Considering switching to A3

Old Dec 24, 11, 4:39 pm
  #1  
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Considering switching to A3

Hi,

I'm a frequent traveler between AMS and ATH, I fly about 18 rt's per year on this route in economy. With Flying blue that ends up to be ~36 segments a year, earns about 50K miles (Worth a TATL Business class award) and Gold level with lounge access.

Due to the fact that ATH is not my final destination (In fact, I travel down to the south of the peleponisos by public transport) my timeframe for arrival into ATH it quite limited. Basically I need to be on the 15:55 bus out of the airport, or I wont make my connections. This is proving to be more and more difficult while KL, AF and AZ are moving and scaling down on flights.

The good point is that LH, LX and A3 have reasonably fitting flights on this route. No direct flights obviously, but connecting through MUC, ZHR, FRA or even CPH can be done quite fast. Might work

So I tried a few itins that would fit my schedule and I was wondering if you guys could confirm if this pattern would indeed net enough miles to become A3 Gold and have *A lounge access worldwide. Example:

LH AMS-MUC (S) -> A3 MUC-ATH (L) -> A3 ATH-MUC (L) -> LH MUC-AMS (S)

The A3 earnings page talks about 'flat per routing'. I assume this means per segment? So am I right in thinking the above will earn me 500+1000+1000+500 = 3K miles per roundtrip?

As I fly this route 18 times a year that totals 54K miles, which seems high considering 20K miles is required to make gold. Am I missing something? Or is it really that easy to get (almost 3 times) Gold?

Another advantage might be that the miles are probably worth more than FlyingBlue miles. 50K FB miles equals a trans-atlantic business class award, but requires about 300 euro of taxes and surcharges. Is this the same for A3 or will redeeming miles be cheaper? How many miles and taxes should I expect for a business class TATL flight with a transfer in FRA for example?

Thanks for the help
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Old Dec 24, 11, 5:13 pm
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A3 is actually the easiest airline to get gold status. It's indeed thru.
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Old Dec 24, 11, 11:41 pm
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The main disadvantages of A3 are not bring able to change redemption flights once booked - you lose the miles - and not having a miles-earning credit card for non Greek residents, or means to transfer Amex points etc into miles.

Apart from that it's a really competitive scheme and on your flying pattern probably worth joining, as you should get *G within a year.
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Old Dec 24, 11, 11:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Xandrios View Post
Another advantage might be that the miles are probably worth more than FlyingBlue miles. 50K FB miles equals a trans-atlantic business class award, but requires about 300 euro of taxes and surcharges. Is this the same for A3 or will redeeming miles be cheaper? How many miles and taxes should I expect for a business class TATL flight with a transfer in FRA for example?
You need 90,000 for a business award Europe-North America-Europe. I assume that taxes are calculated the same way as with BMI, so taxes depend upon which airline you fly on. Expect to pay a lot to fly with LH, and far less or even nothing with US or NZ.

But the standard Flying Blue business class award on the same route is 100,000 miles. It's only the promo awards which are available for 50,000.
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Old Dec 25, 11, 12:02 am
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To all benefits officially listed I would add a very important one that has nothing to do with miles: A3 personnel is usually extremely friendly and helpful, on thE phone, at the counters and in their lounges. I won't list here what I mean, but believe me, their customer service is a "10" . I used to fly AF/KL (was PE) but left them for M&B when A3 joined *A. I never regretted that move, especially now that the "morning" KLM flight from AMS leaves after 11 am, sometimes making me miss my 5 pm connection to HER. So, go ahead, change alliances, and wait till the next FB campaign to get matched to Gold after achieving the status on M&B
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Old Dec 25, 11, 3:00 am
  #6  
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Thanks guys! Your input is much appreciated


Originally Posted by wyvern View Post
The main disadvantages of A3 are not bring able to change redemption flights once booked - you lose the miles - and not having a miles-earning credit card for non Greek residents, or means to transfer Amex points etc into miles.

Apart from that it's a really competitive scheme and on your flying pattern probably worth joining, as you should get *G within a year.
So there is a creditcard option for Greek residents? I do have an address in Greece and can probably open up a bank account as well. Perhaps that could work. Which card do they offer, as I only see booking.com and Hertz as partners.


Originally Posted by RedChili View Post
You need 90,000 for a business award Europe-North America-Europe. I assume that taxes are calculated the same way as with BMI, so taxes depend upon which airline you fly on. Expect to pay a lot to fly with LH, and far less or even nothing with US or NZ.

