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Old Apr 18, 12, 2:31 pm   #1
 
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Idiot's guide to FC for a BAEC member

Right-o. Potential turncoat has some questions. I now understand how baffling th BAEC must appear to those not in the know.

1. FC has miles and TPs, like BAEC. higher tier members earn miles for flying at a higher rate.

2. Miles can be earned by flying or a Black Amex. Or by laundering Tesco CC points. Ok so far.

3. You can upgrade some Econ tickets to PE or UC, and some PEcon tickets to UC using miles, subject to award availability in the target cabin. Familiar.

4. The black Amex gives you at 7.5k a companion voucher. But unlike the BAEC, this is used in conjunction with a ticket bought for cash (presumably from an expensive bucket). Is the "free" ticket subject to award availability?

5. By 10k the black Amex will have given you two Y -> W upgrade vouchers. So like 3 above, but without burning miles, right? And is subject to award availability.

6. There is no equivalent of the BAEC Household Account (household members can pool miles).

So:

7. Does this mean children can join but only have the miles they have earned by flying to spend?

8. How good is award availability in W/J? Eg four seats, 11 months out - what are the chances? Or is there always a zero chance for four seats?

9. Presumably award seats earn no miles or TPs.

Any other "stand out" points?

TIA
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Old Apr 18, 12, 4:36 pm   #2
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I'm on an iPhone so not doing a long post.

Be aware that upgrading is nowhere near as good as on BA. For a PE to UC upgrade you can't buy cheap PE, but only expensive classes. And you earn nothing for the bought ticket.

Availability varies. Leisure routes on a/c with only a small number of UC seats - terrible (mainly MCO and places like that). Other places not so difficult.

It's a surprisingly even programme with no big 'star' highlights like MFU.

However it does have a member get member scheme - enrol adults judiciously to maximise bonus miles! IIRC you can't do this with children though
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Old Apr 18, 12, 4:53 pm   #3
 
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Some replies for you:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg66 View Post
1. FC has miles and TPs, like BAEC. higher tier members earn miles for flying at a higher rate.
Correct. You earn 50% bonus miles (actual flown) for Ag and 100% for Au.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg66 View Post
2. Miles can be earned by flying or a Black Amex. Or by laundering Tesco CC points. Ok so far.
Indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg66 View Post
3. You can upgrade some Econ tickets to PE or UC, and some PEcon tickets to UC using miles, subject to award availability in the target cabin. Familiar.
In economy you have to be on a minimum of an L fare, and in PE a S fare. Note that unlike BAEC you can upgrade from economy to upper class.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg66 View Post
4. The black Amex gives you at 7.5k a companion voucher. But unlike the BAEC, this is used in conjunction with a ticket bought for cash (presumably from an expensive bucket). Is the "free" ticket subject to award availability?
Yes it is. All rewards come from the same bucket.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg66 View Post
5. By 10k the black Amex will have given you two Y -> W upgrade vouchers. So like 3 above, but without burning miles, right? And is subject to award availability.
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg66 View Post
6. There is no equivalent of the BAEC Household Account (household members can pool miles).
If you are FC Au then you can have a supplementary silver account (I think several) and you can spend miles from each.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg66 View Post
7. Does this mean children can join but only have the miles they have earned by flying to spend?
I can't recall the detail, and VS gets a lot of stick for this, but children (up to 13 ???) cannot earn miles, no matter how much their ticket cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg66 View Post
8. How good is award availability in W/J? Eg four seats, 11 months out - what are the chances? Or is there always a zero chance for four seats?
It can happen, with luck, but VS doesn't always release reward seats at 11 months, so it can take a lot of patience. Note that on LGW / MAN / GLA flights with the small 14 seat UC cabin, this never happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg66 View Post
9. Presumably award seats earn no miles or TPs.
Correct.
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Old Apr 18, 12, 4:54 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenbel View Post
Be aware that upgrading is nowhere near as good as on BA. For a PE to UC upgrade you can't buy cheap PE, but only expensive classes. And you earn nothing for the bought ticket.
Not true Jenbel - you do earn TPs and miles for the pre-upgraded, bought ticket.
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Old Apr 18, 12, 5:01 pm   #5
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The companion vouchers have to be used with a ticket from a more expensive bucket so the consensus is that they aren't such great value.

There is the advantage of being able to upgrade more than one cabin at a time but you have to start from a more expnsive fare bucket.

