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  1. #1

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    Air miles question

    I'm a frequent flyer but I've never accumulated any air miles or anything, I don't have a card. The problem is I'm always using different companies, so it doesn't help much to have the card of a specific company...


    I was just wondering, is there any such thing as a card that covers several companies? I fly mainly in Europe, with companies such as Luftansa, Czech airlines, Malev, British Airways, AirFrance, SwissAir, Lot, Aerosvit... and all the low cost ones.

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    Miles and More is the programme of Lufthansa and Swiss. They have several partners and they are a member of Star Alliance. If you fly frequently around Europe, this might be an option to look into.
    List of partners: http://www.miles-and-more.com/online...l=en&cid=18003
    Star Alliance: http://www.staralliance.com/de/benefits/frequent-flyer/

    I don't think the low cost airlines are included in any such programme, though.
    Last edited by Jackie Sparrow; 04-07-2010 at 10:32 AM.

  3. #3

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    Thanks.... It does look like Miles and More might be interesting. I'll look into it.

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    There are three main global alliances:

    Star Alliance (Lufthansa, etc.)
    One World (British Airways, etc.)
    Sky Team (Air France/KLM, etc.)

    I have miles with Air France and Lufthansa, but I use the Air France one mainly as the connections through Paris or Amsterdam are much better and more frequent than through Frankfurt from Dublin.
    To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.

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    Star Alliance is the way to go... Sign up for it through Lufthansa Miles & More. They have the most airline options within Europe and two of the biggest US airlines, United and US Airways, as well as Air Canada, Japan Airlines etc also belong to it. Don't forget that you can also earn a small number of miles through car rentals and hotel stays.

  6. #6
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    Allezfred and everyone else so far have rightly touched on this - sign up for only one miles/loyalty program per alliance. The three main ones are Star Alliance, Oneworld, and Skyteam, so you'd only need to sign up for one airline program in each.

    Here in the US, United, American, and Delta, respectively, are the dominant carriers in those alliances, so those are also the "core" programs I use to accumulate miles/status. To the extent that you fly a lot (like cross-country within the US in my case), the miles/status add up fast if you concentrate your mileage accumulation into one program per alliance.

    The only quirk I can think of is the British Airways-American Airlines antitrust arrangement where, if you're a member of one of the two airlines' programs, you can't earn miles on the other airline when flying transatlantic. Say if you're a member of the AA program and you're flying BA transatlantic - you can't earn AA miles for your BA flight. You'd have to enroll in the BA program separately.

    You should also choose among airlines within each alliance to see which offer the most benefits, or just to reflect which airlines are strongest/most convenient in your hometown. The BA program, for example, is aimed mainly towards international business/first class flyers and, as a result, you don't get much credit if you're flying economy. On the other hand, the AA program does give you a standard "base" amount of miles each time you fly economy, although this leads to "mile inflation" in the long run that makes it harder to cash in miles.

    Disclaimer: I'm a certified mileage whore here. I have Executive Platinum (2nd tier) status on American (Oneworld) and Premier Executive (2nd tier) status on United (Star Alliance) - now if I'd actually merged all my flying into one airline/alliance, I'd have top-tier status.

  7. #7

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    There is also a website where you can swap points among various programs (not just airlines), although not all airline frequent flyer programs are part of it. So if you rack up miles on one plan but want to build up your points on another, you may be able to make a direct swap, or post your points and see if anyone wants to "buy" them (this costs you a fee, though).
    http://www.points.com

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    Some booking websites let you apply your miles to a certain account. I flew United in February, and when I booked through Expedia, I was given the option to apply the miles to my Delta account.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UMBS Go Blue View Post
    The only quirk I can think of is the British Airways-American Airlines antitrust arrangement where, if you're a member of one of the two airlines' programs, you can't earn miles on the other airline when flying transatlantic. Say if you're a member of the AA program and you're flying BA transatlantic - you can't earn AA miles for your BA flight. You'd have to enroll in the BA program separately.
    Not true. We're flying BA-AA all the time. Berlin-London with BA and then London-somewhere in the US with AA. We get miles for the BA flight and we're enrolled with the AA program. The only thing that you don't get with BA is an upgrade.
    Let's say we're going from Tampa to Chicago, then from Chicago to London and from London back to Berlin. We get the upgrade request for the Chicago-London flight and are automatically upgraded for the Tampa-Chicago flight as well. However, the London-Berlin flight is not upgraded even though the bags go through and it's a connecting and code-share flight.
    But you do get the miles as long as it's code-share but that's probably the same with every other airline as well.

