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Frequent Flier Program Benefits

Frequent Flier Program Benefits

Each of Airlines and their frequent flyer programs have quirks. While collecting a big pool of miles in one program works for some at MHC we believe diversification is the key and collect different programs with a redemption in mind. Listed below are 5 reasons to collect and fly with each of the major currencies. 

ALASKA

1.) Alaska still lets you earn miles the old fashioned way. So if you travel between New York and San Francisco you get 2,597 Airmiles, regardless of how much your ticket cost. 

2.) Upgrades are much more common on Alaska as there are fewer elites, lots of business travellers stick to the majors. 

3.) Great Partners including Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Qantas offering some super redemptions including 70K First Class to Asia on Cathay and 55K to Australia in Business with Qantas.

4.) Saver Fares which actually allow you choose a seat at no extra cost and pay full mileage earnings. 

5.) They allow access to some of their lounges on Priority Pass - a nice touch.

 

AMERICAN AIRLINES

1.) Part of One World so many ways to earn AA miles including British Airways.

2.) Dynamic pricing is the new norm, so while you won't earn alot flying on cheap fares, occasionally they will release amazing value in redemptions - This year we saw 6K tickets to Australia.

3.) AA is the only US airline to still have a proper First Class product on International routes and some premium domestic routes. While it doesn't compare to some other International carriers it can still be a great option.

4.) There are some great International redemptions to be made such as Asia to Doha in Qatar Qsuites for 42K, South Africa to the US in Qsuites for 75K and access to Etihad inventory. 

5.) A nice partnership with Sprint Mobile which will pay you 25k to change service provider. Thats a long way towards your $4,000 Qatar ticket.

 

BRITISH AIRWAYS

1.)  While BA charges big surcharges for Avios redemptions in Business and First class they are a super currency to have for partner and short haul flying in Europe. It is still 4,500 Avios to go pretty much anywhere in Western Europe on BA at the last minute. Fares can often be in the hundreds at that point.

2.) The Executive Club app helps you earn miles on shopping at great rates compared to the Shopping Portals in the US. Booking hotels through this can add thousands of Avios to your Hotel points. 

3.) BA allows you to upgrade a cabin for 20K Avios. With regular sales that can mean a jump from Premium to Club World or Club World to First can be very affordable and well worth it. Like Virgin their new A350 has a super cool new product which is well worth trying. 

4.) The BA award chart is based on distance flown hence the cheap fares in Europe. But with partners such as Qatar and Cathay there are some serious sweet spots out there in business class. Bear in mind how good the lounges can be, so show up early both hungry and thirsty. 

5.) British Airways championed AVIOS but they have also been adopted by AerLingus and Iberia. You can transfer between programs and take advantage of the benefits of each. You can often find business class tickets on Iberia for 34K between Spain and the US with very low taxes and charges. One of the best ways to cross the Atlantic in a bed.

 DELTA 

1.) People have always mocked SkyMiles or SkyPesos as the are affectionately known but they are starting to come into their own. Regular sales with knock down prices come and go from and too places you actually want to go. Right now LAX to Tokyo is only 30K, nobody beats that.

2.) Delta are in the midst of a sell up campaign to first class domestically meaning upgrades are fewer but the price of paying up is lower. Often you will see offers as low as $100 to upgrade, this means proper mileage earnings too. Recently MHC upgraded an economy ticket to Premium Select from Tokyo to the US for $115 less than $10 an hour. 

3.) Delta employees are proud of who they work for and it shows, while there will always be a few bad eggs people at all levels are generally very pleasant to deal with and make traveling with them enjoyable.

4.) Compared to the others Delta is almost always on time. When you consider how big the network is, that is insane but true. Management take pride in this and organize their supply chain accordingly which in turn is winning business and bumping that all important stock price.

5.) While Delta One redemptions are generally quite high to unbelievably high on long haul flights, you can often book Virgin Atlantic for considerably less. Always worth a look if heading to Europe and their new A350 Business Class is slick. 

UNITED 

1.) Still holds the key to one of the best redemptions out there with Thai Airways. For 65K you can travel all the way from Tokyo to Sydney in the nose of a 747 in First class or up top in an A380. Give plenty of time for the First Class lounge in Bangkok as you get your own room, dining on demand, constant champagne and an hour massage. 

2.) United also allow the excursionist perk which if used correctly can save a lot of cash. You essentially get a free flight in any region as long as a round-trip award ticket begins and ends in the same region. So a round trip award ticket between New York and Boston for 10K could allow you take a Singapore airlines flight from Hong Kong to Bali for free.

3.) The MileagePlusX app is the go to for knowing what’s available nearby when it comes to earning miles. It pulls in the dining program, shopping portals, gift card services and online apps into one place to help you earn on almost everything. 

4.) The new Polaris product is great on international flights but you can also get it on select trans cons often at knock down prices. It can be a great way to get the most out of the excursionist if you play it right. 

5.) There is lots of noise around skip lagging where you buy a ticket to somewhere which connects where you actually want to go being illegal or at least frowned upon. But United often allow you stop for an extended time and carry on. Sometimes a flight from the Caribbean to the East Coast connecting to the west coast a month later is cheaper than the one leg to the East Coast - crazy but true. 

SOUTHWEST

1.) Southwest has always been a quirky airline offering the best of both worlds, budget Conscious with frequent flyer perks. Boarding happens in numbered order and seats are first come first served. It’s different and it works. The crews are great fun and you always get two checked bags for free.

2.) They care about customer service on a recent delay of a couple of hours MHC received LUV vouchers of $100 for the inconvenience. Unnecessary but a great touch.

3.) Southwest believe in themselves so you won’t find them on google flights or non business travel agencies. Go direct to the site for the best fares with no commissions going elsewhere adding to the price.

4.) Completely random but if like me you have a big change jar at home. You can turn those into vouchers at your local supermarket thanks to their agreement with coinbase. Put every penny to work...

5.) Southwest frequent flyers can achieve A List status after a certain amount of flying. This allows priority boarding and all the usual stuff but they also offer the companion pass which allows a friend or family member fly on all your reservations for taxes of roughly $5.60. Not just once a year like you get with Delta and Alaska credit cards. 

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