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Help me get started - Canada--Europe 4 times a year

Help me get started - Canada--Europe 4 times a year

Old Apr 11, 19, 7:28 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2019
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Help me get started - Canada--Europe 4 times a year

Hello, I am trying to make sense of all these different air miles programs and I am very, very confused.

I travel from Montreal to Eastern Europe or Switzerland around 4-5 times a year, and would like to take advantage of this somehow. Is that a reasonable amount of flying to be able to take advantage of some point system?

I realize that if I am to do so, I should probably stick to one airline program. I am trying to decide whether my best option is to fly with British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, or using Air Canada's Aeroplan. I will be travelling business class in one direction.

Can someone help me get started in figuring out what my best options are?

Last edited by Geoffgeoff; Apr 11, 19 at 7:42 am
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Old Apr 11, 19, 1:03 pm
  #2  
 
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Firstly, what do you want from the program. Award miles which can lead to a future redemption ticket, elite benefits or both?
Any related current or potential credit card/banking situations that you can benefit from in the form of miles?

You probably won’t travel quite enough for elite status or getting much use out of it but getting a future award ticket is a good goal.
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Old Apr 11, 19, 1:32 pm
  #3  
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I really don't have specific goals. If I could occasionally upgrade to business class in one direction then that would be good. But if that's not realistic then a future award ticket would be good. Why is one easier to achieve then the other?

Is there a general consensus as to which airline has the better business class? BA, KLM, Lufthansa, Air France?

Any related current or potential credit card/banking situations that you can benefit from in the form of miles?
Not currently. But I would like to take advantage of this as well. I just don't really know how to. Is there a specific credit card I should be using?
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Old Apr 11, 19, 1:36 pm
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Geoffgeoff Welcome to FT
Originally Posted by Geoffgeoff View Post
Hello, I am trying to make sense of all these different air miles programs and I am very, very confused.

I travel from Montreal to Eastern Europe or Switzerland around 4-5 times a year, and would like to take advantage of this somehow. Is that a reasonable amount of flying to be able to take advantage of some point system?

I realize that if I am to do so, I should probably stick to one airline program. I am trying to decide whether my best option is to fly with British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, or using Air Canada's Aeroplan. I will be travelling business class in one direction.

Can someone help me get started in figuring out what my best options are?
Guessing this is for work. If for work, does your employer have a travel policy/preferred airline?

What airlines fly to your destinations? Non stop or via other (Eu?) airports?
BA is Oneworld Alliance, LH & AC Star Alliance & KLM Skyteam
Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Great Circle Mapper
List of Air Canada destinations

General FFP:- Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join? Help Is Here!

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

Star Alliance: Need advice on which Star Alliance FF scheme to join? - please post here

Skyteam:- Which SkyTeam program should I sign up for?


Be mindful of expiry Miles/Points that Do and Don't Expire. Click to open the wiki.
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Old Apr 11, 19, 1:54 pm
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Guessing this is for work. If for work, does your employer have a travel policy/preferred airline?
Yes, for work. No real policy or airline preference.

What airlines fly to your destinations? Non stop or via other (Eu?) airports?
There are no direct flights. My main options seem to pass through London, Paris, Amsterdam, or Munich/Frankfurt.
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Old Apr 11, 19, 2:09 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Geoffgeoff View Post
<snip>
I will be travelling business class in one direction
<snip>
Originally Posted by Geoffgeoff View Post
I really don't have specific goals. If I could occasionally upgrade to business class in one direction then that would be good. But if that's not realistic then a future award ticket would be good. Why is one easier to achieve then the other?
<snip>
Will these be return flights? Or all one ways?
Business class one way & economy the other?
One way Eu fares can be close to the cost of a return, but does vary a lot.

Upgrades across the Atlantic will be hard: a lot of others trying for the same.
Eu airlines do not have the same upgrade mentality as USA/Canadian airlines. Cross airlines upgrades much harder again.
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Old Apr 11, 19, 2:27 pm
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You’re far more likely to accrue enough miles to get an award ticket vs status because status is generally by year and you reset each year. Miles often have at least a few years of life for those with set expiration dates and most others expire after 18 or more months on inactivity or not at all.

Unless you’re flying out on BA on their A350 in J I’d avoid BA altogether. The standard J hard product is quite a letdown though the crew can be good. I’d focus on something with a consistent product. The flight over may also allow you to get much sleep since it’s so short.
Star Alliance will most likely have the most routing options for you depending on which airport you’re departing from. The products do vary but tend to be consistent.
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Old Apr 11, 19, 6:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Will these be return flights? Or all one ways?
Business class one way & economy the other?
One way Eu fares can be close to the cost of a return, but does vary a lot.

Upgrades across the Atlantic will be hard: a lot of others trying for the same.
Eu airlines do not have the same upgrade mentality as USA/Canadian airlines. Cross airlines upgrades much harder again.
I will always do return flights. Hoping to do business class one way & economy the other? I'm not sure what you mean by upgrade mentality. Can you please elaborate?
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Old Apr 11, 19, 7:48 pm
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I'm not sure why people are saying that this isn't enough for status.

Montreal-Switzerland is about 3700 miles. But he will be connecting, so probably more like 4000 miles in each direction. So, 8k miles per round trip. 32k miles per year. That is certainly enough for bottom-level status.

Doing business class one of the two ways might provide enough of a bonus to get up to the 2nd-level status.

The "upgrade mentality" is that in the US, most of the money comes from business travel, and many businesses only pay for economy. So, rather than try to sell premium cabin tickets, the business strategy is to upgrade people with status from economy to business. That encourages people to spend all their employers' money with them (rather than spreading it around, choosing what is best or cheapest, etc).

In other words, the way that they monetize the premium cabins is by using them as a reward to try to entice people to buy many, many economy tickets, rather than trying to sell them directly. Some routes are exceptions, but I think it's true in general.

For flights across the atlantic, upgrades are harder to come by. You will generally be competing with people who fly A LOT for business and thus will be higher in the pecking order than you are. With a very few exceptions, you should expect to fly in the cabin that you pay for. You may be able to buy a paid upgrade when you check in or at the airport sometimes. A few airlines have "bidding" systems where you can make a secret bid in advance, and the highest bids get selected.

As for which airline to pick -- I would strongly suggest first looking at which ones are best at getting you to where you want to go, with a product that you will be comfortable with, and a price that you will be comfortable paying, with a schedule that is convenient for you. Once you've narrowed it down to a few choices that are very close, maybe use frequent flyer program as a tie-breaker.
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