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Which FF program to replace DC for you?

Which FF program to replace DC for you?

Old Nov 4, 11, 6:52 am
  #1  
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Question Which FF program to replace DC for you?

Now that it seems that we really are facing the closing stages of Diamond Club, might it be a good idea to have a dedicated thread where people can discuss what options might be best for them?

As there are many of us with different circumstances (number of miles, how we could earn miles - flying or otherwise, base location, flying patterns, whether status/redemption possibilities are priority), if more people can add data and discussion points (and, perhaps, links to key threads on other subforums that others may not be as familiar with) this could build up to a useful resource in its own right (and not be buried in other discussions!)

So here's my situation:

Winding up DC:
I'm sitting on about 130k miles, which could be burned for 3 TATL trips for Mum to visit in the next year in C using C&M (that, with the return OW I still need to book for her upcoming trip, should clean us out if need be).

Initial speculation re. BAEC:
The family account option is attractive, but C&M has been our favoured burn route for seats in C.
C&M doesn't seem to be anything as good an option with BA, but it's still there - but I gather MFU is the thing to aim for with BA?

Flying habits and other earning potential:
Relatively modest compared to others on here, I'm sure
We're based between YYZ/BUF.
Mrs Sofasurfer usually has 2x intl work trips each year (Paris and China confirmed for 2012)
Annual family trips include 2-3 in North America (usually Florida for in-laws, indirect flights ex-BUF have been a great earner for us!) and at least 1 TATL.
I think there's a BA credit card in Canada and transfer options with RBC and Amex points, so scope there to top up.

Redemption or status?
Redemptions in C (using C&M) were our preferred habit in DC.

We don't fly enough for status (I dropped back to Blue, Mrs Sofasurfer is Silver (Little Miss Sofasurfer will hit silver if we do one more flight before DC ends!) so the family has possible status matches to BA that might be useful.


Other thoughts:
Living in Canada, Aeroplan is the immediate choice for *A - but none of us are likely to hit status (but A3 is the no-brainer - *S has value in NA in terms of avoiding bag fees, at least).
Thinking of Alaskan for non-*A miles earn/burn (to at least consolidate non-*A flying, as AS seem to have arrangements with OW and ST members , in spite of not being part of an alliance themselves). Don't think they have family membership, though.
LMS is 5 years old, has a M&M JetFriends account (before family accounts existed in DC) with about 8k and I don't think these miles start to expire until she hits 18. Not sure which other FF programs are particularly child/family-friendly?
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Old Nov 4, 11, 7:01 am
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by sofasurfer View Post
(but A3 is the no-brainer - *S has value in NA in terms of avoiding bag fees, at least).
There is a thread on Talkboard to support the A3 forum.
I think A3 will be the FFP of choice for those *A flyers who need a relatively low threshold for gold, as I mentioned in my post on the above thread
And there is even a plus which is very decent earnings for European Airlines which is not the case with DC.

The downside seems to be redemption (well, vs DC they all struggle)

GBM
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Old Nov 4, 11, 7:03 am
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US Airways for me, but I am not looking for status. Only C redemptions
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Old Nov 4, 11, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by northernstar84 View Post
US Airways for me, but I am not looking for status. Only C redemptions
Award mile requirements doesn't seem to be bad at all. However the mileage accrual with other *A-partners than US Airways, US Airways Express carriers, US Airways Shuttle and United, Continental Airlines and Lufthansa seems a bit low(150% in business?)
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Old Nov 4, 11, 12:41 pm
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*A? I'll have to think about that. I'm hoping Diamond Club's customer base is sold to BA and becomes part of BAEC (preferably with miles intact). I've already been flying a lot with BA in the last year, specifically to avoid the dreadful SAA on my trips to Harare!
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Old Nov 4, 11, 1:14 pm
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Any suggestions?

I have 600k in family accounts, only ever fly in my own aircraft (I run a microlight school, not a Lear Jet!) apart from redemptions, and gain miles from credit card spend and miles purchases.

Love cash and miles for redemptions.

Presume I should gain by getting bonuses for opening new CCs - such as BA ones? But difficult to spend on Amex.
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Old Nov 4, 11, 1:24 pm
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Having done no deep analysis I intuitively turn to AC since I usually make 1 or 2 revenue trips to the US per year in Y and find them the best for comfort, enjoy lounge in CA while transiting, like doing US immigration in CA, etc. And they have reasoably low requirements for *G.

Status is probably more important to me than rewards. I travel infrequently enough to not easily get premium tier on most programmes, but often enough to appreciate getting shower and breakfast in lounge at 5am, pre-booking seats that I like, glass of wine on the return, *G check-in, etc.

As a family of 4 it is pretty hard to get the points to a level where we can all head off and enjoy something in C. It's hardly worth redeeming in Y. Currently sitting on 300k DC destination miles after 6 years of collecting from flying, credit cards, Hilton, etc. May do a 'tactical' burn on some Euro C flights.

I'll try and work out a way of comparing earn/burn on programme XX if you typically fly on YY that takes into account the various fare bucket awards...

