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Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join? Help Is Here!

Old May 24, 2014, 12:34 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: Mwenenzi
Before posting please read POSTS 1-3 for a comprehensive overview of how to select a program.
If you already plan to focus on one particular alliance, please visit the sticky in the relevant forum: Deciding on a oneworld FFP or Which SkyTeam FFP or Choosing a Star FFP

List of frequent flyer programs from Wikipedia

Questionnaire: Copy and paste into your post
Provide the requested information.

1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)?
upgrades, priority services, baggage allowance, good award redemption rates, better award access, lounge access, etc.
>>> Reply:

2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? How many flights/sectors?
less than 25000 miles, 50000+ miles and 20-25 flights, etc.
>>> Reply:

3. What fare class do you usually buy?
first, business, premium economy, economy
>>> Reply:

4. Are you able to choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure?
>>> Reply:

5. Which routes do you fly most often?
transatlantic, domestic USA, intra-Asia, etc.
>>> Reply:

6. What is your home airport?
>>> Reply:

7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in each FFP, if any?
>>> Reply:

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
>>> Reply:
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Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join? Help Is Here!

Old May 13, 2020, 6:03 pm
  #1636  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: NY Metro Area
Programs: AA 2MM Yay!, UA MM, Costco General Member
Posts: 48,991
Originally Posted by xDan
Hello guys, I have only just joined Flyertalk and this my first post here.
For me good award redemption rate is of utmost importance, followed by the better award access and upgrades.


I definitely fly less than 25000 miles at the moment. But in the near foreseeable future, I am going to be gradually increasing my travel, both domestic as well as International. Most of the international is going to be within Asia.

I mostly prefer business and premium economy. I am interested in trying out some of the better products available, which means if I get a very good award redemption and have to add a few extra bucks out of my pocket, then I will surely not mind that.

So far I have only travelled for leisure and education, but like I have mentioned above, I will be travelling often for my travel blog in the very near future.

I am mostly going to be flying within Asia, and also a lot domestically in India.

My home airport is Mumbai (BOM).

I have recently joined Vistara FFP. I have only taken one short return trip so far, and so there are very few points in that purse.

Thanks,
Saadaan
Welcome to FlyerTalk. We need your optimism.
GadgetFreak is online now  
Old May 14, 2020, 3:58 am
  #1637  
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: May 2020
Programs: Club Vistara FFP
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by steveholt
Given the presence of Air India in Mumbai, I would imagine a Star Alliance program which links with Air India would be best. I'm least familiar with Star Alliance of the three alliances, so I don't want to give too significant of an opinion, but I know there are some on this board who use the Aegean frequent flyer program as the easiest way to get Star Alliance Gold status, which includes priority boarding, lounge access, and extra baggage on all Star Alliance flights. I'm not sure how easy it is to redeem flights with Aegean, that's a question for a more experienced Star Alliance flyer.
Thank you Steve. AI has a really poor website though and understanding the points chart on their website requires a lot of work. Over all I found it unfriendly and not welcoming.
Also, do you have any suggestions for which credit cards I should go for as a first timer and would bring most value to me in terms of gathering points?
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Old May 14, 2020, 4:33 am
  #1638  
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Join Date: May 2020
Programs: Club Vistara FFP
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by steveholt
Given the presence of Air India in Mumbai, I would imagine a Star Alliance program which links with Air India would be best. I'm least familiar with Star Alliance of the three alliances, so I don't want to give too significant of an opinion, but I know there are some on this board who use the Aegean frequent flyer program as the easiest way to get Star Alliance Gold status, which includes priority boarding, lounge access, and extra baggage on all Star Alliance flights. I'm not sure how easy it is to redeem flights with Aegean, that's a question for a more experienced Star Alliance flyer.
Thanks Steve, that is very helpful. The only reason I am hesitant about Air India is because over the years it has become unfriendly and unwelcoming (hoping that the takeover will help).
Which credit cards would you suggest for a first timer in the Indian market which will compliment the FFP?

Originally Posted by GadgetFreak
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Thank you very much
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Old May 14, 2020, 9:43 am
  #1639  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: New York, NY
Programs: AA ExPl, DL PM, UA Silver, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium, probably some others
Posts: 4,053
Originally Posted by xDan
Thank you Steve. AI has a really poor website though and understanding the points chart on their website requires a lot of work. Over all I found it unfriendly and not welcoming.
Also, do you have any suggestions for which credit cards I should go for as a first timer and would bring most value to me in terms of gathering points?
Hi Dan -

You would be using the Aegean award chart if you were crediting your flights to Aegean's program. Blessedly, you would be able to avoid Air India's chart.

