Apr072015

Asiana Club alternative for United Mileage Plus U.S. resident members

The issue with the new Mileage Plus program is elite status requires an annual spend component for U.S. resident members and redeemable miles are earned based on ticket price. Both of these 2015 changes are prohibitive to earning award tickets and elite status on United Mileage Plus for the long haul international ticket budget flyer.

In my analysis of miles earned in United Mileage Plus for a San Francisco SFO – DXB Dubai ticket in K class, the Mileage Plus U.S. resident revenue-based program holds little value for the person seeking redeemable miles and Star Alliance Gold elite on low cost fares. This post looks at Asiana Airlines of South Korea, a Star Alliance member airline and the Asiana Club alternative to United Mileage Plus.

Loyalty Traveler – SFO-DXB Dubai $731, but do you buy United for PQD or Swiss for more Mileage Plus miles? (April 6, 2015)

My previous article examines redeemable miles and elite qualifying credit earned for a United.com purchased ticket from San Francisco to Dubai, United Arab Emirates compared to a Swiss Airlines purchased ticket for $6 more.

$755.42 Swiss Airlines purchased ticket with all Swiss Airlines operated flight segments in economy K class SFO-DXB Dubai earns 8,806 United Mileage Plus miles and $0 PQD credit for United Mileage Plus.

$749.90 United.com ticket purchase flying United operated aircraft outbound and Swiss Airlines inbound, all economy K class. Mileage Plus redeemable miles earned for $630 base fare = 3,150 redeemable miles and $630 PQD.

United Mileage Plus now requires $3,000 Premier Qualifying Dollars to earn Mileage Plus Silver elite and $6,000 PQD to earn Premier Gold elite, the level needed for Star Alliance Gold and lounge access privileges on international flights.

Asiana Club Miles and Elite Membership

Asiana is a Star Alliance member airline based in South Korea. The value of Asiana Club frequent flyer program is its comparatively low elite qualification requirements. Star Alliance Gold member benefits are earned with Asiana Club Diamond elite, a status earned with 40,000 qualifying miles in a 2-year period.

 

QualificationAccumulate 40,000 miles by boarding Asiana Airlines or Star Alliance flights, or board 50 Asiana Airlines flights within 24 months from the base date*

Base Date* :

November 1, 2012 for members who joined Asiana Club on or before September 30, 2008

Date of subscription for members who joined Asiana Club on or after October 1, 2008

Qualification Period

1. Elite membership status is granted based on boarding performance in the 24 months after the base date.

2. If you satisfy the standard in the 24 months, early membership promotion is granted. The Elite membership status is maintained for the period of the early promotion and an additional 24 months.

3. If the membership term expires, the new membership status is granted according to the boarding performance in the 24 months prior to the date of expiry. The boarding frequency for the early promotion term is not reflected in the membership status review.

Elite membership status is valid from the day after the date on which Elite membership standards are satisfied.

Asiana Club Elite Qualification

Asiana Club Miles Earned for Star Alliance Partner Flights

Asiana Club Star Alliance Member Airlines booking class charts for miles.

Back to the San Francisco SFO-DXB Dubai flights on United and/or Swiss and the benefit of applying flights to Asiana Club rather than United Mileage Plus.

$730.80 United.com ticket purchase flying all United operated aircraft outbound and  inbound, all economy K class. Mileage Plus redeemable miles earned for $630 base fare = 3,150 redeemable miles and $630 PQD.

SFO-DXB allUA $731 Sep15

$731 SFO-DXB ticket =9,488 redeemable and elite miles in Asiana Club

This same SFO-DXB ticket credited to Asiana Club earns 50% flight miles as redeemable miles and elite qualifying miles for 9,488 redeemable and elite miles in Asiana Club. One flight credits 50% of miles needed for Asiana Gold elite and 25% of miles needed for Asiana Diamond elite, which also confers Star Alliance Gold benefit like airport lounge access when flying on a Star Alliance member airline.

