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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
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: Mwenenzi
Wiki Link
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 27, 14, 9:48 am
  #91  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Not here; there!
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 24,531
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.1030 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

It really depends on what you value most out of an FFP. What class of service do you normally fly on paid tickets? Where do you want to go on award tickets, and in what class? How important to you are things like free checked baggage, free lounge access, free upgrades, etc.? How many (paid) miles do you fly per year?

Without that info, it's tough to make an informed recommendation.
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guv1976 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 14, 12:19 pm
  #92  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Treasure Coast, FL
Programs: DL Diamond, Marriott LT Plat, HH Diamond, Avis Preferred Plus, National Executive
Posts: 4,564
Relocating from Portland, OR to West Palm Beach, FL area.

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:Upgrades and better award 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:>50000 miles and >50 flights

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

Reply:Economy and occasional first.

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

Reply:Work. I book my own travel but only rarely book F.

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

6. What is your home airport?
(e.g., SFO, LHR, HKG)

Reply:PBI

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:Currently AS MVP Gold 75K. Have been in the PDX area the last 8 years and relocating to Florida. PBI is the closest airport. FLL and MIA are over 90 and 120 miles away.

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?

Reply:Open to any. Flying is the bus in the sky. As long as I get an aisle seat I am usually content.
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apodo77 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 14, 1:09 pm
  #93  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1
Questionnaire
In order for FlyerTalkers to better assist you, please copy and paste the following questionnaire into your post and provide the requested information:

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:
Upgrades, "extra legroom" seating type at booking, awards redemption


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:
50k-75k

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

4. Are you able to choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure?
Reply:
Travel for work, not able to choose class of service

5. Which routes do you fly most often
(e.g., U.S. domestic, transatlantic, intra-Asia)
Reply:
U.S. domestic, Canada, rare trans-atlantic travel

6. What is your home airport?
(e.g., SFO, LHR, HKG)
Reply:
ORD

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:
Star alliance gold, United gold

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
Reply:
virgin airlines, alaska airlines, air canada, ANA
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Last edited by jonjon082; Jun 27, 14 at 2:06 pm
jonjon082 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 14, 10:48 pm
  #94  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Programs: AA, United, Delta
Posts: 14
considering switching AA to UA

I have been most loyal to AA since 1996, but am considering switching to UA. My father flies UA for international business frequently and has over a million miles; if I switch I will see if he is able to gift me at least the minimum status or higher, otherwise I'm not much inclined to switch. Reasons to consider switching are I'm seeing UA flights cheaper on some routes I check with regularity lately, as well as better flight times. For example, need to fly to Asia next month (ORD-HKG-PVG-ORD, OR ORD-HKG round-trip, or ORD-HKG-CAN-ORD would all work fine), and consistently seeing UA fares for this several hundred bucks cheaper than AA. But haven't flown UA in a long time and last time I did to HKG, plane was fairly crappy.


1. What is most important to you in a frequent flyer program (FFP)?
Reply: One free checked bag domestically is a must (but achievable via many methods I know). Then, in order, competitive fares, priority check-in/bag drop lines, priority boarding, award redemption, lounge access.

2. How many miles do you usually fly each year? How many flights/sectors?
Reply: 25K-50K. In AA always make Gold, occasionally make Platinum. More miles than 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: 90% business/10% personal

5. Which routes do you fly most often
Reply: either domestic or Asia; always to LAS once per year, usually NYC at least once, HKG or CAN at least 1x per year. Future likely regular trips include DUS or CGN or FRA; London, Paris.

6. What is your home airport?
Reply: ORD

7. Do you have status in any FFP? What is it? How miles do you have banked in a FFP, if any?
Reply: AA Gold current, AA Platinum previous year, current AA balance about 75K, AA Million Miler balance 275K

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
AA for Main Cabin Extra seating domestically; Cathay for Asia--but these are because of the additional leg room and for Cathay because of personal video screens, which is huge for passing time on a 15-hour flight

Flew US Air to PDX via PHX earlier this month and thought US Airways plane was crappy compared to most AA planes.

Any thoughts or comments appreciated, thanks!
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bethwl is offline  
Old Jun 28, 14, 11:42 pm
  #95  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1
Give up on Qantas and change?

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:
Upgrades, reward redemption rates.

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:
Less than 25000

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:
Currently for pleasure, able to choose.

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

6. What is your home airport?
(e.g., SFO, LHR, HKG)
Reply:
Melbourne or Adelaide

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:
Qantas: 50,000. No status.
Enrich: 10,000. No status.

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
Reply:
Malaysia, Cathay Pacific, Qantas (rarely)

Also, I mainly earn points with my credit card rather than flying.
I spend around 20K a year and earn a point of QFF per dollar.

Thanks for any help!
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Josieg26 is offline  
Old Jun 28, 14, 11:49 pm
  #96  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 18,842
Originally Posted by Josieg26 View Post
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:
Upgrades, reward redemption rates.
< snip >
Also, I mainly earn points with my credit card rather than flying.
I spend around 20K a year and earn a point of QFF per dollar.
Welcome (again)
Your best ffp can be dependant on where you live medium or long term. CC earn is very dependant on where you live - where you will spend.

