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Based in Europe: which business fare and which (long haul) program might be best?
Hi again Lucky
And thanks for your previous comments, and for your patience with this here relative newbie.
This question’s a bit long – my apologies – but it is no doubt relevant also to other folk who, like me, are based in Europe (rather than US) and looking for a decent points program strategy.
I am looking to buy a business return Paris-Syd for later in the year and am seeing good prices on Korean, Etihad, and Singapore.
Part of what will drive the choice is the quality of the cabin experience. But another part will be what can get me (or at least kick start) good points and status level/tier in a decent program.
I know Air France Flying Blue, given my base location is France, is the obvious frequent flyer program. You intimated this previously.
However I do fly once or twice from Paris to Sydney each year; never on Air France, although sometimes on Korean, so finding another program on a decent airline/alliance could be a good thing (especially if I can grow the balance via credit cards). I will also, eventually, relocate to Australia, but unsure when. (So rough strategy is to use Flying Blue to bank flights within EU paid for by my client, but find another program for my long haul flights.)
I have AmEx, which I currently credit to Flying Blue. But AmEx in France allows you to also choose Etihad, Cathay, Singapore, Qatar, Alitalia, and other potential places to credit those AmEx points. If interested, full list here: http://catalogue.membershiprewards.fr/l2Category.mtw?categoryName=fr_2_b_air&parentCategoryName=fr_2_travel&newCategorySearch=true
I have got more points through AmEx in recent months than through actual flights (since I have had to use a mix of carriers for my flights, rather than just one alliance).
Additionally, I just got back from a Paris to Syd Virgin Australia / Etihad route (economy), so – given I could bank those with Etihad – perhaps that is a small factor in favour of joining Etihad and taking their business class product for above-mentioned flight at end of the year.
Incidentally, the Etihad business class ticket alone, according to the customer rep, would put me immediately in Silver status with them, and give some decent benefits, including lounge access.
Singapore’s ticket would likewise put me in Silver, but their Silver level does not seem as good as Etihad’s.
The Korean business fare would, on its own, give/maintain me silver on Flying Blue, but Flying B’s silver status is likewise pretty poor.
Maybe Virgin Australia’s Velocity program is something I should consider even, given I will eventually relocate to Australia, and given their points swap arrangement with Singapore Airlines?
Any thoughts on which business fare and which (long haul) program might be good, given my aim of points-based upgrades and other perks?
Sincere thanks, once again! And compliments on the blog – it’s had me transfixed and it’s had me learning loads!
@ neo74 — Given those choices I would probably book Etihad and credit my miles to them. They’re going to offer the all around best business class product, and they actually have a fairly lucrative frequent flyer program in terms of the value of their miles. And if you’re going to Australia a couple of times per year, those miles will add up quickly.
So it’s probably one of those cases where there’s not a black-and-white best answer, though I think Etihad would be a great option.