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Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join? Help Is Here!

Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join? Help Is Here!

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Old Mar 29, 21, 1:04 pm   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: Mwenenzi
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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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Old Mar 15, 14, 5:37 pm
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Programs: AA Plat SPG Gold
Posts: 292
I definitely recommend LATAM. Not only does LAN has good connections all throughout South America, but AA/BA/IB is awesome for going to Europe/North America.
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Old Mar 15, 14, 6:18 pm
  #17  
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Does your friend have a choice of airlines for the 5 week on and off?
What airline & class of travel on the 5 week FIFO ?
You can fly 1 airline but collect miles in another

Airline FFP will depend on objectives
Have a look here http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/infor...help-here.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/onewo...help-here.html
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/star-...post-here.html
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Old Mar 15, 14, 7:17 pm
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Programs: AA Concierge Key
Posts: 82
I'm heading to SSA tomorrow for my 18th trip in two years (from ORD). TAM would be your best bet, but be aware most international flights go through GRU or GIG. AA flies directly to SSA from the US, no other US domestic does.
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Old Mar 16, 14, 7:44 am
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 100
Hi all, and thanks for the help in advance. I'm on DL SkyMiles right now, but wondering if I should change.

For members asking for information, to help people to assist you, can you please provide:
(1) What is most important to you in a FFP?
(upgrades on travel, priority services when flying the airline, extra baggage allowance, good award redemption rates, better award access, free - discounted lounge access, etc.)
Reply:
Getting to award travel for the family is most important. The odd upgrade every once in a while is nice, but just gravy.

(2) How many miles do you usually fly each year & in what class? How many flights/sectors?
(<25000, 25000-50000, >50000 miles - <25, 25-50, >50 flights?)
Reply:
I'm 1-2x a month, definitely a sector flyer. My destinations seem to alternate between SLC and SDF. At 1 trip a month, I'm at 48 segments/year.


(3) What types of fares do you usually buy ?
(First, Business, Premium economy, Economy, cheapest)
Reply:
Economy - cheapest available when I'm informed I need to be somewhere. However, sometimes I only get about a week of notice that I need to be somewhere.

(4) Can you choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure?
Reply:
Travelling mainly for work. Work strongly prefers Delta and UA.

(5) Which routes do you fly most often
(US Domestic, Transpacific, Kangaroo, in Asia etc)
Reply:
Mainly US domestic. Destinations are SDF and SLC.


(6) What is your home airport?
(SFO, SCL, London LHR, HKG, Singapore SIN etc.)
Reply: RIC


(7) Do you have FFP status of any kind in an airline? What is it? Do you have any miles banked in a FFP?
(AA Executive Platinum, UA 1K, LAN Comodoro, etc)
Reply:
No status anywhere, a small number of miles I'm willing to walk away from on SkyMiles and AAdvantage (or redeem on a small item in the various shopping portals). I do have a Delta Gold SkyMiles American Express, that I don't use for anything (Hyatt Gold Passport card works better for me).

(8) Preferred Airlines
Reply:
Delta appears to have the best schedule out of RIC to anywhere.
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Old Mar 16, 14, 12:30 pm
  #20  
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Originally Posted by szehui View Post
Hi all, and thanks for the help in advance. I'm on DL SkyMiles right now, but wondering if I should change.
< snip >
(7) Do you have FFP status of any kind in an airline? What is it? Do you have any miles banked in a FFP?
(AA Executive Platinum, UA 1K, LAN Comodoro, etc)
Reply:
No status anywhere, a small number of miles I'm willing to walk away from on SkyMiles and AAdvantage (or redeem on a small item in the various shopping portals). I do have a Delta Gold SkyMiles American Express, that I don't use for anything (Hyatt Gold Passport card works better for me).
48 segments is a reasonable number of flights. AS could be used to collect ff miles from DL & AA flights. No idea if 48 segments would get you AS status. AS have a good range of partner airlines. But as with any FFP this can change.
http://www.alaskaair.com/content/mil...ePlan-partners
Do you have a UA freq flyer account for your UA flights?
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Mar 16, 14, 2:20 pm
  #21  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Houston, TX, USA & Bombay, India
Programs: CO Gold, Hotels.. TBD
Posts: 695
Exclamation

Lot of answers and information posted INLINE in BLUE.

Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
A number of threads have been started by members asking for guidance on which frequent flyer mileage program they should join.

