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Star Alliance Choices

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skyberth

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Jan 4, 2007
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Hi all,

As a regular 1W FF to north Asia (usually flying Business class) I am now facing regular Economy and Business travel to south east Asia (Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and NZ, as I start to base myself in both Perth and Ho Chi Minh City. As such I have decided to join a *A FF program and would value any thoughts as to the most applicable program.

From my initial research and reading of previous posts I have gleaned that overall UA seems to be the preferred *A program with lower redemptions, ease to get points and harder for points to be but is better generally if flying with them to the US. My other considerations were TG, SQ and NZ.
 

Kiwi Flyer

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
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Welcome to AFF skyberth :)

UA Mileage Plus is a good program if flying United a lot, not so good if not.

SQ Kris Flyer is fairly poor value, but if flying SQ in business class has the PPS programme whereby you can earn status on SQ while crediting miles to another program. Unfortunately it will take a lot of travel between SGN and PER to qualify for PPS - each round trip in business is only 5 PPS sectors and need 25 for PPS.

NZ Airpoints is poor value for discount economy flyer, but reasonable for full fare economy or business. However need to fly on NZ metal every year to avoid the annual fee. Earning is by zone, so a relatively short PER-SIN flight earns the same as much longer SYD-NRT for example. On your travel patterns likely to be easy enough to qualify *Gold (equivalent to OW Emerald) however you won't get NZ's top tier Gold Elite without considerable flying on NZ metal.

TG Royal Orchid Plus another fairly easy to get *Gold.

Beware the lowest fares on SQ and TG are non mileage earning.
 

gaia

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2003
Messages
125
Faced with a similar issue I joined TG ROP last December and earned almost 30,000 points in December. These points are reset to 0 for status qualification as at 1 January, so best time to joing TG ROP is now.

In the end I was tossing up between SG & TG and chose TG as for a coach class flyer it seemed to be much easier to qualify for *G than SG.
 

Sequel

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2005
Messages
475
gaia said:
In the end I was tossing up between SG & TG and chose TG as for a coach class flyer it seemed to be much easier to qualify for *G than SG.
Dont both SQ & TG require 50k points for *A Gold? How is one easier than the other?

I am trying to decide which one to join, and was leaning towards TG as they only require 10k for silver which lasts for 3 years, but I thought niether scheme had an advantage for Gold?
 

Kiwi Flyer

Senior Member
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IIRC TG requires 40k, and additionally has various options to qualify which may be easier for some (eg calendar year, rolling 12 months, higher total over 2 years).
 

Sequel

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2005
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475
Royal Orchid Plus

Maybe they have changed it recently. 10k points for silver (rather than 25K on SQ & AC) but for gold it is 50k, although the qualifing options are better, and you stay at the status for 2 years! AC however only needs 35k points for *G, but I am not sure what restrictions they may have when only flying through asia?
 

Altair

Active Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
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823
Do not forget OZ.
If you are using *A as a secondary alliance OZ miles do not expire and their miles to qualify for staus is lifetime, until you qualify, then it is over a 3 year period, eg. for *Silver 40K over the life of the program then 10K (or 15K?) in a 3 year period. *Gold 100K over the life of the program then 40K over the 3 year period. This means qualifying takes time but once you have it, it can be easier to maintain, also vaild for a longer period.
The other thing to consider though is that redemption cost is high, similar to SQ(?), no minimum miles (like TG) and no status bonus for earning.

I recently stopped my TG ROP as I always fell short of qualifiying for *Gold, flew either side of the new year and my points expired before I could gain enough to use them.
 

Keith009

AFF Supporter
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
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I've been told that BMI diamond club has been changed to allow anyone from anywhere to become a member. The online application form now has a 'rest of the world' option in the country of residence drop down menu.

Worth considering for the extremely generous redemption rates. And Cash and Miles is a very nice feature.

Need only 52k status miles to get *G, and accrual rates in premium classes are comparable to Miles and More (but hey - half the miles needed to get *G!).

You have a fairly long time to get BD*G. You have 12 months to earn 18 000 status miles from date of joining (as opposed to calendar year) to achieve *S. Then your status miles reset and you have another 12 months from the date you achieve *S to earn 38 000 miles for *G.

Besides Star Alliance gold lounges, BD*G allows you to enter the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses!

And best of all - BMI status matches ANYTHING! [including AA Gold which they think is an actual Gold-ish tier! :D]
 
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stryker

Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2006
Messages
450
QF009 said:
I've been told that BMI diamond club has been changed to allow anyone from anywhere to become a member. The online application form now has a 'rest of the world' option in the country of residence drop down menu.

