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It’s hard to be loyal to more than one airline.. airline loyalty is hard.. it really is. For me the way that has worked the best is to be loyal and maintain elite status with one of the best airlines in the world, Lufthansa, as they fly to basically everywhere I need to be. Now because I live in the USA for a part of the year, I can’t just fly with Lufthansa since they obviously don’t operate domestic flights within the USA – so naturally because I have elite status with them, I fly with United domestically and around North and South America.
Many hate United, for reasons I don’t know why (or made-up situations that I’ve never experienced despite flying with them 100k+ miles each year). I love United as they have some of the newest fleet among other US-based airlines, offer great food options in domestic First Class, are a member of the world’s leading airline alliance, etc.
This “setup” has worked quite well for me for the past few years since I usually just pay for United domestic First Class, which often costs 20-35% more than Economy and I receive many more miles so it’s a win-win. Then United gets a new CEO and things change as he promises more upgrades for MileagePlus Premier members.. by presumably raising prices for domestic First Class… which turns out to be true.
In the past I’ve been able to find First Class fares for about $500-$600 around the US that would earn me between 15-20k miles… now nothing of this context. Not only are the fares significantly more expensive.. upwards of $800 USD… but they also don’t book into the fare class I need to earn more miles. So basically, before I’d earn 3x the miles for a cheaper ticket and now I would be earning 1x the miles for a more expensive ticket.
Airline pricing fascinates me and I’m always surprised by it, so this is perhaps another case of it. I was able to find the same fares that earn me more miles at similar prices out of Portland, which is about a three hour drive from where I live so that may be the next and only option for me.
Now for the loyalty, I did mention I’m flying with Alaska Airlines more and more because lately (despite me not trusting them anymore), they’ve been offering very cheap fares from Seattle that are an absolute bargain. Like round trips for $200 to New York and round trip fares for a little over $100 around the west coast.. that’s really, really good.
So I haven’t flown United in over two months and I miss them so much that it almost makes me want to cry. There’s nothing exciting about Alaska Airlines and they’re as boring as an airline can get, with United there was always some sort of excitement – perhaps because of their global reach. So it isn’t only that I’ve been not intrigued about my latest flights, but because also I miss the Star Alliance and flying with world-class airlines.
It is super hard to be loyal to more than one airline in the same area – that’s why I chose Lufthansa and United, the combination worked perfectly for years. So.. I’m coming back, even if it means driving to Portland.. it still will be worth the miles, in my opinion. We always have to be a step ahead of airlines and figure out how we can maximise our miles for the cost – so this is just another one of those situations.
I miss you Star Alliance and I will be flying with you soon, I promise!
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