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Author Topic: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.  (Read 1213 times)

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Offline Manny

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Prompted by a comment from Guile on another topic:

It was a PIA to book actually. I ended up booking direct flights from Amsterdam with Cathay, and arranging my own connecting flights to/from AMS. The options offered otherwise were silly connections or 2 and 3 connections. It's big doh though, Business Class especially. So if you can get free flights, grab it with both hands.
I work for an airline company so I get free flights. However this is standby travel and based on seniority, so I'm competing with all my fellow employees for those seats.

From my city there is 1 direct flight to HK. but I basically have no chance to get on as this is a very popular route with all the Chinese based here.  I have been able to get to Europe and even in business class. I lucked out as travel during covid was not as high but travel is close to pre-covid numbers now.

Most airlines have a loyalty program. 

I would never pay cash fare for business class even if I had the money.  Just not worth it.  But if you know how to play the loyalty points game you can find really great value for business class seats.  The big international ones are Aeroplan, Avios, Cathay Asia Miles, British Airways Avios, and OneWorld.

Interestingly some Asian carriers have what they call 5th freedom flights which are flights between 2 cities neither being their home base.  So EVA air the Taiwan airline has a Vienna to Bangkok flight.  And you can find good deals esp in business class.

The Middle Eastern carriers have some really good routes.  If you go back to China, you can do Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Guangzhou direct on Emirates or Etihad then drive or take a train to HK.


This is a subject that has cropped up often over the years. I know a lot of Americans especially are big on points. I remember when Shakespear came over he used his points and had first-class tickets. It's never something I've really gotten into, but it might be time to learn.

I think business class (or premium economy at least) is far preferable on long-haul flights. Also, I'm not a small or short bloke, so an economy seat for me is alright for a couple of hours to Spain or something, but over to the US or to Asia, I'd not do it.

As Guile said above, business-class seats are expensive if you are paying full money for them. So this is where the airline points thing becomes more interesting.

So if you use them, who do you use? Are you booking direct as opposed to Expedia or similar sites? Are they worth it?
Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
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Online andrewfi

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2023, 08:36:50 AM »
Manny, not sure, but I think you need to book directly with airlines to avail of the points. Last year, when I found myself getting into more air travel, I found that booking direct with airlines was a better bet than using 3rd party booking sites. Sometimes it was on the basis of price, and sometimes the flight conditions were better. For example, we picked up free lounge access a couple of times and got business class upgrades for silly small money.

Now, I tend to use Google Flights to discover the routings and times and then go to the airline booking sites to do the deal.
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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2023, 12:03:59 PM »
Manny, not sure, but I think you need to book directly with airlines to avail of the points. Last year, when I found myself getting into more air travel, I found that booking direct with airlines was a better bet than using 3rd party booking sites. Sometimes it was on the basis of price, and sometimes the flight conditions were better. For example, we picked up free lounge access a couple of times and got business class upgrades for silly small money.

Now, I tend to use Google Flights to discover the routings and times and then go to the airline booking sites to do the deal.

There's another advantage to booking direct, which is cancellations. If your flight is cancelled and/or delayed in the EU , you are eligable for a (partial) refund. However when booking through expedia or somesuch the airline points to them and they right back at the airlines. When booking direct they have no escape and must refund you.
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Offline Manny

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2023, 12:44:53 PM »
I suppose a better question is how are people accruing points? Via their bank card spending, or being a frequent customer or what?

For fun, I just asked ChatGPT this, and here is the reply:

Quote from: chatgpt
Airline points, such as those from Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, and other frequent flyer programs, can be acquired through various methods. Here are some common ways people accumulate airline points:

Airline Loyalty Programs:

Joining and actively participating in an airline's loyalty program is one of the primary ways to earn points. Members earn points based on the distance traveled, class of service, and sometimes the fare paid.

Credit Card Rewards:

Many people accumulate airline points by using credit cards that are affiliated with specific airlines or airline alliances. These credit cards often offer sign-up bonuses, points for everyday spending, and additional benefits such as airport lounge access.