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

As you seem to be a OW flyer have a look here http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/onewo...help-here.html
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Jun 29, 14, 3:13 pm
  #97  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Programs: Delta, United, Southwest
Posts: 622
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: Award avaliablity, good award redemption rates

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: <25000 , 4 flights at the moment.

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

Reply: Economy/ Premium economy


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

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

6. What is your home airport?
(e.g., SFO, LHR, HKG)

Reply: ORD/MDW

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: No status, I have 5k in a Skymiles account, 500 in AA, 500 in UA

8. What are your preferred airlines, if any?
Reply: AA, DL

I would like to note that my travel goals are mostly in Latin America (Central America, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina), UK/Ireland/Scandinavia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Carribean. I dont fly much sadly, and I wish I could more. I am also a college student, graduating next year and trying to get a firm foundation with a stable job (things are looking really good. and of course this comes first), so maybe CC's or other forms of getting miles are the best (once I get a stable income). Or I wont be able to get any for a long time
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thetravelingRedhead is offline  
Old Jun 30, 14, 4:50 pm
  #98  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: San Jose
Programs: Delta PM. SPG Platinum. Hyatt Diamond. National Exec. Southwest A+ & CP.
Posts: 194
(1) What is most important to you in a FFP?

Reply: Good award redemption rates, better award access and upgrades on travel.

(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: 50-75

(3) What types of fares do you usually buy ?
(First, Business, Premium economy, Economy, cheapest)
Reply: Cheapest

(4) Can you choose your airlines and/or class of service? Do you travel for work and/or pleasure?
Reply: Yes I can and I travel mostly for work (SJC-LAX)

(5) Which routes do you fly most often
(US Domestic, Transpacific, Kangaroo, in Asia etc)
Reply: US Domestic

(6) What is your home airport?
(SFO, SCL, London LHR, HKG, Singapore SIN etc.)
Reply: SJC, SFO is an hour away but I'd prefer SJC since it's 10 min away.


(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: WN A list, ~150k miles. UA MP 80k miles.
(8) Preferred Airlines
Reply: UA/WN
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canon5dfan is offline  
Old Jul 5, 14, 2:21 am
  #99  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: EWR, SLC, SGN
Posts: 1,104
Originally Posted by canon5dfan View Post
(1) What is most important to you in a FFP?

[B]Reply: Good award redemption rates, better award access and upgrades on travel.
Hi Canon. I'm not a segment flyer, but it seems like you have done pretty well to mostly fly SJC-LAX and get a decent account balance in two programs. The only thing I would be able to add is to look into Alaska, as they fly a lot to SJC from what I understand, and they do treat their members pretty well and are trying to grow a little to keep up with DL attacking their hub so they're adding more routes. They have good award use on CX, EK, and some others too so their miles are quite valuable right now.
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maverick17 is offline  
Old Jul 5, 14, 2:30 am
  #100  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: EWR, SLC, SGN
Posts: 1,104
Originally Posted by thetravelingRedhead View Post

I would like to note that my travel goals are mostly in Latin America (Central America, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina), UK/Ireland/Scandinavia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Carribean. I dont fly much sadly, and I wish I could more. I am also a college student, graduating next year and trying to get a firm foundation with a stable job (things are looking really good. and of course this comes first), so maybe CC's or other forms of getting miles are the best (once I get a stable income). Or I wont be able to get any for a long time
Hi Redhead,

Being in Chicago, I would say AA is a natural choice. UA could also be very useful. I'd start with focusing on those two. But given that you're just starting out, and looking at earning through CC more than on heavy BIS miles from flying, I would say plan some of your awards out, read trip reports, and start with CC's for those awards you have planned rather than blindly applying for every card you see. From ORD you will have many ways to get international flights. UA miles give you great flexibility, allowing stopovers, and having many partners. BA has good use in South America and can be a good method for domestic flights too. AS has good award space from ORD to HKG, so keep them in mind too. So you really have lots to choose from, and if you're earning from cards you'll eventually end up with accounts in many programs, but I'd start by planning some trips and building balance with a target in mind.
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Old Jul 5, 14, 2:52 am
  #101  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: EWR, SLC, SGN
Posts: 1,104
Originally Posted by bethwl View Post
I have been most loyal to AA since 1996, but am considering switching to UA. My father flies UA for international business frequently and has over a million miles; if I switch I will see if he is able to gift me at least the minimum status or higher, otherwise I'm not much inclined to switch. Reasons to consider switching are I'm seeing UA flights cheaper on some routes I check with regularity lately, as well as better flight times. For example, need to fly to Asia next month (ORD-HKG-PVG-ORD, OR ORD-HKG round-trip, or ORD-HKG-CAN-ORD would all work fine), and consistently seeing UA fares for this several hundred bucks cheaper than AA. But haven't flown UA in a long time and last time I did to HKG, plane was fairly crappy.
Hi Bethwl,

Pretty even match in your case. Since some of your requests, like free bags and priority boarding/check-in can be had with CCs, as you mention, then it would primarily come down to fare pricing as the main difference in your list, in my opinion. I'm not on top of prices from ORD, but it seems like you have been paying attention. Your destinations map well to either with nonstop and one-stop flights. I think UA has better award availability and options through Star Alliance. But AA treats fliers better IMO, and UA irrops can be disastrous at times, also just IMO, so I can imagine from ORD that could be rough.

