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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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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 Jun 5, 14, 12:07 pm
  #76  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 27
Originally Posted by maverick17 View Post
I would not use Avianca for my primary program. Whereas they have some gems in their award chart, they allow you to buy miles cheaper than flying, so if you want to take advantage of their flights then you might as well buy them. The biggest problem with them though is that they are an unknown. Their redemption chart has changed a few times without notice, their availability has disappeared at times, customer service is rough for some, and lots of speculation on how long their rates can remain low. The general rule with them is buy miles, and only then when you have some trips in mind or will use them fairly quickly.

I don't know about KF much, but they actually have a discount when booking online which I have used, so keep that in mind. Also, I did have some issues about certain fares on them not crediting to UA in the past.

It's tough when you're varied, but maybe look at who you fly the longhaul business flights on, and base the decision around that. Given that business often earns more miles for status, like 150%, you might be able to earn more in a particular program as well as attaining status.

All that being said, I keep one account for each alliance, so three programs isn't the end of the world. But two would be better.
Thanks for the reply, would then aeroplan make more sense?they dont have fuel surcharges when redeeming on SQ.

Or TK Miles and Smiles too can be an option (as im elite with them and they have reasonable award chart) however dont really like to pay fuel surcharge when i could use those money on avianca to use the cash+miles option
fauspe is offline  
Old Jun 8, 14, 10:40 am
  #77  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1
1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)?
Reply: good award redemption rates

2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? How many flights/sectors?
Reply:25000-50000 I am in Oklahoma and would like to fly to japan with my wife. Also need to go to wi every once in a while.

3. What fare class do you usually buy?
Reply:economy

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

5. Which routes do you fly most often
(e.g., U.S. domestic, transatlantic, intra-Asia)
Reply:U.S. and intra-Asia

6. What is your home airport?
Reply:OKC

7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in a FFP, if any?
Reply:none looking to get my first 1.

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
Reply:N/A
darthreaper08 is offline  
Old Jun 8, 14, 7:53 pm
  #78  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1
1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)?
good award redemption rates, better award access

2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? How many flights/sectors?
>50,000 miles and >50 flights

3. What fare class do you usually buy?
economy

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

5. Which routes do you fly most often
transatlantic

6. What is your home airport?
JFK

7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in a FFP, if any?
no

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
none

I am very, very new to the world of FFP and I am looking for smarter ways to travel in the future. I don't travel often but when I do, it's usually international to Europe or Asia. Thank you so much in advance!
alliwanttodoisseetheworld is offline  
Old Jun 8, 14, 7:56 pm
  #79  
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 18,842
alliwanttodoisseetheworld Welcome to FT

Originally Posted by alliwanttodoisseetheworld View Post
..I am very, very new to the world of FFP and I am looking for smarter ways to travel in the future. I don't travel often but when I do, it's usually international to Europe or Asia. Thank you so much in advance!
What airlines have you/do you travel on to Eu & Asia?
When was your last flight?
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Jun 9, 14, 4:14 am
  #80  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 114
Originally Posted by darthreaper08 View Post
1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)?
Reply: good award redemption rates

2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? How many flights/sectors?
Reply:25000-50000 I am in Oklahoma and would like to fly to japan with my wife. Also need to go to wi every once in a while.

3. What fare class do you usually buy?
Reply:economy

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

5. Which routes do you fly most often
(e.g., U.S. domestic, transatlantic, intra-Asia)
Reply:U.S. and intra-Asia

6. What is your home airport?
Reply:OKC

7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in a FFP, if any?
Reply:none looking to get my first 1.

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
Reply:N/A
If you mostly care about good award redemption, United, American and Alaska are all good choices. United, in my opinion, is still the best overall with the most flexible routing rules, Star Alliance partnership, and no fuel surcharge on any partner but the premium cabins got pretty expensive with the recent devaluation. Delta has a very bad mileage value. Alaska is interesting as it allows to collect on Alaska but also on Delta and AA but has a limited number of international partners.

