I’ve long advocated, nay, begged people to sign up for frequent flyer programs even when they don’t fly very much or when they’re flying a carrier that they don’t normally travel with. I tell them that they might eventually get something from the simple act of joining and submitting their account number, if not right away then it’ll eventually accumulate. Goodness knows I don’t stay with Marriott often but surprisingly enough registering for their current stay twice get a free night promo meant that I received a free night, which I’ve already redeemed for an upcoming stay…
… on a trip where I find myself questioning the very lesson of “always claim the miles.”
I need to buy a flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui. Sure, I could fly Thai Airways and earn miles on another Star Alliance carrier, but Bangkok Airways is cheaper and has many more flights and so more convenient flight times.
Despite my mental model of Bangkok Airways, they’re really not a low cost carrier in the model of Air Asia. They describe themselves as a ’boutique’ airline and they offer a ‘lounge’ for coach passengers even at the Bangkok airport. Business class is about $30 more each way for my journey, so I don’t mind so much not flying Thai where I’d avail myself of Star Alliance Gold check-in, lounge, and baggage benefits.
Bangkok Airways has joined hands with the Four Seasons Resort in Chiang Mai, the Pavilions at Phuket Relais & Chateaux and Greyhound Cafe to create “carte du mois” for “blue ribbon class” passengers over a six-month period starting next month.
… For instance, between July and August business-class passengers will be treated to the choice of: minced pork and smoked bacon balls served with steamed rice, fusili Phad Thai, shrimp-fried rice with old style chili paste, and grilled chicken with green curry sauce and steamed rice. All hail from Greyhound Cafe.
Now, some of the worst airline food I’ve eaten in years has been in Thai Airways domestic business class so my hopes for Bangkok Airways business class meals on a one hour flight are quite low. Still, the description sounded great.
But my real question is, if I’m to fly Bangkok Airways, what do I do about the miles? I could credit to their own program, but I’m really not likely to add to my stash. After a cursory look it appears I could credit the miles to Air Berlin topbonus or to Etihad Guest. But as far as I can tell miles in both of those programs expire after three years, regardless of additional activity, and I don’t even have accounts with them, will I ever get close to an award within three years?
So the question is, do I even bother with the miles? In the end I’m sure I’m credit somewhere even though I doubt that decision will ultimately pay off. But where: should I credit to Air Berlin, Etihad, or to Bangkok Airways’ own program?