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Best Star Alliance Program for Australians

Best Star Alliance Program for Australians

Old Jan 3, 19, 5:17 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2017
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Best Star Alliance Program for Australians

I'm keen to hear from other Aussie's who are Star Gold and what loyalty program they are with.

I usually fly 2-3 times a year to the US or UK and 1-2 times to Singapore/China in Premium Economy.

I completed a Status Match with United and reached Star Gold through to Jan 2020. I usually travel NZ or SQ for international travel and UA for domestic USA travel. The problem with Mileage Plus is no lounge access for domestic lounges.

I am considering putting my miles to OZ - you need 40,000 instead of 50,000 miles and it lasts for 2 years instead of 1 year. Is there a catch? It sounds too good to be true!
Notyourbag is offline  
Old Jan 4, 19, 3:17 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Notyourbag View Post
I'm keen to hear from other Aussie's who are Star Gold and what loyalty program they are with.

I usually fly 2-3 times a year to the US or UK and 1-2 times to Singapore/China in Premium Economy.

I completed a Status Match with United and reached Star Gold through to Jan 2020. I usually travel NZ or SQ for international travel and UA for domestic USA travel. The problem with Mileage Plus is no lounge access for domestic lounges.

I am considering putting my miles to OZ - you need 40,000 instead of 50,000 miles and it lasts for 2 years instead of 1 year. Is there a catch? It sounds too good to be true!
What is your criteria for best?
What are your objectives with a ffp?
What do you use the ff miles for? [They tend to devalue and you do not get ff mile interest if not used]
What Star UA gold benefits do you use?

What's wrong with UA ffp?
Going with another Star Alliance ffp may have less benefits/higher cost awards/what ever, compared to just the lack of access to USA domestic lounges on US domestic only itineraries.

The grass in not always greener on the other side

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Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Jan 4, 19, 4:35 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Sydney, Australia
Programs: TK Gold
Posts: 430
I'm in Australia and am currently with TK but considering a change to OZ.

I like TK because it allows family pooling, so travelling with my wife once a year Australia to Europe in Business Class is enough to maintain Gold with TK (and OZ) and thanks to family pooling builds up a meaningful balance of points to use for something useful before they expire. Asiana has much longer expiry window. So I suggest you do a quick spreadsheet of your anticipated travel and see if you meet the threshold with either program. It depends what is most important for you. I value Gold and it's benefits way over redemptions. (OZ also has lifetime Gold available.)

If you use Booking.com you can earn TK miles with each booking. This probably isn't as valuable as the free nights available with Hotels.com but if you travel a lot can add up.

For an Australian some extra things to consider are OZ flies to Australia so might give you better benefits and redemption options. TK has been talking about flying to Australia for years but still hasn't managed it.

Customer service with TK is notoriously bad (but their Australian sales office is excellent and helped me through a redemption very easily). I don't have experience with OZ customer service.

I'll qualify for TK Elite (Gold) again and my membership year finishes in September, so I then have to make the difficult decision whether to swap to OZ or not.
sydunipete is offline  
Old Jan 4, 19, 6:47 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Another issue you'll run into with Mileage Plus is the requirement for 4 segments per year on UA metal. It would work easily if you fly UA to the US then have a connection, but if you're flying NZ or SQ to the US, how many domestic flights are you taking each year? The lack of lounge access also is certainly an issue if you have domestic flights not part of an international itinerary (same day). That part doesn't affect me because I extremely rarely have domestic flights that aren't connecting to an international flight.

OZ, TK, A3, and MS all have advantageous ways of qualifying for *G, but make sure you take your earning ratios into consideration. Some programs like TK and MS are notoriously slow for updating earning charts when a partner airline changes, so may not have any earnings at all on UA's new Premium Economy product for example, ET's P fares are another ridiculous example where only CA added them when ET introduced P fares for paid discount business class. There's a great website: www.wheretocredit.com that allows you to enter the fare class and airline you're flying on and shows you the earning on each partner's program.
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Old Jan 5, 19, 5:24 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: HRB
Programs: OZ Diamond
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I think for semi frequent flyers (especially those not usually flying J or F) who are focused on status, OZ is a pretty good option. The OP is right, to get OZ Diamond, and therefore *G, you need 40,000 miles on *A airlines in 24 months. However it's actually better now since to retain OZ Diamond only needs 30,000 miles in 24 months!

The main issue is as others have said is to check which fare buckets you're booking when you buy your tickets. There are quite a few fares on *A airlines that won't earn many miles with OZ.
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seanpodge is offline  
Old Jan 7, 19, 5:28 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
What is your criteria for best?
What are your objectives with a ffp?
What do you use the ff miles for? [They tend to devalue and you do not get ff mile [I]interest if not used]
What Star UA gold benefits do you use?

What's wrong with UA ffp?
Thanks everyone for responding! Very insightful.

For me the biggest benefit for being *G is the lounge access and priority boarding & priority baggage. I'll never need additional baggage and mile redemption isn't the make or break for me. If MileagePlus offered domestic lounge access I would probably stick with that.

The biggest challenge is I doubt I'd actually fly OZ frequently - and from what I've read only Diamond Plus or Platinum is a chance of an upgrade. Having crunched some basic numbers on planned flights for 2019/2020 I still think I'll take the punt and switch to OZ. I wish they had Premium Economy and a wider Asiana lounge offering.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 3:32 am
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Originally Posted by Notyourbag View Post
Thanks everyone for responding! Very insightful.