Travel Partners and Alliances:

Some frequent flyer programs are part of larger airline alliances (e.g., Star Alliance, OneWorld, SkyTeam), allowing members to earn and redeem points across multiple airlines within the same alliance.

Hotel Stays and Car Rentals:

Some airline loyalty programs have partnerships with hotel chains and car rental companies. Members can earn points by staying at partner hotels or renting cars from affiliated companies.

Online Shopping Portals:

Some airlines have online shopping portals where members can earn points by making purchases from various retailers. These portals often provide a list of affiliated merchants, and points are awarded based on the amount spent.

Dining Programs:

Many airlines offer dining programs that allow members to earn points by dining at participating restaurants. Members link their credit cards to the program, and when they use those cards at eligible restaurants, they earn points.

Special Promotions and Offers:

Airlines frequently run promotions and offers that allow members to earn bonus points. These promotions may include booking specific routes, flying during certain periods, or participating in targeted marketing campaigns.

Co-Branded Partnerships:

Airlines often have co-branded credit cards in partnership with financial institutions. These cards offer accelerated point earnings for purchases made directly with the airline and sometimes on other categories.

What cards and/or methods do folk here use?
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Look what the American media makes some people believe:
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Offline Manny

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2023, 12:48:47 PM »
we picked up free lounge access a couple of times and got business class upgrades for silly small money.

Was that after you had booked economy or offered during checkout?
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Look what the American media makes some people believe:
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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2023, 12:51:21 PM »
Manny, not sure, but I think you need to book directly with airlines to avail of the points. Last year, when I found myself getting into more air travel, I found that booking direct with airlines was a better bet than using 3rd party booking sites. Sometimes it was on the basis of price, and sometimes the flight conditions were better. For example, we picked up free lounge access a couple of times and got business class upgrades for silly small money.

Now, I tend to use Google Flights to discover the routings and times and then go to the airline booking sites to do the deal.

There's another advantage to booking direct, which is cancellations. If your flight is cancelled and/or delayed in the EU , you are eligable for a (partial) refund. However when booking through expedia or somesuch the airline points to them and they right back at the airlines. When booking direct they have no escape and must refund you.

When that has happened to me, even when booked through Expedia or wherever, I use the automated service at Bott & Co, and I've always been paid. Of course, they take a modest commission, but it's painless and you do zero legwork and chasing - they do it all. They can even extract cash out of greedy companies like EasyJet. One time, I claimed against Brussels Airlines and they ended up taking them to court and getting a judgment before we got paid. It took a year, but they paid in the end.
Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2023, 01:11:06 PM »
we picked up free lounge access a couple of times and got business class upgrades for silly small money.

Was that after you had booked economy or offered during checkout?

It was while making the booking. As you know, airlines use dynamic pricing. While I was making bookings, I noticed that the prices of some of the 'expensive' options were quite inexpensive. For example, on a couple of flights, the cost of the suitcases we needed and flexible rebooking added to our basic economy flights was more costly than buying the higher-grade ticket that included the necessary extras. On one of the companies, we found that when booking direct, the ticket automatically included lounge access when the layover between flights was a relatively long one. In neither case was this evident from the Google Flights information.

Worth noting: these were not transatlantic flights, and on many intra-European flights, business class does not get you your own slice of heaven! Its a bit of free grub, free drinks, and a seat at the front of the bus. So, it isn't something that I'd pay extra for if it were not for their dynamic pricing, making the option worth it for checked bags or easy rebooking of flights.

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Offline Manny

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2023, 12:55:42 PM »
Worth noting: these were not transatlantic flights, and on many intra-European flights, business class does not get you your own slice of heaven! Its a bit of free grub, free drinks, and a seat at the front of the bus. So, it isn't something that I'd pay extra for if it were not for their dynamic pricing, making the option worth it for checked bags or easy rebooking of flights.

