Airline reward programs

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otravers
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Airline reward programs

Post by otravers » Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:59 pm

I'm trying to optimize our use of our LANpass and AAdvantage memberships, as I've had a tendency to let miles expire in the past for lack of planning. To that effect, I just opened an account on AwardWallet to keep track of our accounts, and I'm researching how to generate more miles. Here are my notes so far:

1. BCI AA

BCI has an AAdvantage credit card that gives you 1.5 miles for every dollar spent (except when you pay taxes and gambling debts!). On top of that you can get up to 15.000 miles within 90 days of signing up if you meet their spending target. The account costs 0.55UF = 14.000 pesos = $240/y to maintain. For reference 40.000 miles get you an SCL-continental /US rountrip if you're flexible on dates.

Say someone were to pay $3,000 worth of bills every month with it, that should amount to 54,000 miles/y (excluding any initial bonus miles), or $918 at the 1.7 cents/mile value that I've seen is the estimate value appraisal of AA miles (40000 miles *0.017 = $680 for an off-season roundtrip to the US, so that kind of checks out). This gives you one round-trip to the US for one passenger per year for $240, on paper $450 of free airfare money sounds good. (I'm assuming the credit card is paid in full each month so you don't pay interests).

To generate enough miles to break even with the credit card's fee, you'd need to spend at least $14.000/y with it. Incidentally I just checked and this should work with the Timesaving Power Move (tm) at Servipag.com that I recently described in another thread, since the Servipag website accepts credit cards.

- https://ww3.bci.cl/aadvantage
- http://www.americanairlines.cl/i18n/AAd ... e&from=Nav


2. Santander LANPASS

Santander has an exclusive plan with LAN that accumulates 1.5 LANPASS kilometers for every dollar spent with the credit card, and also has smaller rewards for payment by debit card, internet transfers etc. The plan costs 0.49 UF/mo = 12.500 pesos = $215/y.

This sounds relatively close the the AA plan, so I guess it's a matter of pursuing AA or LAN as your primary airline, and whether you prefer BCI or Santander? LAN has the benefit of offering a bunch of local and regional flights, so it may be easier to consume the miles, and do so in smaller chunks. AA and LAN are both part of oneworld, but I'm unclear how miles from one program can be applied to flights from the partner airline.

Speaking of LAN, I really like their mobile phone app, I'm now doing online check-in and just show my phone all through the process at the airport, it's very convenient.

- http://www.santander.cl/planes/plan-lanpass.asp
- http://www.santander.cl/cuenta-corriente.asp
- http://www.lan.com/es_cl/sitio_personas ... index.html
- https://www.oneworld.com/ffp/earning-redeeming-miles


3. COPEC LANPASS

With this free card, 1 liter of gas or diesel = 1 LANPASS km. This is not a payment card, just a membership, so you can presumably double dip by paying with one of the two credit cards above. I guess this amounts to ~1000 free LAN km/year for most people, not groundbreaking but they could be the missing miles to unlock a free trip.

Separately COPEC has a mobile app called Pagoclick that you can tie to your COPEC LANPASS plan and your credit card. Supposedly you can pay with just your phone with it, I haven't tried yet. The promotional benefit on top of the miles and convenience has been a moving target, right now it's a $10CLP/liter discount, assuming this were to stay, my hypothetical customer consuming 1.000 liters of gas per year would save 10,000 pesos. Meh!

- copec.cl/copeclanpass


4. Other LANPASS partners

- You can renew your Movistar phone with LAN kms: movistar.cl/PortalMovistarWeb/club-movistar/alianzas/lanpass
- Salcobrand has a deal with LANPASS but it's to expire on 02/29/16.
- Here's LAN catalog of stuff you can buy with kms: lan.com/catalogolanpass/

5. Banco de Chile / Delta

I hate Delta with a burning passion so I'm not even considering joining this one, but I'm mentioning it for the sake of exhaustiveness.


Feedback / Questions

Anything else I'm missing? Your pro tips and real-world feedback are welcome, especially from people using the credit cards above. Some question I have:

- Is Cyber Monday the best time of the year to buy from LAN?

- Is it worth it keeping an eye on the LAN and AA offers they email, price-wise?

- Why would someone want to accumulate LANPASS kilometers at a discount while flying AA (some economy flights only give you 50% credit on LANPASS) as opposed to credit your AAdvantage account? I assume you can't double dip an AA flight into miles in both your AAdvantage and LANPASS accounts, correct?

