NYC best airline alliance for me

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by blackeagle, Dec 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Request inputs in choosing the best airline for me. I live in Manhattan (Upper East Side). I will travel 4 x London, 4 x Houston, 2 x India (Mumbai, Bangalore) 1 x Hong Kong / Singapore and 1 x Miami. All in coach. This should get me to 100k miles.

    Which alliance should I choose and which airline should I credit miles to? I want to get to a point where I get upgraded after I get status. Also prefer the other perks such as lounge and first class check in, but those can also be got with credit cards. I believe LGA > JFK > EWR from where I live. Does the decision change if I end up not making 100k miles.

    Thanks for your inputs.
     
  2. kziel

    kziel Silver Member

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    I think the obvious choice is United(*A). They have direct flights to IAH, LHR, MIA, HKG (with continuing service to SIN), and BOM, BLR you have to go to FRA and take LH (also *) to BLR from EWR, which is 92,954 miles. All of that is out of EWR, taking the most direct route, but you can obviously seriously milk it for a ton more miles with connections.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  3. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    UA /CO Mileage Plus no doubt. Hit 100k miles for 1K Status and get systemwide upgrade certs/e-certs. I wouldnt hold my breath too long for upgrades to happen frequently since you are in a very competitive FF area, but UA/CO can easily get you to all the places you travel virtually non-stop from EWR. You can buy a club membership for United Club lounge access. Economy travel doesnt get you into a lounge. Int'l Business or First class tickets will let you have access to lounge. Otherwise some CC programs get you a few passes here and there.
     
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  4. cennas
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    cennas Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP blackeagle!
     
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  5. Thanks!

    My concern with * alliance / MileagePlus is that I won't get upgrades even as a 1K because of the minimum class of economy tickets that need to be purchased and the fact that there are several frequent flyers on CO in the area. On the other hand, with AAdvantage, I should be able to get 8 SWUs that I can use on any class. The only route I envisage would be a pain with AA is NYC - Houston. Thoughts?
     
  6. meFIRST

    meFIRST Silver Member

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    You would not get it with Delta either.

    I refuse to fly AA, but do that if you are a bottom feeder fare purchaser. However, bear in mind you will need to connect, and often transfer to other airlines to get to the places that you need to go to.
    If you don't mind doing that, that AA might work.

    No dice on Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai (though you could go to DEL, from Chicago, seems out of the way), and yes Houston needs a connection too.

    AA is only really useful for people that go to London, Tokyo, Miami, Dallas, South America. Most of their routes are seasonal, or rapidly shrinking. I heard the JFK-BUD is being cut for the winter, and will come bank in the spring.
     
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  7. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    To get to Houston (can get to both airports) on AA you would have to connect in MIA,ORD or DFW.
     
  8. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    what you will soon find is that there is not perfect plan. There's not one even close. Ultimately its settling upon one with the lesser of all evils. UA will be your best way to go in terms getting you where you say you need to go. The trade off may be upgrades. But SWU's will still let you get a good value from the plan.
     
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  9. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    CO/UA means flying from EWR, which would be a hassle from Upper East Side. Free upgrades are likely to be tough to IAH and MIA.

    DL has lousy facilities at JFK, but is expanding at LGA and guarantees flat beds to LHR in BE. The downside is that international upgrades require extraordinarily expensive fares. Asia destinations would probably involve JFK-NRT and DL connections or taking the DTW-HKG nonstop. Both have flat beds on the 777 aircraft currently assigned to these routes. For India, you would probably connect through AMS, which is a wonderfully peasant and efficient airport. A further downside is bad redemption availability for even vaguely reasonable amounts of miles.

    AA has limited routes, but does serve MIA and LHR well. Alliance partner CX to HKG is excellent, but remember that it can be hard and expensive to upgrade on partners, not just in one world.

    Priority Pass might work for you for lounge access. Note that credit cards do not necessarily give FC check in lines, or Elite security lines if you care about that benefit too.
     
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  10. meFIRST

    meFIRST Silver Member

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    I live on the West Side of Manhattan, EWR and LGA are great. JFK being quite the pain especially circa 4pm (weekday)
     
  11. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    CX has a new ORD-HKG route that could be handy. The one thing you have to watch out for is fare class, as cheap Cathay tickets, booked with Cathay flight numbers, don't accrue miles. I've flown Cathay a number of times in both coach and business and been very happy with them, but I'm using miles versus accruing miles. One workaround is booking the AA codeshare but it may price higher (though provide all your AA miles and bonuses).
     
  12. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Those UA systemwides can be overrated if you don't have the cash/stamina to buy up to a proper fare and get on the upgrade list. Singapore fares have been running at least $700 extra for an upgradable fare, with no guarantee you will clear (and no refund if you don't). I gave away 7 of my UA systemwides this year and used 2 on a domestic trip. Just make sure you know what you're getting into in terms of benefits and whether you'll be able to use them.
     
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  13. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I must be one of those bottom feeders. AA works for me. EXP for 11 years now and 100% on systemwide upgrades without a buy-up to a higher fare.
     
