Relocating to Sydney from US: which frequent flyer program is best for me?

12 replies

kwons9

Member since 24 May 2018

Total posts 1

Hi, Thanks a lot in advance for the advice!

I'll be relocating to Sydney from New York in few months for my work assignment. I'll be definitely staying at Australia for the next 3-5 years.

Can I get an advice for which FF programs to rack up my miles from my future trips?

I'll be traveling to US (New York) at least once a year and may be APAC (HK, Tokyo and Seoul) few times as well for work.

During my stay in AU, my plan is to explore Asia as much as I can with my family for vacation.

I don't have any status from any airline network now. Just have 200K miles with ANA and ~200K miles with Alaska Airline (Excellent redemption value with many transfer partners).

With my travel needs for both work and fun, could you advise me what FF program should I put my future miles to in terms of perks, choice and redemption value?

Any advice will be highly appreciated!

pab2025

Member since 25 Jun 2012

Total posts 99

Don't switch to any Australian program - they all have huge taxes and fees and the amount of points required for redemption bookings is often 50% more than in the US.

Stick with a US program, even if you earn less, it is still worth it!

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 06 Nov 2014

Total posts 151

It depends on which airline you'll be flying with for those trips.


ANA is with star alliance so if your Asian trip involves mostly SQ, TG, BR or CA, then probably worth keeping it. But if it involves QF or CX, then you can still credit to Alaskan as they are partners.

It'll also depending on if you are planning to get a local credit card and if that's a main source of your miles. Unfortunately there is no credit card here that would earn ANA or Alaskan miles. So if you are getting a local card then maybe worth considering another FFP.

whoppersandwich

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Dec 2017

Total posts 122

If you’re chasing status I would recommend joining Qantas’ FF scheme (tho I’d suggest utilising Alaska to make award bookings to avoid the costs mentioned above). Status credits are easy to come by, particularly on the routes you mentioned - and when you make trips back stateside having OW Sapphire/Emerald status is a godsend for lounge access with AA.


VA’s scheme offers up a more efficient path to the higher tiers, however the lack of an airline alliance (they do have several partners however) and the limited international destinations served would be quite a disadvantage in your case.

New Mint

Member since 24 Feb 2012

Total posts 60

If you’re chasing status I would recommend joining Qantas’ FF scheme (tho I’d suggest utilising Alaska to make award bookings to avoid the costs mentioned above). Status credits are easy to come by, particularly on the routes you mentioned - and when you make trips back stateside having OW Sapphire/Emerald status is a godsend for lounge access with AA.

VA’s scheme offers up a more efficient path to the higher tiers, however the lack of an airline alliance (they do have several partners however) and the limited international destinations served would be quite a disadvantage in your case.

I tend to agree. Having status with Qantas and One World is definitely the way to go. However if you are only travelling between Asia and USA, gaining status with VA might be sufficient for your needs. You only need 500 status credits with VA for gold and 1000 for Platinum. VA has alliances with Singapore and Hong Kong Airlines for Asia (As well as their own Melb/Syd to HK services) and Delta for USA. Perhaps the choice will come down to where in Asia you will most likely be flying but given you are going to be here for 3-5 years I think it’s definitely worth achieving status with one of either Qantas or Virgin.


As has also been mentioned I would redeem your flights through existing FF programs.

Good luck with your travels and hope you enjoy your stay in Aus :)

xtfer

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 14 Mar 2017

Total posts 148

Nobody has mentioned the class of travel you're choosing... With the few trips you are doing, you will probably not make Gold with Qantas if you travel in Premium Economy or below. However, given that Virgin has a great family pooling option and lower status requirements, you will probably make Virgin Gold, giving you lounge access and other benefits on Singapore Airlines, Delta, Hong Kong Airlines, Etihad and a few others.


The other consideration might be whether you expect to use your points while here. If not, and you dont expect to make a Gold tier with either, you may wish to credit them back to an existing program which partners with Qantas or Virgin.

So it might be worth working out how many flights and at what level. Good luck.

west49th

Member since 11 Aug 2017

Total posts 5

If you're already with American Airlines, keep it - a one way flight between any two cities in Australia (including Brisbane - Perth, a flight of 6 hours) only costs 10,000 miles one way for Economy or 20,000 for Business Class. No Aussie FF programme can match that.

stmaus

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 20 Nov 2017

Total posts 35

Don't switch to any Australian program - they all have huge taxes and fees

I would say Qantas has huge taxes and fees, but Virgin Australia significantly lower.

Reg

American Airlines - AAdvantage

Member since 20 Jun 2012

Total posts 4

Keep AA membership, accrue any Qantas flights to it in pursuit on OW status and with your resident / citizen status you are the envy of many Australians, in that you can operate US credit cards and avail yourself of the sign up bonuses / bonus offers etc.

Andrew Barkery

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 21 Mar 2011

Total posts 427

As mentioned above, don't open any.
ANA, AirNZ and SQ plus others are in the *A, and any miles collected in any of them can be utilized on any partners.
AS as mentioned above is in OW.
Starting from scratch is a pain in the posterior.
BUT, if you are really keen, you could join the Flybuys system, with Coles supermarkets who are partners with Virgin Australia, who are partners with SQ. Collect Flybuy points, that can be tranferred to Velocity points, this can then be utilised to book Virgin Australia partner flights with SQ.
Its very a complicated relationship, this Flybuys & Velocity & KF thing.

Andrew Barkery

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 21 Mar 2011

Total posts 427

Put into your possible Air NZ booking, your ANA FF# if you do want to go and see NZ, esp the Southern Alps, I saw them several times flying Au - NZ, amazing for a person who has never seen snow capped mountains before!

Put into your possible SQ booking, your ANA FF# as well.
You can join KF if you really want, they are a partner of VFF but VFF is not in an alliance!
And then if you want to fly to a place in Australia that QF does not fly to, you can fly VA if they fly there, and earn KF miles, which are worth something in *A.

BRCW

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 04 Oct 2016

Total posts 13

+1 for AA. You'll earn on Qantas in Australia and Qantas/Cathay Pacific in Asia. As someone else mentioned, AA redemptions are very good value in Australia (including Australia-New Zealand). If you request a Platinum Challenge with AA, you should achieve Plat one-way from NY to Sydney. (Did this is the opposite direction 10 years ago). AA Plat is Oneworld Sapphire which will give you free access to all Qantas lounges in Australia and Cathay Pacific lounges in Asia.

Last editedby BRCW at May 30, 2018, 03:11 PM.

ptambrosetti

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

Member since 21 May 2018

Total posts 6

Was very interested to hear everyone's answers as I'm somewhat in this boat as well. I'm approaching Gold Status with United (which puts me at Gold for Star Alliance too). Will definitely be holding on to both of my credit cards that earn United/SA Miles. Signed up for a Platinum Amex here to transfer to Emirates for other flights & everyday spend. Not impressed by Qantas or Virgin's loyalty schemes in the slightest.


Unfortunately it looks like the Star Alliance Airlines don't really fly to too many destinations around here aside from NZ. Anyone have insight on how to utilise those miles and that status the most?

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Relocating to Sydney from US: which frequent flyer program is best for me?

Attach Files