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dollaroff Oct 14, 10 11:58 am

FF Program Reccomendation
Trying to help out a friend to pick a better FF program.
Here is her info:

1. She's currently a member of M&M (from LH).
2. She flies (with her family) from United States to Europe 1 to 2 times a year, always on discounted economy.
3. She rarely flies intra-United States.

Her issues/questions:

1. She complains she never has enough miles to either upgrade from Y to C on LH or use a free ticket (my assumption is that her miles are expiring for some reason).
2. She would like to pool her family's miles together to get a free ticket. I know M&M doesn't allow that, but is there a program that does? (Or is there a service to transfer miles between people for a cost)

What program(s) would you recommend she really join and credit her miles to?

If you have any other questions that would help decide, please let me know and I'll do my best to answer.


sharmaintl Oct 15, 10 5:31 am

The only *A FFP that has family accounts, that I am aware of, is ANA. They do have a 3 year 'use it or lose it' expiration policy. Their earn and burn rates are pretty good.

Other suggestions on picking FFPs:

PWMFlyer19 Oct 15, 10 8:24 am

US is an option because they have frequent bonuses to be able to share miles between people. This is not like a true family program in that is does cost money. Also, they will be joining the Star Alliance upgrade program, but if she is flying discounted economy all the time, not sure that would work no matter what program she is crediting too.

dollaroff Oct 15, 10 8:27 am

Ok, I'll take a look at that site, but the main items:

1. She flies out of LAX.
2. She does not have a credit card (and either doesn't want one or can't qualify for one).

eponymous_coward Oct 15, 10 10:44 am

There are two kinds of Y->C upgrades using miles in the *A world:

- *A upgrades, which can be used on any *A airline, but which don't work from discounted economy (and full-fare economy can sometimes be more expensive than discounted business fares bought well in advance!)

- mileage upgrades that ONLY work on the carrier (in other words UA miles that are used for these can only be used to upgrade UA flights). In most cases, there is a cash co-payment that goes along with these (can be hundreds of dollars one-way)

The problem your friend is encountering (if she's flying LH, which I suspect she is if she's in M&M) is that LH doesn't credit discounted economy at 100% of mileage flown (usually it's 50%). So that's her problem right there. She might want to pick a North American carrier to do her flying, like UA, CO, US or AC.

I would likely have her choose CO- there's a 25,000 mile bonus she can pick up for opening a checking account and getting the CO debit card along with it. That plus ~15,000 miles of flying would mean she could upgrade a round-trip for 40,000 miles (plus $1000 in copays). Alternately, she can save up for a couple of years, and buy a complete business round-trip for 105,000 miles (so 5-6 trips to Europe + the bonus).

CO doesn't allow family accounts, but she COULD open a Chase account for each person who is flying. ANA might work as well is she wants to pool miles... the problem really is that her mileage accumulation is going to be hard if she only picks up 50% mileage on discounted economy on LH.

LAX Oct 15, 10 6:43 pm

Originally Posted by sharmaintl (Post 14950028)
The only *A FFP that has family accounts, that I am aware of, is ANA. They do have a 3 year 'use it or lose it' expiration policy. Their earn and burn rates are pretty good.

Other suggestions on picking FFPs:

Not sure what you mean by "family accounts", but OZ allows pooling of miles from family members (each with their own account) to redeem awards. Having said that though, the earn/burn ratio on OZ is terrible comparing to other *A FFPs.

Since OP's friend only flies discounted Y, the best programs are probably the US-based programs (new UA or US) because they are the most generous with discounted Y tix (most are 100%). Not only that, these programs extend the expiration of existing miles with any activity, allowing accumulating of larger mile balances for premium award redemptions.

With regards to Y to C upgrades using miles, it would be pretty tough with any FFP if OP's friend continues to fly discounted Y since most *A upgrade eligible flights require higher fares (closer to full fare). Hope this helps.


johndeere19 Oct 15, 10 8:48 pm

Personally, I love US Airways for their earn and burn rate and you can top up the account with their 100% bonus going on right now or jump on the grand slam wagon before it ends.

Jimgotkp Oct 15, 10 9:34 pm

OZ has a family mileage plan as well.

I would recommend them but don't expect any upgrades even on OZ metal... She probably will qualify for OZ Gold which is *S so no lounge access. The best thing about OZ's FFP is that they have a family plan and your status lasts for two years instead of one.

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