About to commit FF heresy

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by JasonH, Mar 21, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    I'm having a tough time right now believing in any one mileage program over another. I am as close as I've ever been to going miles agnostic. Especially living in DEN where I pay a premium to remain with one program or another. I enjoy reading Gary and Ben/Lucky's trip reports with all their first class travel, but I find the flight the least interesting of any trip I take. I realize I speak heresy on a forum like this :eek:, but what keeps you wedded to your program of choice?

    For point of reference, I fly UA usually for work and DL for pleasure, but all three of my trips I have coming up are cheaper by huge margins on F9 (e.g., $700-800 on DL/UA and $400 on F9). At what point do you pull the plug on the mileage desire and just stick with hotel points? After all, in many cases that is the most expensive part of a trip.
     
  2. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Agnostic? Here! Wow! Seriously, I would still accumulate the miles and use them to satisfy other desires you may have. You don't want to throw away the value they represent anyway.
     
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  3. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Don't worry Jason, you are forgiven. :D

    And there are folks here who have never achieved elite status with any airline and really don't care. I'm one of them. Do whatever works best for you, not what you think others might want you to do.
     
  4. prometheusg
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    prometheusg Silver Member

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    I've always been agnostic to airline choice. Whatever gets me there the cheapest wins! I don't fly enough to care about status and that seems to be the only real reason to stick with a single program. I've got a flight coming up in June. The cost of both tickets for my wife and I on F9 are cheaper than a ticket for only one of us with anyone else.
     
  5. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    You have made the first step. You have admitted you have a problem. Congratulations. Now only 9 more steps to go.

    All kidding aside, you do need to do what is best for you. For my wife and myself, we are both retired so the price of a ticket, unless we are using points, is the driving factor.
     
  6. ab3i
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    ab3i Silver Member

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    Join F9' earlyreturns? how does it hurt to accrue mileage & frontier has a decent mileage redemption program.
    I am based out of DEN as well and I accrue on UA-CO, AA, DL (the big three alliances covered) and F9, so far i have successfully avoided jetBlue and southwest, but if it came down to it, whats another mileage program :D
     
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  7. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    Well Jason, I am lucky in that I love the act of flying. So for me the cost of a mileage run does not include time calculations because its something I like to do. But when the price difference crosses the point where I feel I can get the miles cheaper on a mileage run plus the cheapest flight than I can paying for the primary airline I go for the cheapest flight.
     
  8. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I will pay slightly more (about 10% or $50, whichever is more) to fly UA or CO because of perks from status. Almost always I can make it work, as I am quite flexible about times and connections or even regional jets. Saving $50 so I can join a Southwest line-up like a prison inmate does not strike me as a good deal.

    If it's a really bad deal, sometimes I will use miles to book the flight, unless it's just a cheap flight to begin with ($150 to go home to SFO is still 10 cpm, but it's only $150).

    I have booked only one non-UA/CO flight this year and expect this to be the only one. I got a coupon for 20% off a VX flight anywhere and anytime, and happened to have a wedding coming up in LA. Given that UA only offers CRJs for $400 to travel SEA-LAX, it made perfect sense to give VX a try. I have to intention of sticking with them even if their service is as great as some claim, but the list of pros and cons was heavily against UA this time.
     
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  9. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    I'm wedded to my program of choice because I fly a fair amount for work and live near a Delta fortress hub, MSP. Delta is almost always at least in the same ballpark of alternatives.

    I get better treatment, better seats (even if not upgraded), the ability to bypass lines (and I hate lines), twice as many skypesos, the flexibility to make free same-day flight changes, and a level of familiarity. That's not normally enough to pay double for a ticket, but it does make flying a lot more enjoyable.

    When the price (or ability, if the destination is not served by delta) is different in a significant way, I evaluate the cost and convenience difference and weigh it against either my fiduciary responsibility to my employer or my personal valuation of the added value I get from loyalty - upgrade potential, priority security, lounge access, bonus miles, etc. If the value of the better experience I get at Delta doesn't hold up to a premium on some particular route, then the other option is the way to go. It makes sense to focus your flying on one program if it makes the difference for elite status and you value those benefits more than whatever differential in spend is required. If you're not hitting significant status and the fares are much different, then it doesn't make sense to focus on a single program.
     
