Reader Mail Part One

Rita asked:

    In June 22, 2003 View from the Wing, there is a discussion about consolidating your mileage points into one airline, such as United. Is it saying that, for example, when you fly Alaska, you can have your miles earned in United’s plan? Or is it saying that you need to accumulate them as Continental miles, then transfer them to Amtrak and then to United? I know Alaska and American are linked, but I was unaware that United could be linked to Alaska.

Alaska flights can be credited to Continental OnePass, and OnePass miles can be transferred 1:1 to United via Amtrak (up to 25k/yr).


Raising Alaska does make for an interesting example.
Alaska isn’t formally tied to a major carrier but has
a whole sleuth of partners — Continental, Northwest,
American, Qantas, Cathay Pacific just to name some.
Personally, I like accumulating Alaska miles for this
reason. I think they’re great!


However, I have some diehard United partisans in my
office, and I originally outlined the method as a way
of showing them that while they won’t get their status
recognized or earn elite miles on every carrier, they
can at least consolidate their miles with United
rather than having 5000 miles here and there.


I often counsel AGAINST consolidation because I like
to have options with more than one program when it
comes time to redeem — it increases the likelihood of
getting the award I want, when I want it — but some
folks simply don’t want to manage and track multiple
accounts, and others won’t ever get beyond 5000 miles
in an account. (I should also note that Amtrak
transfers must be done in 5000 point increments.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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