This is a good point. A couple of years back I found a super cheap business class deal to China with Swiss Air. Connecting in Switzerland, seemed too good to be true. So I booked it. I'd describe it as premium economy. Some legroom, maybe a slightly bigger seat and food. No fold-flat bed, big TV or anything else you might ordinarily expect.

I was just researching the Avios thing. On Barclays for example, it seems very complicated. "Earning" 1500 a month costs £12 a month. It apparently takes 97240 points to fly business class to Hong Kong. It's unclear if that is return or not. Assume it is, that's 64 months. 5.5 years. And a cost of just £768.

I was hoping to make use of my debit card spending somehow. Even better if I could use business debit card spending. But most deals to collect points seem to be for people who use credit cards. And I don't.  :coffeeread:
Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2023, 12:57:41 PM »
Worth noting: these were not transatlantic flights, and on many intra-European flights, business class does not get you your own slice of heaven! Its a bit of free grub, free drinks, and a seat at the front of the bus. So, it isn't something that I'd pay extra for if it were not for their dynamic pricing, making the option worth it for checked bags or easy rebooking of flights.

This is a good point. A couple of years back I found a super cheap business class deal to China with Swiss Air. Connecting in Switzerland, seemed too good to be true. So I booked it. I'd describe it as premium economy. Some legroom, maybe a slightly bigger seat and food. No fold-flat bed, big TV or anything else you might ordinarily expect.

I was just researching the Avios thing. On Barclays for example, it seems very complicated. "Earning" 1500 a month costs £12 a month. It apparently takes 97240 points to fly business class to Hong Kong. It's unclear if that is return or not. Assume it is, that's 64 months. 5.5 years. And a cost of just £768.

I was hoping to make use of my debit card spending somehow. Even better if I could use business debit card spending. But most deals to collect points seem to be for people who use credit cards. And I don't.  :coffeeread:


Why don't you use credit cards? Are you crazy? Are you some sort of Alien?  :laugh: :laugh:

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2023, 01:04:55 PM »
Why don't you use credit cards? Are you crazy? Are you some sort of Alien?  :laugh: :laugh:

Well, I'm not American.  :chuckle:

The only time I use the one I have is if they need to swipe it as a pre-authorisation guarantee at a hotel or car hire.

Why do I need one? I don't need to borrow money for day-to-day things. I don't need credit to go to the supermarket or buy diesel for the car. Why do I want to pay next month for stuff when I can pay today with a debit card or cash? 

I don't really do loans either. Or car leasing. If I want something, I usually save up. I've even overpaid my mortgage for a few years and will likely pay it off in a lump next year. I don't like debt. I think life is easier and cheaper earning interest rather than paying it. I don't like the hamster wheel of debt.
Trip Reports: Links to my travels in Russia, Estonia, North Korea, South Korea, China and the US are >>here<<

Look what the American media makes some people believe:
Putin often threatens to strike US with nuclear weapons.

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2023, 03:13:18 PM »
Wow, that's pretty impressive Manny to not use a credit card. Unfortunately for the points loyalty programs they all require spending on credit cards to earn!!

That's how the banks make money.  :o  For example, you sign up for a new card, they give you a welcome bonus of 10,000 points after you hit a spend requirement. Could be $1000 a month for 6 months in a row, or $5000 in a 6 month period.  They get their fees from the merchants to recoup the cost. And if you don't pay off the balance  they charge you interest.

If you don't use a credit card it's gonna be impossible to earn points.

In North America most of the American carriers have their own program.  Alaskan miles, AA, Delta, United, Southwest..

The one I like is Aeroplan.  As you can transfer points from other loyalty programs to it.  Chase bank has a branded card.  Amex you can transfer.

Now there's alot of travel hackers who do something called "Credit card churning".  They sign up for 1 account, get the bonus points then close.  Do that with 20 cards and you'll have a hugh points balance.  But the card companies are getting wise and implementing 1 bonus rules for life or worse they will ban/close your account and forfeit points.

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2023, 03:20:24 PM »
in the UK Barclays is one for sure.  American Express has a UK based branded card with British Airways which you can earn Avios points.

