Airlines

My thoughts on airline loyalty programmes


Airline loyalty programmes is one of the topics closest to my heart as a marketer, but also, for obvious reasons, as a traveller. There are so many programmes to choose from – airlines and hotels, and I often get questions about my personal preferences.

I love flying

I love flying

I have been thinking about this post for a couple of weeks now, and in preparation, reached out to both my Twitter and Facebook contacts – I wanted to know if they had a preferred programme of either kind, why they chose one instead of another and was overwhelmed by the response. Loyalty matters – whether it is heartfelt (i.e. people being real brand advocates/ambassadors.. or terrorists) or just being very good at playing the points game.

These are, as usual, my personal opinions and I have not been influenced by any company to write this post.

I have to be honest – I am the *queen* of points, as my friends call me. But I am a great believer in quality vs quantity in pretty much everything in life. As we speak, I only hold 1 frequent flyer card and 1 frequent stayer (hotel) card in my wallet. Others are kept in drawers or God knows where. More than enough for me!

Today, we shall focus on  airlines

We are conditioned by where we live and the airlines that serve our “home” airports. If you live in say, Paris, it is pretty probable that you will join the Air France programme and Sky Team. If you live in London or NYC, you have more choices. This is an obvious point and I believe that most people forget it.

Star Alliance TAP Silver Card

Star Alliance TAP Silver Card

I was a Star Alliance Silver cardholder for 8 years plus, via TAP Portugal. The more I flew with other airlines within Star Alliance, the more frustrated I became. Using airmiles for free flights or upgrades with TAP wasn’t a huge problem, was actually OK, but being a stupidly frequent traveller (3-4 times per week, although on short routes), the one thing I valued was lounge access. The Lisbon lounge was OK and I was allowed to use it.. except if I had a ticket issued by another S.A. carrier. That drove me mad. Imagine flying to Istanbul, via Zurich, with Swiss and Turkish Airlines, with stopovers, and being told that I could not access the lounge, for an unknown/unexplained reason. Why should I bother flying with those Alliance members to be treated like this?

Another thing that frustrated was the fact that luggage policies were different from airline to airline, and I found myself arguing everytime I checked-in “my” extra 15kgs, which was a benefit of my card with TAP. At Heathrow, as all Star Alliance carriers are now together, the check-in staff wouldn’t know about it. I resorted to carry a print out of the website rules.

On the other hand, Mr. O had always been with British Airways Executive Club (I was blue as I only flew to London every now and then) – and by being silver, I started noticing that as his guest, I could always go into the lounge with him. I could also fast-track security. When we plotted our airline world domination, we agreed that I would keep status on Star Alliance and he would do so on OneWorld. We did the same for hotels.

It didn’t work out for us – I couldn’t take him into the lounge or fast track, or even board, whereas he could. OneWorld (BA) won hands down. Which means that being Silver in Star Alliance is shocking compared to being Silver (or Sapphire for my American friends, the equivalent of  one level down below our top tier in Europe – for you, it must be bling bling and diamonds or double diamonds with platinum) on OneWorld.

How did I get out of Star Alliance? I started flying with BA via London every time we went to the US or even somewhere in Europe and was surprised that it was actually better value (and Gin & Tonic in any class, which Mrs. O loves). With our honeymoon ticket, I got to silver. It has been 4 years and never looked back. I am now been gold for the past 2 years, but I think I will go back to silver – sadly, but this isn’t a bad thing necessarily as I find BA extremely kind to the 2 upper tiers of the Executive Club. (Again, someone please tell me what being Star Alliance silver means, I don’t really know).

 

BA Silver and Gold cards

BA Silver and Gold cards

Does status matter?

For me, it does, as it translates in obvious benefits:

– Being able to book a seat when I buy my ticket (although the 5 first economy rows seem to be blocked until 4 days before the flight. I don’t get this and hate the extra work it gives me if I want my 5 A-C or any other single-digit seat numbers).

– Have an extra piece of luggage every time I fly, in addition to the cabin’s standard policy (this is worth a lot to me!). And no arguing at airports;

– Having lounge access on every One World Alliance lounge if I travel with a One World carrier (of course!). All OW carriers have a colour code which level all different member programmes. Meaning that if you are BA Silver, that is roughly the same as AA Platinum with diamonds encrusted. I am exagerating the names, but basically if you have a little Sapphire (Blue) or Emerald (Green) dot on your card, you are good to go. And no arguing at the lounge. Ever. And you can always bring a guest, which is a nice touch.

I must confess, one of my favourite perks is chocolate - calories don't count in the air!

I must confess, one of my favourite perks is chocolate – calories don’t count in the air!

– Priority Check-in  – I really like this, despite the class you travel.

– Fast-Track boarding and security -with a friend, of course, but mostly in UK airports only, sadly. I know airlines have to pay for this in other airports, but they should. If it’s fast track, has to be everywhere.

– More airmiles – which of course lead to more free flight or upgrade opportunities.

– Special paid upgrades through the BA “Manage my Booking” system or mobile app (this is a huge one, which I LOVE).

How you move from one tier to another depends on the airline. Star Alliance was based on actual miles travelled, whereas BA have the concept of Tier Points, whereby these are allocated depending on your fare, route and cabin. As a point of improvement, I would suggest that this (i.e. number of tier points and miles) is made clear before one books/pays for a ticket. Currently, you only find out afterwards. TAP Portugal and Swiss actually have a really good booking system whereby you have various fare options in both economy and business class and if you pay more, you get more points. Whether you choose to do it or not, it’s totally up to you, but it is very clear.

If you want to be BA Silver (where you need 600 tier points), you need 3 Europe to US Premium Economy trips (180 tier points each) plus a couple European flights (20 tier points for each economy return flight or 80 in club europe). That would have a cost of around €3000, give or take.

When I stopped using Star Alliance, they sent me a “goodwill” Silver card, valid for 2 years. I was surprised and thought it was nice and used it once or twice. On a particular flight, when I added by second piece of baggage (for those extra 15kg), I was told I wasn’t eligible as my card wasn’t really “real”. I was so offended, I vowed never to fly with them again unless I do not have an option. It has been 8 months and still counting.

