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cheapest option for a regular travelers


princeofwales

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Is it to become a member of your preferred airline and stay with them for the benefits

Or pick and choose who has the best deals at the time

Im talking around 6 to 8 flights a year

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I think the days of staying with any particular airline is over... seeing that almost everyone is screwing you over in points... They are basing rewards on how much you spend rather than how far you go now. That said... if you can find an airline that has decent pricing, you can get free upgrades for sticking with them.

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Last time I always use the same airline. I travel like 10 - 15 times a year. I travel for work, so paid by my client / employer.

 

So, I get points, when the points are accumulated, I can get free air tickets, that's the promo. Finally the points were accumulated and I should be able to get 2 air tickets for free. But when I wanted to get it for my personal holiday, I still have to pay this and that, finally when I compare with Air Asia or Jet Star tickets, both of those airlines tickets were cheaper....so finally I bought Jet Star instead of the offering points bonus.

 

But, when I travel in another time, I sit beside a woman, she travel for free to Europe from certain airlines because of the bonus points. She said that she didn't pay anything, just using her points in the airlines card member.

 

I think become member of certain airlines, sometimes really offer you free air tickets as a bonus, sometimes not

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Its starting to get tough to get reward tickets although with that amount of round trips I'd suggest Emirates or Etihad. You still pay taxes on reward tickets and those are £200+ still

Personally I go the cheapest option as long as the Carrier is decent. Oman Etihad Qatar my carriers of choice. I did a quick calculation having flown Oman 6 times and six trips are averaging £421

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Rather than getting a free flight, it may be the other perks of being on a higher tier that can just help a little.

Lounge access, extra baggage, the occasional upgrade.

 

If you take internal flights in Thailand, then joining the Thai program, Royal Orchid Plus, can get you a free internal flight fairly quickly if you fly with any Star Alliance member.

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

 

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I am a bit of a slut when it comes to airlines... I cozy up to 3 of 'em...  Thai, Emirates and Singapore Airlines...  Whoever has the best price of those 3 when I want to travel, gets the cash...

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Is it to become a member of your preferred airline and stay with them for the benefits

Or pick and choose who has the best deals at the time

Im talking around 6 to 8 flights a year

Depends what you mean by regular traveller

Monthly ?

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Rather than getting a free flight, it may be the other perks of being on a higher tier that can just help a little.

Lounge access, extra baggage, the occasional upgrade.

 

If you take internal flights in Thailand, then joining the Thai program, Royal Orchid Plus, can get you a free internal flight fairly quickly if you fly with any Star Alliance member.

 

Gotta agree here...

 

My bastard airline (CI) just change their upgrade rules... only get upgrade w/miles if you buy the full fare ticket of the lower class... so basically miles aren't worth anything anymore on this airline...

 

I'm Emerald class and can use the first class lounge, and get occasional free upgrades... but looks like the airline is making it impossible to use miles anymore...

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I stopped chasing the cheapest fares for one year and stick to 2 airlines now. Got my self credit card and collect points on it That gives my aboat 3 flight a year. Priority check in lounges and extra baggage allowance, plus I have got one business class upgrade.

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I havent done as much research as I probably could to find the absolute best deals of all the airline mileage programs, but I set out trying to find the best programs on the airlines that I like flying the most from here in the US, which to me were Cathay Pacific and Singapore Air.  To me, Cathay Pacific ended up being the best bet for me based on the different ways you could earn points.  When I first started flying to Thailand about 4-5 years ago, I signed up for both the Marco Polo Club from Cathay and AsiaMiles, their mileage partner.  Basically at that time I was booking flights for about $1000-$1200 roundtrip, and each trip I was getting about 15,000 Asia Miles points.  I calculated that after 4 round trip flights, or 60,000 Asia Miles, I earned a free round trip flight, so I did that and earned and used that flight.  Of course you have to book that award flight a little differently based on award flight availability, but it was not that hard if you booked far enough ahead and had some flexibility. 