I would say you get the best value in points with long haul business class seats.  For short intra-Europe or intra-North America there isn't really a "proper" business class with lie down seats.  Some carriers just keep the middle seat empty in a 3 seat row and then rebrand it as "business"!

Always book flights with points directly with the carrier.  I work as a customer rep for the loyalty program for a major carrier here and only book points flights, we have a separate call centre dept which books cash flights.

andrewfi was right in his post above...if you book through a 3rd party like Expedia etc..you'll often run into problems when needing to change or cancel your ticket.  The airline will refer you back to the travel agency and not deal with your ticket.

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2023, 03:29:32 PM »
If you run a business and are able to charge all your expenses on a credit card, you'll earn points very fast.  I have seen accounts with millions of points and just 1 credit card.  They basically run everything through the card.  With that many points you can get 4-8 round trip business class trans-ocean flights.  Or even proper 1st class.

You guys should look up Etihad the Residences...it is true 1st class with a literal 2 seat sofa and separate bed.  Or Emirates 1st class where there is a shower on the plane and your seat is completely enclosed/private.   Singapore airlines has an amazing 1st class too.  I would say it is better than even private jet travel unless you charter the entire jet yourself!

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2023, 06:53:13 PM »
Why don't you use credit cards? Are you crazy? Are you some sort of Alien?  :laugh: :laugh:

Well, I'm not American.  :chuckle:

The only time I use the one I have is if they need to swipe it as a pre-authorisation guarantee at a hotel or car hire.

Why do I need one? I don't need to borrow money for day-to-day things. I don't need credit to go to the supermarket or buy diesel for the car. Why do I want to pay next month for stuff when I can pay today with a debit card or cash? 

I don't really do loans either. Or car leasing. If I want something, I usually save up. I've even overpaid my mortgage for a few years and will likely pay it off in a lump next year. I don't like debt. I think life is easier and cheaper earning interest rather than paying it. I don't like the hamster wheel of debt.
this all sounds really familiar to me.

I think Credit Cards are not as popular in Europe as they are in America.

Sure I have one, for that odd-one-store that does not accept anything but creditcards (usually an american store :P ), but other than that I think they're a nuisance and when I spend from the credit-card , I immediatly top it back up before the day is out.

Getting cash, or taking money from the CC to my regular bank account is insane expensive as well. (10% or somesuch)
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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2023, 10:15:22 PM »
Why don't you use credit cards? Are you crazy? Are you some sort of Alien?  :laugh: :laugh:

Well, I'm not American.  :chuckle:

The only time I use the one I have is if they need to swipe it as a pre-authorisation guarantee at a hotel or car hire.

Why do I need one? I don't need to borrow money for day-to-day things. I don't need credit to go to the supermarket or buy diesel for the car. Why do I want to pay next month for stuff when I can pay today with a debit card or cash? 

I don't really do loans either. Or car leasing. If I want something, I usually save up. I've even overpaid my mortgage for a few years and will likely pay it off in a lump next year. I don't like debt. I think life is easier and cheaper earning interest rather than paying it. I don't like the hamster wheel of debt.


Overpaying your mortgage or paying it off early is definitely smart as is the rest you wrote.

When paying for a flight with a credit card you get cash back, points and insurance. Same when renting a car.

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2023, 03:47:46 AM »
I'm kinda like Manny with credit cards. I have a bundle of them but hardly use them, at least not to accumulate debt.

The 'free' miles are just a trap for fools to get them to accumulate debt by overspending. Much better to just save the money and pay for upgrades.

And yes, it's not easy to accumulate the miles to get decent rewards. If you're a regular business traveler who can expense their flights on their own card then I can see benefits. In that case the miles are a genuine benefit.

And before anyone tries to counter the argument about these incentives being traps for fools, think of this. The credit card companies have to buy the incentives they give away. They don't do that unless they make a profit from the overall transaction. So, in general, people who collect these freebies are paying for them.
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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2023, 03:38:21 PM »
Why do I need one? I don't need to borrow money for day-to-day things. I don't need credit to go to the supermarket or buy diesel for the car. Why do I want to pay next month for stuff when I can pay today with a debit card or cash? 