Time in airports matter

Time in airports matter

One thing I haven’t mentioned is upgrades – I really don’t get the system. I rarely travel alone anymore, which certainly helps getting those seats, but every now and then we have a surprise. There is no sense of entitlement from my part whatsoever and that is fine. I recently found out that some American airlines (as in from the USA) hand out x upgrade vouchers each year to frequent flyers and, to be honest, I wouldn’t mind a bit of that (guaranteed) love.

I love playing the points game (I could expand this post and talk about Credit Cards…but maybe we could leave this for another opportunity), but I really enjoy flying with my airline of choice as I feel looked after, safe and love the little tweets they send me every now and then when I travel.

Let’s get this debate started. Favourite airline? Loyalty programme? What matters to you? Are you willing to pay a premium to fly with your preferred airline?

Let me know.

xo

Mrs O


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View Comments (104)

104 Comments

  1. Jake

    March 5, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    You are right. Star Alliance silver is worth nothing. However, its gold status is golden with all the benefits you have been wishing for without the hassles dealing with the different policies of airlines.

    But why silver with TAP Portugal for 8 years? I really don’t get it. It means you flew at least 30000 miles every year, and you would have got the gold status with Asiana with this much.

    You only need to fly 40000 miles every two years, and the moment you reach half a million miles regardless how long it took, you get a LIFETIME gold status. And that makes Asiana’s FFP potentially the most suitable one for you.

    If you had started with Asiana’s FFP, you would already have this easily.

    Maybe you can start now. Looking at how the airline industry has been cutting costs during recent years, it would be quite a good “insurance” to have a lifetime status.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 6, 2016 at 11:21 am

      I used to live in Portugal and back then there wasn’t that much information on other options – if I had known, of course I would have joined another Star Alliance programme. But also there was the credit card points etc – which only worked if you were with TAP Portugal. I stick to OneWorld now 🙂

  2. Spaceteddy

    May 9, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    I’ve got Turkish Elite Plus (equals Star’s Gold) which I got in about six months when traveling from Europe to India via Istanbul on business. Now I just have to find a way to use all those bonus miles on their network. I also got quite recently Finnair Plus Gold (oneworld) thanks to another business project that involved lot of travelling. I really like the Finnair’s program as I got to use their lounges and fast track already at Silver level. The Gold brought me four Europe ugrades and I will get four more later this year. Gold also let’s me use any oneworld business class lounges which is great if Finnair’s lounge is full. At LHR Finnair uses the Cathay lounge which is quiet, nice and has various delicious Asian dishes always available.

  3. b

    May 7, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Welcome to “the” Airline (Dis) Loyalty Program:
    In reward for your patronage we will endeavour to provide you with flights for “free” however:
    1. Reward flights normally require 11 month and 29 day advance purchase when they become available 12 months ahead
    1a. If you are unable to get these flights (as the numbers are extremely limited) we will provide you with flights on alternate airlines should they be available (please be aware these airlines have very limited entertainment systems and poor in service flight facilities and may be with less safe airlines) :-
    2a. We will however endeavour to ensure the most indirect routing and maximal layover times between connecting flights so you can enjoy the various airport facilities and food along the way.
    2. As an added bonus if you manage to book a reward flight you will be charged:
    a. Flight Taxes
    b. Fuel taxes
    c. Other taxes as may be deemed necessary
    3. Also as an added bonus you will be allocated prime seating in the middle seat of the last row of the plane (please be aware these seats do not recline). Please be aware–As you are likely travelling with an airline other than the reward program airline you will not be able to change your seating as we issue you with a confirmation number the other airlines does not recognise.
    4. If you get a reward flight also be aware that should there be an errors in the ticket such as spelling your name wrong you are unlikely to be allowed to fly on any international flights. Additionally please be warned that our customer service hours are limited and our one customer service person is often overworked so if there is a problem we advise the following:-
    a. Avoid all flight reward programs
    b. Pay for flexible flights (in the long run these are worth it).
    c. Book directly with the travelling airline online. Fares booked through travel agents normally cannot be changed or have seating allocated etc. without great difficulty and via the agent (which if overseas can be challenging).
    We trust you enjoy your “free” reward flight from Los Angeles to San Diego via Denver, Huston and New York.
    PS We also provide discount accommodation at each of these airports.
    “THE” Airline (Dis) Loyalty program

  4. Alice @ Honestly Fitness

    November 1, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Really interesting post. I had no idea that being a star alliance member gave such poor benefits! I’ve always been inclined to rack up star alliance miles, particularly with Singapore Airlines because I fly back to Thailand a fair amount to visit my parents.
    I’ve definitely been thinking of switching to OneWorld though because I do like Cathay Pacific a lot and they fly direct from SFO to HKT which is handy. Even more inclined to now that I see there are lots of benefits to it. Right now I have the Alaska airlines credit card because I use them to fly to SLC once a month or more, plus they have a special deal with several OneWorld airlines which is handy!
    Thanks again for the informative post 🙂

  5. Teodoro Waty Junior

    August 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Great post!
    I travelled for quite some time with TAP as well but the poor service has let me down at times. When one considers the delays and the smoke filled lounges, specially in Heathrow I knew it was a time for a change.
    I now travel with Air France which could seem “nuts” when considering that most of the times I travel to Maputo, Mozambique; Lisbon, Portugal and Aberdeen, Scotland. Trust me Skyteam is not the most appealing alliance but so far I’m happy, the routes via Paris seem cheaper and they seem to cover most of the globe. I’m a Flying Blue gold member and the benefits are great, as frequent traveller with Air France I sense they have great food but KLM service is far better and so are the services offered in AMS airport.
    Overall cannot complain: being able to board first is undoubtedly rewarding when one travels on the A380 via Paris, the french cuisine at the lounges and the often award upgrades for a bargain (£250 on a lowest-fare economy ticket). Additionally if you are an oil and gas professional like me you still can benefit from some of the perks with the flying blue petroleum card (priority boarding, lounges dedicated for the professionals, partnerships with the pullman hotels) regardless your travel class and miles accumulated, therefore, and again, I cannot complain.
    In the end even if your programme does not suit others it might you, I mean I travel Air France at times just to be able to speak french and eat foie gras (go figure…).

