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Factors to Consider When Choosing a Favourite Airline

Pointshogger reader Kristy asked me what is my favourite airline. I actually had a lot of trouble answering her, so I decided to list out some factors that are important to me to see if I can come up with a conclusion.

My initial gut feeling was, “Hey, I never thought about that before”. The reason I never thought about it before is because I am not loyal to any airline. I am loyal to a great deal! That being said, below are factors that I would consider when choosing a favourite airline. There is no particular order on which factor is most important.

Offers a Loyalty Program

This is as close to a deal breaker for me as it gets. If the airline does not have a loyalty program, I would definitely consider other airlines first. But if the price for a certain flight is significantly cheaper than a flight with an airline with a frequent flyer program, then I will give it more consideration.

Member of an Airline Alliance

I definitely prefer to an airline who is a member of an airline alliance. So I do have a rule where I would bank all my loyalty points towards that airline, when flying with that alliance.

Ease of Earning Miles Outside of Flying

Regardless of how often I fly in a year, I may end up flying with just a few different airlines because of how things worked out. Whether it’s the price, routing, etc. So that means I will need to find a way to keep my other accounts active.

Other Factors

There are many other factors to consider, but they aren’t as important to me as the 3 factors mentioned above. Other factors include:

  • benefits and perks of elite status
  • first class and business class treatment
  • customer service
  • number of different destinations
  • award availability

The reason I did not talk about award availability is because I could fly with one airline, but bank the miles to another airline instead. From personal experience, customer service varies from person to person quite a bit, not just from airline to airline.

Current Airline Portfolio and Rational

Below is a list of the main frequent flyer programs that I focus on and why.

Non-airline alliance

  • Southwest Airlines (Rapid Rewards): I personally enjoy flying with Southwest, so whenever I fly domestic flights within the United States, this will be my first choice. I use e-miles surveys to keep my account active at least once every 24 months if need be.

Oneworld

  • American Airlines (AAdvantage): They are consistently ranked as one of the top frequent flyer program. Whenever I fly with Oneworld flights, I plan to bank my points to AAdvantage. I use E-Reward surveys to keep my account active at least once every 18 months if need be.
  • British Airways (Executive Club): There are so many different ways for Canadians to earn Avios; namely RBC Avion, American Express Membership Rewards, along with transfer bonuses. I also use E-Rewards to help keep my account active at least once every 36 months.

SkyTeam

  • Delta Air Lines (SkyMiles): I actually do not fly with SkyTeam very often. But if I do, I would bank to SkyMiles because the points never expire, so I do not have to worry about my account.

Star Alliance

  • Air Canada (Aeroplan): With so many different ways to earn Aeroplan miles, this is my top Star Alliance choice. That being said, if I did not live in Canada, I would definitely bank the miles I earn on Star Alliance flights to another member alliance, depending on where I live.

Conclusion

Kristy, I still don’t really have an answer, but if I had to choose, I would go with Southwest Airlines.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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