Which *A program for Damien? | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Which *A program for Damien?

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Damien

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Aug 29, 2005
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Hi everybody. A change in company policy means I now need to find a suitable *A program to collect points in. I'm finding it harder and harder to justify the extra cost of OW flights to those who make the decisions yet never actually travel.

Most of my flights would be on SQ, closely followed by UA, and then the very occasional NZ. Chances of a status match or reaching status quickly would be a bonus.

KrisFlyer seems to be the most logical, but there are people on here who would have a much better idea than me. What are your thoughts? To give you an idea of how much/little I fly, I'm currently OW Sapphire, but expect to make Emerald within the next couple of months.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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What class of travel? First, business, economy or heavily discounted economy?
 

Damien

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Kiwi Flyer said:
What class of travel? First, business, economy or heavily discounted economy?
Depending on the length of the flight, it is always either business or economy. Never discount enonomy.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Okay. If travelling business and SQ then definitely sign up for Kris Flyer, regardless of where you decide to put the miles. That way you can earn PPS credits and miles towards qualifying PPS status. PPS can only be earned when flying SQ or MI (SilkAir) in paid first or business. PPS is separate to the FFP and has significant status benefits (mainly of value when flying SQ or MI but also includes *Gold). You can double dip earning PPS status at the same time as earning miles and status on another program. But you need a KrisFlyer account to record PPS credits and miles. 25 PPS sectors or 50,000 PPS miles in a membership year to qualify PPS.

From Australia (SYD/BNE/MEL/ADL) to say Japan return in business on SQ is 10 PPS credits and about 17,000 PPS miles.

If flying SQ economy, watch out for non-mileage earning fares. If you have even one sector in the non-mileage earning booking class then no miles for any of the SQ flights on the itinerary.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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For that amount of flying you should be able to qualify for *Gold status, or very close to it.

*Gold status is good to have as it entitles lounge access (plus guest), extra baggage allowance, priority baggage tags, priority check in, priority waitlist, priority for op-ups, etc.

You have a number of choices and without knowing full details of your travel it isnt clear to me which will be best for you. As I see it the main contenders are UA Mileage Plus, SQ Kris Flyer, LH Miles and More, NZ Airpoints, TG Royal Orchid Plus, AC Aeroplan.

There's a lot more info on the *A forum on FT (in particular through the *A Useful Reference Links sticky), but here are some key points for each.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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UA Mileage Plus

50,000 miles calendar year for *Gold
+ cheaper awards
+ plenty of promos
+ good earning when flying UA once have status
+ SWUs if get 100,000 miles good for one day journey (multiple flights) upgrade on UA (you get several when qualify or requalify 1k status)
+ miles valid for 3 years from last activity
- class of service bonus not very good
- status bonus is only when flying UA (+ LH transatlantic)
- no australian credit card
- no access to *G lounges in usa unless on international itinerary

SQ Kris Flyer

50,000 miles member year for *Gold
+ good awards intra asia
+ good promos to europe
- class of service bonus not very good
- status bonus is only when flying SQ
- miles expire after approx 3 years (can be extended 6 months for an excessive IMHO fee)

LH Miles and More

100,000 miles every second calendar year for *Gold (lasts 26 to 37 months)
+ good class of service bonus 300% miles first, 200% miles business, 100% miles full economy
+ status bonus counts towards requalifying, and earned on LH/LO/OS/UA/AC/LX/OU/JP
+ good minimum mileage on all airlines (except NZ domestic), especially intra-europe
- miles dont expire while have status but if no status they expire after 3 years
- higher qualifying threshold (although in flown distance may be less depending on class of travel and any status bonuses)
- expensive upgrades

NZ Airpoints

800 aussie airbucks (90% to requalify) member year for *Gold
+ good class of service bonus (the fixed earning ratio is roughly as good or better than LH)
+ free upgrade on NZ
+ australian credit card
+ useful promos for australia/nz
- annual fee if no NZ flights
- expensive upgrades
- no status bonus
- airbucks dont expire while have status, but if no status expire on start of 5th member year following earning (with minimum 1 month after losing status)

TG Royal Orchid Plus

50,000 miles for *Gold

AC Aeroplan

35,000 miles for *Gold
 

Damien

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Aug 29, 2005
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Wow! :shock:

Thanks KiwiFlyer for some very informative posts. There's some food for thought there.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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The other useful *A thing, which isnt a *G benefit, is *A-wide mileage upgrades. At the moment only SQ, LH, OS, LO, and NH (and from 1 April also LX). However will be expanding to other *A FFPs.

Cost seems to be broadly in line with upgrades on their own metal - ie expensive for LH, not too bad for SQ, and I'd expect UA to be cheapest.
 
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Damien

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Kiwi Flyer said:
I've added info above on the expiry of points/miles.
Thanks Kiwi Flyer. I've looked through the information you pointed to on FT.

I've joined KrisFlyer purely for the PPS part. Several people in the office here are PPS members, so I'd say it's achievable. I have to say that I'm not a fan of their expiry policy though... UA is my current favourite as far as earning and saving.
 

BlacKnox

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Jan 29, 2005
Messages
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Fantastic summary Kiwi Flyer. If I can add:

1. Yes if you fly SQ business, then join the PPS program which will automatically deposit PPS credits - you can always bank your miles elsewhere (to another FF program).

2. Fastest way to *G is status match - try UA and BMI.

3. Fastest way to earn *G is either with AC Aeroplan (35K @ 1.25 for J class) or BMI (54K @ 2.00 for J class). That is, pure J class flying means BMI is faster; mxed Y/J classes then AC is faster). To requalify on BMI only needs 38K, but you'll need a British address to join.

4. If you can make *G on NH, consider banking to them (ANA) so to qualify (if you're eligible) for a SuperFlyers card = "lifetime" *G status.

5. Agree that UA has the best award redemption rates.

6. Just to add to Kiwi Flyer's notes, if you reach *G on Thai, status is effectively for two years with requalification over 2years @ 80K.
 

Damien

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Aug 29, 2005
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Thanks BlacKnox for weighing into the discussion.

I gave it some thought over the weekend and decided to go with SQ for the PPS credits and AC for everything else. A couple of things I liked about AC were the amount of non-airline partners that I currently use, and the 100% credit on all partner airline flights. Also, the points don't expire as long as the account is kept active. That is a major plus.

I have enquired about the possibility of a status match, but am not too worried if it doesn't happen. I estimate that I can make *G very quickly without it given my current travel plans.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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AC doesnt credit 100% on all partner flights. Perhaps you are looking at old info?

Non-flying partners generally similar for all FFPs - ie they all include the major car rentals, major hotel chains, etc. To me the main difference is in credit card earning which is usually restricted to one or two countries.
 

Damien

Member
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Aug 29, 2005
Messages
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Kiwi Flyer said:
AC doesnt credit 100% on all partner flights. Perhaps you are looking at old info?
You are correct. Either I misread it, or the information was old. :( This may require another look...
 
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