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Switching from one (Gold Status) Star Alliance carrier to another - which is best??

Switching from one (Gold Status) Star Alliance carrier to another - which is best??

Old Apr 24, 18, 8:45 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2018
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Switching from one (Gold Status) Star Alliance carrier to another - which is best??

I am traveling a lot these, mostly for work and often in business. But, back in the day, when I first signed up for my first Star Alliance frequent flyer program, I didn't understand how the alliance or system worked, and just randomly enrolled with a carrier that I happened to be flying on, which happened to be the Ethiopian Airlines ShebaMiles. Fast forward 3 years later, and I now have Gold status.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this hasn't worked out so well for me... between the technical issues and lack of ability to book award flights/upgrades online, I'm not really able to use the points. Because I fly business often enough, I am thinking of trying to "switch" to another Star Alliance carrier this year and basically "re-earn" Gold Status.

Two questions:

1) Is this reasonable/feasible/logical? I am thinking that I will try to get status on another carrier when I am flying business for my work... but am worried that I could end up losing status with ET and not gaining new Gold Level status by the end of the year...

2) And, if I do decide to switch, which Star Alliance carrier should I switch to? Which one is "best"? Most important key features I would be looking for is ability to use points to book/upgrade using rewards easily (and ideally the most flexibility in booking rewards with Star Alliance partners, since I switch carriers quite often). Usually I am looking to use my points to upgrade purchased economy class tickets. I fly the most between (and within) Africa, Europe, North America, and Middle East (roughly in that order). I was thinking Turkish?

I tried asking Turkish to status match for me, but they wouldn't

Thank you soooo much in advance for any suggestions, or even a link to something relevant (have tried searching but nothing much as turned up). I don't want to do something stupid and lose status altogether, but don't know how to recover from original bad decision to go with Ethiopian Airlines for Gold Status!

​Nina​
elizabeth000 is offline  
Old Apr 24, 18, 11:39 am
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The only way to do this is through a match. You could do a double match to OW/ST and then back to TK, but being TK*G wouldn't solve the easy spending of the miles.

If you are a true frequent flyer, choose a program, and write to them showing your flying history with ET, they might offer you a challenge (i.e. fly X flights with us and we give you *G). But to do this you have to fly a lot and in premium cabins, in other words you need to be a well paying customer.

Analyse your flying pattern and see if you can quickly earn *G somewhere else, you might have to endure a couple of flights without status but hey.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 1:58 am
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What type of fares do you fly on, and if Economy, what fare classes? A3 and OZ are often the easiest ones to get *G quickly, and if you did it at the end of your qualification year (or once you hit your 50k for this qualification year) then you'd still have another year as *G with ShebaMiles while working on the new one. Status match is unnecessary if you're going to be flying the miles consistently anyway.

Having said that, if you're flying ET a lot to/from/intra Africa then I might just stick with ShebaMiles even though their online awards are more limited. You're first on the list right now for OP-Ups before other *G members and from my experience, ET does a lot of OP-Ups. Keep in mind, general award availability for other *A carriers is the same as other programs, so while it might require a phone call to book, it doesn't matter if you're using A3, TK, M&M, etc., the availability should be the same.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 2:13 am
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I think a vital piece of information, which I have not seen yet, is where are you based and what airports/routes do you fly to/through most often.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 2:45 am
  #5  
 
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UA

I switched from AP to UA # years ago and have no regrets. Most Alliance segments credit 100 % towards UA - whereas many TK & LH fares do not. Also, UA customer service for 1K members is good. Much better than AC. Finally, when travelling economy, UA gives its Gold customers access to E + seat selection.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 8:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Antonio8069 View Post
I switched from AP to UA # years ago and have no regrets. Most Alliance segments credit 100 % towards UA - whereas many TK & LH fares do not. Also, UA customer service for 1K members is good. Much better than AC. Finally, when travelling economy, UA gives its Gold customers access to E + seat selection.
But UA also requires 4 segments per year to be flown on United aircraft. Those 4 segments might be a roadblock depending on how many North America trips they take annually and if they have a connecting flight or not.
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Old Apr 26, 18, 2:13 am
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how does 4 compare to 50 %??

Originally Posted by dvs7310 View Post
But UA also requires 4 segments per year to be flown on United aircraft. Those 4 segments might be a roadblock depending on how many North America trips they take annually and if they have a connecting flight or not.
4? AC requires 50 segments & 50 % on AC metal i.e. 25:

https://altitude.aircanada.com/static/pdf/2016_EN.pdf

NB UA operates to far more destinations than AC!

BTW, 25 > 4.
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Old Apr 26, 18, 2:32 am
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I fly a lot in Business class for work, and also economy, but I'm flying different airlines a lot also. I tend to fly Turkish the most perhaps, at least on Star Alliance? Istanbul is also a good layover airport for me.

Last edited by elizabeth000; Apr 26, 18 at 2:48 am
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Old Apr 26, 18, 2:34 am
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The short answer is that I'm not really based anywhere, just pretty much travelling full-time for work. For instance this month I flew from Kigali to Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh to London, London to Cape Town, and Cape Town to Malawi; next month I will be flying from Malawi to Kenya, Kenya to Philadelphia, Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh to Cape Town, Cape Town to Boston, and then Boston back to Cape Town once more (that's just in May, and the cycle will repeat in June, with a trip to Beirut thrown in). But with work it means I'm supposed to fly the cheapest carrier (even with business class). I feel like with all the flying I do I'm not maximising my miles - I only have status with ET right now!

Last edited by elizabeth000; Apr 26, 18 at 2:49 am
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Old Apr 26, 18, 2:35 am
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But I think that I heard that there is a spending minimum on UA specifically for the year? I don't actually fly UA that often, and especially hate to fly them economy.
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Old Apr 26, 18, 4:34 am
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Minimum spend on UA is only applicable to US residents.
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Old Apr 26, 18, 5:01 am
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elizabeth000 Welcome to FT
I note you have GB in your profile as the country. Do you have UK address?

Originally Posted by elizabeth000 View Post
.... Most important key features I would be looking for is ability to use points to book/upgrade using rewards easily (and ideally the most flexibility in booking rewards with Star Alliance partners, since I switch carriers quite often). Usually I am looking to use my points to upgrade purchased economy class tickets...
Generally you only upgrade with freq flyer miles/points from the ffp of the airline you are flying.

But there are exceptions depending on the airlines/ffp involved

Star Alliance also has a cross airline upgrade scheme, with t&c's, but requires expensive B or Y fare class base tickets. Is useless for most people. If you buy low cost fares it will not work.

You can get award flights with any Star Alliance airline, if available. But availability can be hard to get or/and vary between ffp’s/airlines. Some ffp's have cash surcharges in addition to the real taxes.

Look here
Need advice on which *A FF scheme to join? - please post here
Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join? Help Is Here!

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Apr 26, 18 at 5:06 am
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