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Choosing a Skyteam FFP
Early in 2016, I will be travelling to Russia on an academic research trip. The plan is to fly into Moscow leaving from either BOS or NYC around the first week of March; a quick look reveals the best deals on this itinerary are all Skyteam members (Alitalia for best price, followed closely by Delta and Aeroflot).
I could redeem AA miles for this trip, but I have an alternate redemption in mind (CX F before you can’t find it anymore!) and can pay this upcoming fare at least partially with grant funds. I have a decent balance of AA miles, low status in BAEC as a result of an academic trip to South Africa and related flights around southern Africa, along with small balances in UA, SW, JBLU. I credit almost all of my domestic US flying to AA (unless on avios award tickets) and my primary focus is oneworld airlines. In the next several years, it is likely that academic travel will primarily take me back to eastern Europe. Considering the low fares available on multiple Skyteam carriers to this region, it makes sense to open a Skyteam FFP account to which I can credit these flights. I don’t generally fly Delta and would not plan on crediting my US flying to this account or redeeming for Delta awards, so I’m not sure SkyMiles makes the most sense: does anyone have thoughts on a Skyteam FFP? FlyingBlue has the advantage of applying to both AF and KLM, Alitalia would allow me to take advantage of the MilleMiglia Young program at least for a couple years and enjoy that 50% bonus even before attaining status, and of course Aeroflot is the flag carrier of the country that I’m flying into. Would love to hear thoughts/impressions, especially from anyone who is a member of one of these programs, on their relative pluses and minuses.
[USER=748]@Rob Potts[/USER] — Welcome, and sorry for the delay here!
You might hate me later for this, but Alitalia actually isn’t a horrible option. They aren’t easy to work with in all cases, but they have a decent scheme, especially for upgrades internationally. If you can swing paying for premium economy, you can upgrade to business for just a handful of miles, which would provide you with a very nice pattern of earning and burning.
The caveat is that it’s an Italian program, and the miles do expire. But if you’re going to be making several trips and can redeem quickly I wouldn’t worry about that too much.
No problem on the delay! Thanks for the advice; I was thinking along similar lines–even if I don’t actually fly Alitalia metal the bonus earning is a huge incentive and I should at least be able to burn for upgrades in the near future.
I’ve been intrigued by MilleMiglia but never tried it. Just remember the current program ends on Dec 31 of this year. Not sure how that works in practice but something to keep an eye on.
Yes, I noticed that when I was reading about the various programs. I’m leaning towards MilleMiglia assuming they don’t eliminate the youth mileage accrual bonus because that could be quite lucrative for me, but seeing as I won’t have relevant status anyway, I may hold off creating a new account and add FFP info closer to date of travel. I wouldn’t want to set up a new account only to find out that its advantages evaporated before my first credited flight, after all!
Also remember that you can change your program for miles accumulation until you fly.
It’s just a quirk of Italian law — the program “has” to expire every three years, but typically Alitalia has given everyone the same miles in the new program. So it’s mainly a formality.
And no problem in setting up an account either way, there’s no fee to do so!