If you don't care about status, then collect miles with all the plans. As long as you earn or spend miles every 18 months, the miles do not expire. You are then not limited to one particular airline and if you mostly travel on your own dime, it can save you quite some money. On the other hand, status gives some nice benefits which may be quite valuable (and addictive ): free domestic checked baggage/ extra baggage allowance, free preferred seating, priority boarding, lounge access on international travel, occasional upgrade, lower/no fees on awards or same day changes, etc. But for obtaining and retaining status you have to be loyal to one airline/alliance in great majority of your flights so it has some opportunity cost as your preferred airline may not be the cheapest. Only you can decide how valuable these perks are because everybody values them differently. Some of the benefits can be obtained easily with an airline credit card so an option to consider is to be "statusless" but to have credit cards in all major programs, or concentrate on one airline but to have a credit card for another one for occasional travel on the other airline.

There are also some foreign airlines to consider. In Star Alliance, Aegean, Asiana and Turkish have easy qualification rules for Star Alliance Gold (*G) but *G gives only some of the benefits that are available for United premiers and award redemption may require paying expensive fuel surcharge for some international travel.
Plusflyer is offline  
Old Jun 9, 14, 1:07 pm
  #81  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SFO
Programs: TK *G, HHonors Gold, UA 0.547MM and ex-1K but we gave up on each other
Posts: 143
I'm giving up on UA's MP (again) but would like to have *A Gold.

From posts above, it looks like I can get that easily on A3 with 20k miles. Is there any problem signing up with them and qualifying, since I live in the US and rarely if ever fly A3? Any catches?

1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)? *G Status.
2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? 25k - 35k
3. What fare class do you usually buy? Discount business
4. Are you able to choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure? Yes; pleasure.
5. Which routes do you fly most often? SFO to Europe, Asia, US East Coast
6. What is your home airport? SFO
7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in a FFP, if any? UA Silver; willing to ignore the miles
8. What are your preferred airlines, if any? Any good ones. We mostly fly *A.
Although generally stuck with United (flying from SFO), I gave up on MP the first time when Silver became pretty useless. I decided I'd use up our miles if and when possible and pay discounted business fares on the best available carrier going forward.

But this year we'll earn 50k+ *A miles. I figured we'd qualify for UA Gold. Well, wrong! We booked a trip on UA metal through United Vacations, but they issued it on LH ticket stock so we won't make the PQD.

Thus this question, as I prepare to give up on MP for the second time. Kind of like quitting smoking.
bilofsky is offline  
Old Jun 9, 14, 4:28 pm
  #82  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Switch from Alaska?

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

2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? How many flights/sectors?
(e.g., <25000, 25000-50000, >50000 miles and <25, 25-50, >50 flights?)
Reply: 25,000-50,0000

3. What fare class do you usually buy?
(e.g., first, business, premium economy, economy)
Reply:Economy

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

5. Which routes do you fly most often
(e.g., U.S. domestic, transatlantic, intra-Asia)
Reply: US domestic, transatlantic, intra-europe

6. What is your home airport?
(e.g., SFO, LHR, HKG)
Reply: LHR/SEA/TRD (Trondheim, Norway)

7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in a FFP, if any?
(e.g., AA Executive Platinum, UA 1K, LAN Comodoro)
Reply: Alaska, no status this year, currently have 40k

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
Reply: I really have a soft spot for Alaska but am flying them less and less. I'll be flying about 40K in the next few months, transatlantic and transpacific, wondering if its time to switch. . .
mcnamc is offline  
Old Jun 10, 14, 2:51 pm
  #83  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Programs: Skymiles
Posts: 1
Red face AirFrance or Delta?

Is it smarter to accumulate miles with AF or DL?

1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)?
Upgrades and lounge access are the most important.


2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? How many flights/sectors?
25K-50K

3. What fare class do you usually buy?
Premium eco

4. Are you able to choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure?
I am able to choose airline and travel for work 75% of the time.

5. Which routes do you fly most often
US domestic or NYC-CDG

6. What is your home airport?
JFK/EWR/LGA

7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in a FFP, if any?
none because i keep switching!


