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benefits of being a frequent flier

benefits of being a frequent flier

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Old May 11, 10, 10:24 am
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benefits of being a frequent flier

what are the benefits of being a frequent flier of any one airline vs just using various website to purcahse the lowest fares?

are perks like lounges really that enticing?

thanks
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Old May 11, 10, 10:32 am
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Welcome to Flyertalk

Lounges are not usually a benefit, you usually have to buy that in addition (though usually at a discount)

The biggest ones to me are

Economy plus seating (a bit more room from the seat in front of you)
Boarding early (getting overhead space before everybody else does)
Ability to reserve exit rows when making the reservation
Not having to pay baggage fees
Upgrades to Business or First Class

And while it's not so much an issue anymore with online check in and kiosks, the priority check in lines which are usually much shorter then the regular ones
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Old May 11, 10, 12:22 pm
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djc225, my welcome to FlyerTalk from me too. You will find a lot of great info on the value of airline miles and loyalty to an airline in this forum and on BoardingArea.com, this site's sister site that hosts several great blogs for frequent fliers (including my blog). Here is also a link to a blog post I wrote answering the very question you asked:

Is Accumulating Airlines Miles worth it?
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Old May 11, 10, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by sharmaintl View Post
djc225, my welcome to FlyerTalk from me too. You will find a lot of great info on the value of airline miles and loyalty to an airline in this forum and on BoardingArea.com, this site's sister site that hosts several great blogs for frequent fliers (including my blog). Here is also a link to a blog post I wrote answering the very question you asked:

Is Accumulating Airlines Miles worth it?
Good article! Thanks.........
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Old May 11, 10, 12:51 pm
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To me, one of the biggest benefits of flying enough with an airline to have status with them is how they treat you when something goes pear-shaped ("irregular operations," or "irrops," in airline jargon). If you fly even two or three times a year, it's not a question of whether this will happen. It's a question of when, and perhaps of how often.

Proactive rebooking by the airline, priority on any available seats to my destination, standby priority when there aren't any available seats, phone lines where you seldom have to wait more than a few seconds even when everyone in the northeast U.S. is trying to get on another flight - these things are priceless. (Being able to wait in a lounge if you're at the airport is nice too, but since anyone can buy a day pass to most lounges, by itself it doesn't justify spending more on a ticket than you have to.)
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Old May 11, 10, 1:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
To me, one of the biggest benefits of flying enough with an airline to have status with them is how they treat you when something goes pear-shaped ("irregular operations," or "irrops," in airline jargon). If you fly even two or three times a year, it's not a question of whether this will happen. It's a question of when, and perhaps of how often.

Proactive rebooking by the airline, priority on any available seats to my destination, standby priority when there aren't any available seats, phone lines where you seldom have to wait more than a few seconds even when everyone in the northeast U.S. is trying to get on another flight - these things are priceless. (Being able to wait in a lounge if you're at the airport is nice too, but since anyone can buy a day pass to most lounges, by itself it doesn't justify spending more on a ticket than you have to.)
+1. Being able to redeem miles for major trips is also an advantage but the winner for me is 'travel insurance' when woes befall the flight. On a recent mechanical delay when JJ put all the pax in a hotel I ended out with a suite, which made me happy. Somebody gets better treatment and Elites will be the ones first to benefit. All the other benefits we all talk and rant about but this one is the important one for me.
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Old May 11, 10, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by djc225 View Post
what are the benefits of being a frequent flier of any one airline vs just using various website to purcahse the lowest fares?

are perks like lounges really that enticing?

thanks
Welcome to FlyerTalk, djc225!

Let me address your questions with specific and very recent examples.

I (and Mrs. O.V. too) just completed a trip from Darwin, Australia to Orlando, FL. on Qantas Except for the DRW-SYD portion which was in business, the rest of the trip was in first. Had we paid cash, the one way tickets, in first, would have cost approximately $15,500 EACH. I used AA miles instead. Is it worth it? I think so.

