How to decide how to add credit for your trips

When you fly with a major US airline, it can be tempting to simply earn points or miles in that company’s loyalty program. After all, many of us are familiar with programs like AmericanAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, and United MileagePlus.

However, when choosing where to top up your flights, it’s important to take into account the various differences in Airline alliances and partnerships as international carriers may offer a better value offer.

While most US-based programs award miles based on the cost of the ticket, some foreign programs still award miles based on the distance traveled. Depending on your specific flight, you may earn more miles by enrolling in a distance-based program. However, there are other factors to consider, such as whether or not you value that product’s Elite status What are your recovery goals?

This guide will help you decide which programs are best for adding your miles based on airline alliances to help you get the most value for your flights.

Things to consider

Having access to the Flagship Lounge on all your domestic Alaska and US flights can be a game-changer. Kyle Olsen/Points Man

Before choosing a frequent flyer program to add your miles to, there are some factors to consider:

  • Elite status: If you’re seeking elite status, it’s not always a good idea to focus on the airline you fly most frequently. For example, Turkish Airlines may offer easier eligibility thresholds (and no spending requirements) for Gold Star Alliance Status From United Airlines. However, be sure to take a look at what airline-specific perks you may be giving up by focusing on a different airline.
  • Lounge access for upgrades: As a mid or upper-class elite with a foreign airline, you can enjoy lounge access even on domestic flights in the United States. However, priority is given to free upgrades for the airline’s elite members. You’ll need to decide whether the lower qualification limits and lounge access of a foreign program are more important to you than the possibility of upgrades with a local program.
  • Redemption goals: Consider which program miles will be most beneficial for your specific travel goals. For example, if you are saving money for a transatlantic business class flight, earning Turkish miles may be better than United miles, as Turkish Airlines tends to offer lower fares for savings rewards.
  • Fare eligibility: Basic and highly discounted economy fares may not be eligible for Partner Miles. If you book these fares frequently, you may need to add miles directly to your airline. Use tools like To estimate mileage earnings, but check the earning rates directly on airline websites for the latest information.

Taking these factors into consideration will help you decide when choosing the program that matches your travel preferences and goals.

One world

Kyle Olsen/Points Man

For US travelers, Alaska and American Airlines are the two major carriers within the Oneworld alliance, and each has its own loyalty programs that operate differently. US Miles are awarded based on ticket price and usage Dynamic pricing for refunds while Alaska still awards miles based on flight distance and has done so with Prize schemes. When you fly Alaska Non-saver tickets And rely on its Mileage plan program, you will earn a minimum of one mile per mile flown, which is very generous.

Alaska miles can be great value, and the program offers attractive earning rates, so it’s often the best option for Oneworld flight approval. In addition, members of Alaska’s elite receive Elite Mutual benefits when flying American, including promotions. So the elite status experience is similar. However, it is important to note this Basic economy fares on American Airlines are not eligible for upgrade privileges.

When you book a partner airline on an Alaska Airlines ticket, you can generally still earn 100% of your base miles.

One downside is that Alaska Mileage Plan elite members do not receive this arrival terminal On domestic flights. If airline lounge access is important to you, you should purchase lounge access, A credit card contract that includes this, Or get elite status with a foreign Oneworld airline like Japan Airlines. foreign One Emerald World Members also have access to American Airlines First Check-in when flying domestically.

although Bank gal miles While the award schemes may seem complicated at first, they offer many great redemptions, such as John F. Kennedy International (JFK) to Dubai International (DXB) for 110,000 miles round-trip. Emirates Airlines Business Class.

However, American AAdvantage can still be a good option for your flights, especially with carrying Loyalty points. Your off-fly earnings – including via credit cards, Online shopping, And even eating food – Can get you closer to elite AA status. Most other Oneworld programs limit elite qualifications to flights.

Sky Team

Zach Greif/The Points Man

For passengers residing in the United States who prefer to fly with Delta,… Sky Miles The software is generally the best option for recording SkyTeam flights. You earn 5 SkyMiles for every $1 you spend on Delta flights (excluding elite status rewards). Partner flight mileage earnings are typically based on distance flown unless the flight is booked on Delta’s ticket inventory.

Although the SkyMiles program has no award schemes and is known for its unannounced currency devaluations, it does offer benefits such as recurring deals and flash sales, which allow you to book free flights for Less than 2,500 SkyMiles. Staying loyal to the program increases the likelihood of receiving elite perks such as seat upgrades. To top up your account, you can transfer points from the American Express Membership Rewards Ratio 1:1. You can also at least have a fun 15% discount on award flights operated by Delta By holding on to the truth Delta American Express Card.

Alternatively, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is an option if you prefer a program based on mileage and published award charts. Now that Virgin Atlantic is part of SkyTeam, Aviation Club Elite members can expect SkyTeam’s full list of elite benefits such as priority ground services and qualified access to itinerary lounges when flying with these airlines.

Star Alliance

Zach Greif/The Points Man

For Star Alliance passengers in the United States, flights to Turkish Miles & Smiles instead of United MileagePlus It can be a smart choice.

Turkish Miles are awarded based on the distance travelled; until United Basic Economy Rates Get 50% of the distance you travel. Additionally, Turkish offers lower qualifying thresholds for elite status with no spending requirements. With just 25,000 status miles, you can achieve Classic Plus (Star Alliance Silver) status.

In contrast, United typically requires spending between $4,000 and $24,000 (before taxes and fees) to achieve elite status, in addition to flight requirements.

By earning Star Gold Alliance Status through the Turkish language, you can access United Clubs and partner lounges, although you will not be eligible for these Upgrades on United Flights.

Turkish miles can also be more valuable than United, with domestic flights starting at just 7,500 miles in economy and 12,500 miles in business. You can also transfer points from Belt Rewards, City Thank You Rewards, And Capital One To Turkish Airlines in a ratio of 1:1.

Asiana Club It is another option for status seekers, offering a 24-month qualification period and the ability to redeem miles for flights on non-Star Alliance airlines like Etihad Airways. Alternatively, if you’re seeking more valuable rewards through the published award scheme, consider adding your Star Alliance flight credit to the Air Canada plane. In many cases, this can be a better redemption option From United MileagePlus.


Choosing the right frequent flyer program to add your miles to is just as important as using the right credit card for payments. It can significantly affect your bonus earnings. Adding miles to a partner airline often means earning more miles for the same flight. Make sure to include the required program in your reservation before your flight departs. While some airlines may allow this Retroactive approval for flightsIt’s generally not easy to transfer miles between programs once they’ve already been added.

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