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  14. meFIRST

    meFIRST Silver Member

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    I'm sure American appreciates your business and loyalty, being such a profitable customer
     
  15. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I'm frequently thanked for my business at AA, just as I am when I fly UA, either in person or on the phone with elite desks. I can't recall a single employee taking into account how profitable I am when thanking me. I could just as well spend my airfare dollars on Southwest or Delta, and I'm sure they'd be as equally as appreciative. As a 100% leisure flyer for 20 years now, I control my travel dollars and can pretty much choose anyone I want.
     
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  16. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    I used to live on the upper east side and LGA is very convenient, while JFK is not. I would even rank HPN above EWR. There is a new Hertz one-way promo that eases the EWR pain a bit. However, lincoln tunnel traffic, then C3 priority checkpoint lines, then an overcrowded presidents club makes me avoid CO at EWR. Also - even if you get upgraded, you don't get LHR fasttrack with CO, but you do with the competition. I learned that the hard way with my paid business first ticket. BF is a good product, but on a competitive route like NYC-LHR, it doesn't cut it.

    If you want to fly out of LGA - my choice would be Air Canada (star). Connecting via YYZ on all your international flights, taking UA/CO out of LGA for IAH, and US to MIA via PHL/CLT. For SIN, i'd probably do Singapore (star) with the A380 coming to JFK. With Nexus you can breeze through US / Canadian immigration/customs. AC's coach product is great (lots of legroom, plus elites get exit rows and PTVs).

    If you don't mind JFK - i'd do American, with a DFW connection for houston and CX for HKG (or a NRT/PVG connection if you want to use a SWU).
     
  17. So the consensus seems to be that AA EXP is better than CO/UA 1k in terms of perks and upgrades. But *A flies direct to all my destinations while with AA and OneWorld I will have stops. Also there's not much to choose from JFK or EWR I think, from distance or quality of airport and lounges. Not sure which option (AA vs CO/UA) I will end up choosing!
     
  18. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    It sounds like you have a handle on schedules, so maybe you should be looking a little deeper at perks. AA, for instance, has off peak Europe and South America awards for 40K (off peak to Europe runs mid-October to mid-May), and One World awards, that are distance based, allow multiple partners, and allow up to 16 segments. One downside, though, is that AA does charge the BA fuel surcharges if you have any segments on BA metal. They do have other partners such as Air Berlin and Iberia that could help work around that.

    I'd pay special attention to the rules for the use of systemwides on both carriers. UA clearly has a larger route structure than AA, but are you willing to buy-up to a higher fare to try and use them, and willing to eat the additional fare cost if you don't clear? Those are issues you won't be worrying about at AA.
     
  19. @tom911 - Thanks for the additional input. Are these off peak deals every year?

    I don't have much control over ticket class as my company will buy the tickets and in all probability will be the cheaper ones. I can control the choice of airline by intelligent schedule choices as my company uses a web based travel agent for ticketing.
     
  20. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    One more thing to add. what do your travel plans look like for Jan 2012? AA is doing a double Elite Qualifying Mile promo in January (on AA metal only) - which may get you to 100k sooner, or push you over the top.
     
  21. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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  22. jageach

    jageach Active Member

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    Economy tickets for international destinations will get you club access if you are Star Alliance Gold.
     
  23. meFIRST

    meFIRST Silver Member

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    Y
    You do get fastrack at LHR, ask the concierge for a pass.
    And a shower too.

    I personally think the AA's terminal 8 is not long for this world, post BK
     
  24. Titans26

    Titans26 Silver Member

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    Delta would be your best bet for now. If American makes a worthy comeback I would switch to AA. I prefer AA Advantage program over the DL SkyMiles or UA MileagePlus programs.
     
  25. meFIRST

    meFIRST Silver Member

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    There are people like tom911 who will harp on the 8 SWU's that can be used on anyfare. Ok fair enough.
    However, if you are stuck with AA, bear in mind that NoWorld has limited partners, in Europe, you are almost sure to be flying BA or using BA for redemption.

    I was considering a trade, but called AA to enquire on the miles needed before proceeding.

    BA, LHR-DXB, in Business class, so called "taxes"
    Economy taxes, ONE WAY $353.10
    Business Class taxes, ONE WAY $536.55 :eek:

    Mind you a paid, ticket on EK, is $2300+ one way. The taxes for a one way BA so called award is 500+, that means a return is almost $1K USD.

    So I picked up the phone and called my old friend United (formely known as CO). Seats on Virgin Atlantic were available, in Business Class LHR-DXB for $186 in taxes. And if I didn't like Virgin Atlantic, there were option on Lufthansa or Austrian or Swiss, for less, $86 in taxes, in Business and Economy.

    Personally AA's dismal disappearing route network leaves more to be desired. I am not retired or a college student, my time is valuable. Flying direct, is a big time saver.

    If you are stuck with NoWorld, what else are you going to fly?. Malev...?
    To be fair I didn't try Etihad.... but I don't fancy taking a bus from AUH to DXB
     

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