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Where do I even begin to start?

Where do I even begin to start?

Old Mar 22, 21, 7:53 pm
  #1  
E33
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 23
Where do I even begin to start?

I guess Iím going to be flying somewhat often now and have no idea where to even start taking advantage of points..

I have a start with American Airlines and their doesnít seem to be a general airlines forum here so I suppose Iíll start here..

I will probably mostly be flying in/out of TVC Traverse City Michigan airport, but Iíll also probably be hopping all over the country (USA) from one place to another.. (expecting an Omaha to Vegas here in a couple days for example)

I doubt Iím going to be able to stick with just one airline so Iíll probably wind up with points accounts for a few, but I might have some choices in my flights..

Can you tell me a little about what airlines to avoid, what airlines participate with eachother points/miles wise, and what airlines I can get the most points values out of?
Just want to take advantage of all of my employment perks that I possibly can..

No credit cards, company pays for them
all themselves..

Probably will be a LOT of last minute bookings.. These things are not planned out in advance at all..

Basically Iíll call traveliance and tell them I need to fly from X to X on X day, and they will give me like 3 flight options I can choose from..

I have no idea what I should be choosing..

Where do I even begin? Iím a total noob at this..
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E33 is offline  
Old Mar 22, 21, 9:01 pm
  #2  
formerly jackvogt
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Atlanta, GA
Programs: Delta SkyMiles,
Posts: 689
Make a frequent flyer account for every airline. Pick the airline that works best for your schedule and has the shortest travel time.
You will discover who is good, bad and horrible.
Then you can try and focus on earning status.
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ATLflyer2017 is offline  
Old Mar 22, 21, 9:20 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 17,141
Originally Posted by E33 View Post
I guess I’m going to be flying somewhat often now and have no idea where to even start taking advantage of points..
I have a start with American Airlines and their doesn’t seem to be a general airlines forum here so I suppose I’ll start here..
I will probably mostly be flying in/out of TVC Traverse City Michigan airport, but I’ll also probably be hopping all over the country (USA) from one place to another.. (expecting an Omaha to Vegas here in a couple days for example)

I doubt I’m going to be able to stick with just one airline so I’ll probably wind up with points accounts for a few, but I might have some choices in my flights..

Can you tell me a little about what airlines to avoid, what airlines participate with eachother points/miles wise, and what airlines I can get the most points values out of?
Just want to take advantage of all of my employment perks that I possibly can..

No credit cards, company pays for them all themselves..

Probably will be a LOT of last minute bookings.. These things are not planned out in advance at all..
Basically I’ll call traveliance and tell them I need to fly from X to X on X day, and they will give me like 3 flight options I can choose from..

I have no idea what I should be choosing..

Where do I even begin? I’m a total noob at this..
As above sign up for all the 3 major airlines AA UA & DL, Alaska AS is a ff partner of AA.
With last minute bookings those will be likely be expensive (for your employer) but good for ff earning (for you)
Will depend a lot on where you go. As a wild guess a lot of transit through ORD.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_Capital_Airport

Worth signing up also for the hotel chain loyalty programs.

Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join? Help Is Here!
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Mar 22, 21, 9:39 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: PHL (kinda, no airport is really close)
Programs: AA Exp (2020 is first and last year). Enterprise Platinum woo-hoo!
Posts: 3,544
There's no reason not to ensure you get credit for every flight.

IMO, there is relatively little difference between airlines, although some of the LCC (low cost carriers) can be more on the unpleasant side.

Many people swear by Southwest; I don't like them because I don't like to have to line up and grab the seat I want. They don't have first class seats, but they do have a companion pass which I think you need to fly 110,000 miles in a year to get, but when you get it you can take a companion with you for free. (I could be wrong about that.)

Note that most airlines status these days has both a miles flown and a dollars spent component. If you are spending a lot it would be unfortunate to not get status for all that money. As a rule you must spend a certain amount and fly EITHER a certain number of miles or a certain number of segments. It usually works out to 833 miles per segment, so a status requiring 25,000 miles would require 30 segments. A segment is a takeoff and landing, so if you fly from A to C changing planes in B, that's two segments, and if you then fly home that's two more segments.

There is a lot of randomness in getting first class upgrades. However, all airlines have some kind of "premium coach" (distinct from "Premium Economy" on overseas flights) which gives you a few extra inches of legroom, often free drinks and early boarding. Early boarding can be a major convenience if you are carrying on luggage. If you are checking bags, you might want to consider getting airline credit cards anyway, because they all provide for one free checked bag. So a $95 annual fee would pay for itself on two round trips, maybe less (is the first bag up to $30 now? I haven't paid to check a bag since 2013). On American, Platinum elites (50,000 miles and $6000 annual spend) and above get these seats for free, and Gold elites (25,000/$3000) get them for free 24 hours before departure. For a road warrior, those few extra inches of legroom (and, depending on your preferences, the free alcohol) can make the difference between a trip that is miserable and one that is just unpleasant.

You should find out just how your travel agency or department works. And obviously, you should consider the schedules and routes of the various airlines. TVC seems, unsurprisingly, to serve most of the major airline hubs, as well as a few direct flights to Florida. Are you mostly going to be going out the night before? If so, you might have a preference for an airline with a 5PM departure to their hub over a 7PM departure. (Do you want to be able to stay at the office until 5PM, or do you want to leave early and get to your destination before midnight?)

I think you should try to earn status, but it will depend how much flexibility your travel agency gives you.