 

Recently, I have noticed some really good deals where for example a roundtrip flight from San Francisco to BKK is about $961 on economy.  This rate is however classified at Economy Special and only earns 25% of the normal Asia Miles miles.  I would have to book at least Economy Core to earn 100% at a price of $1335 a ticket.  So 4 flights of that at $1335 is $4540 to get a free flight.  Or 4 flights at the Economy Special is $3844, which is $696 less.  It would seem like you save $265 by earning an award flight, but when you book an award flight you still need to pay taxes which in my case is about $300 anyways.  So it is basically a wash. 

 

Of course I can fly other airlines like China Eastern Air for about $801 a roundtrip flight, and over 5 trips am saving about $500, but I flew a lower fare airline once to BKK and it wasn't worth the savings to me. 

 

The real value is in the upgrades, but you need to spend more overall, so it isn't geared toward the cheapest flight option.  Basically, for 30,000 points, you can upgrade one class on your roundtrip flight.  From Economy to Premium Economy, you are looking at a ticket difference from $1335 (you need to buy the core economy to be able to upgrade) to $2580, saving $1245.  But the biggest savings is from Premium Economy ($2580) to Business Class ($6605), or a savings of $4025 for 30,000 points. 

 

Of course you are now looking at paying $2580 for that flight instead $960, so again, it is not the cheapest option, but you are also now a long haul flight in business class instead of economy at a fraction of the normal price. 

 

As far as earning the 30,000 points I needed for the upgrade, I was able to use my miles accrued from early flights, and there were some credit card bonus deals I signed up for the receive points that transferred to Asia Miles 1 to 1, such as Citi Thank You Premier that gives 50,000 points for using $3,000 in 3 months and Amex Premier Rewards Gold that gave 50,000 points for only $1,000 in 3 months.  Also Citibank had a checking account special for 40,000 for opening a checking account with some qualifications.  So basically I can get almost 150,000 points to convert to Asia Miles pretty quickly. 

 

I could have just used those points to get two free Economy flights, but I am choosing instead to go for at least one Business Class upgrade flight and still have a bunch of points left over after that.

 

I am still new at the points and miles game, and I am sure there are some getting even better deals, but that is my strategy so far.  Sorry for the long post, and some of the numbers might be a little off, but hopefully it gives one person's opinion to the conversation. 

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I do like the Lounge Access that airlines provide although I tend to indulge a little too much on the wine. But would I pay £50-£100 more per ticket to get the ticket with the higher points definately not

Extra weight is of little use when all the carriers seem to have 30kg basic although I think Etihad have dropped that to 23kg on cheapest tickets

Still more than I am on outbound when I'm weighed down with Books and Fluids. Remove those 2 items and I'd be at 8/9kg

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Flying to Thailand from the US the cheapest option is usually going to be the cut rate dodgy airlines, especially since legacy carriers keep degrading their frequent flyer programs.

 

But as others have mentioned, if your travel time is +24 hours you are going to want some of the perks that gold level FF get, e.g., lounge access, preferential boarding, higher baggage allowances, etc. 

 

Disunited airlines upgrades their gold level and above FF to free premium economy. May not seem at first like it is worth the typical +$150 surcharge, but that 3 - 4 additional inches of leg room is nice for us tall guys on those 12 hours flights. 

 

If you include all of those perks and increase the low ball carrier's price accordingly, they are often not low.

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When I lived in UK I used credit card that gave me airmiles and also a card for fuel that did the same.  In five years I had enough miles to get two free tickets to come to Thailand when I relocated here.  This also covered all the costs, taxes etc so the flights were completely free.   Also had a Thai silver card which really did very little and they never seem to give upgrades, only thing it did was to increase my baggage allowance.   Always chose the cheaper flights over any loyalty schemes and i am sure I was better off doing that.

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The miles are worth nothing now i don't even look at them but i pay for better tickets with Emirates to keep my Gold membership up. Over the year i reckon i pay an extra £1200 but i feel its worth it, at Xmas i flew Oslo/Dubai/Bangkok return and had 3 upgrades to business.

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