  10. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
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    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

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    You should do what's best for you, obviously. If you cannot justify the perks for the extra cost, then perhaps it's not a perk for you. Not everything can be seen as a perk/benefit for everyone.

    I stick with one program because I fly a lot, and I enjoy it. I've been flying about 2500 miles round trip every week for the last several months due to a new arrangement. People have been asking me if I'm getting burnt out by this. The answer is nope! Just because it works for some doesn't mean it has to work for you. I enjoy the upgrades and the treatment, and I find that prices aren't always more expensive.

    I'm flying to Eastern Europe for $850 in business! That's a perk I really enjoy. :)
     
  11. 2soonold
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    2soonold Gold Member

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    First, I had to google F9:D.
    But still, think looong term.;)
     
  12. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    Well of course if I fly F9 again I'll join their program. I've flown them twice before and didn't join. However given how little I will likely fly them I'll probably just have to deal with expiration of those miles.

    Don't get me wrong. I like flying, but more as a means to an ends not so much for the act itself... usually. Of course I say that while holding a ticket to fly to AMS next week for the sole purpose of flying on the KLM MD-11 :p. I just look at what I get for my continually reduced travel due to work and it does eventually come down to price.

    I do agree with your assessment of the values of status, but at the same time some airlines (it's two letter starts with a U and ends with an A) now sells almost all of that on an a la carte basis, which does depreciate the value of achieving status.

    It feels to me that many people see status with an airline as an important part of their identity. I played the game for awhile, even trying to figure out the fastest way to 1 million miles with AA, but there is a point that I think I've reached where it means near squat. Perhaps that is because of the continued devaluation of miles or the a la carte-ing of the benefits I would usually get by flying weekly. Let's just say that I'm feeling that airlines no longer offer quite the value that they used to even 5 years ago. I do still have my pride however.... I'm not standing in a WN cattle line :eek:.
     
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  13. TennisPro
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    TennisPro Silver Member

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    I heart F9. I'm out of DEN, too, and have been on some pretty sweeet fares on F9. So, I choose based on price. Last year, I did Costa Rica RT $334 ai on F9. And for like $25 more, you get to almost feel like you're in F, with their STRETCH seating, which I think is free, if you're elite, but for $25 for a 5 hour flight... SOLD!
     
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  14. k2o
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    k2o Silver Member

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    Your honesty and practicality are to be admired (and you can collect miles in each program) -but I feel sad that you "find the flight the least interesting of any trip I take". To me, the flight an equal part of the main attraction (even in coach).
     
  15. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    Ask me again after I get back from the KLM MD-11 trip :p. I used to love flying, but I'm saddened to see how these other "adults" treat people on a plane. Part of it is sitting on the same kinds of planes (E-170/190, CRJ-700/900, A319/320) and in some cases the same tail numbers (multiple times on DEN-YYZ). The fun starts to wear a bit thing after awhile.
     
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  16. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Shame, shame and fie on you! You bring everything we stand for to disrepute.

    "If you prick us, do we not bleed?
    If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us,
    do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?"


    How can you possibly so unfeeling as to come to our home and mock our values?!

    Deep breath. OKAY - fine, whatever works for you!
     
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  17. mikeschu
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    mikeschu Gold Member

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    My first TATL flight was SFO-AMS-ATH on KLM back in 2002. The SFO-AMS portion was on an MD-11. It was a long, long flight each way and the plane was a little old, but the service was amazing even in Y. I hope the plane's been updated since then, but I think you'll like the service a lot. Hopefully KLM is as good as it was back then.

    Admittedly I'm airline agnostic. I have a non-travel job. I don't fly all that often and I tend to think of price and BIS time more than I do the miles. Prior to MP/FT I'd stand in the WN cattle line for SAN-SAT N/S instead of going through IAH or DFW, for instance. Now I'll give the miles some thought before booking that ticket. For me I have to approach the frequent flyer programs only as a way to get free travel. Status doesn't mean much to me simply because I don't travel that often to make it worthwhile. But I like the fact that every time I get the credit card out or fly, I'm earning towards a trip that I want to take. For me that's all I can ever hope for with the airlines.
     
