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Moving country, looking for advice on which FF program to consider

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jase

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Been with Velocity for about 4 years now. I have around 120,000 VFF points in the bank. Dropped back to Silver this year unfortunately as my life has changed significantly.

In future, I am mostly going to be flying with around the following locations:

Vancouver, Canada
Taipei City, Taipei
Hong Kong, China
Panama City, Panama
Queenstown, NZ
Adelaide, Australia

I will favour Air Canada, Air New Zealand, EVA Air, and Singapore Airlines wherever possible, so it seems to me that Star Alliance is a better fit for me than oneworld.

My goal is for Star Alliance Gold, mainly for the lounges, bonus points and a bit more leeway with luggage.

What is the best FF program for me to be in?
I typically travel on the cheapest fares, does this affect my choice?
 

seanpodge

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If going for status, Asiana Club might be a good bet. 40,000 miles over two years gets you *G. You do have to pay close attention to the fare code when booking though, especially with some of the European airlines, who seem to quite dislike giving out points. 20,000 miles would get you *Silver, but about the only benefit you'd notice is a slightly different coloured card. That said, when travelling on UA 2-3 years ago holding *S, they waved bag fees for the first check in bag, so that was good.
 

RooFlyer

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Only a negative comment, sorry. Avoid Air Canada Aeroplan. Its been spun out so is now a general points scheme, where 'frequent flyers' are just part of the ruck. (NB this is the way QFF is heading). Plus they now have Air Canada Rouge - its like Jetstar but I think you do earn a pittance of miles. They have 'rouged' many routes - for instance Calgary - Los Angeles is now 'rouge only', which is just ridiculous.

Look at Avianca LifeMiles. There's a thread on it here and it sounds pretty good (also another one on LM redemptions). Handy for those Panama trips :)

As an Alliance (I'm *A Gold as well as OneWorld Emerald), Star Alliance isn't bad. The airlines tend to be more consistent and coherent than One World. But no domestic Australia presence of course.

By the way, which country will you be resident in?
 
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jase

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Thanks for the help so far, very helpful!

By the way, which country will you be resident in?
That remains to be seen. It's 50/50 between Panama and Canada, really comes down to how much time I spend in both. Does it affect my strategy?
 

jase

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Also, will CC spend be significant? That may also point one way or another depending on the country.
Probably not, I'm not much of a spender and have found it very challenging to get a CC worth using in Canada as I'm not a permanent resident. I'll have an Aussie CC (current for Velocity) but it won't get used for all but a month or so each year.
 

RooFlyer

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Thanks for the help so far, very helpful!

Originally Posted by RooFlyer By the way, which country will you be resident in?
That remains to be seen. It's 50/50 between Panama and Canada, really comes down to how much time I spend in both. Does it affect my strategy?
Strewth ... what a choice! (I spend 3-5 months a year in Canada, and love it). Do you like ice hockey? :)

Generally I think its beneficial to belong to the FF scheme in the country you are resident in. Not sure about Panama, but you tend to get more points earning opportunities and generally to take advantage of the local scheme. if you have to call, its more local. But that's a longer term strategy. if you are only going to be away for a year or two, then you should join the scheme that gets you status most quickly.

If Panama, then I think Avianca no question. If Canada, then probably United, or Avianca.

if only a short term gig, then Aegean apparently gives you Star Gold very easily (ie for Star Alliance Gold Status everywhere). Threads on Aegean on AFF.
 

jase

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Strewth ... what a choice! (I spend 3-5 months a year in Canada, and love it). Do you like ice hockey? :)

Generally I think its beneficial to belong to the FF scheme in the country you are resident in. Not sure about Panama, but you tend to get more points earning opportunities and generally to take advantage of the local scheme. if you have to call, its more local. But that's a longer term strategy. if you are only going to be away for a year or two, then you should join the scheme that gets you status most quickly.

If Panama, then I think Avianca no question. If Canada, then probably United, or Avianca.

if only a short term gig, then Aegean apparently gives you Star Gold very easily (ie for Star Alliance Gold Status everywhere). Threads on Aegean on AFF.
Not big on hockey, but give me some skis and a mountain bike and I'm a happy man!

This is definitely a long term plan so I'm hoping I can stick with the program that I can join. Avianca sounds good in theory but I'm not sure how often I will actually fly with them around the region. It's definitely between Asiana and Avianca though.

Asiana for ease of status, Avianca for potential CC use/local flights.

Thanks again!
 

jase

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One thing I forgot, does family pooling make much of a difference? I (possibly foolishly) assume that all programs allow for family pooling?
 
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