One of the most common mistakes that people who are new to flying make is crediting their flights into the wrong Frequent Flyer Program (FFP). As many of you would already know, crediting your flights into the right FFP can make a huge difference and I just wanted to highlight this point on a number of flights that I have taken recently. If you have been following me on Instagram, you would have noticed that I travelled to the USA recently on Emirates Business Class - this is a return Business Saver ticket from Singapore (SIN) to New York (JFK) via Dubai (DXB).
Now let's start with the basics and what most people who are new to flying will do - they will create an Emirates Skywards Miles account and credit these four flight segments to the program. At the time of writing, crediting the following four flights segments to Skywards Miles will earn you 23,750 Skyward Miles as well as 23,750 Tier Miles (which is used for the qualification and retention of elite status):
Now I guess it is safe to say that all the major FFPs that I know about have a membership tier that rewards frequent travellers (or those that spend a lot of money in premium cabin classes). The Skywards Miles program by Emirates has four membership tiers (Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum) and crediting the aforementioned flights to this program will earn me 23,750 Tier Miles - this will put me right where I am since I would require 25,000 Tier Miles (or 25 eligible flights) to reach Silver. Well, no worries since Silver status on Skywards Miles will only give me a number of benefits that are mostly specific to Emirates only. Let us take a look at the 23,750 Skyward Miles that I have earned from my flights and see where can it take me to instead.
Emirates does not publish an official award chart (at least none that I know of) for the number of Skyward Miles required for classic rewards. A quick check on a few cities that I have in mind revealed the following:
- One-way QF Economy Class Ticket from Singapore (SIN) to Perth (PER): 22,500 Miles + SGD 118
- One-way QF Economy Class Ticket from Singapore (SIN) to Sydney (SYD): 28,000 Miles + SGD 231
- One-way EK Economy Class Ticket from Singapore (SIN) to Dubai (DXB): 45,000 Miles + SGD 193.30
- One-way EK Business Class Ticket from Singapore (SIN) to Dubai (DXB): 72,500 Miles + SGD 272.10
- One-way EK First Class Ticket from Singapore (SIN) to Dubai (DXB): 98,750 Miles + SGD 272.10
If you have been following me closely, you would remember that I would have earned a grand total of 23,750 Skyward Miles if I had credited all four flight segments to Emirates' Skyward Miles program. Therefore, if you were to look at the number of miles required for a classic reward, I would only be able to redeem for a one-way flight in Economy Class on Qantas from Singapore to Perth - I would also need to pay SGD 118 on top of that. Well, not too shabby, at least I got a free flight (kinda!) right? Well, wrong.
Instead of crediting my flights to the Emirates' Skyward Miles program, I chose to credit all four flight segments to Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan program instead. Now, what's that you say? Why would I even bother with Alaska Airlines since I am based in Singapore? To put it very simply, crediting the aforementioned flights to Mileage Plan has allowed me to achieve MVP status with the program (which means, I now get 50% more base miles when I credit eligible flights to this program) but more importantly, it enabled me to earn approximately 47,000 Mileage Plan miles which I can then redeem for amazing things like free Business Class tickets on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines just to name a few.
Now at some point, you must have read about how 25,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles have enabled me to redeem for not one but TWO Business Class flights on Japan Airlines - I flew from Singapore to Haneda and then from Haneda to Bangkok rather recently. The tax component of this redemption (for both flights) was approximately USD 25. Now, remember how I mentioned that crediting those four flights to Mileage Plan got me 47,000 miles? Using the same conversion logic, this would enable me to redeem for (almost!) two Business Class tickets to Tokyo from Singapore!
I am not sure what your decision-making process is like but which one of the following would you choose if these are all options from taking the same flight:
- 1x Flight from Singapore to Perth in Economy Class (pay SGD 118 in fees); or
- 2x Flight from Singapore to Tokyo in Business Class (pay USD 50 in fees); or
- 2x Flight from Singapore to Tokyo in Business Class AND 2x Flight from Tokyo to Bangkok in Business Class (pay USD 50 in fees).
Out of the three options listed above, I highly doubt anyone in the right mind is going to go with the first option.