Worth considering for the extremely generous redemption rates. And Cash and Miles is a very nice feature.

Need only 52k status miles to get *G, and accrual rates in premium classes are comparable to Miles and More (but hey - half the miles needed to get *G!).

You have a fairly long time to get BD*G. You have 12 months to earn 18 000 status miles from date of joining (as opposed to calendar year) to achieve *S. Then your status miles reset and you have another 12 months from the date you achieve *S to earn 38 000 miles for *G.

Besides Star Alliance gold lounges, BD*G allows you to enter the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses!

And best of all - BMI status matches ANYTHING! [including AA Gold which they think is an actual Gold-ish tier! :D]
Not sure why you would go with BD. They seem to be in terminal decline (check their schedules).

I'm a 1K with UA and would recommend the Mileage Plus FF program. After 50,000 miles in one calendar year, you will earn 200% miles on UA metal. Ask Kiwi Flyer if that isn't better than NZ's offerings on non-intercontinental flights (ouch!).

:)
 

Kiwi Flyer

Senior Member
Joined
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5,453
stryker said:
Not sure why you would go with BD. They seem to be in terminal decline (check their schedules).
Given how valuable BD's LHR slots are (especially now with open skies) I wouldn't be too worried about BD's future.
 

sadlier

Intern
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
62
I am not so sure about the proposition of using a FF program from an airline that you rarely or never fly. Having a star alliance gold card from the airline you are actually travelling with does seem to make a difference sometimes.

That was one reason why I switched from UA to SQ but I have found that the SQ program is heavily oriented to their PPS program for their paying J passengers.

I am interested in comments on the recognition from TG for their RO Gold passengers. I do know that they send out upgrade certificates at requalification but they also do not have a mileage bonus for gold members.

For instance do they have preferential seating in Y for their gold members?
 

Harpoon

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2008
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427
I have a similar query.

Because I could be heading to SIN, BKK, KUL at various times during the year from MEL, I'm not sure which *A program to join in addition to OW with QFF. I must always take the lowest J fare so that pretty much determines which airline.

Any suggestions given my airline choice will always be very limited, but will usually be one of SQ, TG or MH.

Is it worth joining UA Milage even if I will rarely fly with them? The less harsh expiry of points sounds inviting compared to SQ or TG.
 

simongr

Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
14,229
The debate over which FFP to use - the most return on investment (i.e. earn/burn ratio) or the carrier you use teh most comes up a lot in the QFF/AAdvantage debate.

There are obvious advantages if you fly one carrier a lot to use that program - better treatment, upgrades etc. It also depends on what you want from the program - biggest bang for your buck or best travel experience.

Given that you are not going to be flying one carrier more than others due to the lowest J fare policy - I think you would be better off joining the program that gives you best earn/burn or the program that is easiest to get status with.
 

sadlier

Intern
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
62
Harpoon - if you are flying J out of MEL to those ports I would recommend trying to use SQ for the flights and their program since J is where their PPS program is oriented.

However a quick look at Webjet comparisons puts two flies in the ointment.

The cheapest J fares are often with Emirates (on a lousy schedule) and thats OK because you can use them and earn miles in the UA program. And of course collect miles from SQ and TG as well.

The other one that you might get stuck with is Malaysian and they have a poor list of partners.

I am interested in this cheapest J class policy. Does schedule count? What about flexibility and choice of alternate flights?
 

dajop

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Harpoon - if you are flying J out of MEL to those ports I would recommend trying to use SQ for the flights and their program since J is where their PPS program is oriented.
Regardless of which program you use to accrue points/mileage you should join SQ's program as it costs nothing. The way the SQ PPS program works is that status is obtained based on $$ spent on business or first class fares when flying on SQ or Silkair metal. If you are member these will accrue regardless of where you decide to accrue your mileage (if you are accruing elsewhere, you just need to double check during check-in your other FF number is entered correctly). Entirely possible to have PPS (and star gold) without earning a single Krisflyer point.
 

Keith009

AFF Supporter
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
4,443
The cheapest J fares are often with Emirates (on a lousy schedule) and thats OK because you can use them and earn miles in the UA program.
Note though, that only redeemable miles are earned when crediting EK flights to UA MP.

Additionally it might be v difficult to get elite status on UA MP if one doesn't fly UA a whole lot. Premium fares on most partner carriers (even SQ R class!) do not earn additional EQMs over whY fares when accrued to UA MP.