I'm not familiar enough with the Indian credit card market to make an informed suggestion there, unfortunately. I would look for a card which lets you earn miles with a bank or a credit card which lets you transfer your miles to the frequent flyer program of your choice.
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Old May 15, 2020, 4:58 am
  #1640  
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Join Date: May 2020
Programs: Club Vistara FFP
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by steveholt
Hi Dan -

You would be using the Aegean award chart if you were crediting your flights to Aegean's program. Blessedly, you would be able to avoid Air India's chart.

I'm not familiar enough with the Indian credit card market to make an informed suggestion there, unfortunately. I would look for a card which lets you earn miles with a bank or a credit card which lets you transfer your miles to the frequent flyer program of your choice.
Thanks Steve, much appreciated. I will be checking out the credit card threads for more details and info.
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Old Jun 10, 2020, 7:38 am
  #1641  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Programs: BA Executive Club, VS Flying Club, DL SkyMiles, LH Miles & More, AFKL Flying Blue,
Posts: 19
Best FQTV Programs to join for UK based traveller.

Hi there,

I am looking for help and guidance for the best FQTV programmes to join for each alliance. I would like some advice as to which FQTV programme i should join, I am looking for ones where I can easily accrue miles and which programmes have the most longevity - as in no hard expiry dates.

My local airport is MAN. I fly on average 4 times a year. I usually fly to USA/Asia/Europe. I have an AMEX card so I am accruing membership rewards and storing them up till they reach a decent total.

For oneworld, at the moment i am currently only a BAEC member. I also use their BA shop to accrue Avios, thus ensuring i don't lose my miles.

I am also Virgin Flying Club member, I also use their Shops Away to earn miles to ensure i don't lose my miles.

This is were I start to become undecided on where to credit my miles...

For Skyteam I am a Delta Skymember, as well as part of AF/KL Flying Blue. I like the fact that Delta SkyMiles don't expire. Whereas i believe AF/KL has good redemption offers but their miles expire if you dont make a qualifying Skyteam flight within is it 2 years?

Now for Star Alliance, I am only United MileagePlus, again for the same reason as Delta their miles no longer have an expiry date. Annoyingly they arent in AMEX Rewards, and the only way to transfer points from there would be via Marriott, whereby you would lose points and value. However I have recently been looking at other carriers FQTV programs that i could potentially join.

I used to use LH Miles and More and have the MBNA Credit Card, however I stopped using that as I did not want to pay 75.00 a year for their new UK Charge Card.

I believe Aegean Miles+Bonus is quite good as they have a lower status goal, and that miles with them don't expire if you make a qualifying Star Alliance flight within 4 years? Which I think is quite reasonable! They also have a good option where you can book hotels with booking.com via their website and gain miles which is very interesting!! But they sadly arent part of AMEX Rewards - so i would only be able to accrue miles via flights or hotel bookings. What are they like for redemptions are they good value or better than United?

Should I stick with United MileagePlus or join Aegean?

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jun 10, 2020, 8:33 am
  #1642  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Programs: Alaska
Posts: 2,188
Originally Posted by harer92
Hi there,

I am looking for help and guidance for the best FQTV programmes to join for each alliance. I would like some advice as to which FQTV programme i should join, I am looking for ones where I can easily accrue miles and which programmes have the most longevity - as in no hard expiry dates.

My local airport is MAN. I fly on average 4 times a year. I usually fly to USA/Asia/Europe. I have an AMEX card so I am accruing membership rewards and storing them up till they reach a decent total.

For oneworld, at the moment i am currently only a BAEC member. I also use their BA shop to accrue Avios, thus ensuring i don't lose my miles.

I am also Virgin Flying Club member, I also use their Shops Away to earn miles to ensure i don't lose my miles.

This is were I start to become undecided on where to credit my miles...

For Skyteam I am a Delta Skymember, as well as part of AF/KL Flying Blue. I like the fact that Delta SkyMiles don't expire. Whereas i believe AF/KL has good redemption offers but their miles expire if you dont make a qualifying Skyteam flight within is it 2 years?

