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  • jrob274 3 posts

    Hi there,

    I live in the UK and my primary loyalty program is BA exec club (gold member) and I generally fly OneWorld. I also have a BA Amex etc.
    My secondary program is Virgin Atlantic (now that it covers SkyTeam). This covers most other flights I would need to take incl VA, ITA, AF/KLM, SAS (even though it is star alliance) etc. And I also have a VA mastercard and earn the companion voucher each year so it works well. I generally get to silver status.
    However I sometimes need to fly Star Alliance that I can’t credit to one of the above, mainly Lufthansa shorthaul business (I credit SAS to Virgin and United to BA via Aer Lingus). It is unlikely I will reach any Star Alliance status level, however it would be nice to accumulate enough points over time for a reward flight for my wife and myself.

    Question is, what Star Alliance program makes sense in this third program scenario? Lufthansa Miles & more would be consistent with the flights but the miles expire so I was also considering United, Air Canada Aeroplan and others. I have a platinum amex in case that helps (being able to top-up a small number of earned points with amex points would be helpful and would point to Air Canada, ANA, Avianca, Singapore Airlines, but open to considering any option!).

    Many thanks!

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,091 posts

    I use United because:
    – no expiry
    – matches to United Silver from Bonvoy Titanium
    – vast reward seat availability
    – low points price for upgrading donestic US cash flights, which can be booked as a punt due to the mandatory 24hr free cancellation

    davefl 1,217 posts

    +1 for United. Lots of low priced (8-11k) awards on partners in Europe and Africa. Easy to get Lufty awards with United miles. Their app is exceptional too

    BBbetter 634 posts

    Apart from United, all major *A carriers have hard expiry.
    It’s not terrible though as they are usually 3 years expiry and you can book one year ahead, so 4 years effectively.
    It’ll come down to what routes you prefer to fly and which programs have availability.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,062 posts

    SAS will likely be joining ST in the near future. It’s definitely leaving *A as part of AF-KL buying a stake in it.

    redlilly 110 posts

    Apart from United, all major *A carriers have hard expiry.
    It’s not terrible though as they are usually 3 years expiry and you can book one year ahead, so 4 years effectively.
    It’ll come down to what routes you prefer to fly and which programs have availability.

    Perhaps not a “major Star Alliance partner”… but Aegean miles don’t expire. Can be useful for European based travel.

    The real Swiss Tony 653 posts

    I guess it depends on the objective. Do you want to accrue miles that never expire, or is it more about building status. Back in the day AC was very easy to hit *G. I think A3 might be in the zone now. I’ve always favoured SK because of the family pooling and earnings on deep discount J fares but as noted above they’re set to leave *A soon.

    Rob
    HfP Staff
    2,201 posts
    jrob274 3 posts

    Thanks so much everyone. Any views on Air Canada vs United? Looks like Air Canada might have more earning partners (Emirates etc)? But not sure how they compare for earning / redemption rates?

    It sounds like either would be better than Lufthansa given the points expiry point and broader range of partners.

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,091 posts

    Thanks so much everyone. Any views on Air Canada vs United? Looks like Air Canada might have more earning partners (Emirates etc)? But not sure how they compare for earning / redemption rates?

    It sounds like either would be better than Lufthansa given the points expiry point and broader range of partners.

    Do you have/are you likely to have Marriott Titanium status? If so, that matches to United Silver. Silver isn’t that bad; I get discounted award seat prices, extra baggage, use of the Premier Access check in and security, priority Group 2 boarding (albeit still after about 5 other categories).

    Lady London 2,038 posts

    Probably not Air Canada as they suddenly did the dirty with their Frequent Flyer program a few years back. It was a bit like the Radisson Hotels gutting that’s commented on the other articles here on HfP today and yesterday and was a gutting that happened overnight without warning too.

    I can’t remember exactly what happened but basically tbe program was suddenly spun off (sold) to a third party and accrued benefits were pretty much annihilated. The 3rd party paid a huge amount for the program and there were comments it was worth more than Air Canada.

    After the program lost goodwill from members and due to other factors some of which were on the control of Air Canada to do with use of benefits etc., so the program lost value, Air Canada either bought it back or bought the name (sorry, forgot the exact details) for next to nothing and has rebooted the program.

    It all looked like bad faith and dirty dealing by Air Canada and there were interesting loyalty blog articles on both the sale and the re-start at those times.

    So I would not invest in an Air Canada FF program if there was an acceptable alternative.

    JonathanC 103 posts

    Although there’s been some bad mouthing of Aeroplan above, it’s a good program to use if you occasionally fly Emirates and or Etihad not enough to bother with own programs (or don’t like SkyWards hard expiry), as you can credit flights from both airlines to Aeroplan.

    Choosing the right program is usually easier said than done, as all have advantages and disadvantages if you’re not particularly fussed over which one you go with and just need one to credit flights from a variety of airlines.

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