I do not carry credit card debt, but I only use cash for tips.  Why would I pay now, in 100 cent dollars, when I can pay in 30 days using 95 to 98 cent dollars and possibly get additional benefits?

For example, Capital One's "Savor" card is 4% of at restaurants, whether that's McD's or Maison Trop Chere.  Right now I use my Amazon card for that because for October/November it gives 5% back at restaurants. 

For groceries, I use the Amex Blue Cash, which gives 6% back at supermarkets (and streaming services), and 3% back on ride shares, parking, trains, etc.

Gasoline?  My BofA visa card, which because I get an extra bonus because BofA owns Merrill where I have an IRA, I get 5.25% back on gas (and because I also use "Gas Buddy" sometimes they have deals also).

I ate at Classified in Newark Liberty Airport, which was delicious and I paid using United Miles.  Not the most effective redemption value, but I view them as a renewable resource.  So I had a most excellent steak, a drink and soup without laying out cash.

Hotels are a real benefit also - you can rack up points to use for free nights (nice when I have a layover) or suite upgrades.  There have been weeks in Europe on vacation where I have spent $40 for the week for a hotel, and I don't mean hostels.  Just pay the local tax in cash and usually charge 1 drink to my room.  The Hyatt Regency for $5 a night cannot be beat.

I also carry the Amex Platinum, which gives me free Global Entry (which comes with TSA Pre), free CLEAR, a discount with Hertz plus some other bennies that add up to more than the annual fee (which I pay using points).

I don't really do loans either. Or car leasing. If I want something, I usually save up. I've even overpaid my mortgage for a few years and will likely pay it off in a lump next year. I don't like debt. I think life is easier and cheaper earning interest rather than paying it. I don't like the hamster wheel of debt.

Car leasing only makes sense for corporations I think.  They could for individuals who do not drive much, but the way they are typically structured takes all the value out of it for the consumer.

Making one additional payment to principal is supposed to drop a 30 year mortgage to 18 years, in effect, but I haven't looked at the math on that for a while.  I suppose paying 15 days early, which some folks do here, has the effect of suppressing interest also.  Back when I had a mortgage it was at 3.5% so less than even the "official" rate of inflation, and, as I was paying back in inflated dollars, no pressing need to make additional payments, but the idea itself is solid.

There is also concept that HNWIs use where they use their assets to collateralize loans, so they live off that and in effect do not pay much tax and then deduct the interest they pay (presumably, if it's on a HELOC or otherwise permitted), but one has to be careful with that.  Cheap money gets people into trouble, easily.

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2023, 04:48:17 PM »
This is a subject that has cropped up often over the years. I know a lot of Americans especially are big on points. I remember when Shakespear came over he used his points and had first-class tickets.

I think Shakey could run them through his business somehow.  Or, like me, he traveled a lot for work.

It's never something I've really gotten into, but it might be time to learn.

It is still useful to know the ins and outs, but the golden age of this is kind of in the rear view mirror now.

I think business class (or premium economy at least) is far preferable on long-haul flights. Also, I'm not a small or short bloke, so an economy seat for me is alright for a couple of hours to Spain or something, but over to the US or to Asia, I'd not do it.

I prefer business even domestically (in the US) but it's got the broader seat as opposed to intra-Europe flights where it's still a 3x3 configuration with the middle seat blocked.  My shoulders have been broader than a coach seat since I was 13 or so, so I dislike even premium economy.

As Guile said above, business-class seats are expensive if you are paying full money for them. So this is where the airline points thing becomes more interesting.

There are also "PlusPoints" on United as well as upgrade certificates for higher status (within a given airline's frequent flyer program) flyers.

So if you use them, who do you use? Are you booking direct as opposed to Expedia or similar sites? Are they worth it?

