Advice for ZRH based on A3 M&B Membership

Old Nov 17, 18, 1:27 am
  #1  
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Question Advice for ZRH based on A3 M&B Membership

Hi all

I am ZRH based and currently M&M Silver. When I'm a free agent end of the year, I'm thinking of switching to A3 M&B. I understand I need to have a few segments on A3 itself to Greece. I'm wondering if there are any other pitfalls or areas of consideration moving from M&M to M&B.

I mostly fly within Europe shorthauls to LHR/LCY, TXL, FRA, BCN, CDG with 2-3 trips to SEA, SFO/SJC and 1x/year BOM. This year I travelled only around 40k on LX/LH M&M and expect a similar pattern next year or a little less. I always fly cheapest economy possible and the BOM trip is business class.

Questions
- Would I get miles for the short haul trips on LH/LX? Currently I get 500 + Silver bonus 125.
- Do they count as status miles?
- Would A3 allow for upgrades on partner airlines like United?

Doing some searches, it appears many LX flights do not actually accrue miles/status on A3 so that is a deal breaker as I prefer to fly LX. Too bad as I'll never hit M&M Senator. Might be better to aim for UA Gold instead. Curious what the other A3 FTers can advise...thanks in advance

Last edited by MitzEclipse; Nov 17, 18 at 1:42 am
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Old Nov 17, 18, 2:38 am
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The cheap(est) LX/LH/OS fares earn nothing, or almost nothing, in most FFPs. Exception to that rule is M&M where you always earn something (though generally also very low amounts for the cheapest fares).

With M&M silver you do get lounge access in the LX/LH/OS hubs right? So you do already get some tangible benefits. I'd be very careful to give those up when switching to another FFP.

However having said that - if you do the math and you ARE able to get A3 Gold, then you would get more benefits when flying other *A airlines. With Gold you always get access to a lounge, you'll get access to the Senator lounges with LH/LX/OS, etc.

I'd advise to take a look at the exact fare classes you will likely be flying with, and calculate how many miles you would earn. Especially the long-haul segments may earn plenty of miles with A3 - and depending on the carrier those alone may be enough to reach/attain Gold.
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Old Nov 17, 18, 3:17 am
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Originally Posted by MitzEclipse View Post
...{snip}...I understand I need to have a few segments on A3 itself to Greece. I'm wondering if there are any other pitfalls or areas of consideration moving from M&M to M&B...{snip}...
Now, although I do understand qll your points and questions and so on, allow me to disagree with you on this (my highlighting)! Having to fly to Greece is not a pitfall; I'd consider it an advantage!
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Old Nov 17, 18, 10:08 am
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Also there are no must to fly to Greece with A3. It simply lower the requirements but is in no case mandatory. And you can fly ZRH-ATH-FRA if you want.

Anyway i am based in FRA and I am A3 Gold, despite flying LH on economy fares. I manage thanks to long haul P fare on LX/OS, Premium economy on long haul with LH, flying with other *A when possible and throwing a 500 miles segment on LH using a T or W fare when possible.
And for this and next year, I requalified to Gold without needing the A3 segments. But I fly A3 on a dozen segments because I like Greece and I like the airline.
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Old Nov 17, 18, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by fransknorge View Post
Also there are no must to fly to Greece with A3. It simply lower the requirements but is in no case mandatory. And you can fly ZRH-ATH-FRA if you want.

Anyway i am based in FRA and I am A3 Gold, despite flying LH on economy fares. I manage thanks to long haul P fare on LX/OS, Premium economy on long haul with LH, flying with other *A when possible and throwing a 500 miles segment on LH using a T or W fare when possible.
And for this and next year, I requalified to Gold without needing the A3 segments. But I fly A3 on a dozen segments because I like Greece and I like the airline.
Very similar situation here.
Cheap LH economy tickets are what I mostly fly on within Europq.

Nevertheless, I just qualified for A3*G this year and will requalify in Dec, about half a year early, without having flown A3.
All flights I took this year (with the exception of one 4 segment run on A3 to get to gold in the first place) were actually necessary and I just adjusted the routings a little bit to maximize .
As I unexpectedly moved from FRA to NYC it will not be that easy to get the segments in the future. I really enjoyed the trips to Greece I did this year.

My longhaul flights are mostly in LH PE (N or E) or SAS PE/Business, which generates a lot of miles.
Nevertheless, if you are flying LH/LX in cheap economy fares all the time, it might be better to just try keeping the FTL.
Especially if you usually qualify via segments rather than miles.
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Old Nov 18, 18, 4:40 am
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I'm qualifying for both FTL in M&M this calendar year and A3*G (by April 2019). After two FTL qualifying years back-to-back, I won't have to worry about it again for a while (expiry in Feb 2022), so I can finally concentrate everything on A3. I'll still be flying mostly on M&M airlines in Y but once you have *G it's quite easy to keep (12K with 4 segments).

