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Best US Frequent Flyer Program

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:00 pm
by MH017
Heard AS has the best in the US program, esp. when it comes to reward tickets; interesting to see some "non usual" airlines in their program, like Emirates !

Any thoughts ?

RE: Best US Frequent Flyer Program

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 1:33 am
by dumbell2424
Best is all relative to the individual.

Brief notes off the top of my head:
- Alaska doesn't have the sprawling network map that DL, AA, and UA have.
- DL and UA have a revenue component for status, AA doesn't (yet).
- Upgrades have become difficult for low-tier elites on DL and UA, and AA is heading that way too with an enlarged elite pool from merger

RE: Best US Frequent Flyer Program

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:11 am
by BoeingGuy
AS and AA have traditionally had much better award availability. DL's can often be non-existent.

AS has the benefit of having partners in multiple alliances, such as QF, CX, LA, BA, AA, DL, KL, AF, KE, and a few not in an alliance such as HU and EK.

One downside to AS's program is that their partners may release fewer awards to them. I saw this first hand recently. On certain dates in October, the SEA-CDG was available round trip for like 67,000 miles if you had DL miles. For AS miles, the SEA-CDG portion wasn't available and the remaining options, mostly on AA were not good.

I think it also depends on where you live. If you live in ANC, SEA or PDX, then AS is your best bet. If you live in MSP then DL might be the choice.

RE: Best US Frequent Flyer Program

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:01 am
by compensateme
Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 2):

AS and AA have traditionally had much better award availability. DL's can often be non-existent.

AS has the benefit of having partners in multiple alliances, such as QF, CX, LA, BA, AA, DL, KL, AF, KE, and a few not in an alliance such as HU and EK.

DL's award availability is hardly non-existent -- it's is equal to AS & AA. What you probably mean is that AS & AA frequently charge less miles for their awards than DL.

But best program is subjective -- everybody on FlyerTalk thinks the only way miles should be redeemed is on international F whereas within the general population, many people merely want to take their kids to Disney World every year.

If you want to use your miles for premium Holiday departure dates, DL is the best choice -- one example: throughout much of this year they had lots of availability from the Eastern USA to Hawaii for 65K miles vs. 90K on AA.

For earning, DL & UA have switched to revenue-based programs, while AA has not (yet).

RE: Best US Frequent Flyer Program

Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 6:00 pm
by rta
American's program is the best if you want to earn miles for the distance you actually fly. The revenue based system that United and Delta have are good for people who only buy tickets in the highest fare buckets (typically people who fly on their company's dime due to certain class/flexibility requirements).

Delta doesn't have an award redemption table so you don't know how many miles you'll need for a redemption. At least with United or American, you can think "Okay, I'm only 2000 miles away from redeeming my award ticket." I was getting sick of trying to find a way an efficient way to use my Delta miles so I just burned 57,500 miles on roundtrip between Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale.