Are airmiles worth collecting?
July 24, 2007 10:01 AM   Subscribe

FrequentFlyerFilter: Is it worth booking a more expensive flight in order to gain rewards to use on a subsequent journey?

I plan to travel London to Perth (Aus) and back later this year and then next year do a Round The World type trip, again from London. Both are unbooked at the moment. Looking at each trip individually, it may be cheaper to go with two different airlines.

Is it worth booking both trips with the same airline/organisation in order to benefit from any frequent flyer type rewards on the second booking? If so, what sort of rewards should I be looking for?
posted by SpacemanRed to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
FlyerTalk (particularly the FAQ sections for the airlines you're considering) and the airlines' own sites will give you all the information you need about frequent-flyer benefits. The London-Perth trip, at roughly 18k miles, would not qualify you for elite status on most airlines, but it depends on the airline and (often) the type of ticket you buy. Even then, low-level elite status may not be worth much during your RTW, although things like priority standby might make it slightly easier to recover from missed flights.
posted by backupjesus at 10:13 AM on July 24, 2007

I'm not sure about the distance and flight paths between Perth & London, but I was doing two round trips between DC and Perth for a couple of years, and the frequent flyer miles really become worth it. I was earning 22,000 miles per round-trip, so after the first two flights I had enough miles in the bank to upgrade to business class every time, which cost me 25,000 miles each time.

Business class is not a luxury, it's a mental health saver, when you're flying four hours across a continent, 14 hours across an ocean, then laying over in Sydney for 4 hours, then flying another three hours across a continent. You get seats that can lay back, enough leg room to stretch, free drinks, better food, less crowded lavatories. Most airlines will give you a nice toiletry bag with a toothbrush, lotion, eye screen, etc. On many flights these days, you also get a TV screen built in and more freedom to watch what you want than the plebes in coach get.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:18 AM on July 24, 2007

The London-Perth trip, at roughly 18k miles, would not qualify you for elite status on most airlines

If you sign up for AAdvantage, take the trip on a Oneworld airline, and sign up for a Gold Challenge first, you will be able to get Gold status on AA/Ruby status on Oneworld.

If you are considering a couple of alternatives it would be better to outline them here instead of having us guess. Also how many FF programs you are already a member of and how many miles you have there. Also, the advice at Flyertalk will probably be better in my experience.
posted by grouse at 10:21 AM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Also consider signing up for a credit card through the airline that gets you double miles, if you're into that sorta thing. The "double" part won't qualify you for elite status, but it will help you go on more free trips. I just got elite status with NWA this year, and I have to say it is nice -- they auto-upgrade me w/o me even having to ask for it, and I get to go through faster lines at the airport. But, I wouldn't pay much for it. $50 yes. $ way. Grey area in between.
posted by Eringatang at 10:34 AM on July 24, 2007

posted by jeffamaphone at 11:34 AM on July 24, 2007

Not if that's the only reason, no. The airline may not even be around in a year (it happens), and having the mileage doesn't guarantee you will be able to go on the trip you want when you want to go.
posted by misha at 11:39 AM on July 24, 2007

Definitely go for the AAdvantage Platinum Challenge rather than the Gold. When you're platinum, you should have status to get lounge access on international itineraries. Plus I think you get a 100% bonus on redeemable miles flown which gives you more miles to fly other places or upgrade with.
posted by madh at 11:43 AM on July 24, 2007

Definitely go for the AAdvantage Platinum Challenge rather than the Gold.

Well, in order to do this you would need to fly at least 20,000 miles of discount economy in 90 days. Which is more than a LON-SIN-PER-SIN-LON round trip. So you could do it, you'd just need to either route through Tokyo, or pay for an extra mileage run in Europe.
posted by grouse at 1:07 PM on July 24, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the help, especially the hints on Flyertalk, Oneworld and the credit card.
posted by SpacemanRed at 4:48 AM on July 25, 2007

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