But the standard Flying Blue business class award on the same route is 100,000 miles. It's only the promo awards which are available for 50,000.
Interesting, good to know. So basically this works the same as with Skyteam. Delta flights within the US for example are almost tax-free with skyteam.

As for the 50K vs 100K: True, but the large amount of flights on discount makes it almost always possible to find a great holiday destination on sale. And thats what I use the miles for

Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
To all benefits officially listed I would add a very important one that has nothing to do with miles: A3 personnel is usually extremely friendly and helpful, on thE phone, at the counters and in their lounges. I won't list here what I mean, but believe me, their customer service is a "10" . I used to fly AF/KL (was PE) but left them for M&B when A3 joined *A. I never regretted that move, especially now that the "morning" KLM flight from AMS leaves after 11 am, sometimes making me miss my 5 pm connection to HER. So, go ahead, change alliances, and wait till the next FB campaign to get matched to Gold after achieving the status on M&B
Does A3 use their own personell in ATH? I always assumed OA and A3 (and a whole bunch of others) use the airport staff for checkin and so on.

Seems that we have been flying the same route indeed! KL's move to change the 9:30 flight to depart at noon has been very frustrating to me. Now I only catch my connection if the flight is early, as I need to be out of the airport 15:55...the official arrival time. And from next summer it will be worse: The late night/early morning flight will be canceled, and kl1575 arrives at 16:20. Horrible.

So this might very well be a good option then. I will need 19K miles, so with the above example that ends up to be 6 flights. I might actually be able to qualify for both FB and A3. The only downside is that for those 6 flights...no lounge access.
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Old Dec 26, 11, 1:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Xandrios View Post
...So there is a creditcard option for Greek residents? I do have an address in Greece and can probably open up a bank account as well. Perhaps that could work. Which card do they offer, as I only see booking.com and Hertz as partners...
In Greek
...Does A3 use their own personell in ATH? I always assumed OA and A3 (and a whole bunch of others) use the airport staff for checkin and so on.
They do their own ground handling in ATH and SKG. In HER they recently changed to Swissport, although the latter hired several (or all?) of the people they laid off in that deal.
...And from next summer it will be worse: The late night/early morning flight will be canceled, and kl1575 arrives at 16:20. Horrible.
Down to one flight/day during the summer , amazing
So this might very well be a good option then. I will need 19K miles, so with the above example that ends up to be 6 flights. I might actually be able to qualify for both FB and A3. The only downside is that for those 6 flights...no lounge access.
You may get matched to FB Gold, if they have the same campaign next year! AT any rate, the A3 lounge is much, much better than the Goldair one.
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Old Dec 27, 11, 3:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Xandrios View Post
So there is a creditcard option for Greek residents? I do have an address in Greece and can probably open up a bank account as well. Perhaps that could work.
Typically you wanna have income personally in Greece; banks will ask you for your (cleared) income tax return in order to grant you a credit line.
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Old Dec 27, 11, 7:13 pm
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Originally Posted by andre1970 View Post
Typically you wanna have income personally in Greece; banks will ask you for your (cleared) income tax return in order to grant you a credit line.
Many people there just receive their paycheck in cash, and spend it in cash, to avoid taxes though.
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Old Dec 27, 11, 7:41 pm
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Originally Posted by AA_EXP09 View Post
Many people there just receive their paycheck in cash, and spend it in cash, to avoid taxes though.
Receiving one's paycheck in cash (and spending it in cash) doesn't exclude filing taxes...
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Old Dec 29, 11, 9:00 am
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I am also considering switching to A3. The main reason to acquire Gold status on *Alliance. I already have Gold status on Air Canada. My main issue is how to earn points on A3 while still enjoying my Gold benefits. If I provide my A3 frequent flyer number at the time of booking, the boarding pass would show that I have no status with *Alliance. It was suggested that I just show my Gold status card with Air Canada when availing benefits. Can the agents also include my Air Canada number on the boarding pass so that it is easier to use priority boarding and accessing lounges. Any experiences?
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Old Dec 29, 11, 12:47 pm
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You can always use your Golf card at the lounge or for priority boarding, it will always open the doors it is supposed to open, irrespective of the number and status printed on your boarding card.
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Old Dec 29, 11, 12:47 pm
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You can always use your Gold card at the lounge or for priority boarding, it will always open the doors it is supposed to open, irrespective of the number and status printed on your boarding card.
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Old Dec 29, 11, 3:03 pm
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
You can always use your Golf card ...
Excellent. Who knew?

Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
You can always use your Gold card ...
Ah!
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Old Dec 30, 11, 1:52 am
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Originally Posted by GoldCircle View Post
Excellent. Who knew?



Ah!
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