The other day, Stefan at RapidTravelChai answered United when they asked him if he going in the direction he wanted. He outlines the real reasons to keep United as a secondary airline in the US, and many resonated with me. In particular: Star Alliance partners.
Though I am a loyal Delta flyer, the others of the big three can’t come close to their operational performance, having a backup option is always nice. With members in the Star Alliance that are known for their hard and soft products (Singapore and Lufthansa, for example), they are definitely a valuable asset to a traveler. Right now, my Star Alliance status is courtesy of Marriott, but with 2017 around the corner it is a good time to re-evaluate travel plans.
This morning, Tiffany at OneMileAtAtime published an article that shows just how broken the United website has become when trying to book award tickets. The worst part is, agents seem to be powerless to override these changes and book the tickets themselves! Miles are nice to have, but if you’re unable to use them, it’s kind of a moot point. 🙁
Singapore Airlines is well known as a workaround to earn at least 100% of the miles flown regardless of fare. Though I am not sure how long this is going to last, Singapore frequently has sales that reduce the number of miles needed for award flights. Another option is one I had previously not considered until Stefan mentioned it: Asiana. Asiana requires only 500,000 miles flown on Star Alliance partners before you attain lifetime Star Alliance Gold status. This is particularly valuable as you receive lounge access when you have Gold status with a foreign airline. While you don’t always earn full distance flown when it comes to award miles, it is much better than being a factor of the ticket price. (Especially when watching your budget!)
I’m still uncertain where I’ll put my extra flights next year, but Singapore or Asiana are looking to be very strong contenders for where to credit United miles, when I do fly them.
What about you?