- How does redeeming miles through oneworld work and is it worth it vs. staying with the originating airline to spend your miles?

- After some research, buying miles does not seem to be good value on AA, are there any exceptions? Is AA's Mileage Multiplier worth looking into?

john
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Re: Airline reward programs

Post by john » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:49 pm

[quote="travels"]

Have nothing to contribute as I don't have any of the cards you mentioned.

Speaking of LAN, I really like their mobile phone app, I'm now doing online check-in and just show my phone all through the process at the airport, it's very convenient.

Concur.



Feedback / Questions

Anything else I'm missing? Your pro tips and real-world feedback are welcome, especially from people using the credit cards above. Some question I have:

- Is Cyber Monday the best time of the year to buy from LAN? Not sure, but that's when I buy my LAN tickets.

- Is it worth it keeping an eye on the LAN and AA offers they email, price-wise? I always do, but so far I haven't found any better prices than those offered on Cyber Monday.

- Why would someone want to accumulate LANPASS kilometers at a discount while flying AA (some economy flights only give you 50% credit on LANPASS) as opposed to credit your AAdvantage account? Probably because you are unable to transfer AA miles to LANPASS. I assume you can't double dip an AA flight into miles in both your AAdvantage and LANPASS accounts, correct? Don't know, but that would be my assumption.

- How does redeeming miles through oneworld work (https://www.oneworld.com/ffp/earning-redeeming-miles) and is it worth it vs. staying with the originating airline to spend your miles? It may depend on your specific situation. I have residual miles with AAdvantage and UA MileagePlus (and my objective is to use them up) but most of my miles are now with LANPASS.

- After some research, buying miles does not seem to be good value on AA, are there any exceptions? Agree with your assessment...not aware of any exceptions.Is AA's Mileage Multiplier worth looking into? I've looked into it but didn't see any benefit.[quote]
One must care about a world one will not see.
--- Bertrand Russell

scandinavian
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Re: Airline reward programs

Post by scandinavian » Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:40 am

My opinion is that it normally makes most sense to stick with the milage program / airline that operates out of your home airport. In this case thus LANPASS. The options for using LANPASS miles on LAN flights will almost always be better than using AA (or other OneWorld partners) miles on LAN flights, so unless you only expect to use the miles for flights on AA to USA, then LAN in general will be better for spending miles.
With the Santander LAN credit cards, you can get the WorldMember card - With that you have lounge access, fast track and business check-in in SCL (the section at the end of the airport, next to Gatsby).
In terms of earning miles, then Santander runs a lot of extra promotional campaigns during the year - ie. spend XXX pesos in February and you will get an additional 10.000 KM.
I also think the Santander card ensures that your miles never expire.

My recommendation would thus be LAN & Santander. Of course, on other threads on the forum, Admin argues that LAN (LATAM) is about to go belly up...

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Re: Airline reward programs

Post by scandinavian » Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:44 am

Say someone were to pay $3,000 worth of bills every month with it, that should amount to 54,000 miles/y (excluding any initial bonus miles), or $918 at the 1.7 cents/mile value that I've seen is the estimate value appraisal of AA miles (40000 miles *0.017 = $680 for an off-season roundtrip to the US, so that kind of checks out). This gives you one round-trip to the US for one passenger per year for $240, on paper $450 of free airfare money sounds good. (I'm assuming the credit card is paid in full each month so you don't pay interests).
if you are spending 3-4K USD per month on the card, then I think the Santander WorldMember is for free. I only pay aprox 2000 CLP / month in fraud insurance. You have to get a checking account as well - in my case also for free.
I accumulate about 80K KM a year on the card.

rfinmdusa
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Re: Airline reward programs

Post by rfinmdusa » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:24 am

I don't have any of those cards as I live in the US but for almost 20 years I have been using a CC that has a $90/year annual fee. I have made a dozen flights from the east coast to Anchorage, AK for $115 each and half a dozen flights from the east coast to Santiago for $140 each. The prices include the $90 annual fee and are for flights with minimum travel time. We charge everything we can on the card (and pay off ever month). Every few years my wife thinks we can get a better deal on a free card so we look at the miles per dollar spent and miles required per trip for the free cards vs the the $90 annual fee card and so far we are always better off paying the $90. I would look for an annual fee card and compare the cost of tickets in dollars spent vs the free cards.

