When United MileagePlus went revenue-based mileage earning, frequent travelers scoured Star Alliance partners for a United backup plan to credit mileage on low cost tickets.
I have ruminated over switching my Star Alliance primary frequent flyer program to one of the candidate airlines and have never convinced myself to jump from United MileagePlus.
I value Star Gold travel benefits. Every other airline’s Star Gold is more valuable in the US because they grant United Club access while United’s does not. United Clubs are no thrill, though better than not having them. They stock the NYT, FT, and WSJ.
Asiana has reasonable qualification and lifetime status requirements, but pricey award surcharges. Others like Aegean, Avianca, Copa, SAS, and Turkish all have enough failings for me to hesitate. European airlines always seem to stick it to their customers even more than US airlines to theirs.
- Robust online partner airline award booking (which eliminates almost all candidate airlines)
- Low award surcharges
- Reasonable mileage earning
- No forced mileage expiration (such as Singapore expire 3 years from earned, regardless of subsequent activity)
- A track to lifetime status
Singapore KrisFlyer has been popular for awarding minimum 100% mileage flown on United fares. Sadly, as Gary reports, that is now gone.
The new chart is effective October 1, 2017:
150% – A, F
125% – C, D, J
100% – P, Z
100% – B, E, H, M, U, Y
75% – Q, V, W
50% – L,S,T
25% – G, K
I didn’t credit to Singapore KrisFlyer because they fail my 1, 2, 4, and 5 requirements. And I didn’t want to build a time-expiring stake in an airline on mileage earning that was not going to last. It is surprising 100% lasted as long as it did.
The awards I have tried to book with KrisFlyer on their partner Virgin Australia have never been a success (admittedly the obscure Perth-Cocos Island-Christmas Island hopper route).
I have flown Silk Air and no burning desire to go out of my way to fly mainline Singapore.
Something about Singapore, both the state and the airport, is depressing to me. When I think of that airport I don’t think of the ‘world’s greatest airport’ I think of bleak nighttime shuffling along those casino-esque carpets and that they are probably the chief impetus for the spread of loathsome security screening at gates. I do like their line of teas.
My wife and I had our worst-ever argument the time we spent New Year’s in Singapore, both realizing too late the affect of the oppressive climate and dreary expressions on the people around us.