Best Star Alliance Program for me?

Discussion in 'Star Alliance' started by jpmorgan, Oct 7, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. jpmorgan

    jpmorgan Member

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    I'm a newbie at all of this, so please forgive my ignorance.
    I'm about to book a trip to Sweden from RDU on United (business travel requires cheapest coach class booking).
    I noticed that I don't have to join to United's program, but any one of the Star Alliance programs. So I wanted to know what you all thought was best for me.

    To help out, here's a little bit about myself:
    I fly mostly for business and that is mostly US and Canada, but an occasional trip to Sweden (Stockholm). I must book cheapest economy fare in Concur or Amex Travel that fits my schedule.
    It's a suggestion to book layovers if cheaper
    I have to pay using my corporate card.
    I mostly want status for me when I travel, but would like to book an occasional free flight (probably international, since we can do SW for domestic)
    I will originate and end almost all flights at RDU.

    If you need any extra information, just ask.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. Jimgotkp
    Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Roughly how many miles do you fly a year? So, free int'l flights is the most important thing to you not lounge access or domestic upgrades?
     
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  3. jpmorgan

    jpmorgan Member

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    Sorry, I probably wasn't clear. I think domestic upgrades are more important than free int'l flights. Int'l flights would be second consideration.

    As for # of miles a year, I'm not sure yet. I just started this job, and it's really different from my last one. I'm at the mercy of my customers, but I've been told they think I'm 40% travel.

    Right now it seems like most of my travel will be western US, as that's where the projects are right now, but that can change.
     
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  4. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Personally, I would go with US because you live in RDU which has a lot of US flights for connections. You can also do a status trial and keep the status once you fly a certain number of miles. They have a good award chart and I feel upgrades would be better with US than UA.

    Information on the status trial here:
    http://www.usairways.com/en-US/dividendmiles/promotions/trialpreferred.html

    There is a flyertalk thread that has a lot of information as well:
    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/us-a...preferred-status-merged-master-thread-38.html
     
  5. ACMM
    Original Member

    ACMM Gold Member

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    My comment would be to be careful on US - they are likely the most tenuous of the *A airlines and rumoured talks with them and AA makes them a prime candidate to leave *A .. no?
     
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  6. jpmorgan

    jpmorgan Member

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    Good point...so I guess a follow up would be, do I go with US since domestic status is most important, and possibly end up in One World, or go with UA. I don't even pretend to know the difference between the two alliances. Are they really that different?
     
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  7. ACMM
    Original Member

    ACMM Gold Member

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    I wish I could help you but I am based out ot YYZ so really do not know enough about the US airlines to give you an answer to what would work best for you for your US travel patterns.
     
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  8. ACMM
    Original Member

    ACMM Gold Member

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    Both alliances have their good and not so good points. I personally think *A is the stronger alliance with a broader set of airlines and WW coverage. Others may have other thoughts. If all you are looking for is US travel then the alliance may not matter. Maybe choose the airline that works best with your travel patterns. However if you are looking at WW travel and taking advantage of lounges WW, interlining between airlines (although that is not necessarily related to an alliance) etc. then the alliance becomes more of a requirement.
     
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  9. jpmorgan

    jpmorgan Member

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    No problem...but if you, or anyone, knows of any tools, like one that would tell me who offers the most flights out of RDU, to help me make the decision myself that would be . You know, teach a man to fish and all.

    You guys have been helpful already.
     
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  10. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    RDU's website will give you a list of all flights into and out of the airport.
     
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  11. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    +1. Wiki is pretty good too.
     
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  12. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    One good thing about US is the ability to buy up status with the airline. If upgrades are important to you, that may be a consideration. I personally like One World better than Star, however everyone has their own choices for various reasons. I personally fly AA most of the time and I like the benefit of their systemwide upgrades compared to others.

    I do have platinum status with US and usually I get upgraded with them.
     
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  13. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    I agree with the US suggestion. In RDU, they have a pretty good network.

    Your preference for Star Alliance is solely for the upcoming United flight to Sweden that you need to credit, right?

    If so, you don't need to worry about a potential US/AA merger. In that case, you could even use your miles for the AA RDU to London flight (forgot if it's LGW or LHR now).

    For lower tier upgrades (assuming you're not yet a 100,000 mile per year butt in seat flyer) - US is a great bet for upgrades. The lack of an asian network means most of their frequent fliers have fewer miles, so status generally means more. Think of how many flights united and delta fly to asia, status bonuses in premium cabins, and 2 roundtrips could give you mid-tier status. Lots of elites being created daily.

    My upgrade % with US is quite good. On UA, i've had experiences where i was the last person on the upgrade list with an instrument (upgrade certificate) - so i don't think anyone got a complementary upgrade without using a regional upgrade certificate. On AA, golds and platinums need to buy upgrades, but will earn a certain amount with travel (but not enough to upgrade every flight). DL is another option, but there are many complaints on availability and the high cost of redeeming miles (or SkyPesos as they are jokingly referred to)
     
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  14. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    Based on your handle, jpmorgan, it probably wouldn't hurt you to get a UA credit card one of these days. Or a whole bunch of cards.

    In all seriousness, I think your upgrade chances and location make US a better fit, but I do like the fact that UA miles can be redeemed for one-way trips (US miles can't). Once you are US elite, any connections from RDU to CLT or PHL will earn you 500 miles, while they'll earn you only 130 or 337 miles as a UA elite. (500-mile minima on US are no longer offered to UA elites.) You can take advantage of this to re-qualify in the future.
     
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  15. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    As a former RDU resident, that's what I was going to say, though I prefer UA's program and have switched. (I now live in a UA hub, though.)
     
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  16. jpmorgan

    jpmorgan Member

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    Thank to all of you. I guess I'm going with US based on all the really insightful comments.
     

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