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picking a loyalty program/card

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by Gus, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. Gus

    Gus New Member

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    Hey all-

    Not sure how to wrap my head around my current situation. I'm based on the East Coast, but will start flying fairly regularly to south east asia. I'd like to pick a loyalty program to start crediting all those long haul flights to (for what it's worth, I credited my last flight to AA, before starting to do all this research).

    I'm a heavy amex user, and don't do much in the way of Chase. Ideally I'd like to pick a program that a) works well for that route, b) plays nice with a visa cobranded card, and c) ideally plays nice with Amex, although that seems unlikely I can hit the trifecta.

    For points a/b, Alaska is enticing, since it's fairly easy to rack up points with them via status bonuses, and they're partners with Cathay/Emirates/Singapore Air etc. You can't transfer amex points though. American seems like a decent option, but no transfer to amex or chase.

    Any suggestions? Or should I give up trying to satisfy all 3 criteria and just get a cobranded visa for all my non-amex spend.
     
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  2. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

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    Diversify? Alaska is a good program dnd if you're flying a lot, just earn by flying. They also have mileage sales if you need to pick up more. Keep spend on Amex for transfers to other partners.

    If you choose AA, same thing applies. In either case you can pick up that airline's cobrand card if necessary.
     
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  3. rickyw

    rickyw Well-Known Member

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    Are your flights to South East Asia going to be in economy or business class? If business class, I'd be less concerned with a co-branded card since you'll get most of the same benefits (and more) by flying up front. Also, the way most US programs award miles for flights, you'll earn thousands of miles from paid business class flights anyways. So, I'd agree with David and keep your spend on Amex to have the ability to transfer points
     
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  4. Gus

    Gus New Member

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    Thank guys. Makes sense.

    I was thinking of a co-branded card mostly because amex isn't accepted everywhere in Asia. This is really for non-bonuses purchases, or places where Amex isn't accepted. So my options are really a visa like chase preferred, or a cobranded airline card.

    Flights will typically be economy, which is why I won't be racking miles/benefits as quickly as I would like. I'm not likely to hit the top tier of elite programs at this stage. A lot of the time I'll be trying to either upgrade via points or - ideally - have a shot at complimentary upgrades, but again, not counting on that since I likely won't hit top tier elite status.

    Maybe a better question here is whether Alaska is a flexible enough program. I like the idea of how they credit based on miles flown as opposed to revenue - which totally helps since I'm buying economy tickets. Or would i be better served by picking a different program.



    Thanks!
     
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    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  5. OCTinPHL

    OCTinPHL Active Member

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    If your primary goal is to use your cards (points) and miles to upgrade from economy to business, I think AAdvantage is probably a better bet than Alaska, as you can fly AA metal to Asia and upgrade. I don't think you can use AS miles to upgrade on Cathay (David W?). You can use AS miles for awards for sure. Another option that may work is to join AsiaMiles and fly Cathay. Transfer Amex points to AsiaMiles and use them to upgrade. AA may still be the better choice.
     
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  6. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

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    Nope, cant use AS miles to upgrade on CX. However, Amex transfers to Cathay's AsiaMiles program, which can upgrade Cathay tickets, but with restrictions.

    AA miles can be used for upgrades on AA, if there is space. However, it's one cabin and it's a mix of miles and cash. I think US to Asia is something like 25k plus $350, PLUS a $75 close in fee if within 21(?) days. If you buy an economy ticket and there's a PE cabin, your upgrade doesnt bypass that cabin.

    AA miles can be used to upgrade British and Iberia tickets, if you buy full fare tickets.
     
    #6
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