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 19, 2013 at 8:18 am

      Teodoro, this is my point exactly. It is all about finding what works for you – even if not 100% convenient. No smoke filled lounges anywhere anymore, though!

  6. Andy Davidson

    August 5, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Hola,

    I was a *A man for a long time before trying out BA a couple of years ago. The history to this was I had a *A BMI card, and switched to United when I realised the BMI sale to IAG(BA) would mean the end to their *A status. I was *A Gold with BMI for five years, and then *A Gold with UA for 2 years. At the point that BA announced the end of the BMI Diamond Club *A affiliation, I thought I would try out BAEC given my BMI credit card was dumping tonnes of points into a Diamond Club account that could turn into BA Avois AND they were willing to match my BMI status (which had trickled down to Silver). I left a job in the US at the same time and realised that United status was not going to earn me a lot of upgrades to my new destinations.

    I am now BAEC Gold.

    My findings are :
    – As someone who lives near Manchester, the experience on BA is pretty sucky as I have to fly via Heathrow for everything, whereas I was used to flying directly to many destinations on *A. Particularly good routes from the Lufthansa Group airlines.

    – BA are the only airline to have ever downgraded me – I had an Avois PE -> CW destination dropped back to PE from Bahrain to London by the local team there with no redress.

    – BA EC Gold does get you into lounges, but many lounges are poor (really crap food).

    I think I’d consider swapping back to *A with my usage pattern, but onto Lufthansa, given that gives me most chance of Upgrades out of MAN.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 5, 2013 at 11:25 am

      I think where you live makes a huge difference – and with the connections, it isn’t brilliant at all. In my experience, it is better to be BA Silver than Star Alliance Silver – benefits are for you and a guest (if you travel on your own, not so much). As for food, LHR is brilliant!

  7. Sofia

    June 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I didn’t know that there was such a difference between these two alliances, good to know!
    Sofia recently posted..How To Make a Claim On Your Travel InsuranceMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      There is and obviously no one makes it easy to understand.. But sadly, in the end, there isn’t a lot of choice, as you are conditioned by your local airport… I am now luckier that it is LHR!

  8. Kelly

    June 8, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I have the Air NZ Koru Club Membership which guarantees access to all the Air NZ lounges around the world and gives you 2 pieces of luggage (handy when you are bringing lots of kiwi goodies back to the UK) however Air NZ is part of the Star Alliance group and that’s what is crap.

    If you book a flight through the Air NZ website they co-share with Virgin Atlantic on a number of routes and VA won’t give you the second bag for free so you end up paying for an extra bag for the VA flight however it’s free on the second flight as it Air NZ. It drives me bonkers!!

    Star Alliance needs to sort out their overall package for their FF’s as have had numerous chats especially at Heathrow as to what lounge I am allowed to use / not use.

    Have a Qantas FF membership (when I was living in NZ) and have just joined BA on G’s insistance as we seem to be using them a lot at the moment for our travels.
    x

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      If you are based in the UK, I would definitely get a BA Executive Card (and not a Qantas) – relationship between both is ever changing and may crack.

  9. Maralyn D. Hill

    February 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I love points. Most of mine are Star Alliance as we lived in Charlotte for 15 years and USAirways had 95% of the market. Since I usually made gold status and Norm Platium, it was great. I enjoy being upgraded. I have encountered the Star Alliance problem in European lounges. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. However, my American Express Platium gets me in many lounges when ticketed on another airline. If there is a huge air difference, I will fly another carrier without a problem,as long as I can check my luggage for free. With USAirways, I can check two or 3 bags free. Since I am frequently carrying a banner for a trade show, it is great to be able to check it and support material.

    Forget all the cards. I have a master sheet with program and numbers. They are too bulky.
    Maralyn D. Hill recently posted..Phoenix Symphony Fine Concert and A Great Q&AMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      February 4, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Good girl! I really wished Star Alliance was more consistent, but even after years of problems, they have not sorted out the issues – one would think it would be easier. Also v interesting how your credit cards in America seem to help so much – I think we have way less options!

      • Antonio

        March 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm

        Definitely working on my own little e-booklet on this having traveled for work a lot in the past. Alot of the ebooks out there are really good but find that they contain too much info and fluff that is irrelevant to the typical traveler, particularly here in the US. … It’s probably already been said on your thread here, but there is definitely a huge difference in which alliance to use depending on what country you live in. For those of us in the US, no doubt Sky Team is the absolute worst program of all the major programs. I’m out of the JFK area so I have many options and do like Delta alot domestically, however, the requirements around the sky team program are too difficult to reach for even a moderate flyer. Not to mention, outside of Delta and some of the European carriers, no one would ever want to fly the other members of Sky Team them being typically unreliable and not customer centric. My ex girlfriend works with BA so I understand why you boast of BA so much, most likely the best carrier in One World, however, as an American, one world takes the second position, actually, because of American lol American Airlines that is 🙂 When I think of unreliable and horrible customer service experiences, first airline to come to mind is American Airlines. … For domestic short routes, I almost always exclusively use Delta and JetBlue. I would use United or US Airways had they had non stop flights to South Florida but they don’t out of JFK or LGA. American services a lot of the short routes I frequent non stop but I just refuse to use them even if I have to pay more on another carrier unless I have no other choice and they are the only one servicing that city. … They are the main reason I can’t join One World. To rack up miles flown towards qualifying for elite status I would be forced to use them. And this leads me to the other reason, One World, though not as difficult is still difficult to reach elite statuses and keep through just flying. I know there are credit cards out there to give you status but I don’t want to deal with managing all the various credit card fees to play all the miles and points game. I’m no longer a frequent flyer but more of a moderate flyer now so I’ve actually found Star Alliance to be my best option. They have the easiest path to Gold, not just Gold, but Lifetime Gold Status, at least for now anyway until too many people figure it out. Additionally, with them being the largest of the alliances, which is also the reason you’ve probably encountered issues with the partners being on the same page, they do have some of the best airlines in their alliance for long haul flights. For One World, other than BA and Cathay, and maybe Quantas, I can’t think of other carriers I would use in One World, but you might be more familiar with it than I. Network of partners wasn’t my deciding factor anyway. It was the lifetime gold status and also by banking miles into United, I get to avoid fuel surcharges. United is part of Star Alliance and also flies the long haul domestic routes in the US at usually the best or close to best available prices. … As a note to your readers, US Airways, through currently part of Star Alliance, once their buyout of American is complete, they will become part of One World, which definitely will be a reason I revisit One World and see if I can achieves miles and status easily and avoid fuel surcharges all while remaining a moderate traveler. … For now, for this year anyway, Star Alliance seems to be able to service all my planned trips and likely at the cheapest prices. … I want to achieve status in both Sky Team and One World without using credit cards to buy my way in but it doesn’t look possible. … I’ll probably work on Sky Team first just because I really don’t have a choice sometimes for domestic routes. Apologies for the long run on commentary but just wanted to give a view point from across the pond to the west and just say to readers, ultimately what’s best is subjective and it depends on their particular situation. Have a great day 🙂