8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
DL/AF

thanks!
laetitialonguefosse is offline  
Old Jun 10, 14, 3:32 pm
  #84  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 18,842
laetitialonguefosse Welcome to FT
Originally Posted by laetitialonguefosse View Post
Is it smarter to accumulate miles with AF or DL?
1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)?
Upgrades and lounge access are the most important.
< snip >
6. What is your home airport?
JFK/EWR/LGA..
You are unlikely to get upgrades on US domestic with AF status. For many the ffp of the airline you fly most or the airline of your home city/country is best. Earning miles from non flying activity is harder with foreign ffp's

Have a look here http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/skyte...i-sign-up.html
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Jun 10, 14, 3:36 pm
  #85  
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 18,842
Originally Posted by mcnamc View Post
<snip>
7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in a FFP, if any?
(e.g., AA Executive Platinum, UA 1K, LAN Comodoro)
Reply: Alaska, no status this year, currently have 40k

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
Reply: I really have a soft spot for Alaska but am flying them less and less. I'll be flying about 40K in the next few months, transatlantic and transpacific, wondering if its time to switch. . .
Which airline will these flights be on?
AS is a good ffp due to the amny partners AA, DL, QF, CX, AF. http://www.alaskaair.com/content/mil...-overview.aspx
I would stick with AS
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Jun 12, 14, 1:10 pm
  #86  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: BOS/BDL
Programs: MileagePlus Club, Amex Platinum, AAdvantage, SkyMiles
Posts: 232
I'm reevaluating my strategy and would value any input offered.

1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)?
Reply: Award Access is primary. But also ability to get miles from a CC program.

2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? How many flights/sectors?
Reply: I'm assuming we're talking about paid tickets(?)
On average 10-15k, 3-4 flights, 6-10 sectors.

3. What fare class do you usually buy?
Reply: F

4. Are you able to choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure?
Reply: Yes, I make the choice. Paid tickets are almost all for biz.

5. Which routes do you fly most often
Reply: Paid - US Dom. Heavily BDL-CLT and BDL-LAS
Award - BDL-CLT, BOS-GVA/ZRH

6. What is your home airport?
Reply: BDL or MHT is preferred, but BOS is not too much further and will sometimes choose it for better non-stop availability, especially for TATL.

7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in a FFP, if any? No status.
I have the following miles/points:
AA - 141k
US - 14k
UA - 430k
Amex - 280k
Chase Rewards - 14k

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
Reply: anything but Southwest. No F and I hate their seating "arrangements".

Here is where I'm at - for the most part I pay for tickets for biz and use awards for personal travel. I get most of my miles/points through CCs from my biz.

I started the FF route maybe 8-10 years ago. I started with UA (Continental at the time) because I had a Chase CC and saw they had a rewards card that coordinated with the FFP.

(pertinent side note - we travel to Europe, mostly Switzerland, once every 1-3 years because we have family there)

Then I saw that Amex had a "Swiss Certificate" for 50k points, with a companion pass for an additional 30k. At the time I believe UA was 50k each so it seemed like a good bargain. However, before we were able to get our first ones, they discontinued the program. I was bummed, but at least I could convert points to UA miles. Did that for a couple years, and, yup - no more agreement with UA.

Then I found that Chase has a card that pays 1.5 miles per dollar spent, so I went back to Chase for my CC miles (this card gives actual UA miles, not points). For the most part I was pretty happy with the UA award availability, and really like the award booking process.

However, in the last year it seems like premium award availability is going the way of the dodo. The last trip I booked for Switzerland I had to look almost daily for a couple months to even find Biz Class tickets. We had plans way out there, so I was able to start looking at the max time out and finally booked shortly before the devaluation went into effect. I don't think I ever saw a Saver Award First, except maybe through some out of the way 2-hop routing (and of course it was mixed cabin because the first and last legs were regional or short hops).

I've been flying a lot of US mostly because they have a great BDL-CLT presence (my father lives in CLT and we have several business connections in the area). Also, I have a Barclay US CC that allows you to get reward tickets with a 5k mile discount. Not sure what's happening with the AA merger, but I recently got a Citi-AA CC so that at least I've got something prepared.

