Questions re FF schemes

Discussion in 'Your Questions' started by Ayrt, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. Ayrt

    Ayrt Newbie

    Aug 18, 2005
    4
    0
    Hi guys,

    Am planning a trip with the missus later this year. The route is as follows:

    Sydney > LAX > Vegas > New York > London > Sydney (via somewhere like Bangkok or Singapore).

    We checked out some itineraries and costs and discovered it would be quicker to use a Round The World ticket. We definately like to cash in on some frequent flyer points, but were wondering what the best scheme to go on is?

    I have looked around the forums before posting this, but there is so much information, I don't know what to pay attention to and what not to!

    We have CBA credit cards (which have crappy rewards but could be redeemed for QF points) but if it made a difference and allowed us to get more points, I wouldn't mind changing!
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    Any advice on the best bang for our bucks would be appreciated!


    Thanks


    Ayrt
     
  2. NM

    NM
    Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    15,698
    1,179
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    The problem with RTW fares and FF programs is that the economy class version of these fares are generally sold as deep discount fares, which are often low-earning fares under most FF programs.

    RTW fares in business class are very good earners in most FF programs.

    Most of my experience is with OneWorld airlines and their FF programs, so I can really only comment from that perspective. Other regulars here will be better able to comment on Star Alliance and other programs.

    If you are not already committed to a particular FF program, then I would recommend considering joining AAdvantage (American Airlines) and undertaking their Platinum Challenge. In my exeperiene, that will gain you the best points balance and redemption buying power for your travel dollar.

    You may also like to ensure you maximise your earning opportunity with a RTW fare but using the maximum number of sectors and using a creative routing. But that depends on how much value you put on your time verses your sanity (since I am assuming economy class travel). In economy I tend to take the shortest routing, which in business class I am happy to take a longer routing to improve my benefits earning capability.
     
  3. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    5
    Not so for *A RTW - the standard version is mostly in booking class M IIRC which counts as full economy earning. There is also a cheaper more limited Star Lite RTW which is in a lower booking class.

    Crediting to the right program is important to get the most out of the trip - mileage wise. There is a huge difference in earning rates, with the best programs earning enough for another trip to europe, so it pays to check it out carefully. There's plenty of good advice and tips here on AFF. If you're interested in *A then I can help with more specific help, but will leave the OW advice to the experts.
     
  4. Ayrt

    Ayrt Newbie

    Aug 18, 2005
    4
    0
    Thanks guys for the replies!!!

    The definite route is

    SYD-LAX
    LAX-LAS
    LAS-DEN
    DEN-LGA
    LGA-LHR
    LHR-BKK
    BKK-SYD

    I'm looking at *A (look at me with the terms *grin*) - but I'm not sure who to join. All our flights are with United, US Air then Thai.

    Any future travel would probably be to UK mainly (but not *that* regularly).

    I've read a few other posts about *A plans and most people seem to plump with United, given that when I fly back to the UK I probably wouldn't want to go via United (booking with them directly I mean) would I be better to join Thai or SQ?

    Also - I notice lots of talk of Y,J,K etc etc - How do I determine which 'class' of ticket I'm booked on? (it is economy, but there appear to be about a gazillion different kinds of tickets)

    And it's a RTW ticket we are buying too btw!

    Thanks again chaps - looking forward to Kiwi's responses re *A

    Cheers

    Edit: I check the itinerary I got from flightCentre and it only says 'Economy' for class - I was hoping it would tell me which kind of economy.

    Edit 2: If I joined say UA, would I then be able to book a flight with say Singapore back to the UK or would I need to book always with UA? I know it's probably a stupid question but I'm clueless!
     
  5. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    5
    Firstly, lets take a look at your planned RTW.

    I presume you've been quoted a price. Do you know if it was the Star Lite special (26k mileage limit) or a regular *A RTW (29k, 34k or 39k limit)? The reason I ask is not only is there a difference in mileage limit but also differences in the rules. Star Lite is more restrictive and uses lower booking classes than the regular *A RTW. For now I will assume you have Star Lite.

    Using great circle mapper as a rough guide it seems you have about 2000 miles available should you wish to add sectors. You could see a bit more of the US, Europe or east asia should you want to. Eg if add Hong Kong by routing ...BKK-HKG-SIN-SYD this comes to about 25900 miles.

    If you are on a regular *A RTW then you can add quite a lot - up to 24 sectors are allowed and you have thousands more miles (34k and 39k versions cost more than the basic 29k one). If you are interested in planning a more sophisticated RTW routing you can download the *A RTW Mileage Calculator Tool from www.staralliance.com This provides flight schedules as well as keeping track of rules like maximum mileage, stopovers etc. Most of the feedback on FT has been it is easy to use.

    You can ask your TA to provide the booking classes, which will help confirm which product you have been quoted on and also assist in working out how much mileage you should earn.

    Now to what program to choose. If you dont intend flying UA much (although there is a lot on this RTW), then Mileage Plus may not be the right program for you. However, if a lot of your long haul flying is in the cheapest economy fare classes then Mileage Plus is still quite good as it doesnt have as many earning restrictions on these types of fares as for example SQ Krisflyer or NZ Airpoints.

    TG Royal Orchid Plus may be useful if you intend flying Thai to europe as points earned may be able to be used to upgrade on them. TG also has a relatively lower requirement to earn status.

