Which Airline or Alliance FF Program has the Best Status for Rewards/Benefits?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by garyst16, Dec 27, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. garyst16
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    garyst16 Silver Member

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    Before anyone tells me "it depends" I know where you live and where you fly are key contributors to this question; however...if location and destination were tossed from the equation, which airline/alliance would you choose and why? I live in Los Angeles so the location question is moot for me.

    For full disclosure, I am (and have been for many years) an AA EXP member. I usually receive upgrades on over 90% of my flights 64/70 this year. That plus the 9 SWUs are an enormous benefit. What to the others offer that would sway my future flying decisions?

    (Apologies if this has been covered in another thread!)
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    For a USA domestic ONLY traveller, I think the answer is DL DM.
     
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  3. garyst16
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    garyst16 Silver Member

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    If Delta is the choice, why all the talk about "Sky Pesos"?
     
  4. Titans26

    Titans26 Silver Member

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    Depends on your spend or budget.
     
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  5. Titans26

    Titans26 Silver Member

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    The "Sky Pesos" reward redemption reference applies to Kettles or travelers without corporate contracts, Delta Private Jet contract, power, influence, money or a fantastic personal Delta rep.
     
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  6. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    High elites with DL get enhanced low award availability for domestic award tickets and can upgrade award tickets in their regular window. These eligible upgrades are free and require no instruments, including from any published fare when flying DOMESTIC. International awards and upgrades are a totally different situation.
     
  7. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Being based in LA, a DL diamond definitely will do well. My girlfriend has been upgraded almost 100% of the time and the 125% mileage bonus is great especially if you enjoy redeeming miles with partners for international rewards. In our experience,Skypesos have not been an issue for awards to Asia (2 seats in C on KE) and Europe (2 seats in C on AF).

    Of course, staying with AA makes a whole ton of sense for LA (heck I'm switching to it from UA), but UA and *A probably has the widest selection of direct flights from LAX if that is a concern.
     
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  8. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Too bad you can't redeem for F awards... :rolleyes:
     
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  9. mowogo
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    mowogo Gold Member

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    Overall, I think DL is a great airline, but loses a lot on their Frequent Flyer program when it comes to award redemption, and international upgrades. If you do not care about either of those, then I would say go DL. I would be hesitant about UA right now because of all the changes they are undergoing, and the IT transition which will cause a mess during the first quarter. After that change, I'd have to evaluate the program once everything is implemented to really find its new value proposition
     
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  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Afraid I can't answer with anything but "it depends" even with those two out of consideration. There are just too many other factors that are different for each traveler that make it a very personal choice, IMO.

    - how much are you traveling, i.e. what elite level are you aiming for?
    - can you get a credit card for the particular program you're looking at, to increase mileage earnings potential
    - what are your status goals -- free flights? upgrades? fee waivers?
    - do you mind connections or do you prefer non-stops? (I guess that goes back to location and destination)
    - ...

    For me, living near SFO, UA is the clear winner right due to its strong route network with lots of non-stops (saving me precious vacation time) and a fairly decent upgrade program (travel comfort). I think if I was in an AA hub city, I'd find similar attributes with their program. If I was in a market without a dominant carrier, things would get more interesting...

    Note also that in the future, my preference may change without me actually changing my location or destinations by virtue of acquiring MM status (ie less pressure to fly UA to earn status miles) and greater acceptance of connections when vacation time becomes less of an issue (in retirement, though that's still many years off in the future). I am just pointing this out, though, to illustrate that I couldn't just give a simple "clearly XYZ" answer because of all these factors I consider. Maybe I am over-analyzing this? ;)
     
  11. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    When I fly Asiana in first in the new year, I will have a better understanding of the value of first over business. However, I'm pretty happy with my prestige plus full lay flat on KE and can't believe that I will truly need first all that badly... especially since diamonds get the extra 25% miles and Delta Sky Club membership.
     
  12. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    For systemwide upgrades, you really can't beat AA.

    If you're making AA EXP by a wide margin (especially if you have lots of Jan 2012 travel planned), you should consider getting US Silver for alliance diversification. It's easier than UA's Premier Silver to obtain (credit card EQM, club membership EQM, grand slam, outright EQM purchases, etc). You get a lounge at LAX for US, PHX is a great airport to connect in (banked and very few weather issues), star alliance miles (with generous awards to north asia) and fewer elites to compete with for upgrades.
     
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