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What airline should I choose to maximize my flying out of BOS for reward travel

What airline should I choose to maximize my flying out of BOS for reward travel

Old Jul 15, 15, 11:19 am
  #1  
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What airline should I choose to maximize my flying out of BOS for reward travel

Hi,

I do a fair amount of domestic business travel (10-12 times/year) plus some international business travel (Europe 2-3 times/year + Latin America 1-2 times/year), all out of BOS and I want to make sure I am putting my accrued mileage in the best possible egg basket. I currently fly DL for the most part except for routes DL does not have direct flights (e.g. BOS-SFO) in which case I end up flying B6 or UA. This arrangement has worked for me so far but with the constant changes in Delta's FF program and reward travel rules, I am starting to wonder if it is time to take my business to another airline or simply stick with DL. My priorities are maximizing the options of direct flights to major European cities and maximizing the number of direct flights to major US us cities.

Any opinions out there?
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Old Jul 15, 15, 11:22 am
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It all depends on the exact routes you fly.
United Mileageplan would work if you mostly fly BOS-SFO. Alaska MileagePlan for BOS-SAN.
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Old Jul 15, 15, 12:55 pm
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It's a tough call. Boston is the largest city in the US that is not a hub for one of the Big 3, which is understandable given its location at the far northeastern corner of the country. There has been a fair bit of chatter on this forum about the possibility of someone making BOS into a hub, but so far, none of the Big 3 has said anything.

Post-merger AA has the largest market share of any airline in Boston but many of the AA flights are to existing AA hubs (e.g. DFW, MIA, CLT). The same is true of UA and DL.

It really depends on your traffic patterns. If you go a lot to San Francisco, Denver and Houston, then I'd go with United. If you go a lot to Atlanta, then I'd go with Delta. If you go to a lot of different places then you're going to be connecting through hubs, in which case I'd probably pick AA.
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Old Jul 15, 15, 2:31 pm
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I'm a little north of you but will often drive down to BOS for direct or international flights. FWIW, I stick with Alaska Mileage Plan. You can credit AA and DL to it, which will get better once the AA-US merger is complete. They have a nice mix of international partners as well. AF and BA for Europe, CX for Asia, and others. Plus, as an airline, they're my favorite to fly for a domestic.

Here are AS's partners: http://www.alaskaair.com/content/mil...-overview.aspx

For me the biggest advantage is that you can earn (including status) from 2 of the big 3 domestic carriers plus AS itself. It does help that my most frequent TCON is BOS-SAN, which AS flies directly, but I have found this the best place to park my miles and earn status since US left *A. It's nice to be able to shop multiple legacies and still consolidate the earnings.
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Old Jul 16, 15, 7:17 am
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A lot also depends on where you want to go on award travel, and in which class.

If you're looking to travel overseas on awards, especially in premium classes, then American is likely your best bet. Non-stops flights on BA to London (and Iberia to Madrid) and onward throughout Europe/Africa/mid-East, and non-stops to AA partners to Tokyo and Hong Kong. Big drawback is that awards on BA and IB incur a nasty fee.

Delta is also a reasonable choice in terms of accessibility. DL itself is a pain, but their partners Air France, Alitalia, and Virgin Atlantic also have non-stops from BOS, and award ticket availability is reasonable. (Although it's strongly rumored that Alitalia will be leaving the partnership.)

United is not a great choice if you're looking for premium cabin international travel from BOS. United's partners Lufthana and Swiss have non-stops to Europe from Boston and are excellent airlines, but they make it impossible to use United miles for premium classes until 2 weeks before travel. Air Canada is ok and has service to Europe and Asia from Boston via Toronto. Otherwise, you're relying on UA for at least part of the trip, and that's not a great thing.
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Old Jul 16, 15, 8:18 am
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Although most of my flying is ex-NYC, I also have done a fair bit of ex-BOS flying. And while I don't have the direct experience to compare it with DL, UA or others, I will say that I have been very happy as an AA elite. Certainly the AA AAdvantage program is not as generous as it once was (can any frequent flyer program claim to be?), but still it's a very good program for its elite members, especially if you fly enough to be Executive Platinum. And while the ability to fly non-stop is always a plus, I find taking an AA 737 from BOS-JFK to be painless enough to connect to AA's and OneWorld's extensive network ex-JFK. And in addition to AA's expanding network ex-BOS as a result of its merger with US, four other OneWorld carriers now fly out of BOS: BA, IB, JL and CX. Also, BA is trying to buy EI, and if, as a result, EI ends up in OneWorld, that's another OneWorld carrier servicing BOS.
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Old Jul 19, 15, 4:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
I find taking an AA 737 from BOS-JFK to be painless enough to connect to AA's and OneWorld's extensive network ex-JFK.
Intellectually I understand what you are saying, but I can't stand flying through JFK (or NYC in general). The slightest amount of weather causes major delays, there is often no PreCheck for B6, and the facilities at Terminal 8 are terrible. If I didn't have AA lounge access I would not even consider it. The cost / in flight amenity difference would have to be HUGE, and even then I would probably just fly from BOS.
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Old Jul 21, 15, 6:32 am
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Sticking with UA almost exclusively works for me, then again when I do go to Europe it's generally Germany which makes LH a no brainer.

