Alternatives to Marco Polo Club

Old Jan 9, 20, 12:55 pm
  #1  
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Alternatives to Marco Polo Club

Hi All,

I am from Hong Kong. Every year, I fly at least 4 times HKG-LHR with Cathay in Economy. I also fly to Seoul as well. Starting university in UK soon, I will travel with my friends to Europe for vacation, normally on service airlines, such as BA, AY, LH. Therefore, priority service matters, such as, extra baggage allowance and good administrative services such as toll-free calls at any time, clear ticketing fare rules, be able to talk to managers when the front line can’t solve our problems, just like CX.

I will be an uni student for the next 3 years and probably another year in the US for masters. I don’t mind to take business for some trips.

It is very likely for me and my family to relocate to the UK or US, probably Singapore as well due to the social unrest in HK.

I am a Marco Polo Gold member (OW Sapphire) because due to unforeseen circumstances I flew 7 times HKG-LHR last year.

I would like to maintain my OW Status, but keeping in mind my future plan for the next couple of years it is unlikely for me to do so with Cathay.

I am looking for an alternative for Marco Polo and have done some research. Personally, I am attracted to Qatar’s Privilege club because the membership lasts for two years, which saves me a lot of time in planning trips. They also have bonus Qpoints as well which attracts me a lot.

I am also attracted to Finnair’s FFP. We are able to collect mileages based on distance travelled in kilometres. When taking Finnair flights there are multipliers based on tier and if I take CX flights, I can get extra mileages. I am also attracted to their lifetime membership.

While researching, I found out that Japan Airline’s JGC Club automatically give members lifetime OW Sapphire memberships. Looks like a good thing…

Thank you for reading though. Can you kindly suggest which FFP I should go? If any Star Alliance airlines are suitable, please feel free to suggest.

P.S. I think grace period matters most.

Many thanks, Neo

Last edited by NeoZ; Jan 14, 20 at 4:02 am
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Old Jan 9, 20, 4:26 pm
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QR is amazing in the sky but not so good at the ground. I advise you to not choose QRPC if you're looking for a good back office. Maybe you could choose BAEC? Have a look at Your guide to the Executive Club, attaining status and earning Avios | 2020 edition, there are plenty of helpful members at the BA forum that'll help you with any questions.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 5:14 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by NeoZ View Post
While researching, I found out that Japan Airline’s JGC Club automatically give members lifetime OW Sapphire memberships. Looks like a good thing…
Half of the FOPs you need to get into JMB Sapphire (from which you can get into JGC and stay OWS for 5,000 JMB miles annually, while current rules are in force) have to be with JAL https://www.jal.co.jp/en/jalmile/fly...ire_miles.html

In comparison, BAEC only requires four BA flights Your guide to the Executive Club, attaining status and earning Avios | 2020 edition, which you can try to achieve on Euro Traveller while studying in the UK.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 6:28 pm
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What do you think your travel pattern will be and in which cabins? BA is easy to get status as long as you’re flying premium economy and above but economy only flying is quite difficult these days with any program.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 6:53 pm
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Hi Neo,
Having read through your questions, I think it is better you join BAEC, I also fly HKGLON quite frequent, it’s very easy to maintain status with BAEC. you may often find CX offering some good fares exEU rather than ExLON. As long as you can maintain BAEC Gold, one day when you need to rejoin MPC, they might do a status match based on your BAEC status.
In addition, as an uni student, I wouldn’t worry too much about status tbh, after all the travel would be a minor issue.

But please do enlighten me for what you stated “due to unforeseen circumstances I flew 7 times HKG-LHR last year”?
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Old Jan 9, 20, 7:25 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by NeoZ View Post
I am from Hong Kong. Every year, I fly at least 4 times HKG-LHR with Cathay in Economy. I also fly to Seoul as well. Starting university in UK soon, I will travel with my friends to Europe for vacation. Therefore, priority service matters, such as, extra baggage allowance and good administrative services such as toll-free calls at any time, clear ticketing fare rules, be able to talk to managers when the front line can’t solve our problems, just like CX.

I will be an uni student for the next 3 years and probably another year in the US for masters. I don’t mind to take business for some trips.

It is very likely for me and my family to relocate to the UK or US, probably Singapore as well due to the social unrest in HK.

I am a Marco Polo Gold member (OW Sapphire) because due to unforeseen circumstances I flew 7 times HKG-LHR last year.

I would like to maintain my OW Status, but keeping in mind my future plan for the next couple of years it is unlikely for me to do so with Cathay.

I am looking for an alternative for Marco Polo and have done some research. Personally, I am attracted to Qatar’s Privilege club because the membership lasts for two years, which saves me a lot of time in planning trips. They also have bonus Qpoints as well which attracts me a lot.

I am also attracted to Finnair’s FFP. We are able to collect mileages based on distance travelled in kilometres. When taking Finnair flights there are multipliers based on tier and if I take CX flights, I can get extra mileages. I am also attracted to their lifetime membership.

While researching, I found out that Japan Airline’s JGC Club automatically give members lifetime OW Sapphire memberships. Looks like a good thing…

Thank you for reading though. Can you kindly suggest which FFP I should go? If any Star Alliance airlines are suitable, please feel free to suggest.
Travel pattern? long/short haul - class?
What are your objectives with a ffp?
What do use the ff miles/points/avios for?

As above, if flying (cheap) economy and only a few flights getting status with any ffp is hard/impossible. And harder again with revenue based ffp's. For short UK Eu trips fly the airline with the best price and schedule. That may not be a major alliance airline. For short~cheap Eu juants you would not get many ff miles/status earnings with any ffp.

BAEC is popular, and a suitable choice especially since you will be in UK.
Have not read of anyone recommending QR or AY, unless they live in the respective county and fly the home airline a lot.

