Aussie travelling to Seattle ... which program ?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by shevvi, Sep 25, 2005.

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  1. shevvi

    shevvi Newbie

    Sep 25, 2005
    I'm going to be flying between Seattle and Sydney once a year over the next few years, and parents will also be doing the same but separately. We also travel to India a bit.

    What would you reckon is the best frequent flyer program and do you think it's worth it ? Not sure about the US FF programs with many airlines going bankcrupt, so I was thinking of Quantas FF or Thai ROP.

    Is it free (or cheap) and easy to transfer points between Quantas FF accounts ?
    Is it worth joining Quantas Club ?


  2. QF WP


    Jun 20, 2002
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    Welcome to AFF, shevvi

    For the to itineraries that you posted, it would seem that oneworld or Star Alliance are the best programs.

    I'm not an expert on *A programs, Kiwi Flyer or others can fill you in. I can recall Kiwi Flyer posting a summary of them to somebody else's questions. IIRC, Thai was best if you are going to do a lot of deep discount economy travel and I think it had a lower threshold for earning status.

    Based on Oneworld, SYD/SEA will be best done as either SYD QF LAX AS/AA SEA or SYD QF SFO AS/AA SEA and returning on the reverse routing. The QF SYD/SFO sector only starts in March 2006. You can fly Alaskan (AS) or use the AA codeshare from either hub. Another option is to use the oneworld Circle Pacific fare and routing (you'll need NM or serfty to explain them - they do a better job than me).

    I think the best FF program for no or low tier members (starting out) is the American Airlines AAdvantage, particularly as they are the only one that allow you to achieve mid-tiered access to their program using the Gold or Platinum Challenge. AA are one of the few US-based airlines that aren't in Chapter 11 (bankruptcy protection). Many people on this Forum have benefited from this knowledge and achieved Platinum from one flight SYD/LAX. Yes, it's that easy if you plan carefully.

    Yes, you can transfer points between QFF accounts, where you are family.
    It is done over the net very easily. But there are conditions.

    Yes, however if you get the AA Platinum Challenge done, you'll get automatic access to the Qantas Clubs without further expense until the expiry of your membership. Then it's all a matter of re-qualifying to retain the "free" membership.

    BTW, who is this Quantas that you mention a couple of times :? :D - I'm sure you mean Qantas :wink:
  3. BlacKnox

    BlacKnox Active Member

    Jan 29, 2005
  4. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    Welcome to AFF shevvi :)

    Depending on where in India you travel, may be quite a detour on One World. OTOH, *A has plenty of flight options via Singapore (SIN) and Bangkok (BKK).

    For Seattle, both One World and *A have options. However I think *A has the edge as more direct routing via Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO). United would be the airline, unless take Air NZ via AKL (as far as LAX/SFO).

    On *A, the best options are probably United Mileage Plus, or Thai Royal Orchid. UA has the advantage of 100% bonus miles on UA flights once get enough for status, and very low award costs especially in our part of the world.

    If flying Thai or Singapore (ie to India), watch out for the very lowest fares which are non-mileage earning.
  5. NM


    Aug 27, 2004
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    if the sum total of flying is going to be once-a-year to SEA and once every few years to India, then I would suggest the AA program is going to be better value tan Qantas (leaving the A* recommendations to Kiwi Flyer and such experts).

    As Lindsay explained, the AA Platinum Challenge is easy to reach when travelling over the Pacific, and gets you 100% bonus miles earned when flying and access to Qantas Club lounges and AA lounges (AA lounged only when flying internationally on the same day).

    If using the AA program, you are best to buy the tickets using the AA codeshare flight number instead of the QF flight number. Be careful about which fare types earn miles and status in the program. For example, Qantas Q fares (a specific discount economy fare) does not earn miles in the AA program. Read about the program and understand the rules so you can get maximum benefits from it.

    The downside of using the AA program for an Australian based person is that your can't earn miles from credit card spending. You can only earn from flying, accommodation, car rentals etc. But you can earn miles much faster from flying (with the 100% bonus miles for Platinum status level) and those miles take you further for awards. You should be able to earn enough miles for your India trips every 3 years of so.
  6. BlacKnox

    BlacKnox Active Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Assuming you will be travelling in economy on fares earning 100% miles, as a "general rule of thumb" I suggest the following for * Alliance:

    If travelling only about 35,000miles/ year (eg. SYD-USA-BOM return+), then I would join AC, as you can gain star alliance gold with only 35,000 miles, get some upgrade certificates, lounge access, priority check-in etc.

    If travelling roughly 40,000-50,000miles/ year, I would join TG, as you could then get generous SWUs (amongst other things) upon star alliance gold attainment (50,000miles/ year or 80,000miles/ over 2 years)

    If travelling 60,000miles and up, I would join UA, as the generous elite bonuses mean you could earn top tier (1K=100,000eqm/ year) with great SWUs, 1st class lounge access etc etc.
  7. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    This is also true for the various *A programs mentioned on here.

    As BlacKnox infers - one question is whether you'll do enough flying for a reasonable level of status. In *A you want to try to get *Gold status, as that is the level with meaningful benefits - lounge access, extra luggage allowance (and in the case of Mileage Plus 100% bonus on UA flights).

    One round trip to US and another to India in discounted economy will barely be enough, although may need a couple more flights (eg to NZ) to make it on some programs. If travelling in business or first then you'll have no problems making *Gold (or AA Plat), and there may be better options than ones we've mentioned (higher earning on the higher fares).

    Unless you travel a lot more it is not a good idea to spread amongst several programs. Better to concentrate on getting decent benefits on one than risking not getting anything on multiple programs.

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