        • Antonio

          March 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm

          Oh also about credit cards here in the US, credit cards are really only going to be able to help accrue miles for award travel. But with most carriers, they don’t help with achieving status and only flown miles actually count. This is a general statement though as some airlines setup programs with credit card companies where they will allow a maximum amount of miles from credit cards count toward qualifying but its usually not something major enough to put a dent in getting to elite status. … But on that note, people should not discount getting the awards related credit cards because if you know how to play the points and miles game really well with the credit cards then you really don’t need status if you rack up enough miles or points to travel in at least business class for free every time 🙂

          • @mrsoaroundworld

            March 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm

            Absolutely – some great stuff here!! As I said, you are conditioned to where you live!

  10. Suzanne (Travelbunny)

    January 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    We’re with BA and use the Amex BA credit card to build up points for ‘free’ flights. Also once you put £20k on the card within one year (which is easy as we use it for our business) we’re allocated a companion voucher which entitles us to a free companion flight when booking another with the Avios. We both flew to Istanbul last year Business Class for £60 total. Just booked a night at St Pancras Renaissance with Marriott points – cost £40. Happy Bunny!
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    • @mrsoaroundworld

      January 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Good deal or what? I tend to use my vouchers for long haul flights – better value for money 😉

      • Suzanne (Travelbunny)

        January 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm

        We’ve also travelled to Mauritius and other long-haul destinations but there is a time limit so sometimes a cheeky weekend is called for!!
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        • @mrsoaroundworld

          January 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm

          Amen! Absolutely!

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  12. Chloe

    August 29, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Great post! In Canada sometimes I feel that we are a bit limited with our two major airlines (Air Canada and Westjet). Have to go with one of them, however lately I’ve been booking my trips to the Caribbean via Alaska and/or United. We’ll see how those stack up!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 29, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      Geography is a bummer and we are indeed not as free as we would like. Hope these other airlines work out for you 🙂

  13. Simon Taylor

    August 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Great post. The problem with loyalty programmes in the airline world is that airlines expect too much loyalty before they start dishing out the “rewards”. Gone are the days where only one airline flew on each route. The consumer has more and more choice now and therefore loyalty should be encouraged and of course rewarded more easily. Of course the low cost carrier model has really bucked the loyalty programme trend as well. What would you rather – a great priced flight or the chance to win some points that probably won’t entitle you to anything? Hmmmmm.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 29, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      Very interesting – I like a well priced flight and perks for not shopping around.. Only twice in my life I flew easyjet as it was 90% cheaper than a flagship carrier. I almost always find BA better value than Easyjet – and don’t have to include luggage, running for my life to get a seat and getting my lounge access. And free trips every now and then. What gives?

  14. Traveling Ted

    August 29, 2012 at 4:03 am

    I don’t fly much, but when I do I am a whore and a cheap one at that. Whoever has the best fare gets to spend the night with me, but next time I fly I show no loyalty with the old flame even if it showed me a good time.
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    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 29, 2012 at 8:30 am

      Love the honesty 🙂 Thanks, Ted!

  15. Craig Zabransky

    August 29, 2012 at 3:33 am

    It’s not easy to start over… sometimes the loyalty programs do have the members hostage with benefits, so kudos to you for finding which one works best for you… sounds good too.
    stay loyal, Craig
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    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 29, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Thanks Craig. Like the concept of being held hostage – in this concept. How many does that apply to? I would think lots. I think it comes down to playing the points game vs being an advocate

  16. Michael Jentsch

    August 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    We are based in Berlin, so the only program that makes senses is Lufthansa Miles+More, we also have Air Berlin, but their program is a joke like the whole airline ( recently lost my wife’s luggage and very slow in paying for the expenses). Once you use one program, it influences your decisions, that is unavoidable. I am not really a fan of Lufthansa, prefer Singapore and Cathay, but there is no real choice. One thing most airlines seem not to understand is, that being nice and some small favours do so much more for loyalty but instead they usually do everything to annoy you.
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    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 29, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Hi Michael. Thank you for your comment – I am a total believer in the geography conditions.. and reading through the many comments, it seems obvious. Maybe some airlines are reading this and can pick up a bit of advice or three

