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