I think I have a new favorite airline

Jul 17th, 2011, 06:53 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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"<<>>

That would be me "


Exactly right!

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Orlando_Vic is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 07:46 AM
  #22  
 
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With thanks to spaarne. Airline seating explained: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/airplane_layout

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Orlando_Vic is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 10:20 AM
  #23  
 
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MissGreen - You don't need to see any value in joining a US-based or any FF program. Up to you to find what's best for you. I'm just saying that getting a $10K rebate from $500K of credit card purchase is not ridiculous.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 03:24 PM
  #24  
 
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Can someone please tell me which FF program is best or best for Asia travel?
mohan is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 03:52 PM
  #25  
 
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Mohan,
You may get an answer here, but a better bet would be to post it here also: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milesbuzz-370/

_____________________________________________
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Orlando_Vic is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 04:21 PM
  #26  
 
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thanks Orlando_Vic. I go to Flytalk sometime. I will brew a big pot of coffee and go there again. In the meantime, I need an intro 101 so I know what they are talking about.
I have been accumulating points on my gold amex, I used my points on hotels and shopping, probably not the most effective ways of using points and making my money work for me to the fullest capacity.
mohan is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 03:45 AM
  #27  
 
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Rkkwan.. no proplem. I know you were just expression your opinion. I am not offended by what you said.
MissGreen is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 04:06 AM
  #28  
 
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Can someone please tell me which FF program is best or best for Asia travel?

Where do you live? Where do you fly from and to? Do you have a preferred carrier? How much do you fly? What class of travel? How much annual spend can you put onto a credit card?

In general, the US carriers have the most generous frequent flyer programs, but your particular situation may steer you toward one or the other (or away from the US programs, entirely).

To be honest, the mileage game doesn't work for everyone. If you don't fly with some regularity, and/or you can't put a lot of money onto a credit card, then it can be a little difficult to get enough value from them to really make it worth your while.
travelgourmet is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 06:03 AM
  #29  
 
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Thanks travelgourmet. DH & i live in NYC. DH has family in S. E. Asia so we go there once in 2-3 years, for long haul we prefer Asian Airlines like Singapore, Japan and Korean for good service and decent food. If we could upgrade to first class would be nice, how?
We fly every year, we flew Delta economy to Stockholm in May 2011. Turkey and Greece are in our plans, looking at either Delta again or Turkish in April or May 2012. Annual spending in credit card is roughly about $12000 I think. At this point, we spread out in several credit card,
With FF miles, do I have to book tickets many many months in advance? Can I change dates? Are there many restrictions? Thanks in advance.
mohan is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 06:39 AM
  #30  
 
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DH has family in S. E. Asia so we go there once in 2-3 years, for long haul we prefer Asian Airlines like Singapore, Japan and Korean for good service and decent food. If we could upgrade to first class would be nice, how?

For upgrades, your options are somewhat limited, and the cash cost can be high. They are not the value that they once were, though they hold some benefit, depending upon how you book travel. For practical purposes, you are largely limited to upgrading on the US carriers. To the extent the foreign carriers offer upgrades, they usually restrict the eligible fare classes to the most expensive ones, often meaning you could just pay for the business class ticket itself.

Among the US carriers, AA flies only as far as Tokyo, so you would have another long flight to SE Asia that you couldn't upgrade - the upgrade to Tokyo would cost an additional $700 on top of the ticket and the miles. Delta flies to Singapore and Bangkok (via Tokyo), but requires an M fare or higher, which will add as much as $2k to $3k to the cost of the ticket. United is a bit better, but the co-pay can still be as high as $1200 to upgrade.

You can get better value going to Europe. With AA miles, you can upgrade BA flights booked in premium economy to business. Ditto using Delta miles on Air France premium economy. For flights originating in the US, premium economy fares can sometimes be attractive. Short of these options, however, you are stuck with the same co-pay or minimum fare class situations as to Asia.

Booking a free business class or first class ticket can deliver tremendous value, but I have to ask if you will really accumulate enough miles to do this with any regularity. You seem to take maybe one long-haul flight each year and you have the $12k in spend. That would get you to roughly 20k miles earned in a given year. Let's assume you take a few other short-haul flights. If you concentrated all of those flights on one carrier or alliance, I'd estimate that you are only going to earn 30k miles per year. You are looking at 4+ years to earn a free business or first class ticket. You could goose the balance initially with a credit card bonus, but I don't think there are any 100k mile offers out there right now.

I'm just not seeing the value proposition there. You could get into mileage running, or scouring for promos that you can leverage, but do you really want to do that? I'd concentrate on getting the best price on each ticket and the best deal from my credit card and socking the cash away.
travelgourmet is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 07:33 AM
  #31  
 
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"At this point, we spread out in several credit card"

If you just use one credit card for all (and I mean all your charges, you will build up your total and opportunities for premium class seats much faster. Diversification does you no good. I put every possible purchase on my AAdvantage card (groceries, postage, car insurance premiums, newspaper, even a new roof for my house at >$10K) Stay focused on just one airline (and their partners).

"With FF miles, do I have to book tickets many many months in advance? Can I change dates? "
I can only speak about American...and the 331-day "rule" has worked very well for me. Take a look: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...s-aa-load.html

Can you change dates? "Probably" not, because you would essentially be starting over from scratch. FF seats are severely limited, more so with premium class seats.

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Orlando_Vic is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 08:08 AM
  #32  
 
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If you're only putting $12K on a credit card a year, you're not going to get much from that card in terms of miles enough to do anything. BUT, some airline-affliated cards can give you free baggage allowance, along with no or low fees, so it doesn't hurt to get one of those.