Apart from the low earnings in LH/LX/OS/LO that others have mentioned, be aware that if you bid for online upgrades on LH you'll normally get P class, which credits zero to A3.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 2:07 am
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Since earning on M&B, especially for LH group flights, has been covered thoroughly, I will focus on burning. May I just add that popular fares on SG also earn nil on M&B (KLNV on econ, R on premium econ), but since Asia is not among your regular destinations this should not be an issue for you.

M&B is in general a great FFP, but burning is its weak point (see next paragraph). What has worked for me since switching to M&B is using M&B as my main FFP (but I do fly A3 regularly), and keeping my previous FFP account (EuroBonus) as a mileage bank, especially when booking C or F flights for my holidays in Southeast Asia or North America Could a similar scheme work for you?

Redeeming using M&B miles is very often cheaper miles-wise compared to other *A FFP. Equally often though any gains are eaten off by much higher taxes, fees, fuel surcharges etc... So in the end it's a matter of what is usually your constraint when redeeming: miles or cash. There are moreover some weird restrictions when burning, especially if you use miles to fly long-haul premium classes. You are allowed for example just a single layover per trip; a potential third leg counts as a separate trip... And both legs must be in the same class, otherwise they are treated as two trips, even if the short-haul leg is in lower class. This could be an issue if your are redeeming on F class, since there is no international F on short haul. Even if you are flying C on your long-haul, but your connection flight is all coach or is sold out on C, you will need again to spend more miles to fly on a lower class for some reason The cherry on top of the cake is their online booking engine that very often ignores potentially convenient routes, which you are forced to book over the phone, paying an additional fee.

Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
Now, although I do understand qll your points and questions and so on, allow me to disagree with you on this (my highlighting)! Having to fly to Greece is not a pitfall; I'd consider it an advantage!
As a regular visitor to Greece over the past five years I cannot but agree with the above statement.

Note though that you don't need to; flying to Greece is not a requirement, it just makes (re)qualification easier. With a flying frequency not very different from yours (around 40 intra-European and 4 long-haul per year), in the past five years I would have re-qualified for A3G even without the four A3 segments.

Last edited by East_and_West; Nov 19, 18 at 2:13 am
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Old Nov 20, 18, 12:47 am
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Could you please give examples of high surcharges redemption using M&B miles ? Based on this forum and on my experience of 1 redemption (so very limited) I found the deal to be good as there was barely any surcharges.
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Old Nov 20, 18, 2:38 am
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Originally Posted by fransknorge View Post
Could you please give examples of high surcharges redemption using M&B miles ? Based on this forum and on my experience of 1 redemption (so very limited) I found the deal to be good as there was barely any surcharges.
Some random searches, comparison between EuroBonus (SK) and M&B (A3). Starting with one of my favourite routes:

Dec 6 to Dec 10, ARN-BKK-ARN on TG (C)
M&B: 110K miles + 293 EUR
EB: 160K miles + 1225 kr (~120 EUR)

And some routes originating from ATH:

Jan 16 to Jan 20, ATH-{ZRH}-JFK-{ZRH}-ATH on LX (Y)
M&B: 60K miles + 438 EUR
EB: 70K miles + 1245 kr (~122 EUR)

Jan 21 to Jan 29, ATH-{FRA}-YVR-{FRA}-ATH on LH (C)
M&B: 90K miles + 731 EUR
EB: 130K miles + 1611 kr (~155 EUR)

By the way I just noticed that (unlike EB) fees on M&B are higher for redemptions on C class. So could there be some kind of fee on C class tickets that SK pay themselves, but A3 pass on to the travellers?
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Old Nov 20, 18, 5:50 am
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Thanks, I see what you mean now. I was thinking in comparison to LH, AF or BA progra,s where the fuel surcharges is often +1000 EUR on a award, the A3 ones are quite low, even though 730 EUR is very borderline (but then it is on LH metal, I would expect that from them).
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Old Nov 20, 18, 2:10 pm
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Wow many thanks for the insightful replies.

Given the eco light low fares I'm booking mostly flying LH/LX, I'm more than likely not going to get many miles via M&B. I was looking at sample flights from ZRH to some random Greek islands. All require stop overs in Athens which is expected but some of the flights are operated by LX which wouldn't count towards the M&B Gold. Therefore I'll have to make probably two trips out to Greece which would be great but doesn't make sense due to personal constraints.

Therefore for my wife as she is M&M Silver via eco light segments, she'll probably keep focused on that.
For me, I'm still weighing out either A3 or UA Gold. I'm also keen on cheap award redemptions (one thing which is a killer on M&M with taxes!) and UA has been great - plus I can transfer my Chase UR points to UA.
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