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Old Jul 14, 17, 11:20 am
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 48
Question FFP for a hoarding cheapskate

Recent changes in my circumstances require me to join a *A FFP. I have been reading up on *A for the last few days and, more importantly, know what I want so not another vague "which *A FFP is best?" thread.

UA's MP program seems to best fit my needs, I would like to know if I've got anything wrong and which one program you would suggest for me focus to do a final, detailed comparison against UA?

My priority is to accumulate over several years and redeem as cheaply as possible (hence the title), without ridiculous surcharge fees, taxes, etc. on mid/long haul in Economy.

Status would be a bonus, not a primary objective. I would be flying just enough to earn Gold on most programs, however flying benefits such as free checked bags and lounge access are not important as these are business trips which I can expense. Status would only be valued if it brings significant bonus earnings on award miles or frequent free upgrades from Economy Plus to Business on UA transatlantic.

I would be unlikely/unwilling to meet requirements to fly a minimum of segments/miles on the FFP's airline, I only plan to fly UA within *A.

Based on above UA MP looks good. Miles don't have expiration dates, only the need for some activity within 18 months which is easy. Redemptions look to be some of the cheapest, especially on charges, even if earning isn't the best. The 4 segment minimum on UA is not an issue.

By comparison-

Turkish M&S- my issue is the 3 year expiration on miles, I know these can be extended by paying but that isn't a good solution for me. It is significantly easier to qualify and renew status however still doesn't seem to make redemption better than UA.

Avianca Lifemiles- my main issue is the minimum requirement of flying on Avianca, this wouldn't be practical for me. I could forego the status, and just focus on earning miles, and Avianca has been recommended for cheap redemptions but the website availability (and website/customer service in general) doesn't look reliable. UA's site just works.

Asiana Club- this still looks promising, like a 2nd best of everything with easy status qualification/renewal (I think only Aegean requires fewer miles) without any requirements to fly on the carrier (unlike Aegean, etc.), has long enough expiration (10 or more years) and not awful mile earning. Unfortunately, redemption fees, etc. are apparently very high. I can't say how much, it is not possible to view/book reward flights other than on Asiana on their site.

EgyptAir Plus- similar, slightly worse, version of TK from my perspective.

LH M&M- this looks to be similar to UA MP, perhaps even better. Redemption miles are similar but I can't tell the fees, I will need to create an account first it seems. Status is valid for 2 years but this is fairly meaningless to me as the Gold requirement at 100k/year is too high and I don't need the protection for Silver. This does allow, even on Silver ("Frequent Traveller") status access to "Business Lounges" which I could possibly make use of on US connections even if it is a very basic setup like AA provides.

Copa- similar to Avianca's main issue of minimum segments flown on Copa, otherwise apparently good fit.

As a last question, what is probability UA would start charging surcharge fees in the next 5-10 years?

telescopic is offline