Aeroplan vs. Marco Polo

Old Oct 16, 01, 5:07 pm
  #1  
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Aeroplan vs. Marco Polo

Hi, I'm usually over at the Cathay boards, but I've suddenly realized that I've got to make some decisions. I'm currently a Marco Polo Gold with Cathay (so have OW lounge access, etc..), and could probably get to Diamond level with Cathay before the year is out (this is 120,000 miles, but I think I'll make it). There are a few more benefits, but nothing amazing.

On the other hand, I think I could also join Aeroplan and get the 38,000 miles for Elite (?) status, the one that offers * lounge access (and maintain CX Gold level). Problem is, I can't both get CX Diamond and Aeroplan Elite, I'll have to choose. Does anybody have an idea of what they consider the best benefits of Aeroplan to be? How are the AC lounges in YVR, HK, and BKK (places I seem to be most often)?

Note that Marco Polo doesn't offer too much (no extra miles, no complimentary upgrades, etc..), so it's sometimes difficult to see the benefits. One big benefit is first call on operational upgrades.....And of course, the in-flight service on CX is very good, and the Wing in HK is very nice.

Thanks very much in advance for any ideas you might have...
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Old Oct 16, 01, 5:18 pm
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The main *A lounge in BKK would be the TG Royal Orchid one. Bit old and dated but o.k. free food and booze. Doubt if any *A lounge in HKG can even compare to the Wing (even if BC). My SQ FC-flying PPS-top-tied elite parent/step-parent are amazed at what it offers compared to the best SQ offers in SIN. Int'l MLL lounge at YVR is pretty much par with the CX lounge. YVR CX lounge has much better food (and quality of drinks) however.

As an aside to qualifying for AC/E, you might want to consider shifting from CX MPO to AA as it is the FF programme that CX markets to Canadian residents. I'm not sure if the 120k you fly is purely base miles or includes class-of-service bonus but if it is basic, you could be earning 360k miles a year as an AA elite.

You may not be first for operational upgrades as an AA elite (PLT or EXP) but from what others have mentioned in the AA and oneworld forums, it seems you're pretty high up. You also get 100% bonus for oneworld airline flights and you can convert the AA e-upgrades to miles at a rate of 10k for 4 (which is the rate you earn them) effectively getting a 200% bonus as a PLT/EXP.

Problems are you don't get lounge access in N. America if flying on an AA flight and you need 4 AA segments a year to requalify.

To qualify, ask AA for a Platinum challenge, if not outright comp you. You need to earn 10,000 points within a 90-day window. If you meet the requirements, the qualifying flights taken get the elite bonus retroactively and you earn status. You only need 35k miles or points to qualify as a Canadian resident) vs. 50k elsewhere. You still need 100k for EXP.

[This message has been edited by terenz (edited 10-16-2001).]
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Old Oct 16, 01, 6:31 pm
  #3  
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I echo terenz's comments. But also suggest you opt to fly AC very early in 2002 and earn 35K in quick order. That way you will get Elite status for 2002/3 as well as the following year 2003/4, and thus have your reserve STARGold status. You can then decide if you want to fly the balance of 2002 in one or the other of the oneworld programs.
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Old Oct 16, 01, 8:30 pm
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What routes do you usually fly and what kind of fare do you usually pay? I would even suggest that you go for SE with AC if you are looking for upgrades. However, you would have no access to the Wing which I think is one of the best lounge around the world!
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Old Oct 16, 01, 9:35 pm
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I normally fly YVR-BKK (and then on to Hanoi once I pick up the latest visa), so I guess Air Canada and Thai have service through Narita?

What is this about getting 35,000 extra miles if I fly early in 2002? I've got a trip planned for around mid-January, returning 3-4 weeks later. Would this qualify me. Let's see, 35,000 + about 18,000 = 53,000, putting me already over! Wow! I'm so Cathay-centric, it would take at least 3 RTs to get to the same point with Cathay, normally.

Lately, I'm flying J more than before, but it kind of depends upon the employer, sometimes I fly Y (consulting).....Say 50/50 at this point, with J being the next 3 round trips....

It sounds like it's worth trying out.