The airline you fly most or an airline of the country you live is the best ffp for many people. Generally you are better earning on your primary airline due to greater recognition, better service when disruptions, better seating (with some ffp’s) ability to upgrade flights, possible operational upgrades and simpler to earn non flying ff miles/points. Status benefits can be better on the home airline.

Oneworld:- Deciding on a Oneworld Frequent Flyer Program? Help is here


Be mindful of expiry Miles/Points that Do and Don't Expire. Click to open the wiki.

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jan 9, 20 at 7:33 pm
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Old Jan 9, 20, 7:45 pm
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I will recommend OP to look at BAEC as well, as long as you are OK to transit in DOH on QR, racking up on BA TP is relative easy and the 4 BA sector requirements can be easily met by intra-EU / UK domestic flights.

Econ Low (not lowest) in QR for LON-DOH-HKG will be 140 RT, which you need 4 round trip plus the intra EU flying to maintain a OW SA. I will say it's almost silly to do direct HKG-LON if you are aiming at Elite tier.

Alternatively as you say with JAL you can do JAL Global Club once you attain 50K FOP but for the first year you have to do half of them on JAL, which you can do a domestic run on HND-OKA/ISG to fulfil it first as it attracts 2x / 1.5 FOP and relative cheap on JEP. Do search online for JAL mileage run, where there has been multiple guides on that.
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Last edited by ChrisLi; Jan 9, 20 at 8:58 pm Reason: Remove mention of 60K
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Old Jan 9, 20, 8:20 pm
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I would suggest BA for you as well. After moving to Asia I decided to stick with BA and still make the effort of getting the four annual BA flights in to maintain Gold. This, for me, is the trickiest part being based in BKK - the tier point requirement is easily met. Naturally, the four flights will not be an issue for you if UK based.

However, as others have said - it all depends on travel pattern and class of service. If mainly flying lowest economy, then status is difficult to attain on any carrier. But should you throw in, say a QR business return LON-DOH-HKG, that would get you all the way to 560 out of the 600 tier points required for BAEC Silver (OW Sapphire). The rest would come naturally from your four BA flights if you plan for fares earning a minimum of 10 TP per sector.

Hope that helps - good luck with your studies
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Old Jan 9, 20, 8:50 pm
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I can also recommend BAEC, although I'm staying in Penang, Malaysia, and rarely fly BA.

One tier run at the start of a new collection year and you are sorted for the next 2 years. This is easily done via QR business to London.

Last edited by jhneoh; Jan 9, 20 at 8:56 pm
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Old Jan 10, 20, 1:32 am
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Not such a good idea to jump.

I would stay with Cathay if I am still flying with Cathay. Finnair and BA? No contest with Cathay. The others? Cannot be bothered.
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Old Jan 10, 20, 1:53 am
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Originally Posted by walkup View Post
I would stay with Cathay if I am still flying with Cathay. Finnair and BA? No contest with Cathay. The others? Cannot be bothered.
QR (between Europe and HK)?
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Old Jan 10, 20, 2:07 am
  #12  
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Also put me down for BAEC.
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Old Jan 10, 20, 8:47 am
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Hi All,

Thanks for the responses!
It seems that BAEC is a good choice for me, for which I will consider it. However, BA gave me a bad impression as my friends have many negative comments on it..

I normally fly long haul, typically between LHR and HKG. I fly 5 times every year. I pay the standard Economy Fare while travelling with Cathay, therefore it is easy for me to become MPC Silver. The Standard Economy Fare has nearly double club points compared with Discounted Economy. Occasionally, I was able to book a return trip with one sector in premium economy and one in economy (at the same price).

I also fly short hauls, typically to Seoul. Again, I pay the standard Economy Fare. I am considering Asiana Club as well.

BAEC gave me an impression that despite the minimum requirements for Bronze and Silver are the same for Cathay, BA offers much fewer points than CX, so theoretically I should credit points to my Cathay Account.

I am surprised that if I take Qatar Business from LHR to HKG, I will get 560 points with BAEX. That's really a good deal for OW Sapphire. But for MPC, I will only get 210 club points. Thanks to ChrisLi for letting me know that QR Economy gives 140 tier points when I credit them to BAEX. Is there some sort of agreement between BA and QR so BA is nice for members to take QR in terms of tier points?

Should I do a status run for JAL? Like is it worth it? All I know is it saves me a lot of time!

I agree with Mwenezi, that Cathay will suits me best as I am based in HK. There will be better earning and better service when disruptions, and in theory it saves me a lot of travelling time. However, as my travel pattern changes (and I want to have an OW status for me to travel on OW flights), I need to look for an alternative.

Thank you for reading though.
Best Wishes, Neo
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Old Jan 10, 20, 9:05 am
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Hey Neo, I was also in your shoes a couple years ago, especially after learning about accumulating miles for returning back to HK during school breaks. Since you’ll be in uni next year it’s also important to keep in mind that you may only return back to HK from London max 3 times per year (unless you plan to travel back during term time). But if you join BAEC and travel within Europe, it may probably be easier to accumulate enough tier points to reach OWS. However for myself, I can seem to leave MPC as it feels more ‘home’ like. Enjoy the time being having status because I’m graduating this year and I’ll probably lose DM sooner or later lol
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Old Jan 10, 20, 9:22 am
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Hi Chubbychun,
Thanks. I wasn't able to join BAEC as I wasn't 18 three years ago. During term breaks, it is likely that I will have internships in UK, US, and HK, so in fact I will fly more than 3 times per year ('3 times' is the official saying). I am some how loyal to Cathay because I had a lot of memories on the flights and the standards of the pilots are pretty much the same. I agree, better to enjoy the time when I have status when we get to work, we no longer have the need to travel around...
Cheers mate and all the best, Neo
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