What is the best UK-based mileage plan? Or do I need one?
April 29, 2014 2:55 AM   Subscribe

I travel a lot to the US and I plan to travel to Russia a few times this summer. I used to have a good mileage plan in the US, but I'm not sure what the best one is for the UK. Alternatively, maybe it's cheaper just to always find the least expensive flights rather than being loyal to one group of airlines?
posted by stinker to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
Your first problem is that British people don't use the expression "mileage plan". We talk about airline loyalty cards, credit card loyalty schemes, "airmiles" and the like. Secondly, as I understand it, the whole idea is considered much less important than it is in the US. Yes airlines have loyalty schemes but none of them seem to represent great value for money unless one is going a great many miles. It is simply more cost effective to shop around.

Here is a link to a forum thread on the UK site "money savings expert" where people are talking about such things.
posted by rongorongo at 4:30 AM on April 29, 2014

Here are two webisites to consult about mileage schemes Flyer Talk, check out their forum if you have specific questions about a mileage program and the Points Guy.

Sign up for the airlines you are going to use.

You don't have have to fly with the same group of airlines all the time but if you fly enough it will give you certain benefits.

You can use your miles to purchase non-flight rewards such as hotels, depending on the program.

If you also have a credit card that rewards miles, you can rack up the miles quickly.

If you are regularly travelling from the UK to the US, you will collect a lot of miles quickly.
In your shoes I would pick one airline and try and fly with them exclusively and only book other airlines if the price is substantially cheaper.
posted by Snazzy67 at 5:21 AM on April 29, 2014

I am in both the Oneworld (through BA Executive Club) and Star Alliance (through Lufthansa Miles & More) loyalty programs. Getting award fights isn't easy but I have done it a few times. For my money though the biggest benefits of getting status on a program are priority boarding and the use of lounges. I rarely bother with trying for an award flight but boy do I heart that priority boarding. Actually there is a third one: get some status and you get better treatment if there's a problem. Once on Lufthansa out of Doha the flight got cancelled at three in the morning. First to get rebooked were the people who had gold status on Star Alliance--the gate agents actually sought them out. If you are flying a lot, sign up with the programs for the airlines you are likely to use, and stick to one airline as much as possible.
posted by Logophiliac at 9:08 AM on April 29, 2014

What logophiliac said. I have Star Alliance, Sky Team and OneWorld cards. It's more about the lounge access and advance boarding.
I was once on a flight from Aberdeen to Stavanger when the Bergen flight got cancelled and the passengers were pushed into our flight. I made it due to gold status, 40 other people didn't. That's when membership has it's privileges.
posted by arcticseal at 10:04 PM on April 29, 2014

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