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Loyalty programs in Asia
For US expat living in Asia (Hong Kong, Thailand, etc) who can get all the US mileage credit cards but whose travel is mostly within Asia or between Asia and Europe what are the lost useful loyalty programs to look at. There is a lot of discussion here about AA, United etc but I am not sure if these are still as useful in my case or if I should just focus on Asia Miles etc. Thanks!
Since all the major airlines in you area is part of the large alliances there is no reason in general to use a local program over a US one that often have better redemption rates, but there are exceptions.
Think there are some cheap economy fares on Cathay that does not earn any miles on AA or AS, same with Thai (W fares) and United. Those kind of ticket would be best to credited to a local program where they at least earn some miles.
Stay away from Asia Miles as much as you can, it’s distance based and pricey for awards. Best use is probably for upgrades of paid tickets on CX.
So what kind of ticket class/cabin are normally flying on?
For CX try crediting to AA or AS, For Thai and SQ compare the earning and award charts of United, Aeroplan and SQ. Not sure what would be best for Skyteam, since Delta don’t have the best program in the world.
Just remember to read the fine print, many airlines have a minimum amount of sectors you have to fly on them to get elite status.
Thanks for prompt response!
I tend to fly about 70k per year, business on longer haul but for short flights sometime economy and even budget carriers if I feel proper business is too overpriced. The only airline I fly enough to ever get any elite status is Emirates (because of frequent shuttling between Hong Kong and Bangkok, their business fares for this route cant be beat). Emirates ff program is kind of on its own though.
My biggest source of miles is going to be my credit card spend (I just got Chase Sapphire and SPG Amex) so I need 1-2 ff programs where I can consolidate my miles from flying with miles from credit cards. I want to avoid having useless small amounts of miles scattered among many programs and just expire or get devalued before I can use them. I almost never actually fly AA or United, but I guess from what you said above I can anyway use their programs as just miles repositories for booking awards on asian and european partners.
[USER=1044]@Boris[/USER] that’s correct. If I’m not mistaken Emirates partners with AS for elite qualification so you should be able to credit your miles there. The AS program has some very nice redemption options including CX and Emirates. There is more information here: [URL]http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2014/11/27/alaskas-awesome-mvp-gold-75k-mileage-bonus/[/URL]
Very interesting about Alaska, but it is not a Chase Sapphire transfer partner I think.
Chase Sapphire lets you transfer to United (star alliance) BA(oneworld) and Korea Air (Skyteam+ Emirates). So I guess these three can be used to consolidate between credit card earned miles and actual flown miles. However from what I read the process of using miles on Korean is extremely cumbersome and requires lots of calling and emails, which is a no go for me. Not sure yet how to link up Emirates and Chase. Another approach would be to use SPG Amex miles with AS and save the Chase miles for other programs… this is like a game of chess!
AS only partners with SPG and Diners Club for points transfer.
You can also get AS own credit card, sign up bonus is 50K miles after first spend.
Both Korean and Asiana can be a bit hard to use miles on yes, but both have very good award rates.
For a guide to the game of chess check out Frequentmiler post that contains a link to list of transfer partners. Post is old, Google sheet is updated.
Wow thanks a lot. Someone is putting in a lot of work to maintain this for our benefit!
Correct, you won’t be able to transfer UR to AS miles. However you might consider getting an AX SPG card for non-bonused spend where it is not foreign transaction fee free and use the CSP for bonused spend to maximize your returns. KE and AS will both give you a 25% bonus on your EK J seats. Might also be worthwhile to consider that KE will charge surcharges on awards (although not as bad as AA) while AS does not.charge other than for BA.
[QUOTE=”Boris, post: 9024, member: 1044″]Very interesting about Alaska, but it is not a Chase Sapphire transfer partner I think.
Chase Sapphire lets you transfer to United (star alliance) BA(oneworld) and Korea Air (Skyteam+ Emirates). So I guess these three can be used to consolidate between credit card earned miles and actual flown miles. However from what I read the process of using miles on Korean is extremely cumbersome and requires lots of calling and emails, which is a no go for me. Not sure yet how to link up Emirates and Chase. Another approach would be to use SPG Amex miles with AS and save the Chase miles for other programs… this is like a game of chess![/QUOTE]