  17. Anita Mac

    August 28, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Well laid out Mrs O!
    I am not as much of a frequent flyer as you, but I do collect points. As we are based in Canada in a town with limited airline choices, I find it a challenge to actually use the points. We have to hopscotch around so much, that I tend to buy a number of tickets through other airlines with more direct flights and go for the prices. As such, I now belong to Air Canada’s program and Flying Blue which I use for Spain every year! My miles have added up, and I have to say – for a long haul flight, that is where I save my points – the upgrade to business class to fly to Croatia this August was brilliant! Ironically, I found that the business class lounge was almost as busy as the terminal, quite different from when I flew with Qantas’s programmes and lounges!
    I also belong to a couple hotels – while I favour the one programme, my business takes me to towns that don’t always have that hotel, so I have my main 2 that I use. I believe my hotel choice is equally loyalty and equally collecting points – so it works quite well. My trip to Croatia is taking me throughout Europe, and I have booked a beautiful hotel on points for my last night – no matter where I end up, I know my room is waiting on the night before I travel back across the Atlantic! Thank you Marriott Hotels!
    I guess you can say, I am pro points! I just need to work on my status level to have more flexibility!
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    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 28, 2012 at 8:25 am

      Hi Anita, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I am totally with you – airmiles are great for upgrades and sometimes, obviously price differences make any of us question any loyalty. It just depends on how much it is, to be honest.
      I am going to do a post on hotel programmes as it would make this one way too long – i think these are real winners too, and serious benefits that we can all benefit from!

  18. Raul (ilivetotravel in Twitter)

    August 28, 2012 at 2:59 am

    I wrote a LONG reply and my Internet connection blipped and I am MAD!! Short summary: yes, if an airline’s home base is your hometown – loyalty pays. Mine is Delta. While it is far from the perfect airline, my perks make it worthwhile to stick with it: lounge access, early boarding, upgrades, free luggage, etc. – but with my status (Diamond; have been D since they introduced it in 2010) and with the other tricks that improve your situation (million miles career; Delta AMEX member). Also, while I get a lot of good things, there are some ridiculous things about their dumb rules and lack of imagination on how to WOW a customer (e.g., on 8+ hr flights, I cannot upgrade unless I paid unrestricted economy; are you freaking kidding me???? the year I flew 260,000 BASE miles, they still would not let me use my systemwide upgrade coupons to upgrade; which meant, I turned down traveling ALL of 2011 to Chile because I knew I would rarely get to upgrade -> lost revenue, Delta!
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    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 28, 2012 at 8:27 am

      These newish rules about upgrading tickets need to be reviewed. I currently don’t have a problem with that with BA, if anything, they are making the system easier but Star Alliance definitely had that problem

  19. John

    August 28, 2012 at 1:31 am

    I currently hold platinum status on United (Star Alliance) and Delta (SkyTeam). While I feel the overall flying experience with Delta is better (more upgrades, newer planes, nicer flight attendants, etc.) I feel like the Star Alliance award program is much better. My United miles are easier to use, there is more availability, and more partners to choose from.
    John recently posted..A Santorini SunsetMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 28, 2012 at 8:27 am

      Alliances are indeed key – I wonder if this is why I never flew with Virgin Atlantic 🙂

  20. lola

    August 28, 2012 at 12:20 am

    hello love! it’s tough for me…i used to be loyal to American as it had the market in Dallas where my parents are. i do have a milage credit card with them. Boston is a funny airport. i don’t think it’s really anyones hub so i have no real incentive to be loyal. i’m instead loyal to my American Express card that i can accrue point with to use as cash on ANY airline and this method works best for me.
    lola recently posted..Cambodia Countdown – 4-3-2-1-0 BLAST OFFMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 28, 2012 at 8:28 am

      Our credit card programmes are so different – but I will need to investigate as I may be missing out on something.

  21. David Hoffmann

    August 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Ana,

    I am so happy you wrote about this subject because I have been learning a lot about frequent flyer miles this very week. I always fly ONE World because here in Miami we have a lot of American Airline flights. When I fly to Europe I either go British to London or Iberia to Madrid both one world. If I fly to Europe 4 times a year which is happening this year I become gold. There are way more perks though.

    For the past five years I have had a business credit card with AAdvantage. This card allows me to get 1 mile for every dollar spent (You get the mile when you pay it). WIth this credit card I pay for everything, business and non business expenses. Every month I rack up tons of miles and the good thing about it is for every $40,000 you spend you get 10,000 qualifying miles that goes towards the levels. This is fantastic when you think about how many expenses a business has. I also purchase all my merchandise with it. I rather spend on the credit card and pay it off right away than wire transferring the money to China. The more I pay the more I gain.

    I also recently learned about a website that teaches you how to gain 100,000’s of miles by informing you about current deals that each of the main three alliances of running. Check out travelhacking.org, I recently signed up and just earned 10,000 miles from a promotion of filling out forms on different restaurants I visited. The owner of the website is on his 4th year of a 5 year trip to every country and he does it all by getting miles and earning free flights through the three alliances.

    Wow this comment turned into its own post jajaj.. I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think about that website as I just joined it and its showing great results so far!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 27, 2012 at 11:29 pm

      Wow, I am now super intrigued and will definitely check it out. Will let you know the outcome 😉
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, much much much appreciated

  22. D.J. - The World of Deej

    August 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    We do not have status with Delta, but our Amex with them does provide a few perks. A free companion ticket each year and early boarding. The latter really comes in handy because I never have to worry about overhead space being full…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..California Route 1 – Big Sur to San FranciscoMy Profile

  23. Greg Goodman

    August 27, 2012 at 5:55 am

    Fascinating. My wife and I are about to book tickets from Thailand to USA and back and have been wrestling with this very idea. I still think that regardless of who you fly, the credit card you use is the most important. I have a citicard that gives me 1 point for every mile I fly, regardless of carrier. So it’s like a massive buildup of miles, that I can use on anything or any flight. You get a little less, since it’s more global, but it works best for me.
    Greg Goodman recently posted..A Local’s Guide to Bhagsu: a Small Hillside Village in McLeod Ganj, IndiaMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 27, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      Credit cards are super important, I use my BA Amex as much as possible as we always have a healthy mile balance. But it is so different for you in the States – comparing to our programmes and incentives!

  24. Iain Mallory

    August 27, 2012 at 1:33 am

    I don’t really show any loyalty to any airline, collect frequent flier points or anything.

    To be honest flying, airlines and airports are a necessary evil for me, if I could travel between continents in another manner which could compete on price I would take them.

