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Which program should I join?

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kryton

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Apr 26, 2007
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5
Hi.

I've recently got a new job where I need to fly to the US every 2nd month.
I was wondering if people can recommend getting United/Star Alliance points or Qantas ones?
 

moa999

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Depends.
Who are you going to fly??

Assuming you have a choice - which class.
If its business, its Qantas lay down (due to the sky beds) and probably using the AA FF program.
(although with that frequency and assuming a few intra-US flights as well, you would get LifeTime Gold on Qantas in a few years)

If its economy, more line ball
 

simongr

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Jul 10, 2006
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The thing that I have learned a lot this past 12 months is that its not about the program so much as what you want from the travel and what you have in terms of options on how you will travel. As aubs points out - the big question is it first/business/economy - that could drive a lot of your decision making.

Also where are you going in the US? How much flexibility do you have in terms of how/when you travel. I go about 2-3 times to the US each year now and have enough flexibility in my diary to take around-the-world trips so I can visit friends and family when I travel.

How long will you be maintaining this for? Do you care about status or miles earning?
 

Dave Noble

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Oct 10, 2005
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If flying QF, then I would suggest the AA scheme. With 6 trips a year in cheap economy on Qantas, you would be able to get Platinum status; travel using the AA number and can maintain Executive Platinum

Travelling on flexible economy or higher, would be able to maintain Executive Platinum

Should you be travelling domestically within the US, having status will enable the ability to get cheap upgrades to 1st if needed.

Also award flights are typically a *lot* cheaper from the AA scheme than the QF scheme

Dave
 

NM

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If you are to be travelling on an economy ticket, then UA probably offers the best and most reliable ways to get into E+ or business class trans-Pacific.

If travelling in business class, then fly QF and credit to AA for far better earn/burn rates and in-flight comfort.
 

SeaWolf

Active Member
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Jan 24, 2007
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887
I'm not sure, but I seem to remember that QFF's Lifetime program was better than AA, so if you think it's likely you'll reach 'lifetime' levels of flight then it might be worth going for QFF.

I can't seem to find a reference now (I'm sure someone else will be able to though) but I think the highest level of Lifetime status you can get on AA is 'Gold' which is OneWorld Ruby, the same as QFF Silver. On QFF you can get up to Gold on Lifetime, which is OneWorld Sapphire, the next level up, and comes with lounge access.

Again, this depends on what's important to you and what you see your long term travel habits being.
 

simongr

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There is lifetime platinum (undocumented benefit) as for lifetime gold) at 2 million miles. NOte that for me as 90% of my points come from flying I would get to lifetime status on QF a lot faster than AA - in fact after 1 year I would have been pretty close to LT Silver by now.

However if you are going to be generatinga lot of other points (hotels CC) these contribute to lifetime status on AA - so its a balance.

The benefit of LT status on both is no different to comparing thee day-to-day status differences.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Depends on what you want out of programs, but I'd be tempted by UA. Once reach 25k status miles you get decent bonus miles flying UA and E+ seating (slightly better pitch not a separate cabin like NZ's premium economy), and unlike QFF/AA earn 100% miles on all fares. Before the 25k level you can pay for E+ seating by US$299(?) annual fee. Once reach 1K mark you get lots of upgrade vouchers, only 1 needed to upgrade a trip to Europe flying UA.

Awards on UA are cheap, in premium cabins half or less than on QFF. For instance PER-PPT return on NZ business class for 40k miles.
 
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Dave Noble

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Oct 10, 2005
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SeaWolf said:
I'm not sure, but I seem to remember that QFF's Lifetime program was better than AA, so if you think it's likely you'll reach 'lifetime' levels of flight then it might be worth going for QFF.

I can't seem to find a reference now (I'm sure someone else will be able to though) but I think the highest level of Lifetime status you can get on AA is 'Gold' which is OneWorld Ruby, the same as QFF Silver. On QFF you can get up to Gold on Lifetime, which is OneWorld Sapphire, the next level up, and comes with lounge access.

Again, this depends on what's important to you and what you see your long term travel habits being.
AA offers Lifetime Gold (OW Ruby) at 1M miles and Lifetime Platinum (OW Sapphire) at 2M miles. Both are fairly similar in benefits to the Qantas equivalent of Lifetime Silver and Gold respectively

All earned miles count towards lifetime status with AA , including base flown miles, bonus miles, miles earned from AMEX etc

I wouldn't be using the speed of LT status to determine a scheme to join, I would look at the benefits/rewards on the day to day side

Dave
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Yup. And UA offers lifetime *G at 1 million miles (not as generous as AAdvantage which is fairly unique in including non-airline partner earning in lifetime qualification).
 

kryton

Newbie
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
5
Thanks for the help!

It will be Biz class, and i'm guessing I will need to be doing it for 2 years, so I'm hoping to get lifetime silver and possibly lifetime gold out of this.

I'll look at AA and Qantas's to see which program is better. the skybeds do sound nice.
 

Dave Noble

Senior Member
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Oct 10, 2005
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kryton said:
Thanks for the help!

It will be Biz class, and i'm guessing I will need to be doing it for 2 years, so I'm hoping to get lifetime silver and possibly lifetime gold out of this.

I'll look at AA and Qantas's to see which program is better. the skybeds do sound nice.
6 trips in business class from SYD-LAX could earn 203,000 AA miles , so over 2 years would get 406,000 miles and you would attain Executive Platinum status after 5 trips and so would get 8 AA systemwide upgrades each year which have a trade value on places like coupon connection of around 25,000 miles each .

If crediting to Qantas, SYD-LAX earns 180 SCs , so 360 per r/t. 12 trips would earn 4320 SCs of the 7000 needed for lifetime Silver status.

Assuming that you manage to earn the same miles on QF as AA

410,000 AA miles would be enough for 2 1st class r/ts plus 1 economy r/t to Europe from Australia for example , whilst 410,000 QF miles would be enough for 1 1st class r/t to Europe plus 1 economy r/t SYD-AKL plus you would also be hit for around $400 in fuel fines on top

Dave
 

simongr

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Jul 10, 2006
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That gives a bit more context. Dont forget it doesnt matter who you fly with within the oneworld alliance (BA, AA, Cathay, Qantas, JAL) you can still credit to whichever program you want - so can get the Qantas Skybeds - and at the same time credit your frequent flyer points to AA.

You also might like to explore teh possibility of around-the-world tickets as these earn a lot more potentially than a point-to-point ticket.

For example a straight SYD-JFK-SYD ticket would cost maybe A$12000 on Qantas and would earn about 34K miles (as a QF gold) and about 480 Status Credits. Doing 6 of those a year it would take about 3 years to hit LT Silver. If you did a around-the-world ticket you could easily earn 660 Status Credits and 42K points. Interestingly my last RTW ticket (which wasnt on the scale of some reported here) would have earned 84K miles and 1290 SCs if it had been credited to QF...
 
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