Now for Star Alliance, I am only United MileagePlus, again for the same reason as Delta their miles no longer have an expiry date. Annoyingly they arent in AMEX Rewards, and the only way to transfer points from there would be via Marriott, whereby you would lose points and value. However I have recently been looking at other carriers FQTV programs that i could potentially join.

I used to use LH Miles and More and have the MBNA Credit Card, however I stopped using that as I did not want to pay 75.00 a year for their new UK Charge Card.

I believe Aegean Miles+Bonus is quite good as they have a lower status goal, and that miles with them don't expire if you make a qualifying Star Alliance flight within 4 years? Which I think is quite reasonable! They also have a good option where you can book hotels with booking.com via their website and gain miles which is very interesting!! But they sadly arent part of AMEX Rewards - so i would only be able to accrue miles via flights or hotel bookings. What are they like for redemptions are they good value or better than United?

Should I stick with United MileagePlus or join Aegean?

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
not meant to discourage, but 4 times a year, you won't accumulate enough miles for any program.

again 4 times a year, you don't really need frequent flyer benefit, such as lounges. You can just buy lounge access or even buy discounted business class.

miles are meant to burn asap, not for accumulation as they depreciate very fast.

To redeem miles for flight awards, you can also just buy miles outright. Many programs provide good value just by buying miles, such as aegean's miles+bonus. I buy it every year when they sell it with 100% bonus.
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Old Jun 17, 2020, 1:16 pm
  #1643  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Programs: United Premier 1K, Air India Maharaja Club, Lufthansa FT, Jet Airways Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 32
BOM (India) Based

Hey - Need some advice on *A programs to join
UA is not a possiblilty.
1. Home airport - BOM
2. Flying Class- Intl. J / Domestic Y
3. Need - Good Earn/Burn Chart - But with low fuel surcharges. Which programs can offer low surcharges (Apart from UA)
4. Mainly Fly - LH/LX/AI/UA
5. Average Flying - 75-100k miles annually.

Currently an AI Maharaja - But the website is crap, redemptions are very hard, extremely expensive.
Currently considering OZ/TK since they don't have flying requirements and decent redemptions. But they add surcharges.

Would love some advise!
runningpoints is offline  
Old Dec 1, 2020, 9:36 am
  #1644  
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: ORD
Programs: Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 211
1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)?

accessible rewards, reasonably priced international reward travel, easy to use

2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? How many flights/sectors?

3-4 flights a year for leisure, looking to travel more though

3. What fare class do you usually buy?

economy (wouldnt mind a splurge every now and then though)

4. Are you able to choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure?

pleasure travel

5. Which routes do you fly most often?

domestic USA, looking to travel internationally soon

6. What is your home airport?

The closest airport to me is GNV (DL and AA), but I usually use TPA. MCO and JAX are also easy to reach.

7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in each FFP, if any?

no status, I have 16k miles and a couple hundred dollar in travel funds with Southwest right now, will prob use on a family trip this summer.

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?

Ive only flown Southwest. Delta seems to have a great onboard experience. United seems decent as well, not super impressed by AAs offerings. I love Southwest but I feel like I have outgrown it slightly as I am looking to do more international travel and sign up for a good airline credit card. Premium cabin travel would also be nice.
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Old Dec 1, 2020, 9:41 am
  #1645  
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Location: Canada, USA, Europe
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 31,452
Originally Posted by andy_dangg
1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)?

accessible rewards, reasonably priced international reward travel, easy to use

2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? How many flights/sectors?

3-4 flights a year for leisure, looking to travel more though

3. What fare class do you usually buy?

economy (wouldnt mind a splurge every now and then though)

4. Are you able to choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure?

pleasure travel

5. Which routes do you fly most often?

domestic USA, looking to travel internationally soon

6. What is your home airport?

The closest airport to me is GNV (DL and AA), but I usually use TPA. MCO and JAX are also easy to reach.

7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in each FFP, if any?

no status, I have 16k miles and a couple hundred dollar in travel funds with Southwest right now, will prob use on a family trip this summer.

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?

