The Airline world is made up of three alliances:

Understanding the alliances and the airlines that make them up, and which airlines do not participate in an alliance, is key to maximizing miles and status. What alliances allow you to do is pick one airline per alliance and earn miles on that one airline’s frequent flier program no matter which airline in the alliance you fly. That way you can maximize miles. Airlines not only give redeemable miles but also status miles across alliance partners, so this also maximizes Elite Status earning.

Another associated tip is to avoid airlines that do not participate in an alliance – Southwest, Emirates, Alaska Airlines, etc.

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Posted by unroadwarrior | 8 Comments

8 Responses to “Expert Tip #5: Alliances are key to maximizing Miles and Elite Status”

  1. Aditya says:

    I actually agree with most of what you have written but there are certain airlines like Alaska air who while not in the alliance offer similar benefit and mileage earning oppty to thier partners from delta and aa

  2. HikerT says:

    I’m not sure what you’re saying in regards to Alaska. You can earn Alaska miles flying on Emirates and many Skyteam and Oneworld parnters. What “alliance” lets you earn and redeem miles on both DL and AA? Yes, there are cons that might make AS a sub-optimal choice, but those might be outweighed if you primarily fly AS metal but also fly DL and AA, or mix and match Skyteam and Oneworld. It was a difficult choice for me flying out of SEA – I chose DL for specific reasons, but if I was flying AA or AS routes I would have definitely chosen AS.

  3. Rocky says:

    I have to agree 100% with what Aditya said. Alaska does NOT participate in an alliance yet if you are a west coast flyer ESPECIALLY Seattle or Portland based, Alaska is an AMAZING airline choice. You get status on Delta, free bag checks and even upgrade to first (rarely) with delta and SAME with AA (minus the upgrades). Both AA and DL give Alaska MVP/GOLD/75 gold priority checkin, security, and boarding. AS also has partnerships with KLM, AF, LAN, Qantas, Emirates, KE, BA, Iceland air and more! Also if you have status with any of the above then you can earn miles with your primary airline and still fly alaska and if you collect via DL, AA, AF, KLM you can even earn elite qualifying miles.

  4. unroadwarrior says:

    I agree that Alaska is an ‘outlier’ amongst the non-alliance airlines (see my post – http://boardingarea.com/unroadwarrior/2010/06/03/alaska-airlines-the-switzerland-of-frequest-flier-programs/). But at the end of the day it is still a small set of airlines that Alaska partners with, when compared to a true alliance. Also, on the East Coast, it makes less sense to pick Alaska as your primary airline.

  5. HikerT says:

    Really? Let’s compare Skyteam to AS:

    Skyteam (15)
    Aeroflot
    AeroMexico
    AirEuropa
    Air France
    Alitalia
    China Airlines
    China Eastern
    China Southern
    CSA Czech Airlines
    Delta Air Lines
    Kenya Airways
    KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
    Korean Air
    TAROM
    Vietnam Airlines

    Alaska (15)
    Air France
    Air Pacific
    American Airlines
    British Airways
    Cathay Pacific
    Delta Air Lines
    Emirates
    Era Alaska
    Icelandair
    Kenmore Air
    KLM
    Korean Air
    LAN
    PenAir
    Qantas

    Granted, some of the AS partners are not usable but I’d say the same for any alliance. Fly Vietnam Airlines or TAROM much from the east coast? AS is a very compelling choice for some on the west coast. The downsides aren’t necessarily the number of parnters.

  6. Scorpion says:

    The reason to avoid flying airlines such as Southwest or Emirates or even Alaska is that although you can earn miles while travelling on them but you don’t earn Status miles and so you don’t get any elite benefits like Lounge access and other perks…Alaska on the other hand is a slightly different case, on the domestic front they partner with Delta and American (you can earn status miles as well) and then you can earn Status miles while flying on Emirates as well(but in most cases you can only earn 50% of the actual distance flown)….But again overall I think its better to align with any Alliance… But again it depends on where you live and which airlines you prefer to fly….

  7. Adam says:

    Unroadwarrior, you don’t get it.
    If you fly AS, you can credit to DL or AA, earning full EQM and RDM. So it doesn’t even matter who *AS* partners with. Flying AS bolsters a Skyteam or Oneworld account.

  8. [...] card, count towards the Lifetime Mile status! If that had been the case for United, given all the Star Alliance flights I have taken and all the miles I have earned via other sources – Credit Card included [...]

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