After emails with the moderators, in order to help users, we have started this thread to allow people to post their requests for information here and to allow other people to offer assistance-advise.

For questions about which is the best credit card to sign up for, to get frequent flyer miles, please do not post here, but refer to other threads on this topic

Best Frequent Flyer Program for you?
The answer to this question depends very much on your personal travel profile and objectives.
- what is your definition of best?
- do you value miles/points (or equivalent) for redemption over gaining status?
- do you fly enough to gain any meaningful status?
- what do you want to use the miles/points for (award, upgrade, hotels, what ever)?
- what sort of flight award is of interest (destination, class of travel)?
- are you interested in topping up by paying cash for miles?
- which airline and where do you normally fly?
- are you primarily a leisure or business traveller?
- where do you live?
- do you have other ways of earning points in the various programs, e.g. credit cards, shopping, etc,?
- etc, etc, etc
(above copied in part from a post by dunk)

There is a big difference between a frequent flyer and a frequent spender getting freq fyer miles from a credit card.

Questions
For members asking for information, to help people to assist you, can you please provide:
(1) What is most important to you in a FFP?
(upgrades on travel, priority services when flying the airline, extra baggage allowance, good award redemption rates, better award access, free - discounted lounge access, etc.)
Reply:
I think for HEALTH REASONS being able to redeem the AWARD MILES for (Business Class) RT Back home to Brazil or to US, EU, India would be the best benefit:
- International Flights (Business or Coach)
AND/ OR

When traveling on company agency bought COACH tickets
- Free International Upgrades to Business Class
- UPGRADE to Business Class using AWARD MILES

- Status based privileges come after as a nice to have.

(2) How many miles do you usually fly each year & in what class? How many flights/sectors?
(<25000, 25000-50000, >50000 miles - <25, 25-50, >50 flights?)
Reply:
Company travel every 5 weeks ON/ OFF Schedule - RT - 10-15,000 miles on average per trip through 10 weeks
Estimate approx 52 weeks/ 10 weeks = 5 x 10k to 15k miles.


(3) What types of fares do you usually buy ?
(First, Business, Premium economy, Economy, cheapest)
Reply:
Company Agency purchased coach - Not sure if its Economy or cheapest. Will revert back if we can find more 'Fare Class' information.

(4) Can you choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure?
Reply:
Mostly work / company purchased and would like to leverage that towards pleasure.

(5) Which routes do you fly most often
(US Domestic, Transpacific, Kangaroo, in Asia etc)
Reply:
Brazil (SSA) to SHIP/ MARINE VESSEL at any location in the world - Currently vessel off US Gulf Coast via IAH.

(6) What is your home airport?
(SFO, SCL, London LHR, HKG, Singapore SIN etc.)
Reply:
SSA - Salvador, BA, Brazil

(7) Do you have FFP status of any kind in an airline? What is it? Do you have any miles banked in a FFP?
(AA Executive Platinum, UA 1K, LAN Comodoro, etc)
Reply:
Miles are banked across a few and more middle eastern airlines. Details to be obtained.

(8) Preferred Airlines
Reply:
Will post more information based on above with more details.

Similar sticky threads
If you are sure a Star Alliance or OneWorld Alliance airline FFP is for you, please post in those forums, as more Star/OW experienced people are likely to answer your question.
Star Alliance forum http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/star-...post-here.html
OneWorld Alliance forum http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/onewo...help-here.html

Major airline alliances are
www.staralliance.com web site and the Flyertalk forum Star Alliance
www.oneworld.com web site and the Flyertalk forum OneWorld Alliance
www.skyteam.com web site and the Flyertalk forum Skyteam
Originally Posted by xmlsoa View Post
SSA - Salvador, Brazil: Which are best airlines and alliances to collect miles on?

My friend works in the Geological/ Marine Research space and does a 5 week on and off thing.

Home base is above. The travel and projects keep changing 3-4 months to different Vessel and world location.

I think that being able to redeem the MILES for:
- International Flights (Business or Coach) - Brazil to US, EU, India would be the best benefit.
- UPGRADES to Business (a second?)

Thoughts and suggestions?

I am guessing the TAM + LAN > Connection with One World would be one of the top?

Which other alliance would be a good second?

