Remember when I said to pick your alliance carefully, that was wisdom speaking. Before I had traveling experience, I was pretty much operating on the fly. Most of what I know now came from making mistakes and learning the hard way to correct them (like losing miles). Korean Air recently emailed me about an inactive Skypass account. Of course, it became inactive as I never used it. Why did I get it?
I once listened to a travel hacker, who spoke highly of his status with every airline in the world. These were the good old days. When airlines gave status according to how far you flew, instead of how much you spent. So of course, a cheap flight to Australia and another to England would get you where you need to be. Example: JFK to SYD is 9,950 miles. (19,900 round trip) JFK to LHR is 3,451 miles (. 6.902 round trip) Let's say you got lucky and got a flight from JFK to SYD for $600 and JFK to LHD for $300, for $900 you would have flown 26,802 miles and qualified for the lowest tier status on an airline. (Pre 2017) Now, most airlines require you to fly 25,000 miles and spend a minimum of $3,000 to achieve their lowest award status. Before I knew what airline alliances were, I signed up for every airline loyalty program I could find. It was a painstaking task but accomplished in one Saturday afternoon.
After much research, I eventually found the Big Three. These are Skyteam, Star Alliance, and Oneworld. First, select an alliance, pick an airline and then collect all of your points in one place. For example, I chose Skyteam. My airline is Delta Airlines. So when I travel on KLM, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Air Mexico, and others, I'm able to collect all my points on my Delta Airlines account. Virgin Atlantic is not Skyteam but they do have a codeshare agreement. Trust me when I say this is the best strategy. I lost miles on Copa, Southwest, and a few other airlines before I was able to use them. It's best to focus on one account. The moral of the story is to pick one airline alliance, one airline, and particularly the one that operates from your hometown airport.
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