For flights on US airlines, I price options on google flights and then book accordingly on the airline sites.  For other airlines, I typically use Expedia to get the points from them and then I manage my booking on the airline site.  When traveling to Europe, I find the cheapest flight over the pond and then fly intra-Europe separately (usually I am making 2 or 3 stops depending on which of my friends are home, so in October, I flew into Stockholm, and then bounced to Warsaw and then Kosice.  In August it was Warsaw, Berlin and then London.  I had booked an open jaw (in to Warsaw, Back from London) and then booked LOT to Berlin and BA (who, oddly, seemed to have the only non-stops) from Berlin to London. 

I either add my FF number to the Lot reservations from their site (it never seems to carry over from Expedia) or later on the United site.

Speaking of which, I used to use Delta (hereinafter "DL") a lot because they are the "gold standard" of US airlines.  I was typically top-tier with them, and I am (and will always be) a Million Miler, but after the pandemic, I switched over to United ("UA").  UA is no longer the rotting hulk of an airline we all walked away from in 2000. 

I had some UA flights booked and I did a "challenge".  They are supposed to cap out the match to their "Platinum" status, but looked at my flight activity on DL and matched me to their top tier (P1K).  The experience is similar to DL now, and as P1K, I am a pre-board (Diamonds are after first class now on DL, so loss of a significant perk), so I get first crack and the overhead space and can get settled in. 

Delta was way ahead of the rest in figuring out that what people hate the MOST is the airport experience - lines, dealing with security and such.  They were an early investor in CLEAR so as a DM I got it for free.  Basically I walk of the the CLEAR lane, they do a retinal scan, and I get escorted past the TSA checkpoint.  At a busy airport like JFK than can save 45 minutes.  A few times at Fort Lauderdale, I would have missed flights except for CLEAR, because of spring break crowds.

DL also built out airport clubs, but they are now a victim of their own success and the clubs are way crowded so they have to create hierarchies of who can get in when and how.

The one place where UA beat DL was in creating "Polaris" clubs, named after their international business class, so if you are fling business on most overseas flights (not Mexico or the Caribbean, though) you can use the Polaris club - DL is building out "Delta One" clubs in a similar way. 

Credit cards are also in the game now, with Amex leading the pack with "Centurion" clubs, which are usually quite posh as these things go, followed by Chase and Capital One. 

UA also has Classified at EWR.  It is an invite only, "hidden" restaurant in the back of Saison in Terminal C.  It isn't free (or mostly free) like airport clubs, and the pricing is typical of NY steakhouses, but if you carry any of the UA co-branded chase cards you get a 20% discount across the board - you don't have to pay with it only have it connected to your UA account - AND you can pay in miles, which is a nice option.  It's a nice spot if one has the time.  I was just there a couple of weeks ago after coming back from Germany.  I arrived late back to the States so I booked a room overnight and then cleared security at Terminal A (which my subsequent flight was out of) and then took the airside Jitney over to C and enjoyed a nice lunch. 

United has a much better alliance than DL.  As good or better partners, with a much deeper bench.  DL has some partners in China now, but prior to that they had only KAL in the Pacific.  UA has more partners in Europe.  I have been using LOT mostly these days because they have been the best price point, but they also go everywhere.  Same with Turkish.  I used to use Aeroflot which was part of DL's alliance back before the recent troubles.  I could chat up the (typically young and cute) FAs in Russian, the food was decent, and I could eat, watch a movie and get 6 hours of sleep (all I need) before landing in SVO.  They also fly a legit business class (as does Turkish and sometimes LOT) back into Europe.  It's like domestic J in the US. 

Back on credit cards, Amex provides CLEAR now to holders of The Platinum Card and above, and it (among others) will also reimburse the fee for Global Entry (which includes TSA Pre) - I note that UK citizens are eligible for GE now, but IIRC you are boycotting the US or smth.

Another note about credit cards.  Not sure if it's different in the EU/UK, but it is VASTLY better to use a credit card here than a debit card.  If you have to reverse a charge, you are fighting to get your own money back, as opposed to making it the credit card company's problem.  Much better/safer that way.

