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Best FF program ex-SAT?

Best FF program ex-SAT?

Old Feb 15, 07, 8:49 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: SEA
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Best FF program ex-SAT?

Looks like I'll be moving this summer from Japan to San Antonio, Texas.

Right now I have Platinum Elite status on NW.

Should I try to get a status match on a different carrier, or stick with NW?

Home for me is Ohio (CMH, CAK, CLE, or PIT); home for my wife is Detroit (DTW, FNT, TOL). Not sure how much traveling we'll be doing to those destinations.

Which airlines (besides Southwest, of course), most often have the best deals out of SAT?


Many thanks in advance; sorry if this is the wrong forum.
Jonathan
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Old Feb 15, 07, 9:48 pm
  #2  
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I'm a NW Platinum elite in SAT. I do much of my intraTexas flying on WN. You can certainly maintain your NW status while based here by using a combination of NW, CO, and DL, although you mind need to buy more expensive fares when flying CO to avoid a 50 percent elite qualifying mile hit; DL will always afford you full elite qualifying miles, but no chance of a complimentary upgrade. NW itself has mainline flights to DTW, MSP, and MEM, with the latter offering the most frequency and easy upgrades even for Silvers, but the worst equipment. One minor problem with the SkyTeam Alliance is that the only lounge (a Presidents Club) is in Terminal 2, but NW and DL operate out of terminal 1.

WN has a large presence and is my carrier of choice on most of my intraTexas flights, although I don't find it to be a particularly attractive option on longer flights.

CO, with its home at IAH, and AA, with its home at DFW, both offer easy and frequent single connections to multiple destinations. Unfortunately, CO and NW don't like to poach each other's members and therefore don't generally (if ever) match each other's status. AA would be more receptive, but it is unlikely to comp you to the Executive Platinum level so you will have to get used to not being eligible for complimentary upgrades.

UA offers nonstops to DEN, ORD, LAX, SFO, and IAD, with onward connections, but many of those flights are on ExPlus regional jets, and its frequencies lag behind CO's SAT-IAH flights and AA's SAT-DFW offerings.

Last edited by SAT Lawyer; Feb 15, 07 at 9:59 pm
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Old Feb 16, 07, 2:02 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by SAT Lawyer View Post
I'm a NW Platinum elite in SAT. I do much of my intraTexas flying on WN. You can certainly maintain your NW status while based here by using a combination of NW, CO, and DL, although you mind need to buy more expensive fares when flying CO to avoid a 50 percent elite qualifying mile hit; DL will always afford you full elite qualifying miles, but no chance of a complimentary upgrade. NW itself has mainline flights to DTW, MSP, and MEM, with the latter offering the most frequency and easy upgrades even for Silvers, but the worst equipment. One minor problem with the SkyTeam Alliance is that the only lounge (a Presidents Club) is in Terminal 2, but NW and DL operate out of terminal 1.

WN has a large presence and is my carrier of choice on most of my intraTexas flights, although I don't find it to be a particularly attractive option on longer flights.

CO, with its home at IAH, and AA, with its home at DFW, both offer easy and frequent single connections to multiple destinations. Unfortunately, CO and NW don't like to poach each other's members and therefore don't generally (if ever) match each other's status. AA would be more receptive, but it is unlikely to comp you to the Executive Platinum level so you will have to get used to not being eligible for complimentary upgrades.

UA offers nonstops to DEN, ORD, LAX, SFO, and IAD, with onward connections, but many of those flights are on ExPlus regional jets, and its frequencies lag behind CO's SAT-IAH flights and AA's SAT-DFW offerings.


Thanks for the helpful info. I'm not too concerned about the lounge access...I'll lose my complimentary access once I change my mailing address from Asia to the USA.

I was mainly concerned about the upgrades and bonus miles. I'll probably do a status match challenge to AA Plat...one flight from here to the USA will be all I need to receive the status match from what I read.

I suppose it'll all depend on the job and how much business traveling I plan on doing. Can't imagine I'll rack up too many miles from leisure travel, but you never know I suppose.

Any advice on housing, too? I'll be going to Randolph AFB so I'm currently looking in the NE part of the city.

