It pays to have a frequent flyer number. What, don’t believe me? If you fly to a lindy event at least once a month, it’s worth your while.
On average, it costs me $30 each way to check a bag. Let’s say I do one round-trip each month for a year: 12 months x $60 = $720. Holy cow, think of what you could do with an extra $700. I can think of plenty….but let’s stay on topic here.
I fly. A lot. Maybe too much. The point is, that if I am already flying, I might as well get the miles. Kevin, on the other hand, didn’t focus on this the past year and now one of us has status on two airlines, and the other has status on none (how very Dr. Seuss of me!). All I had to remember to do was when I checked in, either online or in person, I made sure my frequent flyer number was in the system, and viola, I got miles.
But who should you join? I’ve joined the major groups so that I can get miles on just about everything, minus the puddle jumper while I am in Europe.
Northwest Airlines (now owned by Delta) – SKY TEAM – partners with
- Air France
- China Southern Airlines
- CSA Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Korean Air
- Air Europa
- Kenya Airways
I like Air France, but I don’t like the CDG airport (Paris). If you fly through here, make sure you have at least an hour layover otherwise you might miss your flight because you won’t physically be able to get to your gate in time. I am serious….consider this your warning! KLM is a favorite. I just flew Korean Air and I liked it. The bathroom areas were hidden, so they felt a bit more private, and the soap in the restrooms smelled fantastic! They also offer complimentary tooth brushes! Final note, stay away from Aeroflot if you can. I think I’ve already written a blog about it, but it’s more like Aero-fuck if you ask me. I had a hellish time on them two years ago. Bad food, bad service, LONGass layover in Moscow. Stay away from them if you can. 😀
United Airlines – STAR ALLIANCE – partners with:
- Adria Airways
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air New Zealand
- Asiana Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Continental Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Shanghai Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- TAP Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
- US Airways
I like Lufthansa, SWISS, and Austrian Air, but the others I’ve flown, I don’t really like. US Airways is a little ghetto, United is snobby (yet I still have status with them), and LOT is kinda sketchy. Nonetheless, I have heard good things about bmi, Brussels Air, and Ana.
Alaska Airlines – Mileage Plan – partners with:
“The airline’s frequent flyer program is called Mileage Plan. Alaska Airlines is not part of any of the three major airline alliances, but Mileage Plan airline partners include prominent members of SkyTeam, such as Delta Air Lines, Korean Air, Northwest Airlines, KLM, and Air France, as well as members of Oneworld, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas.”
When I lived on the West Coast, I would fly Alaska as often as I could. I really liked them. Once I moved to the East Coast, I started using NWA more (because they were partners) and kept my miles with Alaska. Unfortunately, Alaska values a number of airlines, but the love is not reciprocal. Sigh. My Alaska account primarily gets miles from American Airlines (which I don’t particularly like flying), British Airways, and Qantas.
Long of the short of it is: if you fly on a semi-regular basis, it’s worth joining one of the airlines alliances. Get miles, use them for vacation (I’ve done 3 trips down to Argentina on miles), check your luggage for free (yup, that’s a perk….perhaps the best one), get priority seating, get a special number to call for booking and/or help, and just feel special.