Newbie based in Europe - how to get started with the miles thing?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by elkur, Feb 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. elkur

    elkur Active Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I am new to the world of frequent flyer miles. I have been reading a few blogs and forums for a couple of months. I was really excited about this 'you can travel for almost no money' thing. But when it comes down to it, i can find very few opportunities for myself. I am starting to feel as if i live on the wrong continent.
    I'm not looking for status, but would like to use miles for leisure travel. I have a Mileage Plus account with only about 20 000 miles in it. I am based in Brussels and i do not travel very often: a couple of times a year for work (always short flights within Europe that only get me a couple hundreds miles) and then probably one short and one longer trip on my own dime. At that rate i will have two wait another five years or so before i have enough miles for a ticket to the US or Asia.

    I signed up for mypoints to get 750 UA miles but the miles are only for US and Canada residents. There are no UA credit cards for Belgian residents so that won't work.
    Maybe i'm not looking in the right places. How would you suggest i go about collecting some more miles?
     
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  2. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    My first question is "Why did you choose UA"? Not that there is anything wrong with UA, but if you are doing short trips throughout the EU from Brussels, it doesn't seem like the best program choice.

    Edited to add: When you fly, which airline do you usually fly? What are your usual destinations?
     
  3. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    Welcome elkur. :)

    Choosing United as your main FFP (frequent flier program) will usually required lots of UA-metal flights to really build miles because some of their partners don't offer full miles for the cheaper fare classes. You might do better to join Lufthansa or one of the other carriers based in Europe and fly on that carrier and partners as well as take advantage of any credit card offers with bonus miles and other promotions that may be available. I don't get to travel as much as I would like to either and it's usually on my own dime, so I certainly understand where it can be a challenge. :)
     
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  4. elkur

    elkur Active Member

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    UA was not really a choice i thoroughly thought about. I enrolled a couple of years ago when i went on a holiday to the US and flew United. I had no clue about frequent flyer miles but a friend told me to sign up, so i did.
    For work my main destination is Milan (Malpensa or Linate) and the company always books a discounted economy ticket on Brussels Airlines. I looked at their Miles&more program (same name but different from Lufthansa i think) but my booking classes get almost no miles (a flat 125 miles) and i actually get more miles for those flights with UA. So i figured i'd better stay with Mileage plus.
    Or should i consider other aspects to base my decision on?
     
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  5. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    Good deal; we're getting started. How many miles would you earn on Brussels Airlines for those trips? Since (I think) it is part of Star Alliance, you can earn miles into a Brussels Airlines frequent flyer account, and redeem on LH, UA, CO, or any Star Alliance partner.

    While not a hard and fast rule, you generally earn more miles into the account of the airline you primarily fly than on partners. So theorectically, you'll earn more miles into a Brussels Airlines frequent flyer account when you fly on Brussels Airlines than you will in a Miles & More (Lufthansa) frequent flyer account. Of course, if you choose to switch programs, you can't combine the miles from your UA account, so they become what are called orphans.

    The good news is that you can use those UA miles on any Star Alliance partner in Europe, so they shouldn't just go to waste.

    (A little promotion... I just started a thread at http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/newbies-guide-to-picking-a-frequent-flyer-program.4121/ specifically to help folks like you get started. You may want to check it out. Among other things, it has the questions that will help us help you. My hope is that the folks with the questions and the answers can come together for a knowledge transfer.)
     
  6. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    BTW... I never did say Welcome, so.... WELCOME! We were all where you are right now at one time or another. Some of us have been there multiple times.
     
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  7. elkur

    elkur Active Member

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    Thanks for the friendly welcome all of you.
    I'm afraid i'll be on the questions side for quite some time to come [​IMG]

    So theoretically your 'home' program should get you more miles. That makes sence but i'm not sure if that's the case for me because my flights with Brussels Airlines are always short and when i take a long haul flight (which generates 100x more miles) it's never on Brussels Airlines.
    Anyway I'm gonna take a closer look at the Brussels airlines program and compare my trips from last year to see what i would have gotten with them. I'll let you know.
     
    Gargoyle likes this.
  8. You should apply for United Miileage Plus, They are associated with Brussels Airlines. We too are living in Brussels and continue to earn our points on Brussels Air.
     
  9. jetsetter
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    jetsetter Silver Member

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    First of all welcome to MilePoint and hope you have figured out what you are doing by now :) Sorry for this being a bit late but I just have a take on this. Many people want to collect miles for the sake of collecting numbers, others want them to fly for free (doesn't really exist quite as such), and others want the status to get lounge access and preferential treatment at security and check-in counters. Although most of the tickets you are flying are discounted economy earning you merely 125 miles a segment, depending on the volume of your travel you can still make it into FTL or Senator status with Star Alliance. The ongoing promotion is 30 segments to become FTL which earns you the privilege of using a lounge, priority check in, and so on and so forth. 30 segments from Brussels on Brussels Airlines to MXP or LIN are really 15 trips. That's just over a return trip a month. If you can manage that, then you are in the system the easy way ;)

    There are two ways to get status, one is collecting the miles, the other is collecting the segments. I would highly recommend you switch to your local program as that will allow you to earn executive bonus on top of the 125 miles after you hit the FTL status ;) Best of luck mate.
     
  10. jetsetter
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    jetsetter Silver Member

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    You still do, but you I doubt that you are making executive bonus miles once you are a status holder. That would be 31 miles on top of the 125 miles for flying discounted if you are FTL status holder. It is always wiser to keep your account with the airline you fly the most.
     

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