Picking an Alliance based on Geography?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by OceanCruiser7, May 20, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. OceanCruiser7

    OceanCruiser7 Active Member

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    Hello all. This is my first post here at MP! I have been following FT for sometime (along with Boarding Area and some others) and trying to get up to "speed" ever since (FD, KVS, Matrix, fare codes, etc).

    I still have a lot to learn, but will be preparing to make my first mileage run (wish me luck). I live in Raleigh, NC (RDU). Is it in my best interest to focus on a particular alliance to leverage miles/awards? If so, would you focus on *A based on my geographical location?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    - OceanCruiser
     
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  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP OceanCruiser!

    I do find it easier to stick with airlines that serve (HUB) my area as far as alliances go.
    I personally think Star Alliance is top notch and since you are based near a US hub, it may make the most sense for you.
    If you have a particular focus for your travel, such as a country you will frequent, you may also want to look at how the alliances serve that region.
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP.

    For most people (unless you plan to collect at least 150K or so status miles per year), it makes sense to focus on one airline/alliance if possible. Both DL and AA have nice lounges at RDU and quite a few flights. I'm not sure what UA/CO/US offer there. Assuming that you have no constraints (such as employer's travel policy), the choice should depend on the routes you're likely to fly and what you want to get out of your FF program (upgrades on domestic, international upgrades, free domestic tickets, free international tickets, award tickets in premium cabins).
     
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  4. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    If you go with *A, there's still the decision between US and UA/CO. The programs are different, with different pros and cons. Status on one doesn't get you on the list for free upgrades on the other airline, despite being in the same alliance.

    If you don't care about upgrades, you might want to consider crediting to a more exotic *A carrier, the current favorite being Aegean for easy qualification to *Gold and therefore free lounge access, even when flying domestically (which *G through UA/CO or US will not give).
     
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  5. OceanCruiser7

    OceanCruiser7 Active Member

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    Thank you MSPeconomist and sobore for your welcome and advice!

    As far as UA/CO goes they don't offer many options out of RDU unfortunately. And I hear AA is looking to decrease flts as well but still have some good options into MIA, DFW.

    US also has a lot of flts (PHL/CLT) as well as DL (ATL).

    As I am just starting my journey should I try to build the 150k a year if possible? And are domestic upgrades worth caring about to credit with an airline like Aegean?
     
  6. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Welcome to MP! :)

    Some good advice already flowing in this thread for you, which is good to see.

    While it's important to say "this is where I live" in terms of picking your alliance, it's also important to ask "where do I want to go?" as well. Two sides to every coin, the alliance can surely get you out of RDU, but can it take you (efficiently, cost effectively, on a good partner carrier, etc...) where you want to go?

    So, where do you want to go? ;)
     
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  7. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    And what do you want from your FF program?
     
  8. OceanCruiser7

    OceanCruiser7 Active Member

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    From a FF program I would look for an attainable mid-tier status while affording me the occasional upgrade and award ticket to use going to C2 most likely. Along those lines I will also be looking at going to Asia possibly a few times a year for “leisure” while trying to maximize EQM’s. Hopefully this helps narrow it down some :)
     
  9. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Well, AFAIK US doesn't go to Asia and AA has pretty limited service there, so picking those carriers would mean partner flights on either UA/CO, SQ, ANA for US or JAL and CX for AA. DL partners with KE, CZ, and some others. UA/CO have SQ, ANA, etc. It depends a bit on where in Asia you want to go.

    Most carriers give mid-tier status at 50K status miles, with different rules for giving more status miles on expensive tickets or alternatively no giving miles (or very few) for cheap tickets on partner airlines.

    What is C2?
     
  10. OceanCruiser7

    OceanCruiser7 Active Member

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    Thanks MSPeconomist...looks like it will be DL for me.
     
  11. Trout Fishing in America
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    Trout Fishing in America Silver Member

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    C2 is Europe.

    FYI:

    C1 = North America
    C2 = Europe
    C3 = Asia
    C4 = South America
    C5 = Africa
    C6 = Oceania
    C7 = Antarctica

    It's really vogue to be down on Delta and "skypesos," but they're alright by me. I don't fly as much as most people here, but when I do it is usually out of ATL and on Delta. While they have not knocked my socks off at every turn, they have at least been reliably satisfactory. Same for their FF program.
     
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  12. DL is a high-earn high-spend program! Redemption levels are high, but lots of opportunities for bonuses. If you go AA route, there is 75 +75 k offer for applying for Citi AA credit cards to jumpstart your FF account.
     
  13. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP. I just gave you your first like.
     
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  14. OceanCruiser7

    OceanCruiser7 Active Member

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    Thanks for the heads up on the AA 75 + 75 with Citi card
     
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  15. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    All good info here. You may also want to peruse this thread for some additional guidance.
     
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  16. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    OceanCruiser7,

    Welcome to MP! Good luck as you pursue FF status.

    :)
     
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  17. OceanCruiser7

    OceanCruiser7 Active Member

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    Thanks, read the thread. Also helpful.
     
  18. OceanCruiser7

    OceanCruiser7 Active Member

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    Thank you rwoman. A little overwhelming as a "newbie" with all of the knowldege and experience on MP. But everyone is helpful which is awesome (and part of the point I think :D)
     
  19. joejones
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    joejones Silver Member

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    DL has the best international hubs in my experience. With AA you will find yourself going through ORD and JFK a lot -- they are both overcrowded and turn into total chaos whenever there is bad weather (very often). With DL you will do most of your flying through ATL and DTW which are generally much smoother.

    On the other hand, AA's RDU-LHR flight would let you skip the domestic hubs on your way to Europe.

    On yet another hand, going with a Star Alliance program would let you use UA/CO, US and Air Canada -- the latter being a hidden gem. You can connect through Toronto to many cities in both Europe or Asia, and from what I have heard it's a much more pleasant experience than connecting in the US.
     
  20. mowogo
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    mowogo Gold Member

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    I will second the benefits of Air Canada. I fly them whenever I get the chance, and they are far superior to the offerings of a US legacy carrier. I have been a Star Alliance elite out of RDU, with a decent percentage of my flights upgraded. I've even been upgraded on Air Canada connecting in ORD and EWR on the morning flights being fed from UA and CO flights.

    DL is a good option, but if you are going to be flying through there anytime after 5pm during the summer, then the weather can create havoc on the operations.
     
  21. doc
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    doc Silver Member

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    Yes, welcome! :)
     

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