Ive only flown Southwest. Delta seems to have a great onboard experience. United seems decent as well, not super impressed by AAs offerings. I love Southwest but I feel like I have outgrown it slightly as I am looking to do more international travel and sign up for a good airline credit card. Premium cabin travel would also be nice.
To be honest with you, sign up for all three, and fly with the carrier that gives you the best timing and pricing. At three/four domestic economy flights a year you're going to be a long way from building up a big pot to splurge on upgrades or free flights, and hoarding is not a great strategy. If you are able to sign up for a credit card or two you might get a fair number of points, but you really need to take your travel up to several flights a month before you see a FFP paying off in a significant way.
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Old Dec 1, 2020, 9:46 am
  #1646  
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: ORD
Programs: Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 211
Originally Posted by LondonElite
To be honest with you, sign up for all three, and fly with the carrier that gives you the best timing and pricing. At three/four domestic economy flights a year you're going to be a long way from building up a big pot to splurge on upgrades or free flights, and hoarding is not a great strategy. If you are able to sign up for a credit card or two you might get a fair number of points, but you really need to take your travel up to several flights a month before you see a FFP paying off in a significant way.
Thanks, this is what I had a feeling it would be like. I think the easiest way for me to get some benefit would be with credit cards, which do you suggest? Just see which airline seems the best for the route Im taking then get that CC for the sign up bonus? Hoping to do that for international travelwhich has typically the best rewards for international travel? Dont mind paying for domestic flights just want to save some money once its safe to travel abroad.
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Old Dec 1, 2020, 9:59 am
  #1647  
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Originally Posted by andy_dangg
Thanks, this is what I had a feeling it would be like. I think the easiest way for me to get some benefit would be with credit cards, which do you suggest? Just see which airline seems the best for the route Im taking then get that CC for the sign up bonus? Hoping to do that for international travelwhich has typically the best rewards for international travel? Dont mind paying for domestic flights just want to save some money once its safe to travel abroad.
I would come back and evaluate that in six months' time. Others are better positioned to give specific tips on credit cards, but cheap points business tickets overseas are probably not in anyone's future for a half year or two!
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Old Dec 1, 2020, 4:59 pm
  #1648  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: VPS
Programs: IHG Diamond, Delta PM, Hilton Gold, Accor Gold, Marriott Silver
Posts: 7,244
If you're just starting to seriously build credit (did I see in another thread you're a college student?), an AmEx Everyday card is nice to have and hold because it's go no annual fee and still lets you transfer to the list of AmEx partners when the time seems right. Plus, lots of good bonus offers from AmEx itself (I just signed up for an 8x Amazon promo for December) and the chance to earn MR points through Rakuten as long as you hold that card, even if you actually pay with a different card when going through the Rakuten portal. Sign up offer for that card is not generally great though.

Right now the card issuers might be a little cautious when it comes to issuing cards to someone without a long credit history due to uncertain economic times.

The nice thing about AmEx and Chase reward points ( or equivalent with Citibank or Capitol One) is that they come with a decent number of partners in both the big alliances and with standalone programs so you can build a point balance without having to commit to a specific program just yet.
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Old Jan 2, 2021, 6:06 pm
  #1649  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 24
Hi all. I'm not sure I'm posting in the correct spot so please redirect me if not. I am not a frequent traveler at all. I travel maybe once a year for pleasure, domestically. From what I'm reading it would seem like I won't gain much by joining any frequent flier programs. Should I sign up for credit cards for points? Or having a card like the Citi Double Cash would overall cover my travel expenses and therefore no need?
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Old Jan 2, 2021, 7:47 pm
  #1650  
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Benicia CA
Programs: Alaska MVP Gold 75K, AA 3.8MM, UA 1.1MM, enjoying the retired life
Posts: 31,849
Never hurts to sign up for a carrier's frequent flyer program. United, as an example, has miles that don't expire, so if you fly coast to coast once a year, that's 5,000 miles. Some other programs may have miles that expire without some account activity every 18-24 months, so if you credit elsewhere just keep an eye on that. You don't need to fly to keep frequent flyer accounts alive by flying - all sorts of partner activity will qualify from dining to airline mall purchases.

Airlines typically offer their own branded credit card for less than $100 a year. Alaska, as an example, and something that is unique to them, offers a companion ticket each year with their credit card. For $99 plus taxes, a companion can fly with you. Airline credit cards may offer things like free checked bag or seat selection, in addition to bonus miles for signing up. I just signed up for a United credit card that came with a $250 credit plus 25,000 miles - one that was hard to resist even though I don't fly United a lot. Once you settle on an airline that you might want to fly each year, you might find a credit card that's worth having at least the first year for the signup bonus which might be enough to cover a free trip on domestic routes. You can always switch to a cash back card later. I have a 2% cash back card but it only came with a $100 signup bonus, worth a lot less than what's out there for airline credit cards.
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