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Loyal to AA, but does it make financial sense to stay with OW in Asia?

Loyal to AA, but does it make financial sense to stay with OW in Asia?

Old Apr 24, 11, 2:15 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: NYC, NY
Programs: AA EXP, SPG Platinum, HHonors Gold
Posts: 207
Loyal to AA, but does it make financial sense to stay with OW in Asia?

I'm thinking of relocating to Hong Kong later this year and am trying to decide whether I should switch to Star Alliance. I'd appreciate any thoughts/insight from the experts here.

I currently focus all my flying/earning on AA and would like to continue accumulating miles with them because of the good earn/burn ratio and just foolish loyalty, but it doesn't seem to make sense for me to continue doing so in Asia from a financial perspective.

I'll primarily be flying from HKG to PEK, SIN, BKK and SGN. To earn miles AA miles with that travel pattern, it seems like my options are basically CX/KA and a RJ route to BKK.

Now, I'm not expecting budget carrier prices from CX, but after sampling some fares, it seems really hard to justify the large price differential between flying CX and *A carriers on almost every intra-Asia route. For example, I'm looking right now at a HKG-SIN rt fare of $1128 on CX and $524 on UA.

Asides from the price disparity, if I were to switch to *A/UA, I'd also earn BIS miles towards UA lifetime status, while right now it seems uncertain whether AA will continue letting partner airline miles count towards lifetime status.

So am I missing something? Is the price disparity I'm seeing normal or am I just sampling the wrong dates? Those of you flying CX, is the premium you pay for flying on CX versus a *A carrier on an intra-Asia route really worth it? I'm fine paying for it on a long-haul transpacific flight, but it doesn't seem to make sense for short intra-Asia flights.

Are there other options for Oneworld flights in Asia? The RJ fare I saw to BKK was very reasonable ($250 rt), but I have no idea if that's common and there's still the matter of all the other routes I'll be flying.

I read somewhere that Asian airlines rely on travel agents much more than in the US and that I can find better fares through one. Is this true? Would I be able to find significantly cheaper CX flights that'll earn AA miles by going to a local travel agent?

Thanks in advance for any advice/insight you can give me!
pongben is offline  
Old Apr 24, 11, 3:38 pm
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 41,476
It sounds like you are planning to fly in economy class and predominantly on CX if trying to earn AA miles. On CX, you need to book a minimum of H class to be able to earn AA miles which means that you have to purchase pretty expensive CX fares .

If going to be travelling on the most economical fares , then flying CX and crediting to AA is not a worthwhile idea imo and I would suggest looking at other options
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Apr 24, 11, 5:42 pm
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SYD-NYC
Programs: |QF Gold|
Posts: 1,710
While OW has the least options of the three alliances when it comes to Asia, given HKG is a OW hub you'd imagine you would be fine, except as Dave Noble says, only Y, B and H fares on CX get you AA miles.

HKG and Cathay seem to have the same issue as SIN and Singapore Airlines has - the hub airline focuses on it's corporate customers and captive frequent flyer base and doesn't compete too hard fare wise for the locally based leisure traveler. Financially, if you are paying for the fares out of your own pocket, I wouldn't pay a premium just to be 'loyal' to the AA program.

Correct me if I am wrong, but UA lifetime status is based on BIS flown on United metal. You'd be OK on flights to SIN and SGN, but not PEK and BKK. Although earn/burn ratio isn't great, you should also consider Asiana (OZ) - *A Gold after 40,000 flown miles every two years, and lifetime Platinum (*A Gold) after 1 million BIS on any *A carrier.
Supersonic Swinger is offline  
Old Apr 24, 11, 7:33 pm
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Sydney, Australia
Programs: QF Gold LTG (ow Saph), HHon Silver, Marriot Gold
Posts: 2,895
FYI There are some very good CX J fares out of TPE and CMB.
Also the RJ BKK-HKG and BKK-KUL tags are very good value, but like the UA fare you mentioned you are trading schedule and flexibility for a limited number of flights
moa999 is offline  

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