Two other things to know about. Many airlines have a "status challenge." On American, you can pay a few hundred dollars (usually no more than $250ish) and if you fly, say, 25% of the annual threshold for gold or platinum in 30 days, you will get that status for the rest of the year and possibly the entire next year. Also is the "Mileage Run." Say that it's December and you project yourself to end the year having spend $8000 but flown only 56 segments. It's not at all uncommon (and not against any airline rule) to fly the cheapest possible 4-segment round trip to put yourself over. I did this once, getting up at 4AM to fly from Raleigh to Philadelphia to New York to immediately turn around and reverse the route, getting home in time for a late lunch and getting my 4 segments in.
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redtop43 is offline  
Old Mar 22, 21, 9:54 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Seattle
Programs: Costco Club
Posts: 612
Southwest wont get you to TVC
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Old Mar 22, 21, 11:53 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: OC, CA
Programs: AA EXP, 2MM, AS MVP, HH Diamond
Posts: 659
FWIW AA recently announced seasonal (mostly summer) or expanded service from TVC to DFW, BOS, PHL, LGA, DCA and CLT in addition to ORD.

https://upnorthlive.com/news/local/a...-traverse-city
https://www.traverseticker.com/news/...ice-to-boston/
hbtr is offline  
Old Mar 23, 21, 12:23 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Tokyo
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Posts: 305
Dont forget to sign up for ALL hotel loyalty programs also, and car hire.....
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BRITINJAPAN4 is offline  
Old Mar 23, 21, 5:53 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: VPS
Programs: IHG Spire, Delta GM
Posts: 4,609
Going out of Traverse City is going to involve a good amount of quality time connecting through Chicago OíHare (United, American) or Detroit (Delta). I definitely like the Detroit option better- nice spacious and logical layout and the whole complex was rebuilt in the past 20 years. (And I seethe occasional long walk between gates there as a chance to get a little exercise in) Allegiant is a vacation airline that is not likely to suit your route and travel needs.

There are three major alliance partnerships and the US carriers all belong to different ones- SkyTeam (Delta), Star Alliance (United) and Oneworld (American). Southwest- possibility useful for the middle of your road trips or, in very specific situations where it makes sense to do the slog down US 131 to GRR to catch one of their flights from there like a GRR-DEN nonstop, doesnít have an alliance partner.

You canít combine points from different airline programs into accounts, but can generally earn and burn pretty easily within the same alliance. So you canít credit an American flight to United but if you fly on Air Canada on a trip, you can get miles from United by entering your frequent flyer number on the ticket because AC is a Star Alliance partner with United.

Credit card points can be a useful supplement to airline miles. The two big players- Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Member Rewards- each have lists of airlines and hotel chains that let you transfer UR or MR points into that other programsí pseudo currency.

United, Southwest, and Delta miles no longer expire. American miles can be kept alive indefinitely as long as you make one Ďearn or burní transaction every so often, even if itís just getting a few miles going through their shopping portal.
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beachmouse is offline  
Old Mar 23, 21, 6:11 am
  #9  
E33
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 23
I think Iím getting the hotels figured out pretty good, but yeah Iíll have to think about rental car places soon too because if we fly we end up renting a car most of the time..
E33 is offline  
Old Mar 23, 21, 6:30 am
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
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I'd pick the airline with the most flights out of your homme airport. Go on their website and determine the various status levels and the earning requirements. You should also inquire about a status challenge. Finally, you may want to consider a lounge membership and see if your company will pick up some of the cost since it will save you on meals. The worst place to be on the phone with a client is a crowded gate area.

Right now both AA and DL are heavily monetizing first class. I'd check upfare offers and pay out of pocket if it's reasonable and makes sense.
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Old Mar 23, 21, 6:50 am
  #11  
E33
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 23
Iím more of a roughneck than a businessman..
I build, rig, and run environmental remediation equipment from permanent location installs to temporary mobile equipment..
From setting up equipment to remediate haz waste streams to pumping old contaminants out of the ground.. Pumps, filters, chems, wells, etc..

Oilfield equipment operator gone environmental.. (economy/times)

I've only been in my home state for 2 weeks so far in 2021.. Over 80 hours on my check last week..
Hotel life..

Iím just looking to take advantage of whatever points I can so I can take a couple nice 2 week paid vacations a year, hopefully almost free..

Costa Rica or something..
E33 is offline  
Old Mar 23, 21, 7:36 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: VPS
Programs: IHG Spire, Delta GM
Posts: 4,609
One possibly useful thing with Delta miles is that you can use them at a rate of a penny per mile to pay in part or full for most of their Delta Vacations flight plus hotel packages, which can sometimes be a better deal than just using points for each of those. Delta Vacations also always seems to be running sone sort of Ďsave $150-$500 on a packageí offer, bringing the number of miles needed down further.
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Old Mar 23, 21, 10:08 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: DFW
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Posts: 7,116
How about a descriptive title?
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Old Mar 23, 21, 10:30 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
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If this is travel for an employer, I'd ask some of the more tenured people on your team. I know that if I wasn't a savvy traveler who I'd ask in my department!
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Old Mar 23, 21, 4:06 pm
  #15  
E33
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Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 23
Originally Posted by Gig103 View Post
If this is travel for an employer, I'd ask some of the more tenured people on your team. I know that if I wasn't a savvy traveler who I'd ask in my department!
They donít seem to really care about all the points we could be getting..

Kinda brag about getting lots of points from certain places but then donít even know the ins and outs of it at all..

Their staying at an IHG staybridge that refuses to give us points.. Iím staying at a Marriott getting double points..
I think they donít even notice that IHG wonít give points to CLC stays anymore.. I do..
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