... Delta seems to be the best option for me.

I do not care for upgrades, but I would like to use miles for an International award ticket once in a while. Mostly, I like Delta's no-expiration policy. Is there any other airline whose miles won't expire? Not necessarily in SkyTeam. Thanks.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 8:17 am   #8
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Try Aegean Airlines. Low elite status requirements and a Star Alliance member. You are taking some sovereign risk, however, since who knows what will happen to them with the crappy Greek economy, which is why US is my Star carrier.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 10:19 am   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.1MM
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Perhaps instead of insisting on a FF program where miles never expire, the OP should look at those with rules saying that miles don't expire if there's some account activity and look carefully at the rules regarding what activities keep the account alive.

Instead of scattering miles over different programs, the OP could start by thinking about what alliances have service he/she likes and convenient flights/connections to places he/she travels. Then within that alliance, compare different FF programs. The thread title indicates that the OP is focusing solely on SkyTeam, but perhaps this decision should be re-evaluated at this time. It's not obvious to me that SkyTeam is best exTLV, although DL does have a nonstop to the USA, plus connections on AF/DL through CDG and KLM/DL through AMS. Through these hubs, the combination of AF and KLM seem to cover Europe and in fact the world pretty well.

Going with oneworld would mean BA connections through LHR all the time, although there might be some IB possibilities too. *A would mean primarily LH/LX, but some nonstop service to/from USA on UA, northern Europe and connections on SAS, etc. If the OP anticipates travel to other areas, such as Asia, there would be additional considerations.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 12:46 pm   #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Prague
Programs: Delta Skymiles (gold), ČSA OK Plus, Lufthansa
Posts: 66
Thank you, gentlemen. I tend to go with a major airline that won't change their program easily - that appears to be the problem with Czech airlines who doesn't serve a vast number of passengers (anymore). I realize every program may change sooner or later, but so do travelling habits.

While I was motivated quite a bit to keep my Skyteam Elite+ status and went out of my way and probably spent more money than I really had to, realizing that the perks are being cut back more and more, I just don't think I will be traveling by air as much. A 14-day transatlantic crossing on a ship in an inside cabin is $599 (one I will be on in October) and it is way cheaper and way more convenient than flying, even on the cheapest economy ticket.

I just won't care as much for flying and will not be so keen on being loyal to one alliance. But of them all it seems to be logical to go with Delta whose program looks OK and suits my needs - serves my destinations, offers earning miles other ways than flying, their customer service answers every claim, etc.

I will still earn the Sky Team elite+ status for the next year, so I will have two free bags and a lounge -- but after all, I somehow stopped caring too much. The insecurities of sudden program changes and all the travel hassles are not worth it. I have done a great deal of traveling and I am happy I did when I could do it with a pleasure.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 5:10 pm   #11
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Remember that if OK Plus goes out of business, you will in all probability cease to be SkyTeam ElitePlus.

Note that it's hard to redeem DL miles well in terms of both (especially low) availability and the time/hassle to actually book the award ticket.

When comparing the ship fare, don't forget to include the price of getting to the port, taxes and port fees that might not be included in the fare, tips, and miscellaneous expenses on board such as internet access.
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Old Jul 3, 12, 4:52 am   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Remember that if OK Plus goes out of business, you will in all probability cease to be SkyTeam ElitePlus.

Note that it's hard to redeem DL miles well in terms of both (especially low) availability and the time/hassle to actually book the award ticket.

When comparing the ship fare, don't forget to include the price of getting to the port, taxes and port fees that might not be included in the fare, tips, and miscellaneous expenses on board such as internet access.
I realize prgboy probably sees being on the ship as vacation time, but if I just want to go somewhere, then 14 days is pretty long time...
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Old Jul 3, 12, 11:24 am   #13
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.1MM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPBanker View Post
I realize prgboy probably sees being on the ship as vacation time, but if I just want to go somewhere, then 14 days is pretty long time...
This sounds to me like it's a freighter rather than a cruise ship, so fourteen days might get boring.
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