Although LHR based (only 25 mins away for a 6am departure ) I've always assummed that the BA programme would not work very well for me, but I'll do a retrospective on where it would have got me this year in status, and the value of miles for redemption.
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Old Nov 4, 11, 2:02 pm
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If you are UK based, you need to be practical. Do you earn enough miles from flying alone to support your redemption goals? If you've got a family to fly, almost certainly not.

You therefore need a programme which allows you to earn in other way. This may mean one that has a UK credit card (United, M&M) or that allows Membership Rewards transfers. Lufty has been quite good in Germany with non-flying earning routes - it remains to be seen if they improve their UK efforts when DC is gone.

Remember that *A status matches are fairly frequent, although you often need to use a false address in another country to get them! I have had Star status, Silver or Gold, since 2005 entirely through status matches - although, of course *A Silver is no good for lounge access except when flying the airline which issues your card.

You also need to remember to compare the miles earning chart with the miles needed for status. 20k for Gold may sound low, but if you only earn 1.25x for J and nothing for low-price Y tickets (as a made-up example) then it may actually be tougher than getting status with an airline requiring 40k but giving 2x for J and 1x for cheapo Y.

Also worth remembering that some *A airlines give more than 1 years status. Asiana and M&M offer nearly 3 years of Gold status if you qualify at the right time of year, for eg - I think Thai does too.
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Old Nov 4, 11, 2:52 pm
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Currently I feel my option is to get a job that pays well enough to allow for the outright purchase of Business Class travel all-year round...I don't think that's going to happen any time soon though!
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Old Nov 4, 11, 3:34 pm
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Originally Posted by GBM.flights View Post
There is a thread on Talkboard to support the A3 forum.
I think A3 will be the FFP of choice for those *A flyers who need a relatively low threshold for gold, as I mentioned in my post on the above thread
And there is even a plus which is very decent earnings for European Airlines which is not the case with DC.

The downside seems to be redemption (well, vs DC they all struggle)

GBM
Indeed I feel A3 will get alot of business from the demise of BMI. Its a great program for quick status and retaining it also. Thats my choice. Im already Silver with little effort. Nearly hitting Gold.
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Old Nov 4, 11, 3:57 pm
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Originally Posted by DELLAS View Post
Indeed I feel A3 will get alot of business from the demise of BMI. Its a great program for quick status and retaining it also. Thats my choice. Im already Silver with little effort. Nearly hitting Gold.
My only worry is that A3 is too good to be true. If a lot of members sudenly start using A3 for status and elsewhere for crediting miles, I could see them changing the program. It seems some of the T&C are vague, so there may not be a lot you could do if they want to change.

This could easily happen as once you have status, there is no real reason to keep crediting to them as burn rates and change rules are not so good
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Old Nov 4, 11, 6:35 pm
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Originally Posted by soy;17393371[B
]My only worry is that A3 is too good to be true.[/B] If a lot of members sudenly start using A3 for status and elsewhere for crediting miles, I could see them changing the program. It seems some of the T&C are vague, so there may not be a lot you could do if they want to change.

This could easily happen as once you have status, there is no real reason to keep crediting to them as burn rates and change rules are not so good
How is it too good to be true? I can't see anything on the program that is "too good to be true"?
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Old Nov 4, 11, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by joorinainen View Post
Originally Posted by soy;17393371[B
]My only worry is that A3 is too good to be true.[/B] If a lot of members sudenly start using A3 for status and elsewhere for crediting miles, I could see them changing the program. It seems some of the T&C are vague, so there may not be a lot you could do if they want to change.

This could easily happen as once you have status, there is no real reason to keep crediting to them as burn rates and change rules are not so good
How is it too good to be true? I can't see anything on the program that is "too good to be true"?
I agree that the program is rather weak regarding the earn/burn ratio and spending options. So I would recommend it only if someone primarily cares about status. For collecting miles, it is a waste of money/miles. Therefore there is nothing about the program that is too good to be true.
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Old Nov 5, 11, 3:44 am
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Any views on the United FTP? Pros and cons?
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Old Nov 5, 11, 7:55 am
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I initially wrote-off A3, however looking at the detail and compared to my own flying habits, it doesn't seem too bad.
I tend to fly BD, SQ and LX.
If BD are out of the equation, then it's mostly SQ and LX.

A lot of programmes will not credit 100% mileage for SQ's W fares, whereas A3 do. SQ flights are usually long, so this would make a big difference.
Similarly, with LX, some only give 100%, 125% or 150% for LX's P fares, whereas A3 give 200%.

My main concern with A3 is currently the ability to book one-way awards and include stopovers. I get the impression from the T&C's that stop-overs are not permitted.

TK however seem a little similar, even if the *G qualification is higher.
They do one-way awards but at 60% of the return price and no stopovers permitted on one-ways. No stop-overs on open-jaw tickets either.

I assume A3 is in a financially unstable position, however I probably trust them a bit more than I trust TK.
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