Very interesting little article over at CNNMoney about the best and worst frequent flier programs. We use AA for most of our travel, if only because I have elite status from all my international flying when I had a “real” job, and it makes check in and security a breeze. Also, since most of my miles are with them, we tend to get more bonuses and upgrades when we fly, so we might as well keep adding to that mileage pile. We also use United quite a bit, and I still have leftover miles on Delta, Continental and USAir. USAir we never fly, but I get miles by using my Bank of America debit card, so we have quite a few miles there. Normally I donate miles from the airlines we don’t use every year to charity so at least someone can get some use out of them. So what are some differences between the programs?
American AAdvantage – American is the most generous about granting elite status to travelers
who lack the requisite miles. Periodic promotions boost customers who
agree to fly an extra 5,000 or 10,000 miles in 90 days, even on
Continental OnePass – Continental wins frequent-flier polls for its overall benefits, but the
best-kept secret may just be its airport Presidents Clubs ($325 to $400
Delta Skymiles – To steal customers, Delta plays
hardball by trumpeting periodic “status matching” offers that let
newcomers from rival carriers bring their status with them.
Northwest WorldPerks – Road warriors who log less than 50,000 miles a year swear Northwest is
United Mileage Plus – United is the only airline that lets fliers, with a prepaid card
starting at $5,000, buy into elite status without flying a single mile.
Elites at risk of losing their status can enroll in a $499 program that
doubles subsequent miles earned.
The article lists pros and cons of each frequent flier program and what the key markets are that each airline serves. Pretty interesting stuff, but I wish they went a little more in-depth and expanded their airline reach a little bit. Hmm, maybe a future post…..
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