Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Where to credit BA Flights – alternatives to BAEC Reply To: Where to credit BA Flights – alternatives to BAEC

Niall 111 posts

I respectfully disagree with yonasl’s comment. Once you have attained Gold, it can absolutely be beneficial to start building miles/points in another program. Not just for diversifying but also just that American Airlines and Alaska miles for example are super useful!

It is the status based bonuses which especially make doing this complicated (i.e. if I get a 100% bonus on base miles as BA Gold, why start fresh in AA where I’ll get no status bonus and earn far fewer points?) Fortunately, the announcement that BA will move to Avios earnings based on net ticket cost in 2023 means there are likely many trips for people which would be more beneficial to credit to another program even with BA status bonuses. So silver linings! Getting ahead of it and being ready for that now, especially if you intend to switch programs could be very sensible indeed.

The additional pain will be that of getting your BA Gold status benefits while crediting to this other FFP (e.g. benefits of priority check-in, priority boarding, free seat selection, lounge access, priority on wait lists and for upgrades etc). I know people do it, but I can imagine it being painful at times.

A comparison across programs now is especially difficult given that BA’s avios earnings is going to change in 2023 but we don’t know when and exactly how. I think it is reasonable to assume it will be roughly the same as Iberia’s implementation. However, the ‘when’ is fairly vital especially as there have been comments suggesting BA would honour the old earnings rates for bookings made prior to the date this change comes in. If the timing was right and you know your travel plans well in advance, it could mean that this change in earnings wouldn’t be noticed by you for some time (perhaps into 2024). Additionally, there is risk in other programs too. For example, Alaska Mileage Plan is widely expected to have a big devaluation coming based on the phenomenal value you can get from some of their original/older partner redemptions now vs the charts for new partners, as well as their entry to Oneworld. They have pre-announced redemption chart changes will come in this year, so we should know soon enough.

My question for you is why do you want to do this? If it’s just to build up some miles of a different ‘currency’ but not to chase status in another program it is probably simpler. However, even still, you need to consider whether or not you are likely to attain status in that other program because of the status bonuses which are offered (e.g. even just considering flights with BA, you get status bonuses credit from those with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines but not with Qatar Airways).

When someone asked Rob which SkyTeam program to join, his answer was that it is never an easy answer because you need to factor:

*how it rewards in the specific ticket class you fly, on the routes you fly
*whether you value the ability to top-up via credit card spend etc
*how long status lasts when you earn it
*what the cost of redemptions are (and which carriers have surcharges added)
*whether you value the ability to book redemptions online
*cancellation policy on redemptions
*whether a scheme has better reward availability for its own elites, and whether you value that

etc etc

Flyertalk too has a ‘Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join?’ thread which similarly asks you a list of standard questions to be able to answer.

If you can answer some of these questions and provide more background, I’m sure you can get a good answer here. Based on the length of my answer which isn’t touching the sides of how complex this is, I don’t think a few posts of peoples comments on this will give a great answer without further detail on your travel pattern.

In the meantime, it is American Airlines and Alaska Airlines which are most interesting to me (and for my circumstances). Alaska Airlines, even with the uncertainly over where the program is heading (devaluation) is great and it’s a great time to be thinking about it because their membership year is the calendar year. If you hold out for their announcement/new redemption charts you can know if it will be worthwhile to switch crediting in January. The issue for status chasing is that they require that you fly a number of segments marketed and operated by Alaska (6 for MVP Gold which is Sapphire/BA Silver and 12 for MVP Gold 75K which is Emerald/BA Gold). American Airlines less generous cabin bonus for the cheaper BA business fares sucks as it’s the same as for premium economy, but the ability to get status from spend on hotels is interesting.

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