So, hope I said enough but not too much... Any words from the wise?
dnwaldmann is offline  
Old Jun 16, 14, 2:44 pm
  #87  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3
Where should I consolidate?

Hi all, Thanks for any help in advance.

1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)?
Reply: Award bookings for international travel.

2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? How many flights/sectors?
Reply: 10k-20k, average maybe 12-16 segments.

3. What fare class do you usually buy?
Reply: economy

4. Are you able to choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure?
Reply: Lowest fare. 25%/75% personal/business.

5. Which routes do you fly most often?
Reply: Just depends on where a conference or trade show is, but 90% domestic out of Roanoke, VA

6. What is your home airport?
Reply: ROA. CLT and GSO are in reasonable driving distance, but not preferred.

7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in a FFP, if any?
No status.
Miles/points:
DL - 2k
HA - 3k
UA - 8k
US - 5k

SPG - 42k
Chase UR - 80k

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
Reply: I suppose UA since my wife has a majority of her miles there (~60k), but I'm indifferent really.

I travel infrequently enough that I'll never earn status on an airline and luckily that's unimportant to me. What I'd like to know is, is there any one program I can use to aggregate miles from such variable travel?

I recently looked into AS since it appears that I can attribute both DL and AA miles to the same program (maybe US later?) and also transfer SPG points there as well. Is this a reasonable strategy? I doubt I'll ever travel AA or DL enough to book awards based on miles flown alone. But if that trickle of miles could be consolidated somewhere, it may make a difference. I also occasionally rent a car (2x a year) so if those rewards could go to a FFP, that may help.

My question for you fine folks is, what is my best strategy for aggregation?
dkatvt is offline  
Old Jun 16, 14, 6:41 pm
  #88  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1
Dear all,

This is my first post and I am an amateur in trying to create the best Frequent Flyer program.

I currently work full-time in Shanghai, China and travel quite often throughout the country. Normally, I fly China Eastern Airlines (Star Alliance) on a bi-monthly basis. In addition to flying around mainland China, every now and then I fly to Hong Kong for business purposes.

My flights are always economy class and our accountant is always trying to get the cheapest price and does not always consider China Eastern Airline.

The issue is I will be moving back to the USA (Chicago) in October 2014 and will most likely slow down on flights for the time being. However, I will be flying from Chicago - China on an annual basis, and at times to Germany. Again, these flights will all be economy class.

Are there any suggestions on a Frequent Flyer program I should choose that would involve flights most common for me in China and USA?

Please direct more questions to me if you need further details.

Thanks and sorry for asking such general questions.
Swanson29 is offline  
Old Jun 17, 14, 12:21 pm
  #89  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1
best frequent flyer programs

1. Most important for f2f
Have to say availability of international flights and upgrades.
2. HOW many miles do I fly each year.
I would say at least one international flight 10000 to 25000
3. Class if international over 6 hours Premium Economy or better.
4. I travel for pleasure.
5. Flights to Canada and NC are most frequent routes.
6. I usually fly out of FLL or MIA for most international.
7. VA 15,000
Qantas 29,000. ALSO have Am Ex to transfer
8. I love Virgin partly because of upgrades through F2F and comfort- but hard to connectt To the rest of Europe.

I'm still trying to have the hang of using Fprequent flyer programs. I do know that it is much easier during Spring. Not sure what to do with my Qantas points.
Any thoughts?
gloriamg1 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 14, 9:32 am
  #90  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Programs: DL DM & 1 MM, Hilton Silver, Hertz Gold
Posts: 111
Best FF Program for PSP-based Traveler?

Anticipate a move to the Palm Springs area soon. Will likely continue frequent travel - mostly Western US with occasional midwest and east coast.

Currently a Delta Diamond Medallion. I can stay with them or move my business to another carrier if it makes more sense.

I know that PSP isn't a hub for anyone and a lot of the service is seasonal. Any thoughts/experience on which airline or alliance would be best to align with after my move?
FireFlyer is offline  

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