B/B

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Offline Guile

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2023, 05:33:44 PM »
I'm surprised all the UK and europe based members here don't like using credit cards.  It's basically the only thing I use to pay for things.  I rarely use my debit card unless they don't take credit or I need to get cash from the ATM which I almost never do.

I get the not wanting to be in debt part.  But here in North America if you have a low credit score or zero credit history you can't get a mortgage, loan, business or home equity line. I've been using cc's since I was in university.

We also have cashback cards here, 2-4% of all purchases on a card come back to you in cash.  And BB is right, with a credit card you have buyer protection like chargeback or refunds.  And if your card gets hacked the card companies will reverse any transactions that aren't yours.  I think with debit cards the banks are way less forgiving, if someone hacks your debit you are out the money.

United is a part of Star Alliance airline network.  I can get awesome deals through the Aeroplan program.  Flying from the west coast, either San Fran or LA to Asia, Australia, Europe for very reasonable points.  I have yet to try the Polaris business seats but from travel reviews they look good.  A lie flat bed for any 8 hour+ flight is a HUGE difference.

Offline Guile

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2023, 05:40:39 PM »
The main thing with credit cards and credit in general is you have to be DISCIPLINED.  Pay it off every month the full balance.  And don't use it like free money, force yourself to buy only what you actually need or can afford.

 I ran into credit card debt in my 20's.  Had to write it off and it went to a collections agency.  But it was a good learning lesson and now I've rebuilt my credit from scratch and have close to 6 figures of credit I can access.

For travel it's very nice to know I have 3 or 4 cards as backup if I lose one.  Plus now with smartphones you can load up the digital card.  So even if you lose your wallet you have access to money.


Offline Guile

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2023, 05:47:22 PM »
BB makes good points about the lounge access and Global Entry.  You get through airport security much faster and can chill in lounges.  But I feel the card companies have gone overboard..now everyone and their brother can get in.  I actually prefer to just go to a good restaurant and spend a few hours there than in a lounge.

I have my favourites, at London Heathrow I go to Perfectionists Cafe by Heston Blumenthal in Terminal 2 whenever I fly in and out of the UK.  much better food than lounges.. I think Gordon ramsey has some branded cafes in Terminal 5.  And Carluccio's.

BB are you based on the west coast?  I can give you some tips on getting business class seats for trans-ocean flights and when airlines tend to release them.  You mentioned LOT and Turkish, I am seeing alot of availability on Turkish to Istanbul for summer 2024 for good deals.  75k aeroplan points for a 1 way biz seat.  I work as a loyalty points booking agent for one of the major airlines here.

Online andrewfi

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2023, 07:57:41 AM »
Over in civilisation, at least, one does not need to have a load of debt to have a very good credit score. I have very little debt, but my score is almost as high as one can have. Perhaps, in the Wild West, things are different. it'd make sense to incentivise having debt in order to have more debt.

It'd make sense, but it'd also be, shall we say, inhumane?

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Online B.B.

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2023, 09:59:49 AM »
The main thing with credit cards and credit in general is you have to be DISCIPLINED.  Pay it off every month the full balance.  And don't use it like free money, force yourself to buy only what you actually need or can afford.

Quite correct.   I will happily take the 6% discount when buying groceries, but I don't buy things I do not need or want.

For travel it's very nice to know I have 3 or 4 cards as backup if I lose one.  Plus now with smartphones you can load up the digital card.  So even if you lose your wallet you have access to money.

Yep.  I also carry a passport card in countries where I do not need to have my physical passport with me.  The passport stays back in the room safe etc.  Vice versa where I have to have my passport.  If I lose it, the passport card IS a passport in terms of having the consulate issue me a new passport book.  Can't travel on it ofc, other than land crossings in N. America, but it beats scrambling.

BB makes good points about the lounge access and Global Entry.  You get through airport security much faster and can chill in lounges.  But I feel the card companies have gone overboard..now everyone and their brother can get in.  I actually prefer to just go to a good restaurant and spend a few hours there than in a lounge.