Since you live in NYC and fly to Europe and Asia, I want to suggest you go with UA/CO. But since you only fly once to Europe a year, and only once to Asia every 2-3, you simply don't fly enough to play the FF game. Seriously, if that's all you fly, just consider each trip on its own which airline offers the best price and itinerary for that trip.

With that much of flying and spending on credit cards, you won't get enough miles to earn status or to upgrade.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 09:37 AM
  #33  
 
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Thankyou all.
Sorry wally34949, I am hyjacking your post.
The $12k expenses is only with one card. Forgot to count other cards. Would $20k make a difference?
I use the Amex points for hotels mostly. Annual fee for the card is $160 for me and DH. I heard great things about the Starwood card, Thinking of getting that card too.
I do understand the concept of charging all expenses to one card. Many merchants in Europe, Asia and even NYC only take Visa and Master card and not Amex, that's why I need several cards.
We do have the Delta Platinum Amex that we used for buying Delta airline tix, we get one check-in bag for free when paying with that card. The card also offers one free companion tix which I forgot to use this year. There is an annual fee to that card, I think $95.
mohan is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 10:37 AM
  #34  
 
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I heard great things about the Starwood card

It is a great card. For comparison to using miles, $20k in spending would give you enough points for 5 nights of cash and points ($60/night co-pay) at a category 4 hotel, and there are some nice hotels at that level.

Would $20k make a difference?

IMO, not with such limited flying. Sorry. Short of a small business owner that can churn a lot of money through a card, I think an airline credit card should be used as an adjunct to your flying. I think the SPG card (or a good, low-fee cash back card) would give you better return than trying to work the miles angle.
travelgourmet is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 10:13 PM
  #35  
pdx
 
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Wally, I like your response to sumrcr. I'm not sure why he or she would feel the need to post something so critical so early in his or her Fodor's career. Or ever, for that matter.
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Jul 19th, 2011, 02:25 AM
  #36  
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Thanks, pdx. I appreciate that.
wally34949 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 05:25 AM
  #37  
 
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In response to Wally 3449 and pdx: First of all, my apologies to Wally. I was sure that was a testimonial ad targeted for upscale flyers, like in Conde Nast Traveler. (To me, the reference to "corn-fed chicken" (as opposed to what? "manure-fed chicken"? in coach) seemed a little over-the-top. Sorry, but that was my impression. I just have never known anyone so enthusiastic about a flight or airline. But you really were that impressed by the new SIA planes and service, so I don't want to knock that. Maybe one day I will be that excited about long international flights instead of dreading them as a necessary evil.

Second: I do not post a lot, but I am not new to Fodor's. I have been a member for several years, but earlier this year I had to change my username and start over, with Fodor's permission, because it included part of my e-mail address.

A third point: References to "working the system" are not realistic. The only way to "work the system" is to have a job that requires employer-subsidized frequent travel, collecting air miles in the process, or having the time and money to make frequent flights and/or purchases with a high-interest, airline-affiliated credit card. I have a Delta AmEx card but use it sparingly.
sumrcr is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 06:49 AM
  #38  
 
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"References to "working the system" are not realistic. The only way to "work the system" is to have a job that requires employer-subsidized frequent travel, collecting air miles in the process, or having the time and money to make frequent flights and/or purchases with a high-interest, airline-affiliated credit card. I have a Delta AmEx card but use it sparingly."

sumrcr, I think this is a common misconception. I have been retired 9 years (I retired early) and have only a personal, airline-affiliated credit card. Yet, we (Mrs. OV & I) have managed to fly in the front of the plane on international trips four times, once in F from SYD to MCO. I enjoyed every minute of it. Next year, we are going to Rio in business and returning home from Buenos Aires in F. I don't even know what the interest rate on my credit card is because I never carry a balance. It is always paid in full, each month. Nevertheless, everything is put on that card and I hardly use cash.

Now, as to "working the system", I have learned so much from online research, particularly on Flyertalk. Take a look here for other ways to earn miles without flying: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milesbuzz-370/ And yes, I'll admit to churning a few credit cards too for the bonuses.

_____________________________________________
Vic's travels: http://my.flightmemory.com/vogilvie
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 09:20 AM
  #39  
 
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sumrcr, just as an example (and I do not travel on business), we got two Hyatt credit cards last year, and are staying 4 nights for free at the Grand Hyatt Kauai in October. Same trip - we got an Alaska Air credit card, which gave us 25,000 miles plus a $99 companion certificate -- not only did we use the companion certificate, thus lowering the cost of the flight by about $300, the airfare has since gone down and we've received $98 in credits from Alaska Air. Our credit score hasn't suffered one bit.
sf7307 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 09:28 AM
  #40  
 
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You don't need employer-subsidized travel, or spend a fortune, to make FF programs work. My parents are a good example. They only travel for leisure, 3-4 times a year, and doesn't put much money on credit cards. In fact, they don't even have an airline-affiliated card. Yet, because they fly enough each year to maintain a second elite level in one FF program, they get tonnes of miles and benefits. All you need is to pay to fly to get 50,000EQMs. With 100% bonus, that's 100,000 spendable miles in the account, with free domestic upgrade with available, free access to lounges while flying internationally, free bags, etc. And that's enough miles each year to pay for free tickets and/or upgrades.

Houston to Hong Kong is over 18,000EQMs for each roundtrip. Do two of those, a trip to Europe and a few other shorter flights, and that's 50K.

It's WAY MORE important to maintain elite levels than spending on credit cards to earn the spendable miles.
rkkwan is offline  

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