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Best CCs and milage programs for flying F/J SLC-PER
Hello guys, I am fairly new to this blog and had a couple of queries, so I friend of mine suggested me to visit this blog (very cool btw 🙂 )
As of March, I will be traveling every 5 or so weeks from SLC-PER for one year at least. According to my company’s policy any intercontinental flights that are 22hrs or longer (excluding transit time) are done in first class. I’ve done a bit of research on google flights, and a vast majority of the flights are 22+ hours, meaning that I’d mostly be traveling in F.
My two questions are the following:
1) What milage program would you guys recommend me to join?
At the moment I have an account with Delta, though I haven’t travelled much with them recently, thus have very little no miles.
2) What credit card would you recommend me to sign up for?
Although the hotel/stance in Perth is directly paid by my company, I pay for the flights upfront, and after the trip I give all bills etc. in order get my money refunded. I have looked that one pretty good option is the AMEX Platinum, as it offers 5x points on flights.
In terms of my future traveling goals, I am ideally looking at accruing miles more than anything, and redeeming these for flights to Germany (I travel there once a year, along with my girlfriend) in either J or F (if possible).
Any tips/suggestions are greatly appreciated 🙂
Delta is a good option – they partner with Virgin Australia, points can be transferred from Amex and there are 5x points on paid flights with the Platinum. However, neither airline has First Class.
United might be a decent option, especially since you’d like to redeem for flights to Germany. United flies to Sydney but doesnt offer decent connections to Perth. However, they partner with a number of Asian airlines, which have First Class, such as Singapore and ANA. For the Europe end, United partners with Lufthansa and other European Airlines. Chase’s cards transfer to United but if you keep the Amex, that transfers to Aeroplan for redemptions.
American could be a good option considering they partner with Qantas and both airlines have First Class. Additionally, Cathay and JAL are also great airlines, which require a connection in Asia. However, on the Europe front, AA partners with BA which impose high fuel surcharges on awards.
All the above is great advice. I’d just add that in your situation, it will be extremely difficult to go wrong with any program!
With all 3 US airlines being revenue based for earning miles, you will see your points balance build up quickly. With the average first class fares to Perth probably being close to $10,000, you could easily rack up a million miles this year.
Add that to AMEX points from booking the flights (if you use that platinum card), and you could have 500,000 Membership Rewards this time next year.
Knowing all that, I’d actually recommend flying each airline once (Delta & Virginia Australia, then AA/Qantas, then maybe United), and see which you prefer service wise.
First class in Asia is a dying breed. These carriers do not, SQ, CX, QF, etc. Even the new Qantas 787 out of Perth won’t have First. The only ones that fly first into Perth are Etihad on a 787 and Emirates on the 380 and China Southern on 787. But your in luck because Virgin Australia might as well be first. It’s a GREAT airline.
Since you are out of SLC your best connection is Delta so that would be my choice to gain status. Delta to LAX for Virgin Australia / or China Southern. In addition your AMEX points (5x is the best choice) are easily transferred into Delta. And Delta has reasonable reward space to Europe as well as AF/KLM/VS and Aeroflot. The drawback being DL doesn’t have first class. But your AMEX points can also be transferred to Aeroplan, Singapore, ANA and others to get FC to Europe on Lufthansa or United. Business class is taking over international travel anyway. Sometimes it’s better. Take Austrian for example.
Perth is a fabulous city. In my opinion your best flight option is SLC-LAX-SYD-PER on Delta to LAX and Virgin to Perth.
Here is the domestic flight to Perth on VA
And a comparison of that trip on Virgin and Qantas
Good luck, have fun!
Thanks for that David!
Based on your answer I get the feeling that AA’s program wouldn’t suit me as much as the other would, as it would involve spending some hefty money on surcharges.
However, Aeroplan, Delta and United seem to be fairly solid options. While DL’s lack of F is a considerable disadvantage, they seem to be a fairly convenient (timewise). Do you (or any other reader) have any experience on DL/VA J on ultra-long distance flights? The seat appears to be very good, but is this the case with bedding, service, etc?
Nonetheless, I would really like to take advantage of getting the chance to fly F, as I’ve never done so. I also considered if flying DL/VA J and UA/A* F was an option, though I am not sure if that is over diversifying too much. What do you think?
Thanks again and sorry if I’m being too demanding/annoying, but I want to make sure that I maximize the amount of miles earned 🙂
Thanks for the suggestion rickyw, that seems to be a very good idea to fly both to decide which is the better option.
MarkS thanks for those trip reports! It seems like the service offered was very good. Indeed it seems to be the case that F options to Perth are very limited.
It seems that my best credit card bet is the AMEX platinum, so I’ll go for that one
I think crediting to UA would make the most sense but you don’t have to fly UA to PER but could credit to UA and redeem LH first to Germany, UA has no fuel surcharges unlike LH or Aeroplan. here are some routings that you might be able to do but some don’t have first class as ultra long haul first class is going away but you should find that many of the below airlines business class are really nice. Also remember that UA sells tickets for onward connections on QF (although I am unsure how you earn on the QF Segment)
UA/SQ- SLC-SFO-HKG-SIN-PER (would have SFO-SIN in F)
UA/NH/TG- SLC-SFO-NRT-BKK-PER (NH would be in F)