    As for the advantages the only one that would really be beneficial would be fast tracking through airports at time they are busy. Long queues are a bit of a pain, lounges I can take or leave though the occasional upgrade would be cool too.
    Iain Mallory recently posted..Going wild in CanadaMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 27, 2012 at 11:32 pm

      appreciate your honesty 🙂 and curious about the alternative transportation 😉

  25. Kay Doughety

    August 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    This was interesting – thanks for your perspective! I had a job where I traveled usually twice a week for nearly 4 years and became the queen of the upgrade. And then I went to a job with very infrequent travel and I went back to being one of “those people” where I have tragically remained! As an American living in The States my sis and I find BA to be the hardest to use our points on – at least with their partners. Also the taxes for going through Heathrow end up being more than a coach ticket so I guess that must be only for transatlantic flights? Or maybe we need to get smarter about our attempts!
    Kay Doughety recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge: UrbanMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 27, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      Hi Kay! APD, air passenger duty is a killer and makes transatlantic award tickets absolutely shocking. Currently, only worth using miles for business or first class. The new BA programme solved this problem for European award tickets which now are excellent value for money.

      Booking with partners.. I still need to investigate it, the programmes aren’t really integrated as far as I am concerned”. I am now very intrigued!

  26. Francesca

    August 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    All these loyalty programs confuse the crap out of me. That’s why I fly whichever airline has the best deal. I am a member of a few programs, and have been able to get free reward tickets. But I’m not all that loyal.
    Francesca recently posted..My annual trip back in timeMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 27, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      Appreciate the honesty, Francesca 🙂 If it’s price it is price.

  27. Natalie trice

    August 26, 2012 at 9:43 am

    As a very frequent flyer in my past life as a PR I loved my BA pass and like so many it was accesss to the lounge, ESP if it was an early start or I was delayed, that I really treasured. My
    Husband still has it which means we can book seats that work for the children when we go on holiday and know we don’t have to hang out in bigger king
    Before flights and instead go to the lounge and relax. As a lover of airports, yes I know, this actually is a part of the trip for me.

    Great post Anna.

    Best wishes

    Natalie

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 27, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Totally with you – great that they appreciate people fly with others!

  28. Aaron

    August 26, 2012 at 2:12 am

    While I have just about every hotel loyalty card in my collection, I’m not that big on frequent flyer programs. I currently hold silver on the Star Alliance network with Thai Air.

    I made a big mistake earlier this year with miles.
    I used 70,000 for a “free” ticket from Nagoya- Bangkok- Sydney- Bangkok- Nagoya.
    Normally this fare costs me about 1300 dollars on Thai Air. To get the free tickets, I had to pay over 600 dollars in fees and surcharges! I would have much preferred to pay the extra 700 and keep my miles as well as earn another 15,000.

    From now on I will only be using miles to upgrade, which I think is a much better deal.
    Aaron recently posted..The resort featured in the tsunami movie “The Impossible”My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 26, 2012 at 6:23 am

      Ohhh, very true – having read your comments, realised I do use mine almost exclusively for upgrades. BA has changed the shorter flights now and we only pay 25 Euros (econ) or 35 Euros now for awards ticket, but I had to pay 500 Euros recently for a ticket to the US. Mind you, still worth it as it was Club World!

  29. Nick

    August 26, 2012 at 12:20 am

    I’ve been AA EXP for years and years now. Overall it’s a great program. I get my first class intl lounge access, my unlimited* domestic upgrades, and my 8 intl upgrades a year. The AA staff does their best, and I fly them out of comfort and familiarity than anything else.

    Out of Chicago, my two real choices are United or American. American, I think, offers a stronger domestic product and United’s alliances make them desireable for international travel. AA’s connection with BA is nice, but I can understand why BA is so hated.

    If you’re a pure leisure traveler, getting minimal status helps save on fees and you accrue miles faster. If you travel on business, mid-tier should be your goal. Keep in mind that status is more expensive than cocaine…

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 26, 2012 at 6:25 am

      why do you mean hated?

  30. Graham GlobalGrasshopper

    August 25, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Yet to join the world of loyalty programmes for airlines – though I’m sure I should have just this year alone! I think not being wedded to flying with any carrier in particular has meant that I’m not seen as the most loyal of travellers! 😉
    Graham GlobalGrasshopper recently posted..Experience: Myanmar slowly opens its doorsMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 26, 2012 at 6:24 am

      Interesting, do you reckon it could change it you flew more?

      • Graham GlobalGrasshopper

        August 26, 2012 at 9:48 am

        I guess so – for some reason I’ve never imagined that I would get enough points for anything useful, yet here I am years later, thinking that I would have actually accumulated loads! :-/

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          August 27, 2012 at 11:36 pm

          Oh yes oh yes 🙂

  31. Carolyn

    August 24, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    When I was an expat (working in Holland and travelling throughout Europe) I collected all manner of loyalty cards. The truth is, I wasn’t very considered when it came to points collecting and unlike you Ana I have one card for each airline loyalty scheme, they are all in my wallet, I have the minimum number of points on each and cannot remember my various, pins, passwords and ‘wot not’s’ for accessing all of my accounts 🙂

    I do feel a need for some loyalty card feng shui clutter clearing, or perhaps I should just ditch them all and start again?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 25, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Love the feng shui concept – happy to help next time we rendez-vous

  32. Leah Travels

    August 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Much to my dismay, my hometown and favorite airline merged with United. Oh, how I miss Continental. Nonetheless, I’m a United girl by default. I do get some perks due to my United Credit card. I’m not even silver with United, but when I book with my husband’s miles, I’m treated like a queen. He’s just short of Platinum 1K for the year. Needless to say, I try to book with his points as much as possible. 😉
    Leah Travels recently posted..A Sunny Day at Cloudy Bay WineryMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      It would be wrong not to 😉

  33. World Traveller

    August 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    BA do give vouchers to Gold members but you got to keep on flying to earn them:

    * At 2,500 Tier Points, and again at 3,500 Tier Points, we’ll award you with a voucher that you and a companion can use towards an upgrade to the next cabin on a flight of your choice, subject to availability.
    * At 4,500 Tier Points, you can share your membership benefits by giving someone else our prestigious Executive Club Silver Partner Card.
    * At 5,000 Tier Points, you will receive the Concorde Room Card, your key to the most luxurious and well-appointed lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 5 and New York JFK Terminal 7, the perfect setting for both relaxation and business.