The amount of flying required to reach VS silver is fairly similar to BA bronze. VS gold is probably a bit more of a stretch than BA silver but is also more valuable.

What are your usual flying patterns and where would you be looking to redeem to?
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Old Apr 19, 12, 4:52 am   #6
 
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If you achieve gold status, your children can have FC accounts. However, the miles they earn are credited to you.

Reward availability is generally good, in my view. Just now I experimented and found there were lots of days in May when you could get 4 UC rewards to Orlando from LGW, for instance - so you do have a chance even on the LGW routes which have a small UC cabin. Out of LHR it should be relatively easy to find 4 seats to US destinations. HKG and SYD are more tricky.

The key to reward success is persistence, as VS release the seats over a long period.

It is of course true that compared to the BA MFU from W to J, the VS scheme might seem a bit less attractive, but the ability to upgrade from Y to J can be a godsend - especially if your Y travel is paid for by your employer.
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Old Apr 19, 12, 6:04 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slinky09 View Post
Not true Jenbel - you do earn TPs and miles for the pre-upgraded, bought ticket.
Thats correct but sometimes the VS system can't handle this and do the credit automatically so you need to keep the BPs and then make a claim.


To the OP - there is no such thing as a free ticket - you still have to pay the fuel surcharges, taxes etc
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Old Apr 20, 12, 3:41 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slinky09 View Post
Not true Jenbel - you do earn TPs and miles for the pre-upgraded, bought ticket.
Good correction. Somehow I was under the impression they didn't!
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Old Apr 21, 12, 8:06 am   #9
 
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More queries - I'm looking at FC as a possible BMI DC replacement - is availability on partner airlines generally good, or is redeeming on VS the norm? Is availability on *A airlines the same as on ANA and AC? Any chance of redemptions becoming possible on SAS and premium class SQ?
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Old Apr 22, 12, 8:05 am   #10
 
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VS is not part of *A so you cannot generally redeem/earn except for the airlines with which they have 'partnerships'.
However, these are dwindling - BMI and MAS will join OW, CO ended their partnership in Feb.

The miles certainly have more value on VS (as seems to be the case for most base programmes).
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Old Apr 29, 12, 11:38 am   #11
 
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newbe question......I am having a hard time finding a calendar view of award availability for VS. Is this something I am over looking or is it not there? Where would I go to search instead of entering individual dates and getting not available each time? Thanks.......
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Old Apr 29, 12, 12:16 pm   #12
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If you do a search on the VS website and the date you request isn't available, you should get a calendar view returned with alternative dates on offer for that month.

If you don't, then there are no dates available near your requested date.

When / where / which class are you looking for?

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Old Apr 29, 12, 2:02 pm   #13
 
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Thanks for the reply NN. I don't have a particular trip I am looking for right now. Just trying to do some practice searches. After reading your reply I did in fact find some redemptions for coach seats to a couple destinations. Originally I was searching for UC seats from ORD to Sidney, Hong Hong Kong, etc. Just to see what availability was there. I am very flexible on dates, just curious to see if anything would be worth collecting for. I'm guessing the UC seats for trips other than LHR are hard to come by.
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Old Apr 29, 12, 2:16 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chatfm View Post
More queries - I'm looking at FC as a possible BMI DC replacement - is availability on partner airlines generally good, or is redeeming on VS the norm? Is availability on *A airlines the same as on ANA and AC? Any chance of redemptions becoming possible on SAS and premium class SQ?
If you're looking for an alliance to replace *A / BMI then I wouldn't focus on FC as a serious option. While I think VS is a great airline, and if it's route network works then the best, the increasingly limited partner options and no reciprocal recognition counts against it.

Unless you hate BA, I'd consider OW.
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Old Apr 29, 12, 2:46 pm   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jethro View Post
.........I'm guessing the UC seats for trips other than LHR are hard to come by.
I have just booked 2 x UC LHR-HKG-SYD rememptions for Jan / Feb next year and by far the the easiest bits were booking the HKG-SYD-HKG legs.

The other main routes that people have difficulty redeeming on seem to be the LGW routes to MCO / LAS and the Caribbean - especially during school holidays. Having said this, these are difficult but not impossible.

The release of seats is quite random and persistence / patience are often assets. For example, during my recent booking, one US seat became available for the day I wanted. I snapped it up, and then less than 24 hours later, it was replaced by another, which I also got.

Also, remember that if you do an economy / PE redemption, you still have massive taxes and surcharges to add, which make them VERY poor value. IMHO

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