Don’t Be Loyal to Frequent Flier Applications

A frequent flier airplane
Up to date: 6/29/18 | June 29, 2018

A couple of years in the past, I wrote a put up about becoming a member of frequent flier packages. On the time, I used to be within the technique of choosing one to affix, however now I really feel the put up is a bit dated, and my ideas on the topic have modified as I’ve began to get extra into mileage packages and accumulating frequent flier miles. Which implies it’s a great time to jot down a brand new put up on the subject.

Again in 2008, I used to be going to affix the JAL awards program as a result of it partnered not solely with Oneworld but additionally a number of different airways I take pleasure in, like Emirates. In the long run, I joined American Airways, which can also be a Oneworld accomplice.

I joined American over JAL as a result of I noticed that whenever you don’t fly that a lot (and again then, I didn’t), it’s a lot tougher to earn airline miles whenever you aren’t racking up factors through the use of a journey bank card. So I picked American because it partnered with JAL, and I may use its bank card to get bonus miles and miles from my day-to-day spending.

Now, shut to 10 years after that first put up, I consider that until you’re a tremendous flier, you shouldn’t stick to 1 airline or airline alliance. Utilizing bank cards and particular affords will get you all the additional factors and miles it’s worthwhile to get free flights on any alliance. There’s no have to be loyal. The one factor gained by being loyal to 1 airline is elite standing and the wonderful perks that include it.

(However in the event you unfold out your flights amongst too many alternative carriers, you’ll dilute your mileage stability. It would take you ages to earn sufficient miles to redeem them for a free flight, and also you positively received’t fly sufficient on one airline to achieve elite standing — it takes 25,000 miles on most airways to get the bottom elite standing, and these days, they require a sure stage of spend with the airline or on their bank card too. Most individuals don’t fly or spend that a lot per yr.)

That mentioned, elite standing is all I care about. I would like the additional perks — the free baggage, airport lounges, precedence boarding, and free upgrades. I’ll pay extra for a ticket and be loyal, as a result of, ultimately, the perks make the upper value value it — for me.

For the informal flier, I don’t consider loyalty is value it.

I used to say that in the event you can fly 50,000 miles or extra, it’s value specializing in one airline and alliance as a result of the perks are value the additional value (particularly the worldwide lounges). However now, the key airways in the US don’t worth your loyalty anymore. They’re solely rewarding their high-spending shoppers with deep pockets — not their frequent shoppers. Journey 100,000 miles a yr, however on only a few low-cost tickets? Nice — that can earn you a pat on the again. Spend $20,000 on a number of high-priced tickets? The pink carpet is rolled out for you! So with the heightened spending necessities, decreased advantages, and general “F U” angle airways have, it doesn’t make sense to be loyal to an airline in the event you aren’t a high-spending traveler.

Proper now, I’ve no airline standing. Most of my flights for the remainder of the yr are long-haul worldwide flights — the sort I at all times use factors on, so I can fly without spending a dime in enterprise class. Most of my paid, status-earning flights will probably be low-cost home flights. I’m merely not going to have the ability to meet the brand new spending necessities for standing — for any airline.

I’ve no want to get my standing again, although. I get the essential standing perks through the airline-branded bank cards. I can’t bear in mind the final time an improve cleared. I’ve factors.

Simply give me the most cost effective flight.

I’m flying Alaska/Virgin, JetBlue, and Southwest much more recently. These airways don’t have baggage charges; they do have friendlier workers and higher in-flight merchandise (hi there, free gate-to-gate wi-fi on JetBlue!), and the expertise is leagues higher than the massive three!

So, it is smart to be loyal whenever you’re a high-spending street warrior. For those who’re at all times staying in inns or flying tens of 1000’s of miles per yr, staying loyal will get you a number of added advantages.

However why pay extra in the event you’re solely going to fly a number of thousand miles per yr? Don’t be loyal. Simply go on value. If you recognize you aren’t going to fulfill the elite standing threshold, why pay additional? Until you’ve gotten an actual affinity for one airline, the advantages you get on your “loyalty” aren’t definitely worth the added value you’re going to pay on your fare. 

There are such a lot of methods to get free miles today that in the event you’re only a informal, few-times-per-year flier, you’re higher off utilizing these strategies to get free enterprise or first-class tickets, which provide you with all of the elite perks for that one flight anyway.

I do assume everybody ought to join frequent flier packages. That method, whenever you use an organization, you’re accumulating rewards. By no means miss an opportunity to get rewards! I’m a member of each airline and resort loyalty program because of this.

However in the event you’re solely taking a few journeys per yr, there’s no motive to be loyal to 1 program. Save your self cash and go along with the most cost effective ticket.

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