Primary & Secondary recommendations are welcome.
Originally Posted by flyerhog View Post
I definitely recommend LATAM. Not only does LAN has good connections all throughout South America, but AA/BA/IB is awesome for going to Europe/North America.
Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Does your friend have a choice of airlines for the 5 week on and off?
What airline & class of travel on the 5 week FIFO ?
You can fly 1 airline but collect miles in another

Airline FFP will depend on objectives
Have a look here http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/infor...help-here.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/onewo...help-here.html
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/star-...post-here.html
- Usually Economy/ Coach - Not sure which Fare Class it is. But can check and get back.
- "You can fly 1 airline but collect miles in another" - Is this a question or answer? That is the objective.. to deposit the miles to right FFP's from all connected/ alliance flights.

Originally Posted by Jhensley1607 View Post
I'm heading to SSA tomorrow for my 18th trip in two years (from ORD). TAM would be your best bet, but be aware most international flights go through GRU or GIG. AA flies directly to SSA from the US, no other US domestic does.
Yes. AA has a flight from MIA to SSA.
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Old Mar 16, 14, 2:48 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by xmlsoa View Post
When travelling on company agency bought COACH tickets
- Free International Upgrades to Business Class
- UPGRADE to Business Class using AWARD MILES
That is probably unrealistic if travelling on cheapest economy tickets on a range of airlines, especially if flying a non USA based airline.

From post 2
For upgrades the general rule is you can only upgrade a flight marketed (flight number) and operated (metal) by the airline of your freq flyer programme (no codeshares) with your airlines upgrade instrument (e.g. SWU). All subject to the t&c's of your FFP and your paid ticket. Low cost tickets are often not eligible for upgrades.
However as is the way with FFP's there are some upgrade exceptions
- on AA/BA/IB with higher priced economy fares using AA/BA/IB upgrade instruments
- on some BA tickets with Asia Miles
- on some Star Alliance airlines with higher priced Y & B fare
- on some Skyteam airlines as this blue link
- Optiontown.com paid upgrades on SAS
- others as listed/updated from time to time
Originally Posted by xmlsoa View Post
"You can fly 1 airline but collect miles in another" - Is this a question or answer? That is the objective. To deposit the miles to right FFP's from all connected/ alliance flights.
A statement. A surprising number of people are not aware of earning/burning on FFP partner airlines.

Best if you get more details of the airlines flown and existing FFP's.
If upgrades are an objective put miles to the FFP where an upgrade is a possibility (flights marketed & operated by the airline).
Reward cost (miles) & reward co-pay fees vary between FFP's even in the same alliance
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Old Mar 16, 14, 8:37 pm
  #23  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Houston, TX, USA & Bombay, India
Programs: CO Gold, Hotels.. TBD
Posts: 695
Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
That is probably unrealistic if travelling on cheapest economy tickets on a range of airlines, especially if flying a non USA based airline.

From post 2

A statement. A surprising number of people are not aware of earning/burning on FFP partner airlines.

Best if you get more details of the airlines flown and existing FFP's.
If upgrades are an objective put miles to the FFP where an upgrade is a possibility (flights marketed & operated by the airline).
Reward cost (miles) & reward co-pay fees vary between FFP's even in the same alliance
Ok. Will attempt to pull a bunch more of the flight demographics and repost the above.
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Old Mar 18, 14, 2:15 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by xmlsoa View Post
Ok. Will attempt to pull a bunch more of the flight demographics and repost the above.
OK I assume this is the same person in another of your threads http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...me-issues.html

Originally Posted by xmlsoa View Post
< snip >
I have a friend who just flew on AA between IAH to SSA via MIA - 3 trips since Sept/ Oct 2013.
< snip >
Has never had issues with miles posting to all the following airlines/ miles (even with same Passport with MN/ LN thingy):
- Flying Blue (KLM + AF)
- Lufthansa
- Qatar
- Emirates
- TAM
- GOL
- AZUL

< snip >.
This would have been useful information if it was included in your first post (post 15 above)
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Old Mar 19, 14, 7:20 am
  #25  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Houston, TX, USA & Bombay, India
Programs: CO Gold, Hotels.. TBD
Posts: 695
Exclamation

Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
OK I assume this is the same person in another of your threads http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...me-issues.html

This would have been useful information if it was included in your first post (post 15 above)
Yes. But, I was afraid if I combine the issues then it would confuse people more. So, this would be useful for this THREAD on choosing an FFP or the AA miles related thread?
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Old Mar 19, 14, 10:08 am
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: SFO
Programs: UA GS, AA EXP, Marriott Titanium, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 79
Hi all,

I'm a SF-based flyer and I've kept DL after moving here (I now know SLC well ). As a low-cost economy flyer, the combination of MQD + new earning model has made me reconsider.

