Here's why. 100,000 Golds. And 300,000 Silvers. And approx 6 million members in total. Combine that with one of the fastest global expansion plans in the industry, and for the most part, extremely aggressive (or at least competitive pricing) going around. Their airframe delivery is behind, but their marketing is continuing, as are new routes etc. Their loads are extremely high and the make up of the Y cabin is mostly leisure travelers with zero status. Because of the simplicity of Skywards, you only need 50,000 tier miles to reach Gold, or 25,000 tier miles to reach Silver. Which means if you are smart and check loads before booking, using tools we commonly use such as ExpertFlyer etc, you can give yourself the best possible chance of an op-up. I've had at least a dozen op-ups in the past 12 months (possibly more). Once, I had 5 in a row and I'm buying the cheapest Y fares. Granted, it depends on the routes you fly, but it doesnt take long to work out which flights and routes are the fullest. There are also some very cheap cities in which to ticket from (such as Singapore, Colombo etc). If you can be flexible (or semi-flexible) with your dates of travel, the planning will pay off. Eighteen months ago, I never thought I would ever fly a middle eastern airline (after spending so much time on UA and QF). But as you can tell, bang for your buck, they are the best solution for me.