Loyalty programs are great. There are many benefits travelers can take advantage of, to make your trips smoother and more enjoyable.
There are many factors one must look into before choosing. Routes, price, travel partners, how miles are earned, redemption, upgrades, and last, but not least, is customer service.
After years and over a million miles on United, I am starting fresh. I chose two airlines who had routes much more convenient to my home base. They also gave me matching status, so I can experience their loyalty program benefits.
I received my Delta platinum status in May. Now some of you might be thinking, wasn’t one of the reasons I left United was that they changed their program requirements to mirror Delta’s dollars instead of miles calculations. Yes that is true, but Delta has more direct routes and their fares are lower.
I have taken two flights on Delta. So far, so good.
I took my first flight in May. I went to check in and the lady thanked me for being a platinum member and was really nice. In all my years at United, that never happened. The flight was direct, to Hong Kong, which saved me hours. The plane was new, the crew, again, nice. On United, I would have to change planes in San Francisco, and the plane to Hong Kong was really old. It had 1 large screen in the front section of cabin, for a 15 hour flight. Once on that flight route, the air condition leaked, lots of people around me got wet. Not good. The crew on those routes were never in the best of moods.
Honestly, the only thing good about the flight on United was all the miles I would get. It was bad, really bad. I was in denial at the time, because of all the miles I would earn. Now that I am out of that situation, I am never taking that flight again. So thank you United for your poor treatment and changing your mileage program so I could get out of that terrible situation, aka, San Francisco to Hong Kong.
The second program I got matching status on was on Alaska Airlines in June. US News Travel just named it the best rewards program for 2015-2016. Alaska said it would take a couple of weeks to process my matching status application, but I got it in 4 days. So that was nice. Their program also is miles based, and has lots of direct flights for me, which is another positive. It also has 15 airline mileage partners. Another bonus. I haven’t taken any flights with them, but will soon.
It is going to take me a few months and a few trips to decide which direction to go. But I’m optimistic that one of these programs will work out for me.