Opinions on the best alliance from JFK

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by live2travel, Jun 29, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. live2travel
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    live2travel Active Member

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    I live on Long Island and will be making 2 trips to Europe by December. I was thinking about trying for *G on A3 but I'm not happy with the selection of flights from JFK. Most of the *A flights for CO, UA, US leave from EWR. I travel 4-6 times per year for pleasure and besides domestic trips usually take a Carribean and European flight once a year. I'm trying to avoid EWR, any advice on which alliance would best suit my needs?
     
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  2. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    AA has a bright, reasonably-new terminal at JFK (T8) and would be able to get you to both Europe and the Caribbean. I know Delta is also a major player there but I've read reports that they can be difficult to redeem awards with.

    Where are you going, though? Are they destinations served by AA or partner airlines?

    Front of AA terminal

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    If you fly enough to earn elite status--or can get it by using some credit card spend status miles--DL is better than AA for free domestic upgrades, although at 25K status miles per year, you would need to plan your flights and times/dates to have good chances. DL also has nonstops to a lot of European destinations from JFK, with even more using AF through CDG or KLM through AMS. A big negative to DL is the physical environment at JFK, which is so bad that it makes the staff rude and cranky too.

    In contract, AA has a wonderful JFK terminal, a smaller network itself but good coverage in the Caribbean and extensive BA connections through LHR (and to a minor extent MAD/BCN on IB). AA miles are more valuable and easier to use than DL, but AA doesn't give free upgrades except to EXP (100K status miles per year).

    It's a tradeoff but I'd be inclined toward AA in your situation unless you need DL's domestic route network for your domestic trips.
     
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  4. VVanderlust

    VVanderlust Silver Member

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    Hands down - Oneworld - there is a reason Delta's program is nicknamed "SkyPesos."
    Here are my reasons:
    1. Flies out of JFK
    2. Can get to almost any place in Europe with a connection at LHR or MAD plus the non-stop destinations served by AA (Paris, Rome, Milan, Zurich, Budapest, Barcelona,Brussels etc). If your trips take you to Germany or the Netherlands then it is less appealing).
    3. Upgrading on JFK-LHR flights will be easier since they have around 11 flights a day (almost every hour).
    4. AA has your Carribbean destinations covered.
    5. BA has a really good business class to upgrade into.
    6. AA's first and business transcons are pretty good.

    But here is the big tip- credit all your miles to BA's executive club. Unless you fly mostly discounted economy class tickets which only earn 1 BA mile, you should be able to get Silver Tier Status with just a bit of effort which gives you access to all the Oneworld Lounges when you fly. AA's lowest elite level doesn't.
     
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  5. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    With the amount the OP seems to indicate they travel, I'm not sure elite status for lounge access with BA would be better than collecting and redeeming miles w/ AAdvantage.

    It really depends on where and how much the OP is flying, but unless I find myself at the airport frequently, I'd be looking at those BA miles with huge fuel surcharges as a liability. The OP could save money but just getting a lounge access with a cheap entry level Priority Pass for less than the fuel surcharges on one business award.

    That's just me though. I value award tickets more than lounge access. :)
     
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  6. live2travel
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    live2travel Active Member

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    These are some valid points....AA makes the most sense on paper, but after my last international flight with them last October JFK/CDG it left much to be desired. NO inflight TV's and the interior was depressingly tired and worn out. But I will say that the AA terminal is GORGEOUS. I am not sure if it was the route or if all their international flights use the same ready for retirement planes.
    After some more digging, I'm not sure if its even worth it to try for status this year for my upcoming trips to BCN/MAD and FRA/MUC. I was initially excited about the *G for 20,000 on A3, but with the inconvenience factor of most flights leaving from EWR, I'm just not sure if its worth it.

    On AA or BA , I don't think I will have enough miles for status this year. I usually fly discounted economy.

    As of now, I'm thinking the priority pass idea from DestinationDavid might be the way to go.
     
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  7. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Keep in mind that if you credit your miles to AA and take AA coded flights or fly on BA/IB across the Atlantic, you get 100% of your miles, so buying discount economy doesn't matter. :)

    Other OW partners (QF/CX/JL/etc...) and IB's non-TATL flights start having some credit issues with discount fares though, so be careful. From your description though, you seem like you'd be able to manage with full credit since you're going to Europe.
     
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  8. VVanderlust

    VVanderlust Silver Member

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    Quote: "NO inflight TV's and the interior was depressingly tired and worn out."

    WORD!

    I was on the same flight last year and the overhead IFE was konked out and I had the same thoughts you did.

    I get the same feeling when I am on a pre-merger United 767 in economy.