DL has started to cut back on that, but with Centurion lounges - coming soon to ATL and EWR - there are always other options at big hubs.

I have my favourites, at London Heathrow I go to Perfectionists Cafe by Heston Blumenthal in Terminal 2 whenever I fly in and out of the UK.  much better food than lounges.. I think Gordon ramsey has some branded cafes in Terminal 5.  And Carluccio's.

At LHR, I am typically flying out of T2 these days, so I can avail myself of the UA lounge or, even better, the LH lounge, including the Senator Lounge.  The gate agents will point out that I can use the UA lounge closer to the gate, I reply "Yes, but I like this lounge better" and then smile and admit me.

BB are you based on the west coast?  I can give you some tips on getting business class seats for trans-ocean flights and when airlines tend to release them.  You mentioned LOT and Turkish, I am seeing alot of availability on Turkish to Istanbul for summer 2024 for good deals.  75k aeroplan points for a 1 way biz seat.  I work as a loyalty points booking agent for one of the major airlines here.

East Coast down in FL these days. My domestic gateways are FLL, PBI and MIA.  I usually fly up to Newark for European departures, but sometimes IAD.  JFK, if I am flying on SkyTeam, but I have a legit shot at making Global Services on UA for 2024, so I try to lump it all together on UA if I can.  That won't repeat next year (or is EXTREMELY unlikely) so I plan to enjoy 2024 as a GS or P1K and then whatever happens happens.

Any tips you can send my way will, ofc, be welcomed, thank you.

B/B
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Online B.B.

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2023, 01:04:57 PM »
Over in civilisation, at least, one does not need to have a load of debt to have a very good credit score. I have very little debt, but my score is almost as high as one can have. Perhaps, in the Wild West, things are different. it'd make sense to incentivise having debt in order to have more debt.

It'd make sense, but it'd also be, shall we say, inhumane?

Incidentally, my FICO is is typically in the low 840s or high 830s...it was 850 when I had a mortgage, but so it goes.  I no longer have one nor a car loan, so the effect of not carrying installment loans, while present, is marginal.  I had a loan on my Porsche because the rate offered was sub 2%, so, in effect, my cost of capital was negative.  The GM of the dealership told me he could match the rate but could not understand how my lender didn't bother with a lien.  Me: "That is 30+ years of wise credit decisions.  They know they will be paid and so they are happy to make it easy for me to do business with them."

So yeah, not all bad over here.

B/B
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If your religion insults my intelligence, don't be surprised when my intelligence insults your religion.

Offline Guile

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Re: Airline Points: Aeroplan, Avios, OneWorld, Cathay Asia Miles, etc.
« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2023, 03:24:44 PM »

East Coast down in FL these days. My domestic gateways are FLL, PBI and MIA.  I usually fly up to Newark for European departures, but sometimes IAD.  JFK, if I am flying on SkyTeam, but I have a legit shot at making Global Services on UA for 2024, so I try to lump it all together on UA if I can.  That won't repeat next year (or is EXTREMELY unlikely) so I plan to enjoy 2024 as a GS or P1K and then whatever happens happens.

Any tips you can send my way will, ofc, be welcomed, thank you.

B/B

BB, I'm impressed. you know all the airport and airline codes haha. :chuckle: you probably do tons of flying.  You got the Florida cruise ports all covered...That's where I send  the retired folks who need sun.  UA doesn't use MIA as a hub so as you mentioned you gotta go north.

I am seeing alot of good flights from EWR or IAD to LHR and AMS on UA for 60k aeroplan points 1 way business class.  I believe most of these flights are on the Polaris.  This is for the next few months.  Haven't checked spring/summer 2024.

ORD Chicago is a sneaky good hub also.  The 2 middle eastern carriers Emirates/Etihad often use it and you can find even 1st class to UAE.

LHR has a United/Air Canada Arrivals lounge with shower.  If you hold a UA or AC biz ticket you can get it.  I will have to check out the Senator lounge next time if I have access.  It's only for LH biz travellers? I sadly don't have an Amex Platinum so no entry with cards.