Our CC was originally a Northwest Visa as Northwest had the shortest flights to Anchorage. Northwest merged with Delta and the CC is now an AmEx but the last time we checked it was still a better deal than a free card because the miles required for a ticket were less than on the free card (including the $90). Plus the miles never expire.

YMMV

rfinmdusa
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Re: Airline reward programs

Post by rfinmdusa » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:35 am

Forgot the fine print. There is always a $25 booking fee for domestic flights and a $50 booking fee for international flight hence $115 and $140 ticket price.

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Re: Airline reward programs

Post by otravers » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:35 am

Thanks scandinavian for your insight. For reference, here's the WorldMember Black Santander card you're talking about:
http://www.santander.cl/tarjetas/person ... /index.asp

The WorldMember card costs 7.56 UFs a year (195.000 CLP / $275) if you don't have other financial products at Santander (plan Multiproducto) and you need 2.5M CLP/mo income. Lower tiers (Platinum > Gold > Forever > Titanio) have lower income requirements. There's a WorldMember Ferrari card above, which seems to be the Louis Vuitton of Santander cards (not a positive qualifier in my mind!).

With WorldMember if you accumulate 12k+ km a year, you keep all your LAN kilometers from expiring, which is pretty sweet. You also get an extra 20kg baggage allowance.

Here are the lounge access conditions:
http://www.santander.cl/select/promocio ... rjetas.asp

The WorldMember and Platinum cards promote you to Elite Premium status on LAN, so you gain an extra 25% kms on the flights you purchase.
http://www.lan.com/es_cl/sitio_personas ... ias-elite/

Premium is also recognized as Ruby on oneworld (not a huge benefit in itself - Emerald and Sapphire are more desirable because of the extra baggage allowance).
https://www.oneworld.com/ffp/my-oneworl ... emium#tier

It takes 75.000 km/year to qualify for Premium Silver, which has a bunch of extra benefits, and by then you gain 100% kms from your flights. You'd need to spend $50K a year with the Santander credit card to get there with the credit card alone (i.e. excluding gaining kms from paying for flights, COPEC and so forth).

Premium Silver gets you Sapphire status in OneWorld. The baggage allowances don't stack though.

Is my understanding correct that once you qualify for Premium Silver, you only need to gain 37500 "raw" kms the next year to renew your Premium Silver status, since these kms will be doubled thanks to your existing Premium Silver status? In other words, it's harder to qualify for that tier than it is to maintain it.

You can buy LANPASS kilometers at half price in 12 no-interest installments, so for 696.000 CLP / $1000 you get 140.000 kms or 2 roundtrips to the US:
http://www.lan.com/es_cl/sitio_personas ... uperables/

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Re: Airline reward programs

Post by otravers » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:56 am

So the ideal Santander combo seems to be their Cuenta Corriente LANPASS account combined with their Worldmember LANPASS credit card, which you get for free because you have the checking account.

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Re: Airline reward programs

Post by scandinavian » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:10 pm

otravers wrote: It takes 75.000 km/year to qualify for Premium Silver, which has a bunch of extra benefits, and by then you gain 100% kms from your flights. You'd need to spend $50K a year with the Santander credit card to get there with the credit card alone (i.e. excluding gaining kms from paying for flights, COPEC and so forth).

Premium Silver gets you Sapphire status in OneWorld. The baggage allowances don't stack though.

Is my understanding correct that once you qualify for Premium Silver, you only need to gain 37500 "raw" kms the next year to renew your Premium Silver status, since these kms will be doubled thanks to your existing Premium Silver status? In other words, it's harder to qualify for that tier than it is to maintain it.
No, to qualify for tier status through LANPASS, you need to fly the required miles each year. for Premium Silver it is 75K - only flights count towards elite status, not bonus miles (from status) nor credit card earnings.

Premium Silver / Comodoro are the interesting tiers as they give you OneWorld wide (nice) benefits.

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Re: Airline reward programs

Post by otravers » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:28 pm

scandinavian wrote:No, to qualify for tier status through LANPASS, you need to fly the required miles each year. for Premium Silver it is 75K - only flights count towards elite status, not bonus miles (from status) nor credit card earnings.
Thanks for the clarification. Do flights paid with miles count to qualify for tier status?

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Re: Airline reward programs

Post by scandinavian » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:38 pm

Nope. What I normally do is pay the ticket for wife + kid with miles and my own with cash.

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Re: Airline reward programs

Post by otravers » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:07 pm

Gotcha, miles generating miles sounded too good to be true.

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