So all in all, to me it comes down to saving a few hundred dollars, better schedule, and better awards VS better planes, better service, and possibly having status on AA with none on UA. To me that's not enough to switch. I'd stick with AA, but maybe give UA a shot once since it's been awhile and see how you like the flight to HKG.

(Lastly, the UA 747's don't have personal TV's as they are pretty dated, and they ply the Asia routes from ORD often. Not sure when they are scheduled for updates or retirements, I'm sure there is more though in the UA forum. The 777s are better IMO, and have tv's, for sure the old CO ones, and I think the UA ones too).
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maverick17 is offline  
Old Jul 5, 14, 3:22 am
  #102  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: EWR, SLC, SGN
Posts: 1,104
Originally Posted by jonjon082 View Post
Questionnaire
In order for FlyerTalkers to better assist you, please copy and paste the following questionnaire into your post and provide the requested information:

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:
Upgrades, "extra legroom" seating type at booking, awards redemption
Hi jonjon,

With UA status providing the legroom, what are you looking for? Are you not happy with not enough upgrades?

I think out of ORD the other natural choice for you that gives upgrades and legroom for mostly domestic and Canada flights would be AA. Have you tried them at all?

I wouldn't focus my earning on an int'l program in Oneworld or Skyteam, given your location and flying of mostly N. America routes.
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Old Jul 5, 14, 3:30 am
  #103  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: EWR, SLC, SGN
Posts: 1,104
Originally Posted by apodo77 View Post
Relocating from Portland, OR to West Palm Beach, FL area.

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:Upgrades and better award access.
Hi Apodo,

I don't have much info on PBI or Florida. I figure you will have to connect somewhere for most of your flying, so that might play a big part of your choice is who has the most flights and most convenient times out of PBI for some of your common routes. My opinion on your answer above is that DL and AA do better with upgrades than UA, and UA and AA have better award availability than DL. So I'd say AA comes out on top, depending on the concerns about number of flights and times, routes etc. A consideration could be getting some flights into BA Avios if you like the Caribbean, as you could use them on AA flights from MIA to many locations for a very cheap price (9k miles RT to many).
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Old Jul 5, 14, 3:40 am
  #104  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: EWR, SLC, SGN
Posts: 1,104
Originally Posted by gloriamg1 View Post
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?
Hi Gloria,

Being in MIA with Qantas in Oneworld, I'd think you could try to use them on AA flights, but I don't know the mileage chart. Maybe the Caribbean or domestic US flights is probably all you can get out of them.

First of all, with estimated less than 25k a year of flying, there's not really a way to get status and the upgrades that come with it. If you're gonna be over 25k, you might get a low status, but then upgrades are still pretty rare. The benefit at 25k would probably be not an upgrade to First or Biz, but you could get premium economy for free, which you do mention.

So convenience would say that AA is a good choice for flying out of your locale and to NC where US is becoming AA. AA should have many int'l options from MIA to Europe and South America, and one stop to Asia. Oneworld is smaller than * alliance though, so if that is very important as you mention availability of int'l flights, might be worth considering UA. UA with low status though only allows premium economy to be booked like 24 hours before departure, if I recall, so that's a bummer. I'd go for AA.
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Old Jul 5, 14, 3:53 am
  #105  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: EWR, SLC, SGN
Posts: 1,104
Originally Posted by Swanson29 View Post
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?
Hi Swanson,

Welcome to FT. No need to apologize.

Minor point is that China Eastern is in Skyteam. For those flights, I'd go ahead and open a Delta account for now and credit those flights to DL. But check their partner page on Delta.com and make sure your fare classes earn miles. If not, then have to see what airlines in Skyteam would allow for credit, or if it is just China Eastern themselves.

Since you do not have the choice on booking your own flights, I'd choose one airline program in each alliance and start collecting there so that whichever airline you're booked on you can keep those miles. Most common choices are United for Star Alliance and American for Oneworld. Since you will be in Chicago soon, where both of these have hubs, that also makes sense. If you're flying Air China for now, you could credit to United (again depending on the fare class, some might be excluded). China Southern would also go to your Delta account. Other domestic China airlines I'm not sure about.

It's not ideal to have low balances in several accounts, but since it is not your control you will have to do the best you can. Once you're in Chicago, you will have many choices to get to China and Europe, too, so if you still don't get to choose you might end up continuing with smaller balances, but at least you will get a feel for what you're looking for.

To answer more we would need to know what you want out of the program, but I think those 3 programs are a good start for you in your scenario.
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