    Destination David is right about the BA fuel surcharges though - steep.

    FWIW - I did Priority Club before I earned enough miles for *G lounge access. I found it to be hit or miss.

    Internationally, I would usually found myself in a small out of the way lounge that was run independently of the airlines after having to explain to security why I needed to get into a terminal that my airline didn't operate in.

    If I were in the same situation today, I would most likely buy a day pass if I found the gate area too overwhelming and needed a place to chill before jumping on a long-haul.[/quote]
     
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  9. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    I'm in the same boat as you and after connecting every time I flew *A (unless going all the way out to EWR), I switched to AA/Oneworld and believe I made the right decision.
     
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  10. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    JFK losing a lot of the nonstops on UA back in 2004/2005 was the last straw that got me to switch to AA.

    I like AA out of JFK. Non stop flights when I want them. And when I want to play the mileage game, I book out of LGA to force domestic backtracking to ORD or DFW.

    I do with T7 and T8 would be connected airside as I would love access to the Terrace Lounge in T7 when flying out of T8.

    AA is the leader to South America. The Caribbean is being cut back currently, but with all the B6 rumors (i do not endorse, just rumors) that may not be an issue. AA to Europe as bad as it can be, I did the above mentioned JFK-CDG on a 752 earlier this year, is not a lot worse than other airlines. Most carriers are going to 757 equipment TATL on the short runs. Yes AA's 752 used for TATL is old, no IFE, the FAs are hit or miss TATL(only bad FAs I have had all year was that flight) but I think that is what I can expect on most airlines these days.

    Partners. One World is all over the map with what fares earn miles and what do not. But to Europe (OP stated preference) it improved with IB and BA and the agreement October 1.

    And with OW you have many options to avoid BA surcharges on award bookings with AA, AY, IB and soon Air Berlin all going to Europe as well.

    We all like our own chosen alliance, but this is why I prefer AA out of NYC these days.
     
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  11. VVanderlust

    VVanderlust Silver Member

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    Saw this news on Forbes.com this morning - may make A3 Gold more valuable to folks who want to try it in the US.
    Though not much help for the OP out of JFK.

    US Airways in codeshare deal with Aegean Airlines

    Associated Press, 06.29.11, 09:39 PM EDT [​IMG][​IMG]


    TEMPE, Ariz. -- US Airways Group Inc. said on Wednesday that it has reached a codeshare agreement with Aegean Airlines, allowing the two to sell tickets on each other's flights.
    Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways ( LCC - news - people ) and the Greek airline are both members of Star Alliance, but the code-share allows them to put each other's flight numbers, or "code," on tickets sold on the other airline's flights.
    The codeshare plan needs the approval of the U.S. and Greek governments.
     
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  12. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Not to mention AA redemptions aside from BA fuel surcharges are a great deal imo. Their AAdvantage program is a huge reason I stick around. The one thing I'd ask for as a PLT is UDU, but I don't see that happening anytime soon, nor do I think it makes much business sense for AA.
     
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  13. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    As a PLT I actually would not want UDU. I know this sounds amazingly backwards, but here is what i think.

    With only EXP getting UDU there is usually space available for you as a PLT to upgrade those flights you want via stickers. I prefer being able to choose those flights I get upgraded instead of expecting to and not getting it with UDU.

    Maybe I'm over justifying the status quo. Who knows.
     
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  14. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    I think what AA could do is give the current 4 "stickers" for 10K for Golds, but give 6 for 10k for Plats. Since you can always buy more stickers (for same price) as Gold or Plat, this would be a bit of an extra bonus for Plats who actually travel on AA (versus getting there via other methods).
     
  15. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    I'll expand upon this a bit. If you do sign up for BA exec club, if you have an address in continental Europe that you can use for your account, you should consider nominating that as your account address. BA has significantly lower elite qualifying requirements for those with continental european address (roughly half). Three TATL round trips in j (with one or two connections) would put you to BA gold/ow emerald. This would get you access to all ow first class lounges and an array of other benefits. It won't help you on domestic upgrades, however.

    If you do fly BA, if there's any way to make your routings go to LIS, that would he helpful. BA often offers significantly lower fares for TATL travel to LIS than even travel just to lhr.
     
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  16. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    OneWorld and SkyTeam are going to your strongest options from JFK.

    Delta has the strongest overall route network from JFK, with American coming in second. However, regardless of who is stronger, what matters for you is if they fly non-stop to the cities that you want to fly to. Check that out to make your decision. If you know the likely destinations, lay them out here and someone will know what the best call is.