    However, Star Alliance or Skyteam is probably the best way to go for Europe.

  10. #10

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    Thanks everyone for the very helpful advice

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballettmaus View Post
    Not true. We're flying BA-AA all the time. Berlin-London with BA and then London-somewhere in the US with AA. We get miles for the BA flight and we're enrolled with the AA program. The only thing that you don't get with BA is an upgrade.
    Actually, it is true because you said you flew the transatlantic portion ("London-somewhere in the US") on AA. Had you flown that particular leg on BA, you wouldn't have gotten AA credit for that particular leg. You can get AA credit for BA flights that are not transatlantic, which your "Berlin-London" leg was, and indeed you said you got AA credit for that particular BA leg.

    So while your entire trip was "transatlantic," the specific transatlantic leg of the trip is what's in question.

    From this link:
    British Airways' transatlantic flights to/from the U.S. are not valid for AAdvantage mileage accrual or redemption.
    Last edited by UMBS Go Blue; 04-07-2010 at 11:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UMBS Go Blue View Post
    Actually, it is true because you said you flew the transatlantic portion ("London-somewhere in the US") on AA. Had you flown that particular leg on BA, you wouldn't have gotten AA credit for that particular leg. You can get AA credit for BA flights that are not transatlantic, which your "Berlin-London" leg was, and indeed you said you got AA credit for that particular BA leg.

    So while your entire trip was "transatlantic," the specific transatlantic leg of the trip is what's in question.

    From this link:
    Oh, I see. I sort of misunderstood. Thought that yours was just an example and meant that in general miles would not be granted.

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    Just an FYI Continental (US) is now Star Alliance. One good thing with that is continental has many non-stop flights to major European cities.

    I have found that the air miles I accrue are never enough for anything. Every time I get enough, the point requirement goes up. I find that using my American Express card for everything builds up points faster and I use it for travel miles.

  14. #14
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    cruisin, you alone just made FSU worth it to me this week. I had no idea Continental was now Star Alliance (and sort of wish I knew that earlier this week, booking international travel, because I doggedly keep my miles on SA no matter what.)

    For what it's worth, it's 55,000 on Star Alliance roundtrip to Europe from the US. Because I get 12K miles for every Israel roundtrip, I've already used two awards, one for me and one for my daughter, over the last few years. It's worth it, IMHO, to stick to one alliance system while flying internationally.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

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    Star Alliance also has excellent mileage promotions on free tickets, although they apply mostly just to Lufthansa flights. For example an intra-Europe ticket is normally 28000 miles or so... but if you buy it online with less than two weeks to go they apply a discounted mileage and you can buy it for only 15000 miles. Similarly they have great mileage discounts for flying to/from Germany to US. I live in Boston and a free Lufthansa ticket from Boston to Germany is 60,000 miles. However they very frequently have promotions where you can get the same ticket for 30,000. Based on all that I would also check out these discounts on the frequent flier programs' websites before deciding on one

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruisin View Post
    Just an FYI Continental (US) is now Star Alliance. One good thing with that is continental has many non-stop flights to major European cities.
    Yes, but a lot of those Continental international flights leave out of Newark...aka the 9th circle of hell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stefanie View Post
    Yes, but a lot of those Continental international flights leave out of Newark...aka the 9th circle of hell.
    Why do you say that? I've flown out of many airports and Newark is one of the easiest. Though I've never had to transfer through there. It is the closest airport to me, so it is always my starting and ending point.

    PRlady - I'm glad I mad you happy . Continental went with SA sometime around the end of last year/beginning of this year. I'm glad too, most of my points were United, so now I can merge them. I hope!

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