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  18. JonPal
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    JonPal Silver Member

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    Nothing wrong with taking the cheaper option! I'm in the same boat. I fly out of DEN and usually stick with Delta, American and Southwest. But I recently booked a trip for a wedding on F9 because it was a nonstop to Louisville, KY for $160 and everything else was close to $300. It was a no-brainer.
     
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  19. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    For flying I stick with CO or *A carrier and that's it.

    I've been getting lax about hotel status lately, split time between Marriott and Hilton will probably mean one program at gold next year and one silver (or maybe both gold if I'm lucky)
     
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  20. samonyc
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    samonyc Silver Member

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    You have to do what makes financial sense. I've only been a FF for three years, but even in that time I've found myself paying more for flights to remain a Delta elite, taking unnecessary trips, and resorting to a spreadsheet to weigh trip options and track time off from work. Sometimes I wonder if I get enough back for my effort and expense. I get express security clearance at JFK and LGA, a hefty bonus on miles earned, I've done really well with domestic upgrades, and I've taken advantage of free SDC. Plus, in this market Delta's prices are competitive on most routes. On the other hand, I don't get upgrades on TATL travel, from which I earn the majority of my elite miles, I never fly a non-SkyTeam airline (and would like to try JetBlue or Virgin America), and I've grown more intimate with JFK Terminal 3 than anyone would ever want to be.

    For now, I'm enjoying elite status, but I look forward again to a time when I can take vacations without mileage accrual being a requirement.
     
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  21. RedTape
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    RedTape Silver Member

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    I don't feel too much of a need to stay wedded to my top program (AS) as the eskimo is a bit of a slut and I can get EQMs flying AA, DL, AF, KL and LA. That covers most of my needs and gets me some variety. I'm more in the camp paying more to AVOID certain airlines...two in particular. I'll pay more in order not to fly them. I'm not always going to pay more to fly AS or one of its EQM partners.
     
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  22. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    Thanks to all who posted thoughtful comments (even you Steven Schwartz :rolleyes:). It is helpful to examine our motivations from time to time. Perhaps more than anything I must come to terms with the fact that traveling in the kind of style that several bloggers experience just isn't in my cards. I'll trade flying J or F to spend another month in a rented apartment in Paris. I guess those are the terms of my travel.

    Of course grabbing sweet deals isn't a bad thing. Anyone know of some great fares to SIN? :D;)
     
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  23. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
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    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

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    Some people, me included, actually do enjoy the flying. It's like some people view cars as a means to commute, and couldn't care less what car they drive, versus driving a funner car. I'm not saying we fly the plane (for commute or fun), but the transportation is part of the experience.

    Maybe you haven't considered this, but for some, it puts us in a better mood to enjoy the city. How much you enjoy the destination is not purely based on how long you're staying there. It's on the quality, and if getting there is painful, it doesn't make traveling all that fun, and the city would have to be really awesome to compensate.

    I get to my vacation spots rested and happy, and right off the plane, we're taking in the sights, including from the taxi ride from the airport. It's excitement the whole way. We're not dead and wishing we could just rest at the hotel for a bit.
     
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  24. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    Not everything is for everybody. We all have to figure out for ourselves what works best for us, and to have the courage of our convictions and do that. I find it admirable that you have done this and made your own decision. Too many would come here and start a thread asking what they should do (while, of course, providing less than 5% of the data required to intelligently advise on such a decision).

    Status is a velvet trap. The higher my status, the more I want to fly to get even more status. For us, at this moment in time, it works, but it won't always, and when it doesn't, I will cheerfully abandon status.

    A site like MP is for gathering information to use making your travel as pleasant and productive as possible, and to align it with your goals. You are doing that. Congratulations.
     
  25. travelingmore
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    travelingmore Gold Member

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    OP and others - I am enjoying reading this thread - food for thought.

    gemac - "Status is a velvet trap" -- well put. It certainly can be. After a few years of doing this, I've learned that I have to be in charge of it, not it ruling me. Some pursuits make sense one year, then later they fade away in importance.
     

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