Final question, does anybody know any competitive travel agents in YVR? I know they can't match BKK prices for J, but I've got to be as frugal as I can....
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Old Oct 16, 01, 9:39 pm
  #6  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">What is this about getting 35,000 extra miles if I fly early in 2002? I've got a trip planned for around mid-January, returning 3-4 weeks later. Would this qualify me.</font>
Actually, we are not talking about any kind of bonuses here. What we are advising you is to wait until Jan 2002 to start flying Air Canada.

Since Air Canada Elite requires 35,000 qualifying miles to acheive, if you fly that amount early next year. You would get the status activated immediately for the balance of the year as well as for the 2003 benefit year (which mean it's effective until Feb 2004). However, if you make Elite right now, you would only get Elite until Feb 2003 unless you requalify again next year.
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Old Oct 16, 01, 9:41 pm
  #7  
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It's like this:

On Jan 1/02, your status miles total resets to 0. You have all year to earn 35k and get Elite for the year March 1/03-Feb 29/04.

But if you fly 35k early in 2002, your Elite package (card, upgrades, etc.) will be sent right away, so you'll have the use of it for the rest of 2002 through 28/2/03. PLUS you'll have status for the year starting 1/3/04. (These year numbers are scaring me!).

Shareholder's point was that if you fly 35k this year, you get Elite through Feb/03. If you fly 35k in January, you get Elite through Feb/04.

andrew
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Old Oct 16, 01, 9:42 pm
  #8  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Final question, does anybody know any competitive travel agents in YVR? I know they can't match BKK prices for J, but I've got to be as frugal as I can.... </font>
If you really want to cut cost of your travel, you might want to consider making Air Canada Super Elite instead. You can buy V fare & higher and get your upgrades confirmed at the time of booking. There are some very competitive fare to HKG on AC available from travel agencies here in YVR year round. You can always take AC to HKG and then connect to TG to BKK.
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Old Oct 16, 01, 10:44 pm
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Another benefit of shifting your oneworld account to AAdvantage from CX's program is that [with a Canadian mailing address] you will pick up some pretty good flight bonuses when flying CX. They generally give a 25K round trip bonus on First and Business fares, 10K for economy fares. And Canadian members get credit for all CX fares except the Asia Airpass one. I believe both US AAdvantage and CX's own program give credit on a more limited range of fares.

The others have explained the benefit of going for Aeroplan in the new year, rather than before the end of this one.
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Old Oct 17, 01, 12:42 am
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Given all these benefits, how in the world does Marco Polo hang onto members? I've been in SE Asia for 8 years, so didn't know much about this. What do I get, one mile earned for one flown, no matter what my status! It sounds like I can do quite a bit better, and maybe keep AA platinum AND get Aeroplan Elite (or better?) with a bit of creative planning. Thanks very much for the tips. I'll contact AA first and see if they'll comp me at the same level of status, then we'll see how things go. Should just take 2 flights or so to get to renew Platinum, the way I figure it. With all these miles, I guess I should say, "goodbye cattle class, was nice knowing you!"
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Old Oct 17, 01, 2:26 am
  #11  
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One word of warning re: status with AAdvantage, you require a minimum of four AA flights in a year to (re)qualify for elite status, in addition to the other requirements of points/miles. However, this four AA flight rule doesn't apply to the Platinum Challenge.

FewMiles..

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Old Oct 17, 01, 7:51 pm
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Commuter,

you might want to bear in mind AAdvntage has these CX upgrade awards (for round trip.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">
Upgrade Awards between North America Zone and Hong Kong, Asia,
Japan, Africa, Pacific or Middle East

Award Code
Upgrade on a full-fare Economy class (Y,Y2,YX2)
to Business Class 25B
Business Class to First Class 40X

Upgrade Award Codes contain the number of miles needed to claim the award (in
thousands; for example, 25 for 25,000 miles) and a letter code for internal use only. Example: 25B
</font>
Given that you'll earn c. 35k+ for a YVR-HKG round trip (economy fare), you'll earn enough for a BC upgrade from full economy, and every trip in business class, you'll earn enough for upgrade to FC.

As for travel agents, e-mail me privately. Mine is offering BC fares (YVR-SIN) about $1.5k lower than published.
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