    AA and BA (terminals 8 and 7, respectively) are going to win for top on-the-ground facilities at JFK. Delta's terminal 2-3-and part of 4 setup is a mess, and is an amalgamation of three terminals that weren't meant to go together. There are plans kicking off shortly to destroy t3 (the old pan am terminal with the round building visible from the road) and expand t2+4. DL at JFK is basically going to have ground construction for the next 6 years. If it is in any way a toss up between carriers as to their routes, this is enough, IMHO, to pick AA over DL. Not enough if you'd have to connect on AA versus a non-stop on DL...

    Let us know what you decide.

    (There was a statement earlier which made reference to people perhaps being biased to their carrier or alliance. This is an important consideration. To that end, I'm EXP on AA and PM on DL and have relatively little bias between the two as I get nice treatment from both. I'm biased towards who can get me there non-stop over anything else.)
     
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  17. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    A quick non-bias statement. I am top elite on all three alliances. I have also been both EXP on American and Gold on BA (they are the same level, different names).

    From JFK I'd certainly go with OW and zero question, AAdvantage. The BA Executive Club looks ok but fuel surcharges and availability restrictions plus unhelpful staff make AAdvantage the clear winner for me. From NYC the nice new terminal makes a big difference. OW is unbeatable for South America and the Caribbean from JFK. If you were in New Jersey or lower Manhattan there might be a debate.

    If you travel to Nice (NCE) DL has the only non-stop from NYC and it is JFK, but otherwise you'll have onestop on OW for most European minor cities and nonstop everywhere else.

    As NYBanker points out ST at JFK will be great seven years from now. In the meantime you'll experience terminals that were nice in 1970.
     
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  18. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    DL offers non-stop service to some relatively off-the-run international destinations from JFK. JFK-NCE is unique to DL, as is JFK-PSA, among a handful of others.

    T4 is fairly nice and is just a little more than a decade old, it's just not connected at present to DL's other terminals - which causes the issue for DL. This is one of the first (if not the first) terminals operated by a private company (that is not an airline) in the United States. When built, it was really top notch. While it's a bit long in the tooth, still one of the better ones in the US. Alain (CEO of the terminal) is a real top-notch guy.

    T3, on the other hand, was fairly nice from 1960 to 1970. All gates very close, roof-top parking. Then they added the expansion in back, which made it one of the worst terminals out there.

    T2 has always been uninspired...but simple to navigate.

    Here are some images of what they hope will be in 2020-ish. http://news.delta.com/index.php?s=13&cat=14&mode=gallery
     
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  19. JSpira
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    JSpira Silver Member

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    As others have noted, the choice does come down to American or Delta. I travel frequently on both depending on schedules, routing, and aircraft (and have "elite" status on both as well).

    I would look carefully at your regular routes and see which has better service (mainline aircraft, non-stop flights, etc.). The terminal experience is much better at American (although the Pan Am Worldport was ahead of its time when it was built).
     
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  20. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    +1 (Albeit 50+ years ago!)
     
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  21. JSpira
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    JSpira Silver Member

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    Details, schmeetails... :)
     
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  22. Elusive

    Elusive Silver Member

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    Try picking a destination you'd like to go with your miles and look now for which alliance will get there with the best service, award availability, timings, etc..

    I choose AA out of JFK since I traveled quite a bit to LHR and stuck with them.
     
  23. PedroNY
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    PedroNY Silver Member

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    I would vote for One World Alliance. Here are some airlines that I personally used out of JFK that are part of One World, all of these were mile redemptions:

    American Airlines
    Finland Air
    JAL
    Cathay Pacific
    British Airways

    Also, some that I have not used but they do fly:
    Qantas
    Malasya (soon to be OneWorld)

    Just my opinion, but I find it easier to redeem using AA miles on all of the above, and Delta redemptions are a bit harder to find.

    Cheers,

    PedroNY
     
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  24. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    Have you looked at ISP (Islip)? Depending on where you are on Long Island, this could be an interesting option. A short hop from ISP to PHL on US and from there a wide range of destinations in Europe. AA doesn't have that much point-to-point in Europe, so if you're not flying to LHR or CDG, it's not that great an option.

    US also sells a trial to preferred, and the difference than other challenges is that you get the status upfront for 90 days, and keep it if you do the flying. Silver (w/ *Silver) can be had for $200 upfront - and kept for a year with 7,500 miles flown in 90 days on US and Gold (w/*Gold) can be had for $400 upfront and kept for a year with 15,000 miles in 90 days on US. You can pay the silver rate and get gold if you fly that amount.

    US has a mix of planes - but MUC is usually a new A330-200 with an exceptional business class.
     

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