    It’s clear that BA make Gold special. At the same time they’re being careful not to dilute the product whilst making it even more special for for the seriously frequent fliers.
    World Traveller recently posted..Dance The Night Away At The Buenos Aires World Tango FestivalMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      I know – I remember when I got to gold I got super excited with those perks. And calling my BFF and offer a silver card (and then reading it properly and realising I was still a long way to go!!)

      That upgrade seems a bit far fetched to me.. If you work out the cost! I actually did some research for my MBA dissertation on an related topic and will dig out numbers). I think a gold card cost minimum €7500-€9000 – you should get some champagne with it in club world or first!

      And who has a black BA premier card? Would love to see one!

  34. AJ (LiveFromALounge.com)

    August 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    For the not so frequent traveller, mid-tier status does wonders. Everyone should at least aspire for status enough to bring them to the lounges (usually called mid-tier elite).

    As for upgrades, American (AA) and other airlines in the USA offer upgrade vouchers for domestic and international flying to members. they also throw in complimentary upgrades for their elites in domestic trips on a space available basis.

    But this is not just limited for the USA. For example, I get upgrade vouchers all the time on my home airline (Jet airways) starting from Silver tier onwards.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      I am very curious about those upgrade vouchers. Is it a set number? At the top tier with BA (modestly called Gold), we don’t get anything..

      • World Traveller

        August 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm

        Miles & More give Senator (top tier although there’s HON Cirlcle which is uber-top tier (i think by invitation)) each time your requalify for Senator. Only problem is they can only be used if you’re paying full fare in the cabin you want to upgrade from.

        Nice idea at first glance but you’re caught by the smallprint when it comes to using them. End result… upgrade vouchers for many go unused.
        World Traveller recently posted..Dance The Night Away At The Buenos Aires World Tango FestivalMy Profile

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          August 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

          I love the names! Sooo exaggerated 😉 senator, admiral 😉

  35. Pola (@jettingaround)

    August 24, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Excellent post, Mrs. O! I’ve had Star Alliance for years due to my Poland-US travels (3 airlines can take me there and back direct), and I do see some of the drawbacks. As I play the mile game more, I may see what other options there are for me. BA seems to get it right from what you’re saying.
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photo of the Week: Looking down from the Eiffel TowerMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 24, 2012 at 10:19 am

      It is worth having a look indeed – and again it will totally depend on where you are based/flying to!

  36. the lazy travelers

    August 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    we’re tried & true starwood preferred guests, but cannot commit to an airline loyalty program… it seems so grown up for some reason? like when we own a washer and dryer, we’ll also belong to an airline loyalty program! i have no idea why i feel this way.
    the lazy travelers recently posted..no travel requiredMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 24, 2012 at 10:19 am

      That is very interesting. Most people get airline cards before hotel cards – which I think are even more valuable. That will be a future discussion topic 🙂

  37. Arjan Tupan

    August 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Haha, not a PPS, not even an elite status at any loyalty program at the moment. But, I used to be gold in Flying Blue of AirFrance/KLM. It was brilliant. Especially for my relatively frequent European flights I had at the time. Lounge access, but more importantly priority check-in and fast-lane security. That’s all I needed. For me, flying from Paris or Amsterdam (so mostly with AF or KLM), I did not experience any of the hassle Worldtraveller mentioned.

    Anyway what I think is important are
    – fast movement through airports (check-in/security)
    – lounge access in case of lay-overs longer than 1 hour
    – extra luggage
    – comfort
    – and a little bit of attention. It’s always nice to be recognized.

    By the way, currently I’m collection a lot of BalticMiles. Not the best loyalty program if you don’t live around where I live, but they have some exciting things. One thing is that they are/were working on a crowdsourced special level to recognize people who collect point outside flights. I think this sort of thing is great, but I wish they start collaborating with one of the big alliances :).
    Arjan Tupan recently posted..Three little birdsMy Profile

    • Nikos

      August 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      hello stranger! Oh I love Air Baltic, such a cool little airline 🙂 Really hope all is well with u!
      Nikos recently posted..Austrian Airlines Pre Order Meals!My Profile

      • Arjan Tupan

        August 24, 2012 at 6:50 am

        Hey! Yes, they’re funky. And in general great social media service :).
        Arjan Tupan recently posted..Three little birdsMy Profile

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

          that’s another interesting angle – which we have to explore/analyse further. Airlines and Social Media. Obvious one being Finnair 😉

          • 9VSKA

            August 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm

            Hey, I thought we’ve been doing that for the past year, haven’t we Mrs. O? 😉
            9VSKA recently posted..JAL renews in-flight meal delights on its international routesMy Profile

          • @mrsoaroundworld

            August 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm

            Yes 🙂 but I mean writing a post about how different airlines are approaching Social Media 🙂

            American Airlines completely changed my impression of them thanks to Twitter. I would actually consider flying with them – just hoping service delivery matches SM expectations.

    • Arjan Tupan

      August 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

      Oh, I wanted to add one thing: I like it when loyalty programmes give you the opportunity to spend miles on charity. Especially when it’s a programme of an airline you don’t fly enough with to get points for tickets or upgrades etcetera. At least you can put your miles to good use then.
      Arjan Tupan recently posted..Three little birdsMy Profile

      • @mrsoaroundworld

        August 24, 2012 at 10:20 am

        I think that is really nice. I have done that once 🙂

      • 9VSKA

        August 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm

        Interesting that you mention this, because some of the frequent-whatever programmes here in AU also have the option to do this (that is, donate to charity).

        Yes, it is definitely a good thing!
        9VSKA recently posted..JAL renews in-flight meal delights on its international routesMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 24, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Interesting comments, Arjan 🙂 and welcome back. Curious about Air Baltic initiative – what does it entail?

