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Best Airline Advice?

New York City, New...
posts: 1
Best Airline Advice?

I just moved away from my hometown and will be traveling back and forth a lot, I'd like to start collecting some miles consistently by choosing one airline and getting their frequent flyer credit card. I don't always need the cheapest flight, but I want the flights to go as smoothly as possible. What are your opinions between these airlines, based on delays, customer service, ticket prices, and frequent flyer program? I'm choosing between Delta Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, Frontier, and Virgin America.

14 replies to this topic
Chicago, Illinois
posts: 5,401
reviews: 75
1. Re: Best Airline Advice?

If you have a specific route you'll be flying check which airline has the most flights and best prices and use that one. The differences in quality are minimal.

I think most people are better with a cash back credit card than a mileage one. Miles are too hard to use.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 46,021
reviews: 14
2. Re: Best Airline Advice?

I've a good friend who has a Southwest Rapid Rewards account (along with the branded credit card) and has had very good luck with booking award flights after earning a great many Rapid Reward miles. Delta's program is colloquially known as Skypesos; some have had benefit from the program, others have not. The programs for jetBlue and Virgin America I know little about.

Consider the pluses and minuses of the programs before choosing one; read the information at the websites and consider the merits for collecting Miles in the short and long term. As wes said, you may decide that a card that gives cash back or Miles that may be used on any airline will be most useful to you, but that's a decision only you can make.

London, United...
posts: 17
3. Re: Best Airline Advice?

Delta and Virgin America are quite well known for their frequent flyer programmes.

UK
posts: 40,252
reviews: 84
4. Re: Best Airline Advice?

Delta and Virgin America are quite well known for their frequent flyer programmes.

=========

And Delta's is well known, as mentioned above, for being called "SkyPeso's" which doesn't exactly indicate its a great scheme ! The OP asked for advice on a good scheme not which ones were "well known".

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney
posts: 13,101
reviews: 30
5. Re: Best Airline Advice?

Ah ok, that explains a few things.

I've heard colleagues talking about 'the Million Milers'. I now know they mean million centimeters.

UK
posts: 40,252
reviews: 84
6. Re: Best Airline Advice?

I think with delta the point is it would be a billion miles, but you'd need ten billion to get anywhere :-)

Altamonte Springs...
Destination Expert
for Saint Augustine
posts: 8,104
reviews: 22
7. Re: Best Airline Advice?

"I think most people are better with a cash back credit card than a mileage one. Miles are too hard to use."

I respectfully disagree. If you do your homework, you can get some great trips in premium class seats, but it takes effort.

I have flown to or from Australia, New Zealand, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Stockholm in business or first using miles. Our recent trip from SYD to MCO was in first and would have cost $15,500 per person (2) in cash, but we used AA miles instead.

Look at those airlines, what alliance (OneWorld, SkyTeam or Star Alliance) they belong to and who their partners are. Then see if any of them fly to destinations you want to visit. Start reading Flyertalk posts, specifically here: www.flyertalk.com/forum/miles-points-1/

Later on, you can start perusing these sites:

Milepoint

http://milepoint.com/forums/

Million Mile Secrets

http://millionmilesecrets.com/

FrugalTravelGuy

http://www.frugaltravelguy.blogspot.com/

Charlotte, North...
posts: 1,399
reviews: 30
8. Re: Best Airline Advice?

While Delta is not good about award tickets, the pay with miles option can be useful for some.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 5,401
reviews: 75
9. Re: Best Airline Advice?

""I think most people are better with a cash back credit card than a mileage one. Miles are too hard to use."

I respectfully disagree. If you do your homework, you can get some great trips in premium class seats, but it takes effort.

I have flown to or from Australia, New Zealand, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Stockholm in business or first using miles. Our recent trip from SYD to MCO was in first and would have cost $15,500 per person (2) in cash, but we used AA miles instead."

I should have re-phrased that. If you're going to buy premium tickets and spend enough money to accumulate that many miles, than the mileage card can make sense. But you really need to look at your circumstances. It gets back to using miles for business class or economy class. The $/mile is better with premium tickets but you can stretch the miles into more trips if you do economy. Some people value the premium class experience. I don't. At least not to the extent I'd give up extra vacations for it. So I value the miles based on economy trips. And in that case, if you do the math, you'll see you're better off with a cash back card.

Also, to accumulate 125,000 miles with a credit card would take what to me seems like an astronomical amount of spending. It would take me something like 10 years to accumulate that many miles from a credit card. I guess if you spend that much and like to fly premium class, go with the miles card.

You can get deals where you get 30,000 to 60,000 miles free when you sign up.

Two other things to keep in mind with mileage cards, they all have an annual fee that I'm aware of if you get 1 mile per dollar. And for international trips, the miles only cover the ticket, not the fees. I used miles for "free" tickets ORD-LHR a few years ago and still spent I think $400 for two tickets.

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 72
10. Re: Best Airline Advice?

All I know is DO NOT fly Delta Airlines. Delta may have good prices, but their service is dreadful. Southwest is a good airline, so if you have had good experiences with them, go ahead and try them again if you like their price! Good traveling

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