For me the biggest benefit for being *G is the lounge access and priority boarding & priority baggage. I'll never need additional baggage and mile redemption isn't the make or break for me. If MileagePlus offered domestic lounge access I would probably stick with that.

The biggest challenge is I doubt I'd actually fly OZ frequently - and from what I've read only Diamond Plus or Platinum is a chance of an upgrade. Having crunched some basic numbers on planned flights for 2019/2020 I still think I'll take the punt and switch to OZ. I wish they had Premium Economy and a wider Asiana lounge offering.
If you're just after the *G benefits, then there is no need to fly OZ at all. They don't have a minimum segment requirement like UA. Continue to fly whichever Star Alliance airline you prefer and credit the flights to OZ's program. You get your *G benefits regardless of the airline, the one major negative is the loss of E+ seats on UA, but you can always buy the annual subscription if you have more than a few UA flights per year.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 4:06 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by dvs7310 View Post
If you're just after the *G benefits, then there is no need to fly OZ at all. They don't have a minimum segment requirement like UA. Continue to fly whichever Star Alliance airline you prefer and credit the flights to OZ's program. You get your *G benefits regardless of the airline, the one major negative is the loss of E+ seats on UA, but you can always buy the annual subscription if you have more than a few UA flights per year.
TBH flying E+ with 35" pitch wasn't comfortable at all (I flew SYD-IAH last May)
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Old Jan 8, 19, 3:28 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Sydney, Australia
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Originally Posted by Notyourbag View Post
For me the biggest benefit for being *G is the lounge access and priority boarding & priority baggage.
I really don't know how many baggage handlers read priority tags (from any partner airline). I've had my tagged bags come off first, last and everywhere in between.

For your purpose OZ sounds like a good choice. Let us know your experiences (I'm thinking of making the switch from TK to OZ.)
sydunipete is offline  
Old Jan 10, 19, 9:02 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NRT / HND
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Originally Posted by sydunipete View Post
I really don't know how many baggage handlers read priority tags (from any partner airline). I've had my tagged bags come off first, last and everywhere in between.
For Star Alliance flights, it's quite rare for my priority tagged bags not to be out in the first batch. I fly mostly international but even domestic US flights on UA when I have to pick up bags, generally it's pretty well respected. I guess your experience with this would depend where in the world you're generally flying. For me, Asia, North America, and South America it's almost always out quickly, Ethiopia & Turkey as well.
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Old Jan 10, 19, 9:52 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Originally Posted by Notyourbag View Post
Thanks everyone for responding! Very insightful.

For me the biggest benefit for being *G is the lounge access and priority boarding & priority baggage. I'll never need additional baggage and mile redemption isn't the make or break for me. If MileagePlus offered domestic lounge access I would probably stick with that.

The biggest challenge is I doubt I'd actually fly OZ frequently - and from what I've read only Diamond Plus or Platinum is a chance of an upgrade. Having crunched some basic numbers on planned flights for 2019/2020 I still think I'll take the punt and switch to OZ. I wish they had Premium Economy and a wider Asiana lounge offering.
On upgrades, with most if not all *A airlines doing upgrades by each airline's rules (fare class, status, etc.) and not like those silly articles you see suggesting you wear a suit or say it's your wedding anniversary to get an upgrade, your status within Asiana Club isn't too important if you're not flying OZ. Only OZ will know or care which tier you're on with Asiana Club. For all other *A airlines, you're just another *G.

Remember, you don't need to fly OZ at all to get *G and you can access any *G lounge with *G membership, not just OZ lounges.
seanpodge is offline  
Old Aug 20, 19, 7:46 pm
  #12  
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Just hit Diamond / *G with OZ. Trying to figure out if the next tier with them is worth it or if I should credit miles to VA to maintain Platinum (I fly SQ a lot).
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Old Aug 24, 19, 2:48 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Originally Posted by Notyourbag View Post
Just hit Diamond / *G with OZ. Trying to figure out if the next tier with them is worth it or if I should credit miles to VA to maintain Platinum (I fly SQ a lot).
You're not going to get appreciably more benefits on a regular basis with Diamond+ compared to regular Diamond as you're not flying OZ a lot. Personally, I would credit miles to VA to maintain status with Virgin.
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Old Sep 7, 19, 8:32 pm
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Being a Canadian, I would recommend AC/Aeroplan. But for any status, you need minimal miles and money spent on AC metal - although I believe the requriements are less for non-Canadian residents than Canadian residents.

Even if you plan never to go to Canada except for transit on the way to USA - you have 3 flights to choose from - YVR to one of Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane.

The issue of domestic US flights- any non UA Star Alliance Gold status will get us into a domestic UA Club lounge, even for pure domestic US flights.
FlyerGoldII is offline  
Old Sep 8, 19, 9:13 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by FlyerGoldII View Post
Being a Canadian, I would recommend AC/Aeroplan. But for any status, you need minimal miles and money spent on AC metal - although I believe the requriements are less for non-Canadian residents than Canadian residents.
AQD requirements are halved for non-Canadian addresses, but Canada is not in a convenient location to get anywhere from Australia, so there's no point crediting to AC unless OP already makes regular trips to Canada.

Since you fly to the US at least once a year, I would go with UA. Based on your travel patterns, it looks like you should easily hit 50k *A BIS per year. Lack of lounge access doesn't really matter if you don't travel domestic US itineraries often.
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