You can reach Asiana Diamond elite with 40,000 elite qualifying miles and Star Alliance Gold benefits with four or five international long haul tickets in economy class on Star Alliance member airlines and under $3,000 in spend over 24 months at this rate.

Beware of Booking Class Codes

Swiss Airlines deep discount economy K class purchased ticket on Swiss Airlines website earns 50% miles in United Mileage Plus. The tricky part of other Star Alliance member airline frequent flyer programs is learning which booking codes count and which booking classes do not count for earning miles.

Swiss Airlines ticketed flight SFO-DXB Dubai earns 50% redeemable miles based on actual flight miles of route in United Mileage Plus since it is a Star Alliance member airline ticket purchased from a website other than United.com. But, a check of Asiana earning table for Swiss flights shows Swiss Economy K class earns no miles in Asiana Club.

Buy a ticket on Swiss Airlines SFO-DXB in economy K class and a United Mileage Plus member earns nearly 3x redeemable miles when credited to United Mileage Plus compared to buying a United Airlines SFO-DXB ticket.

But, if you are an Asiana Club frequent flyer, then the United purchased ticket is the better choice over the Swiss ticket since United economy K class earns 50% redeemable miles and elite qualifying miles for Asiana Club elite status.

Asiana miles for UA booking class

Another example of Asiana Club miles earned flying Deep Discount economy U class on Air China purchased ticket.

Air China LAX-GMP $624

$623.44 Air China LAX-PEK-GMP Seoul, Korea in deep discount economy U class.

U class earns 50% miles based on flight distance as redeemable miles and elite qualifying miles. Flight distance is 6,828 miles each way and that is also equivalent to the 6,828 redeemable and elite miles earned in Asiana Club for this ticket.

A reminder that Asiana Club members earn elite membership for flight miles in a 24-month period. Asiana Club miles expire ten years from date of accumulation and the expiration period is extended to 12 years for Asiana Club Diamond members (40,000 elite qualifying miles in 24-months).

The Burning Question – Asiana Club Awards

The burning question on United Mileage Plus members minds who are considering a change to Asiana Club is how many miles are needed for award tickets?

As a U.S. resident who finds little value in United Mileage Plus in 2015, one of the important issues is the cost of frequent flyer award tickets using Asiana miles compared to United Mileage Plus miles.

Asiana Club miles needed for Awards originating from North America

Asiana Club North America awards

Award Tickets within North America

Asiana (round trip)

  • 25,000 economy
  • 45,000 Business
  • 65,000 First.

United Airlines (Mileage Plus award tables)

  • 25,000 miles Economy round trip saver (one way 50% miles)
  • 50,000 miles Business round trip saver award
  • 70,000 miles First round trip saver award

Award Tickets North America – Europe

Asiana (round trip)

  • 50,000 economy
  • 80,000 Business
  • 100,000 First.

United Airlines

  • 60,000 miles Economy round trip saver (one way 50% miles)
  • 115,000 miles Business round trip saver award
  • 160,000 miles First round trip saver award

Award Tickets North America – Northeast Asia (Japan, Korea, China)

Asiana (round trip)

  • 80,000 economy
  • 120,000 Business
  • 160,000 First

United Airlines

  • 70,000 miles Economy round trip saver (one way 50% miles)
  • 140,000 miles Business round trip saver award
  • 160,000 miles First round trip saver award

Asiana Club allows U.S. resident members who are United Mileage Plus members an alternative frequent flyer program for earning and burning miles for Star Alliance frequent flyers. Asiana Club is a good alternative for the international budget traveler for earning redeemable miles and Star Alliance Gold member benefits with far less travel and spend required for the same benefits in United Mileage Plus.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

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Comments

  1. If you can book your awards on United metal they are good rates.

    But the fuel surcharges….I guess 80k instead of 140k to Europe in Business is OK to spend $800.

  2. Ouch. $800 is a high award fee. Sounds like I need to follow up with a comparison of award ticket cost between Mileage Plus and Asiana Club.

  3. I have moved my family over to Singapore Krismiles. I remain with UA but for them there is no value. Charges do not seem to bad.

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