    Miles on any *A program can be used for awards on any other *A airline, plus a few extra airlines. This is no different from eg using QF miles on BA flights. Currently, however, the only upgrades are from the own program (ie only SQ miles upgrade on SQ, only TG miles upgrade on TG). There are a couple of limited exceptions to this and *A plans to allow all *A miles to upgrade on any *A airline.
     
  6. AlwaysUpThere

    AlwaysUpThere Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    126
    0
    Sydney
    1) Ah, the old "Where do I sit if I'm booked in "W" class" question. "Wing" or "Washroom"?
    "Sub-classes" are the "buckets" that airlines divide the each "Cabin" into to manage yield. First class usually has 4-5, Business has 6-8 and Economy has 8-15 or more, depending on the airline. Full fare paying ptickets are booked in F or P, Business in J and Economy in Y.

    So, to manage their inventory of seats to maximise revenue, the airline will only want to sell a number of discounted tickets in each cabin. To do this, thay create "sub-classes". They allocate a "high" subclass (k, B, M in the economy cabin) and most seats to higher fares which are generally somehwat flexible with a small discount. They also have some to manage business travel and leisure travel for airline staff. These are only bookable directly into their computers (can't be seen by travel agents).

    They allocate a "low" subclass to the cheapest fares and just a few seats to that subclass. They advise their staff and travel agents that to use the discounted fares, they must book it in the correct subclass. Once the seats are sold for each subclass, they can't sell any more (the computer will not allow them to book), so if the passenger must travel on that flight, they are forced to book the next highest fare, and so on until it gets to the full-fare Y. Usually, frequest flyer redemption seats have the lowest number of seats allocated (if any) which is why its so hard to get one! RTWs are low yielding and so are sometimes hard to get.

    2) As mentioned above, if you can't find it on the itin/e-ticket, ask your agent. There are ways to find out (tour codes etc) but too difficult for the layperson to de-code.

    3) Not only *A, but all "Global Alliances" (of course including 1w) allow you to earn points and burn points on any member airline. That was the first and most obvious benefit to the travelling public.
    Typicaly, its a bit cheaper to "burn" on your "member airline" - so if a Milage Plus member, sometimes easier to use United...and the airlines tend to treat their own members a little better than their alliance partners'. Thats just a perceptions that I've gained over the years.

    1w members do not allow you to use your point to upgrade on another carrier.

    Agree with Kiwi Flyer that SQ or TG may provide a better long-term relationship benefit if travelling to the UK more than Eastwards. SQ have a gteat web site and allow you to check-in online and other cool stuff. If you're not flying that often, it really won't matter much - or go for the programme where your points never expire!
     
  7. Ayrt

    Ayrt Newbie

    Aug 18, 2005
    4
    0
    Cheers Kiwi,

    Quick update - It is the 26K Star Lite plan and we are both booked on 'H' class economy.

    Fron your reply it sounds like maybe the Thai would be better as we won't use United at all to fly to the UK / Europe - We would always go West-East.

    You reckon that's the best choice?

    Cheers heaps again!
     
  8. Ayrt

    Ayrt Newbie

    Aug 18, 2005
    4
    0
    Thanks also AlwaysUpThere....

    Another question for either of you - Assuming the flights are booked and paid for by the 5th Sept (which they have to be apparently) will I still be able to claim the flights against a scheme that I join tonight? And will both myself and missus join, or would we have one 'account' that we could both add miles to? Or is it that you have one person, one account and partners points can't be added?

    Thanks heaps again!
     
  9. BlacKnox

    BlacKnox Active Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    732
    13
    Hi Ayrt,

    For a comparison of star alliance "elite" member schemes, go here:

    http://members.shaw.ca/deercroft/starall.html

    From what I've read, it sounds like Thai may be better for you, as they are usually more generous for mileage accrual on cheaper tickets than SQ (which are more generous for business/ first tickets). Also with Thai, as Kiwiflyer noted, it takes less miles to earn elite status (over a 2 year period).

    Yes, no problems there. You can even join a frequent flyer program after flying and have previous flights recorded, provided you retain your boarding passes.

    Yes both you and spouse need to join. You could use your miles to "buy" her a ticket (and vice versa), but you can't combine miles to my knowledge with TG.
     
  10. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
    5
    Yes but only up to a point. Every program I have seen allows 30 days (as long as you retain the boarding pass, and some allow a little longer. None allow as much as a year AFAIK.

    A small number of programs allow family pooling of miles (eg EK Emirates Skywards), however you may end up with significantly less miles in total than each having their own membership and crediting to self.

    A tip if you are planning on crediting miles to another *A program but flying on SQ. You can create a KrisFlyer account and link it to your itinerary. This allows online check-in and seat selection (which otherwise is restricted to business and first class). At the airport you can then change to the FFP# you want the miles to go to.
     
  11. BlacKnox

    BlacKnox Active Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    732
    13
    Correct me if I'm wrong Kiwi Flyer, though I believe online check-in (and seat selection) is now available to all passengers 2-48hrs beforehand (not only first, business or KrisFlyer passengers). Of course, economy class passengers still cannot select seats before this time, beyond the generic exitrow, window or aisle request.
     
  12. AlwaysUpThere

    AlwaysUpThere Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    126
    0
    Sydney
    SQ are not as "retentive" as QF and will allocate a YCLS seat at the time of booking. If your agent doesn't/can't do it, just call SQ.

    CX also do this once your agent has put the ticket number in the booking.

    SQ have just updated their online booking engine so can't see seats pre-purchase any more, but I believe they're like CX and once you've entered your credit card details, the next step allows you to choose your seat and any meal preferences - a benefit of booking online...
     
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