Triangle Trip

Why you should NOT put your points in travel reward programs like Asia Miles, Air Miles, etc.

by Captain G on Apr.01, 2009, under Travel Partners



I don’t really understand the concept of banking airline miles on travel reward programs such as Asia Miles and Canada’s Air Miles. These programs seem like a consolidation of all your travel activities (miles, hotel stays, etc.) without the benefits from the airline or hotels. Another very minor advantage is you can also use your miles for other goods like travel gear and electronics, but many US airlines offer that type of redemption option.

What I am trying to say here is:  if you decide to bank Asian Miles on your Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver, you’ll only get Asian Miles but zero Marco Polo miles or benefits. I see the value in Asian Miles if you are flying all sorts of airlines throughout your life and want flexible redemption of miles/points. However, I don’t think you are getting the most out of the Asia Miles program if you only travel with one or two international airlines - say Cathay Pacific and ANA when you live in Hong Kong.

With the consolidation of US airlines and global alliances, all travelers should only need three frequent flier accounts to accumulate airline miles. Make sure your frequent flier account is on one of these alliances: Star Alliance, SkyTeam or OneWorld. Most of the major airlines in any country have membership with one of the alliances. For example, if you live in the Hong Kong, you will only need three accounts:  Cathay (OneWorld), China Southern or Korean Air (Skyteam), and ANA, Singapore Airlines or Thai (Star). You should bank all your air travel on one of the accounts. For redemption, you can easily book your flights on a member airline - i.e., use your Marco Polo miles to book a American ticket from Hong Kong to Chicago.

Once you have enough Marco Polo points in a year, you will get more benefits such as 25% to 100% more miles on every flight — something Asia Miles or Air Miles cannot offer. So forget the airline/hotel/car mileage consolidation programs and stick to an airline or alliance to make your miles pay off.

 
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