"are perks like lounges really that enticing?"

The Qantas First Loungehttp://tinyurl.com/25klvo9 is one of the top airline lounges in the world and we savored every minute spent there this morning.
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Old May 11, 10, 6:33 pm
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Originally Posted by djc225 View Post
what are the benefits of being a frequent flier of any one airline vs just using various website to purcahse the lowest fares?are perks like lounges really that enticing?thanks
Not to mention the cool luggage tags elite status gets you!
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Old May 11, 10, 7:02 pm
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elite status can result in waiver of baggage & other fleas....good luck..
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Old May 11, 10, 7:11 pm
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welcome to FT...it's a great resource, as you can see.

I fly some on paid business and family matters...but I'm not a major flyer or lounge user, like many. However, the major benefit for Mrs. jacknyoc and me has been the fact that we have used FF miles for every vacation trip for at least the past 10 years...Hawaii several times, France several times, London, Frankfurt a couple of times, NY several times, DC, Montreal, etc.

planning ahead pretty ensures FF seat availability...and feeds my side-line hobby of trip planning (to excess, sometimes, according to Mrs. jacknyoc).

enjoy it...
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Old May 11, 10, 9:23 pm
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Welcome to FT djc225

Keep reading and learning, once you taste the first upgrade you will not want to look back, it is an addicting feeling that you want to have each time you fly.
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Old May 11, 10, 10:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Dodoldurian View Post
Welcome to FT djc225

Keep reading and learning, once you taste the first upgrade you will not want to look back, it is an addicting feeling that you want to have each time you fly.
Quite addicting!
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Old May 11, 10, 11:25 pm
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One drawback: Once you gain awareness of what the benefits are, you'll hear a bit from the occasional long-timer like moi about how bennies USED to be so much better. Like 50K in threshold bonuses annually with DL, award sales to BKK at 40K with them or to HKG that one time with CO at 25K RT. Throw-away ticketing was also possible at one time, and the service up front was much better.

OTOH, in the early days of generally available online booking it was a lot of work to piece together a wacky itinerary segment-by-segment using command-line interfaces (all segments had to have the sale seat, and they also had to meet the connection-time and other fare rules). You could hit a lot of dead ends. There also weren't any kiosks, and humans would react unpredictably to seeing such weird tickets that airlines maintained were against their rules. LCCs also flew far fewer routes, and some places like MSP were notorious for high fares as "fortress hubs."

So those of us who enjoyed the old level of bennies had to earn them.
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Old May 12, 10, 3:26 pm
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Originally Posted by RustyC View Post
... you'll hear a bit from the occasional long-timer like moi about how bennies USED to be so much better ...
Back in the day, I'd get 5,500 redeemable miles, 4,000 status miles, and a confirmed-at-time-of-booking upgrade for a BOS-ORD round trip DL discount economy ticket.

Then SkyMiles came along.
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Old May 12, 10, 10:20 pm
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Originally Posted by djc225 View Post
what are the benefits of being a frequent flier of any one airline vs just using various website to purcahse the lowest fares?

are perks like lounges really that enticing?

thanks
Offhand:
- Free upgrades, on domestic and near-abroad flights
- More miles (25%, 50%, 100%, 125% bonuses are common)
- Greater selection of coach seats (i.e. bulkheads, exit rows)
- Lower/no fees in some cases (close-in booking fees, change/redpoeist fees, standy fees)
- Better handling during irregular operations
- Priority on standby lists
- Priority boarding
- Priority security, at some airports
- Priority checkin
- Priority telphone number or priority in queue on regular number
- Better award availability, on some airlines
- Lounge access -- many programs allow it on international flights for mid/upper tier elites, some offer full lounge acces for top-tier elites

Some of these benefits are more valuable than others, most vary at least a bit by airline and elite status, but on the whole, I would say paying a bit extra to be elite on one airline vs. getting slightly cheaper fares on various airlines always makes sense. (There's a separate question about being high elite on one vs. mid-elite on two).
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