  38. Nikos

    August 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    well mr 9VSKA, I never knew you were PPS with SQ! WOW! I am just a boring old cheap gold star alliance member with Aegean airlines. It’s good, enjoy the lounge access, priority luggage and check in. Makes the ride a whole lot smoother. Does suck you in though, as I am planning a few upcoming trips and only want to fly star alliance to keep my status and get points. But really is it worth it? To pay extra?? hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 23, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      That is the point. Do I go for gold or do I stay silver? With Star Alliance, I wouldn’t doubt for a second. With One World.. what do I really miss? Don’t want to give the airlines any ideas. BA has the most generous and loyalty driven programme I know. Question: with Aegean, what do you need to do to be gold?

      • Nikos

        August 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm

        minimum of 25,000 miles, super easy to do! Don’t expect to be given upgrades on other star alliance airlines, doesn’t happen! On Aegean I have been given two upgrades, so can’t complain 🙂
        Nikos recently posted..Austrian Airlines Pre Order Meals!My Profile

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          August 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm

          25,000 miles??? I needed 30,000 for silver and 70,000 for gold. That is not fair!!

          • 9VSKA

            August 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm

            It’s actually 4000 + 16000 = 20000 miles.

            4000 to get you to Blue / *A Silver within 12 months.

            16000 on Blue card to get to Gold / *A Gold within 12 months.

            Mrs O: I reckon you should get one!
            9VSKA recently posted..JAL renews in-flight meal delights on its international routesMy Profile

          • @mrsoaroundworld

            August 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm

            I dont think I want a Star Alliance card, thank you very much! But how shocking is it? That means one could totally get around the system with a different airline. Disrespectful towards other travellers who work really hard (and spend enough) to keep silver or gold.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      What is PPS?

    • 9VSKA

      August 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      Yes… but that was a long time ago, Mr. Foodie of the Air!

      Kudos to you in getting gold status on A3!
      9VSKA recently posted..JAL renews in-flight meal delights on its international routesMy Profile

  39. 9VSKA

    August 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    You should know who I’m with and all… haha

    But for those who don’t: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (Gold status member for around 15 years, around 5 years as PPS)

    The Star Alliance Gold Status works for me, and I normally travel SIA anyways — hence, there’s really not much to complain about there.

    Whenever I travel with another *A carrier, lounge access and additional baggage allowance is a given. Seat preferences may not always work, but I always make the effort to do my bit and try to request my seating preferences to the airline in question (minimising possible disappointment at the airport).

    As for your scenario with the *A Silver card (I know we’ve talked about this before), there are only so many benefits given to members on this status level, on any airline. In the case of TAP where they decided to offer you those benefits, it is their own bad for misleading their own members by creating that disparity.

    With regards to the free membership you got, it’s pretty moronic how the airline has further differentiated between a standard *A Silver and a “free” *A Silver card. Like you said, why do they want to further aggravate the customer when they’ve already decided to ditch you and go elsewhere?

    This post should generate some interesting comments if enough people decide to make some… 🙂

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      Thank you sir, for making comments on my little website. I am being condescending.. and you know why 🙂
      Seriously, I understand that there is a huge difference from being Silver or Gold, but what does one get for being silver with Star Alliance? Nothing – or no consistency. OneWorld got this totally right.. and for me to given in wasn’t easy. It’s like falling in love again, not easy. You need to memorise different colours, phone numbers, it is not a disposable relationship.

      That fake silver card spectacularly backfired!

      • 9VSKA

        August 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm

        I very much agree with you that *A Silver doesn’t seem to have any value by comparison (to oneworld’s “silver” offering).

        Not entirely sure why they can’t seem to work this out. But it’s definitely an area worth investigating (and do a write-up on, possibly) with regards to benefits attainable with the different airlines on a particular alliance.

        And that so-called “fake” Silver card — it’s an absolute disgrace how the airline can take upon the notion that customers lost to the competition can be looked down at. What’s the point of initiating damage control if this was the case?
        9VSKA recently posted..JAL renews in-flight meal delights on its international routesMy Profile

        • @mrsoaroundworld

          August 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm

          I really don’t know, silly really!

  40. World Traveller

    August 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    A thoroughly enjoyable read – I’m in a similar boat to you.

    I was top tier with KLM for many years – my circumstances changed and the amount of flying I did slowly decreased. They didn’t have the best product or the latest fleet but chose to fly with them for a number of reasons:
    * Decent fares.
    * Up to 8 flights a day from London City meant a seamless connection in Amsterdam. LCY is a dream to fly to / from and prefer connecting in Amsterdam rather than doing the ‘Heathrow schlep’. Via AMS is actually quicker than doing LHR.
    * Regular frequent flyer promotions & discounts.

    On the downside they were the underdog in any reciprocal agreements – Malaysian Airlines frequent flyers could use KLM lounges but KLM passengers couldn’t use Malaysian’s lounges. The same went for many other airlines they had agreements with.

    KLM used to give KLM & Northwest elites priority on front of cabin seating, this didn’t seem to happen on Northwest flights, yet Northwest did put Continental elites at the front.

    So… circumstances changed again and I’ve been flying more in the last year. In recent years British AIrways have started flying from London City and I have to say they’ve got a great product! In the last couple of months I’ve even done the Heathrow schlep and flown with BA.

    I find BA to be professional, they’ve got a great product – their service at all points of contact is consistent. There’s a number of little things they do that make me feel as though I’m really valued as a customer.

    I never got that with KLM – no phone call, no letter or email to find out how things are when I stopped flying with them. I was just a ‘number in the system’, certainly not a valued customer.
    World Traveller recently posted..The Brussels Summer Festival – An Event Not To Be Missed!My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      Hi! Have never seen you around here and wanted to say a huge thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. After reading your post, I realised something – I never flied with any Sky Team European carrier, how strange!

      I am glad you found some “solace” in the BA programme. It is actually very good – and have you noticed the new European award flight changes? £25 for economy is almost a joke. I still think they need to work on the taxes for transatlantic award tickets, though!

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