UA is good to Asia (booked award ticket to BKK in Feb) and I think domestically they go where I need them to (mostly ORD) or through IAH.

Of course all of these mileage plans seem to be moving targets!
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Old Jul 21, 15, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by luxtrvlwrks View Post
Intellectually I understand what you are saying, but I can't stand flying through JFK (or NYC in general). The slightest amount of weather causes major delays, there is often no PreCheck for B6, and the facilities at Terminal 8 are terrible. If I didn't have AA lounge access I would not even consider it. The cost / in flight amenity difference would have to be HUGE, and even then I would probably just fly from BOS.
I've got to say that I have a pretty good track record with flying via JFK. Certainly when you travel a fair bit you experience your share of delays, but I can't think of a single instance of missing a connection at JFK when booked to travel BOS-JFK-XXX (or vice versa). Moreover, AA is very good about reaccommodating a passenger who is going to miss a connection; they generally would be more than willing to reroute a passenger before even leaving BOS if it became clear that making a connection at JFK would be at risk. As for the facilities at T8, I'm not sure what you find lacking. It's an airport; you go there to get on a plane. There's a couple of restaurants, a couple of shops. What more are you looking for? Still the principal reason to fly from BOS through JFK would be to connect internationally or to the west coast, in which case one would have lounge access if flying a premium cabin.
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Old Jul 21, 15, 8:49 am
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If I'm flying west, I really don't like connecting at JFK. I'd rather fly west to connect west if I have any say over it. Plus, anecdotal evidence aside, the NYC area is the most congested airspace in the US and the NYC area airports are often delayed more significantly than other hubs when there are weather or ATC issues.

For international travel, JFK is pretty solid, but my international travel is pretty much to Europe. Other than the occasional cheap JFK-MXP fare providing a compelling reason to connect, BOS really does have a lot of choice when going to Europe.

At least in my experience with AA, there's not a ton of BOS-JFK connectivity. If you have a 10pm international departure from JFK, you don't have great options for a reasonable layover. You can take the 4PM flight from BOS and have a 4 hour layover, but you generally can't take the 7PM if you're connecting to a OW T7 partner since it doesn't make the MCT.
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Old Jul 21, 15, 9:10 am
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Originally Posted by PWMTrav View Post
If I'm flying west, I really don't like connecting at JFK. I'd rather fly west to connect west if I have any say over it. Plus, anecdotal evidence aside, the NYC area is the most congested airspace in the US and the NYC area airports are often delayed more significantly than other hubs when there are weather or ATC issues.

For international travel, JFK is pretty solid, but my international travel is pretty much to Europe. Other than the occasional cheap JFK-MXP fare providing a compelling reason to connect, BOS really does have a lot of choice when going to Europe.

At least in my experience with AA, there's not a ton of BOS-JFK connectivity. If you have a 10pm international departure from JFK, you don't have great options for a reasonable layover. You can take the 4PM flight from BOS and have a 4 hour layover, but you generally can't take the 7PM if you're connecting to a OW T7 partner since it doesn't make the MCT.
Certainly there are enough options ex-BOS that one does need to connect at JFK. But if one's goal, as the OP indicated, is to maximize reward travel (and, by implication, remaining loyal to a particular airline and alliance), it sometimes makes sense to connect even when a non-stop is available on another airline. I will connect through JFK from BOS (1) when traveling to LAX or SFO, because I'd much rather fly in J or F on one of AA's three-class A321s, which offer lie flat seats, compared to the regular F seats in the 738s that AA operates ex-BOS (and, of course, AA no longer flies BOS-SFO non-stop); and (2) when travelling to Europe on a paid J ticket, because I can upgrade to F on AA, so sometimes will fly through JFK to fly on AA metal rather than take BA or IB ex-BOS (although both are good options). And as I indicated, NYC-area delays have never made me regret routing through JFK.
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Old Jul 22, 15, 7:02 am
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
As for the facilities at T8, I'm not sure what you find lacking. It's an airport; you go there to get on a plane. There's a couple of restaurants, a couple of shops. What more are you looking for?
Blumie, I hope some of your JFK luck rubs off on me and my clients

In terms of facilities I primarily meant the actual facilities, as in restrooms. They are the most disgusting public restrooms I have ever experienced in the US.

Of course we are all just there to fly. However, services on the ground can impact one's preferred routing or carrier. Certainly not the largest factor, but it is a factor.

I agree that it might be a great option for the OP to maximize his miles / status.
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Old Jul 23, 15, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by luxtrvlwrks View Post
In terms of facilities I primarily meant the actual facilities, as in restrooms. They are the most disgusting public restrooms I have ever experienced in the US.
Really? In Terminal 8? That's one of the newest (maybe the newest) terminals at JFK, and I've always found the facilities to be just fine. Still, if the OP travels as frequently as he claims and builds an allegiance with once airline or alliance, he certainly should have lounge access, whether through membership, status, or a credit card that provides membership.
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