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Best Star program to credit if I don't plan to fly UA?

Best Star program to credit if I don't plan to fly UA?

Old Jan 19, 20, 9:23 pm
  #1  
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Best Star program to credit if I don't plan to fly UA?

My work travel situation has changed quite a bit and I'm trying to figure out what is the best way to credit my miles.

The business related flying is LAX-ZRH or LAX-ZRH-MXP on LX in paid J. I will probably make 3 or 4x trips this year. I was set to credit this to UA but I don't think I will end up with 4 segments on UA... either for business or personal travel. So I could end up with a bunch of UA PQP but not be Star Gold because I don't have any UA segments.

So any advice from people more familiar with Star programs? Is there another program I should credit to if the objective is to make Star Gold and be able to redeem the miles later for international J travel ex-LAX to Asia or Europe. I guess some options that come to top of mind are NH, AC, or SQ?

Some background... My previous work travel were mostly LAX-JFK, LAX-MIA, and LAX-LHR in paid J. We didn't have an airline restriction at my old work so I ended up using AA/BA most of the time and earned my status with OneWorld that way. The new job has deal with Swiss and it is the only non-stop between LAX and ZRH so option to use other airlines and use connecting flights to reach ZRH is limited.
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Old Jan 19, 20, 9:34 pm
  #2  
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Living in USA should not be that hard to fly 4 UA flights
FF miles for awards the main objective? Consider earn to burn/sucharges and the process for getting awards. Not all ffp's have the same process.

Star Alliance: Need advice on which Star Alliance FF scheme to join? - please post here

Look at the links in post 3.. General FFP:- Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join? Help Is Here!

The UA ff refugee thread:- 2020 MP changes Will you switch loyalty programs? What program will you switch to?

Be mindful of expiry Miles/Points that Do and Don't Expire. Click to open the wiki.

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jan 19, 20 at 9:42 pm
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Old Jan 19, 20, 10:22 pm
  #3  
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Thanks Mwenenzi

Some of the thread did show up on my search but most of them didn't... so thanks very much. I have much reading to do

Edit: also I didn't see the sticky post at the top of the Star forum... so apologies to the mods for breaking forum rules.
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Last edited by bzcat; Jan 19, 20 at 10:55 pm
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Old Jan 20, 20, 7:12 pm
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You can rule out NH or AC. NH requires 50% of the miles be flown on NH metal to attain status and AC has a requirement similar to UA. If you're LAX based, I think I'd just suck it up and spend a Sunday doing cheap UA segment runs, 4 segments would be quite easy, for example LAX-SEA or LAX-PDX, etc... connecting via SFO.

Barring that option, the usual suspects for easy *G are OZ, A3, and SK. wheretocredit.com will tell you which program will credit the most miles for your tickets. I don't know if they are all P fares or not, but that makes a big difference in crediting.
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Old Jan 23, 20, 6:09 pm
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A3: A bit of a hurdle to achieve *G (12K+2 A3/OA segments or 24K for *S; then you have 12 months to get 24K + 4A3/OA segments or 48K miles for *G).
Easiest to maintain once you reach *G if you are EU-based (12K + 4 A3/OA segments or 24K). Downside: be wary of LH-group flights, which often credit zero (even in J). No Lifetime status.

SK: Harder than A3 to maintain - 45K/year (not really any harder to achieve, also 45K) but much better matrix of earnings on *A partners (especially LH-group, where you don't get hit with zero-earning classes like A3). Lifetime status is possible.

OZ: Seems relatively easy to achieve (40K in 2 years) and retain (30K in 2 years). Downside: poor earnings in general (certainly compared to SK, UA, TK). Lifetime Status is possible. Another drawback (apart from poor earnings): they have what is possibly the worst website I've ever seen for an airline.

TK: Kind of in-between the above 3. Harder than OZ to achieve (40K in 1 year, not 2) but not that onerous to maintain (25K in year 1, or 37.5K in a 2 year period). Good mileage earnings on *A carriers. Downside: your award miles will obviously accrue to TK, and redemptions are more cumbersome than on most airlines. Best route network in the world means you can fly on their metal pretty much anywhere, and it's generally nicer to have earned elite status on the airline you're typically flying.

ET: Good option if you have lots of short Y and not much J. Sheba Gold is 40 segments per year. Note that for mean-spirited LH, 30 segments or 35K miles only gets you Silver - and from next year status will only last for one year rather than two. The cheapest way to earn this is to do domestic segments in Poland. If you go this route, then you will get very well acquainted with both the Dash Q400 and small airports like SZY (Szymany), where staff will probably know you on a first-name basis by the time you've hit *G.

Avoid: LH group, NH.
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Old Jan 24, 20, 11:50 pm
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Thanks for that comprehensive review. I already know to avoid LH, which is why I'm looking around... most of my *A flying the next couple of years will be on LH Group airlines (LX mostly).

I guess at the end of the day, UA is not a terrible option since I'm US based. Miles don't expire and redemption is decent and I can transfer/top up with Chase points. I just have to plan to do some weekend short hops to get my 4 segments in before I reach Silver.

I will also give TK another look and compare. Need to study the redemption chart.
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Old Jan 25, 20, 11:59 am
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Don't be deceived by OZ's apparently low accrual rate. I'd prefer 125% on OZ over 200% on TK, SK, TP, A3 any day.
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Old Jan 27, 20, 1:53 am
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Originally Posted by Geese Howard View Post
Don't be deceived by OZ's apparently low accrual rate. I'd prefer 125% on OZ over 200% on TK, SK, TP, A3 any day.
Really depends on how you'll redeem. A3 has a pretty good award chart in some regions and SK's isn't bad either. Big difference in miles at 200% vs 125% if the regions you'll be redeeming in have similar mileage requirements. Doubly so if the person never flies on OZ as there wouldn't be any benefit of the "home airline" program.
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Old Jan 27, 20, 10:52 am
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Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
Thanks for that comprehensive review. I already know to avoid LH, which is why I'm looking around... most of my *A flying the next couple of years will be on LH Group airlines (LX mostly).

I guess at the end of the day, UA is not a terrible option since I'm US based. Miles don't expire and redemption is decent and I can transfer/top up with Chase points. I just have to plan to do some weekend short hops to get my 4 segments in before I reach Silver.

I will also give TK another look and compare. Need to study the redemption chart.
Bear in mind that TK miles (a) expire and (b) have some weird transfer rules, so you may not be able to dump them into a different account at the last minute. That's how I wound up with an Instantpot, a new wireless mouse and some nice earrings for the Significant Hazard - from burning my about-to-expire miles on their shopping site.

OTOH, Turkish in J is pretty nice.

O/H
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Old Jan 28, 20, 3:36 am
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Originally Posted by yurtripper View Post
Another drawback (apart from poor earnings): they have what is possibly the worst website I've ever seen for an airline.
I can assure you that TK website is much worse.

Redemption rate on TK is pretty good for some zones (Europe to US and Far East for 45,000 in J), but you pay all fuel surcharges.
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Old Jan 29, 20, 9:55 pm
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Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
Is there another program I should credit to if the objective is to make Star Gold and be able to redeem the miles later for international J travel ex-LAX to Asia or Europe.
Unless you're going to credit to LH or LX M&M, I'd suggest you consider a different goal, as *A J awards TATL from the west coast are otherwise virtually nonexistent and TPAC not far behind.
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