I seem to recall a few posts on the FT *A forum extolling the virtues of TK's Miles&Smiles program. Might want to look closer at that program.

edit:
TK Earning chart on partners here, more generous than most I'd say (short of LH and BD levels) - http://www.thy.com/en-INT/miles_and_smiles/program_partners/index.aspx

TK Redemption chart: http://www.thy.com/en-INT/miles_and_smiles/about_us/awards/free_tickets/lh_thy_award_chart.aspx

Elite status info:
*Silver tier:

Classic card holders need to reach 25.000 Status Miles within 12 consecutive months in order to qualify for Classic Plus Membership.

Classic Plus Card is valid for 2 years.

*Gold tier:

To Qualify:
Classic Plus card holders need to reach 40.000 Status Miles within 12 consecutive months in order to qualify for Elite Membership and Elite Card order is given automatically to the address that is registered in our systems. Elite Card is valid for 2 years.
Renewal:
Members residing out of Turkey need to collect 25.000 Status Miles either within the first year or 37.500 Status Miles within 2 years of the Elite membership. Otherwise, the membership status will be renewed as "Classic Plus".
So basically 25k to get *S within 12 months, then another 12 months to get the 40k to get to *G. 2 year validity for *G during which you need 25k within the first year or 37.5k over 2 years to requalify. Comedically easy given the generous earn rate. :)
 
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Harpoon

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2008
Messages
427
The other one that you might get stuck with is Malaysian and they have a poor list of partners.

I am interested in this cheapest J class policy. Does schedule count? What about flexibility and choice of alternate flights?
Yah I've already been on MH to KUL this year and joined their free Enrich program. But you're right their list of partners is terrible and they are not in OW or *A :(

The cheapest J fare is the guideine, but of course scheduling does come in to it to avoid red-eye flights when necessary etc. But the general policy if multiple airlines fly to SIN for example is not to take Qantas as they are more expensive (or whatever the case may be).

By the sounds of the replies (thanks all btw) sounds like SQ might be the way to go.

If I fly TG can I dump those points in to KrisFlyer?

likewise i sometimes fly to NZ, but usually Qantas. However if i were to jump on AIR NZ metal, can I put the points into SQ as well?

I'm guessing the answer to those is no....
 

dajop

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likewise i sometimes fly to NZ, but usually Qantas. However if i were to jump on AIR NZ metal, can I put the points into SQ as well?
You can put flights on SQ/TG/NZ to each other's programs. There are some restrictions on discounted economy fares. eg. if you fly Air NZ across the Tasman, you will not accrue points in any program if you are flying in the cheapest available economy fares.

If you do fly to NZ occassionally is it in economy or business? If the former, it may be worth putting your initial flights to NZ, as getting status on NZ means you get complementary upgrades (I prefer these to getting completary upgrades on United, using their program as a. I never fly UA and b. give me NZ J over UA F any day!) These are very easy to use Trans Tasman.

It does cost $50 to join the NZ program, but it is very easy to obtain and retain Star Alliance Gold if travelling in J class. All you need is 5 one way flights between Asia in Australia, plus a return within Asia, eg from SIN-KUL and you're Gold. By then you'll have $800 Airpoints dollars (Airbucks) and can choose to continue accruing Airbucks to spend later or start accumulating in other programs as well. (I use NZ to get my gold initially then switch my earning across to Singapore Airlines)
 

Harpoon

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2008
Messages
427
You can put flights on SQ/TG/NZ to each other's programs. There are some restrictions on discounted economy fares. eg. if you fly Air NZ across the Tasman, you will not accrue points in any program if you are flying in the cheapest available economy fares.
Oh great! I have limited experience with *A in general other than what's on their website. Thanks for that :)

If you do fly to NZ occassionally is it in economy or business? If the former, it may be worth putting your initial flights to NZ, as getting status on NZ means you get complementary upgrades (I prefer these to getting completary upgrades on United, using their program as a. I never fly UA and b. give me NZ J over UA F any day!) These are very easy to use Trans Tasman.
NZ is economy unfortunately. Anything 4 hours or less is economy. But I can request flexi fares when going economy at least.

It does cost $50 to join the NZ program, but it is very easy to obtain and retain Star Alliance Gold if travelling in J class. All you need is 5 one way flights between Asia in Australia, plus a return within Asia, eg from SIN-KUL and you're Gold. By then you'll have $800 Airpoints dollars (Airbucks) and can choose to continue accruing Airbucks to spend later or start accumulating in other programs as well. (I use NZ to get my gold initially then switch my earning across to Singapore Airlines)
Yeah as I said, anything to, from and within NZ is going to be in economy. So seems pointless to join up with Airpoints from what you described...

J class is only when heading to SE Asia, Pacific Islands or the USA.

TBH I don't think I actually fly frequently enough to be overly concerned about joing NZ first then switching across etc. but thank you for the tip nonetheless!
 
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