At the start of 2017, I sought to build loyalty with the Star Alliance through AC's Aeroplan/Altitude due to the lower spending minimum for non-Canadian residents, the seamless trans-Atlantic to U.S. transits in YYZ and YUL, the quality PEY product, and the wide variety of partners. Though I've had a spectacular experience on many AC/LH/UA flights, I've hit a fair amount of cancellations, IROPs, baggage delays, and poor service. My most costly experience forced me to spend a notable amount of money in last-minute tickets to the extent that I cancelled two future trips since my travel budget couldn't allow me to spend more while missing work. I found no financial recourse with AC, and this most recent incident with UA has turned me off from doing business with the airline.
That said, I'm looking to establish loyalties somewhere else, and I'd appreciate any advice! I'm a U.S.-based traveler (NYC) looking to align with an airline and FFP that offers:
- easy lounge access with reciprocal access when travelling with partners,
- a nice, reasonably priced PEY for TATL and TPAC segments,
- a U.S.-based loyalty credit card
- mileage saver award flights
I'm currently a 35K AC Altitude member/Star Alliance Silver, and I'm very close to 50K/Star Alliance Gold. I would like to leverage my loyalty to status match to a new program. However, I'm not particularly keen on flying AC/UA again, but would do so if being a Star Gold would be advantageous.
I'm leaning towards CX's Marco Polo club, especially so with the release of their U.S. credit card. It looks like achieving Gold status may be notably expensive, but their Silver tier grants access to CX clubs. I am unsure how tier points would be credited if I flew a routing: NYC-ORD-LAX. Would I be credited tier points once based on NYC-LAX or twice, NYC-ORD, ORD LAX?
BA's Executive club sounds nice, but the fuel surcharges and taxes in and out of London are not appealing. The BA card allows for a companion when redeeming mileage reward flights, but those are still subject to high surcharges. I looked into JL's program as well, but it's a bit confusing overall.
Any tips? The only thing from which I would shy away is any minimum spending, as I may accrue with the airline or with partners more, depending on my travel needs.Thanks for the help!
Roar, lion, roar