Right now I'm debating status matching over to Alaska MVP Gold so that I can fly the cheapest of DL+AA+AS and bank miles to one place, plus get basic services on all three (including my #1, extra leg room). I also think I could maintain Virgin America Silver status which would give me direct flights to all my major routes except MSP (where family lives). What do you think?

(1) What is most important to you in a FFP? (In descending order of priority)
#1 Being able to secure extra legroom for my companion and me (6'5" and 6'2") for free
#2 Good award redemption rates and the ability to either 1) transfer from other programs to stock up (e.g., MR/UR) or 2) get a good CC bonus on categories. Would like to be able to redeem for long haul international flights.
#3 Occasional complimentary upgrades (I'm about 75% on DL, but I often fly JFK-SFO which no longer upgrades anyway)
#4 Priority services are nice, though given that credit cards give early boarding, I have precheck, and rarely check a bag, not a huge deal

(2) How many miles do you usually fly each year & in what class? How many flights/sectors?
- I tend to fly 50k-75k (I was DL Platinum last year, DL Gold this year). These are usually long flights. I'm in SF and often fly to the East Coast (e.g., NYC, WAS) or to the midwest (e.g., MSP, ORD), with a couple international flights per year.

(3) What types of fares do you usually buy ?
- Usually cheapest economy, though occasionally premium economy on int'l tickets, especially if I get a mileage bonus.

(4) Can you choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure?
- Travel 75% for pleasure, 25% for work and can choose any airline/class within reason.

(5) Which routes do you fly most often
- US Domestic. Usually SFO-JFK, SFO-IAD/DCA, SFO-MSP

(6) What is your home airport?
SFO/OAK (occasionally SJC), based on timing and price

(7) Do you have FFP status of any kind in an airline? What is it? Do you have any miles banked in a FFP?
- Delta Gold (~400K miles)
- Just matched AA Platinum to try it out for the year (~50k miles)
- US Airways no status (~50k miles)
- BA no status (~100k miles from CC)
- Virgin America - may match status to try for the year (no miles)
- United no status (1,000 or so miles left)

(8) Preferred Airlines
- Delta, Alaska, Virgin America. Even though I'm based in SF, I really can't stand United.
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Old Mar 23, 14, 10:26 pm
  #27  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 6
Best FFP for home base of LAX?

My home airport is LAX, and I can foresee future flights to:

Highly likely:
Vancouver
San Francisco

Maybe:
NYC or some other East Coast city (1-2x per year)
Hong Kong (tops 1x per year)
Germany (tops 1x per year)


Fly mostly for personal travel. I don't care about upgrading to business class or status, just looking for free reward flights.

Based on some research I've been doing, it seems like perhaps Alaskan or American would be better.. Any suggestions greatly appreciated! Thanks
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Old Mar 23, 14, 10:38 pm
  #28  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Washington D.C.
Programs: AA 1MM, AA Plat, Hyatt Plat
Posts: 444
Welcome to FT.

I agree with your assessment, and think that Alaska and American's mileage plan would be best. Given your travel patterns and preferences I would recommend Alaska. Right now their FFP seems the best bet.
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Old Mar 23, 14, 10:49 pm
  #29  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: South Florida
Programs: DL GM, SPG GOLD, UA DIRT, AA PLAT, US (RIP), Hilton HHonors
Posts: 705
I'd say Alaska Airlines is your best option, but also look into AA and UA... easiest to get and maintain status and you'll be a bigger fish in a smaller pond

welcome to ft
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Old Mar 23, 14, 10:52 pm
  #30  
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Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.601 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

Note that AA's program permits a free stopover at the North American "gateway" on international awards, so one could fly LAX-JFK/MIA (stopover) - DUS/TXL for as little as 20K AA miles one-way during the off-peak season. In addition, AA's partner Air Berlin offers seasonal nonstop service between LAX and Germany.

However, for free award flights in Economy between LAX and SFO (on AA) or YVR (on AS), British Airways Avios provide the best value.
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