Many thanks
Jonathan
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Old Feb 16, 07, 11:50 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by The Truth Commission View Post
Any advice on housing, too? I'll be going to Randolph AFB so I'm currently looking in the NE part of the city.
Plenty of affordable new homes under construction in the nearby Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City area.
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Old Feb 16, 07, 11:58 am
  #5  
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Different people have different needs are you're aware.

For the traveller who doesn't travel too much, Alaska is a good program because you can fly AA, CO, DL, NW, and some other airlines and get credit. However, you'll forfeit some upgrading and online bonus miles (which have been reduced or eliminated on some airlines).

If one travels a lot on a specific route, one airline may offer a better schedule. While schedules are subject to change, often they don't change too much. So a later Friday flight may be the one for you.

Southwest's product has remained fairly stable for years while other airlines have gotten worse to the point that WN no longer stinks. Their ff program is great for basic transportation (i.e. domestic coach seat) because they have very good availability. I may have a 100% success rate in getting requested awards versus approx 5% with United (your experience may vary).

When I was a NW gold level, I got upgrades very often. DL gold is not quite as good, but not bad, and about the same as CO gold. Now, I don't spread myself so thin and dump all the Skyteam miles into one airline.
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Old Feb 16, 07, 12:05 pm
  #6  
 
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Alternatively, AUS has direct flights to several other cities and is easy driving from SAT.
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Old Feb 16, 07, 12:13 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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It all depends on your values. I fly AA almost exclusively because they get me anywhere I need to go via DFW.
AA will not match your EXP status, but you can do a challenge for PLT. Do a search on it. It is very easy.
I like CO as well, because they have newer and cleaner planes and a lounge in SAT.
Why do you have to change your mailing address? Keep it in Asia and get everything sent to you via email.

AA often has great deals to ORD ($128RT right now) and is pretty competitively priced out of SAT
Forget DL. Their non-stop to ATL is the only one and runs you routinely $400+ for a 2 hour jump.
Also, think about cancellations and alternatives. Neither NW or DL, UA, F9 have a large base in SAT, so if they have problems with one plane you are screwed.

My reco is NW if you can retain your benefits or chose between AA and CO
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Old Feb 17, 07, 1:05 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
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I've flown all the carriers out of SAT for the last thirty years.
I prefer NW, it's the easiest upgrade to FC, and I can use CO or DL
which gives extra flexibility to just about anywhere.

The Platinum Elite line at NW is the best for a lot of reasons,
and my award availability is really great.

The competition for AA
slots is much heavier at SAT because of DFW.
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Old Feb 17, 07, 2:32 pm
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by The Truth Commission View Post
I was mainly concerned about the upgrades and bonus miles. I'll probably do a status match challenge to AA Plat...one flight from here to the USA will be all I need to receive the status match from what I read.
One flight booked in the appropriate far code from Japan to US should generate enough points to satisfy the PLT challenge. Just beware: When flying American Airlines, O fares between NA and Asia do not earn miles or points, while G, Q, N, and S fares only earn .5 points/mile. (And it's the points you need to count when attempting a status challenge on AA.)
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Old Feb 17, 07, 2:53 pm
  #10  
 
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I was a CO Platinum for a number of years. Over the past four, I have been an ExecPlat on AA and for the last two, a United 1K due to travels in Asia (this will be the last year for the combo status). Overall, my vote for frequency of service, customer support on dedicated desks (outstanding with AA, horrible with United having been outsourced to distant lands), and opportunities to use miles for awards (one of the chief reasons I left CO), it would be AA from SAT for anything beyond the adjacent states. For those flights, SW is an excellent alternative.
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Old Feb 18, 07, 11:33 am
  #11  
 
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Are lounges important?

The only lounge in SAT is a CO Presidents Club. If that's important to you, it might be the tie-breaker between connecting through DFW on AA or IAH on CO. Also, your NW status may get you slightly better treatment on CO.
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Old Feb 18, 07, 7:20 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: SAT, AUS, HNL
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There are two airport lounges at SAT.

The Mexicana lounge is near gate eleven in the new terminal.(#1)
The CO President's Club is to the left after security in the old terminal(#2)

As a Member of Priority Pass I have entre to both SAT lounges.
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