The Basic Principles of Frequent Flyer Programmes

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Saracen, Feb 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Saracen
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    Saracen Silver Member

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    I got into FFPs on FT, and learnt through combing forums. Interestingly, I sometimes get asked questions which seem to stump people outside the FF community, and often serve as obstacles to them bothering with FFPs. Maybe we could put together a list of the most basic mechanics of FFP membership. Here are a few:

    An airline runs a frequent flyer programme (FFP), which allows members to collect miles/points when they fly. The more miles/points earned in a set period (i.e. more miles flown), the higher the status achieved. Status has many benefits, including lounge access, increased baggage allowance, among other things (more later). Points/miles can also be redeemed for flights, cabin upgrades and other goodies. Generally, the miles that count for status are reset at the end of each qualifying period, whereas the miles you can use for redemption are valid for a longer validity period.

    Generally, if an airline is a member of an alliance, their FFP allows the accrual of points/miles when flying on other airlines in that alliance; you simply present your FFP card/details to the airline you are flying on and the flights will be credited. Even if two FFPs belong to the same alliance, you cannot combine miles for status or redemption, nor transfer between FFPs. Hence, there is no such thing as “having Star Alliance miles”. And hence, it makes sense to maintain a single FFP membership in each alliance that you fly, in order to consolidate all your earning in a single FFP and earn status faster, while having more miles to redeem.

    The number of miles you earn for a flight depends on the FFP you are crediting to, the airline you are flying with, the booking class for the fare and the distance travelled. You need only refer to the earning table for your FFP, look up the airline you are flying with and the booking code. This will give you a multiplier that you can use along with the distance travelled to work out the exact number of miles credited. Cheaper fares tend to offer less miles, while higher cabins offer more. On codeshared flights (i.e. the flight number on your ticket and the airline operating actual plane differ), the operating airline is what counts. You can find an approximate number for the distance travelled on GCMap.

    For example, a trip from Singapore (SIN) to Hong Kong (HKG) on Singapore Airlines (SQ) in Y class credited to the Asiana Club (OZ) FFP would earn 1x (multiplier from here) 1588 miles (approximately). Remember to double for a return flight.

    The only earning table you should concern yourself with is that of your own FFP. Some FFPs offer extra bonus miles for those who have achieved status and/or fly on their own airline flights.

    Comments welcome, More to follow…
     
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  2. Saracen
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    Saracen Silver Member

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    Earning Miles

    There are typically many ways to earn miles in your chosen FF programme:
    • Flights on your FFP airline – bonuses are typically more common here
    • Flights on airlines in the same alliance – remember to look up the earning table and book an earning fare
    • Flights on other airlines – in most cases, miles earned will not count for status
    • FFP Credit cards – Most programmes have credit cards in major markets that earn you miles for spending
    • Other credit cards – Some credit card points schemes allow transfers to selected FFPs, e.g. AmEx Membership Rewards
    • Hotel Stays – See which hotel chains earn you miles on your FFP website and present your FFP card, sign up for schemes that allow you to earn hotel status points and airline miles, e.g. Hilton HHonors
    • Car Rental – Your FFP will probably have a preferred car hire partner that allows you to earn miles for hires
    • More – Keep up to date on the various partners and offers by signing up to your FFPs email newsletter
     
    Nicole Blaess-Smith likes this.
  3. moa999
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    moa999 Gold Member

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    Some airlines don't use miles flown, and instead use a $ spend measure (although this is rare)
    Some airlines use a separate measure for status calculation which allocates points based on bands of flight length and may provide a differential multipler for premium classes (eg BA TPs, QF SCs etc)
    Some airlines allow all points earning activity to count for status, others restrict it to flying
    Earn/ burn ratios differ considerably between programs

    You can generally only claim once for any flight/ stay/ car rental - no double dipping
     
  4. IMGone
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    IMGone Silver Member

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    If I can suggest since this thread is in the Newbies forum and talks about Basic Principles that you explain all those acronyms for the Newbies who might visit here ... FFP, FT, et al make sense to me, but won't for a true newcomer.
     
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  5. mowogo
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    mowogo Gold Member

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    The majority of major frequent flier bonuses belong to one of three alliances:Star Alliance; OneWorld, and SkyTeam. Each of these alliances is composed of different members with different elite benefits honored between the various member airlines. However, although it is possible to earn elite qualifying miles on all members of an alliance, individual members have agreements as to the earning rates of various fare classes, which you need to check on the website of your program.
     

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