I've belatedly listened to the Airline Travel Basics podcast from 2009 and had a few questions.

First, are there any readers that have advice on a primary airline to pick in Kansas City? There are twice as many flights in/out of here on Southwest (to a bunch of random places...which in the past has worked out well for me) versus any other airline. It looks like American really only flies to/from ORD and DFW. United has a few more flights than Delta, but not significantly. Most of my available miles and historical miles are on Delta, but not enough to do anything currently: ~19,000. So...what airline to go with? I have been pleased with Delta in the past and even remember my Skymiles number still by heart from flying them weekly 12 years ago.

Second, this may sway the decision, I may be traveling a fair amount to a client in Houston, though that may change in the future as clients change. United does have several non-stop flights there and Delta doesn't. But the advice on the podcast said to take your chosen airline the vast majority of the time even if there's a layover. It did talk about direct flights which are different than layovers where you have to change planes. Does it make sense to fly Delta through Atlanta with a plane change just to get the points vs. using United for the non-stop flights if I wanted to use Delta as my primary carrier?

Thanks in anticipation!

Smacquarrie's picture


Look at shared plans as well.

I have several different milage plans but have begun to use Delta almost exclusively as my milage plan because they partner with so many different airlines.

This allows you to have 1 plan and many different operators.

Mac DISC 7121

DaniMartin's picture
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Hi Thomas -- My recommendation depends on how Delta and United manager their FF programs. If you can achieve status through segments (i.e., individual flights) vs. only through miles, it might make more sense to stick with Delta and change planes. Each trip to Houston would get you 4 segments (Kansas to Atlanta, Atlanta to Houston, Houston to Atlanta, Atlanta to Kansas).

For example, I live in Little Rock and I fly American almost exclusively, even when there are direct flights on another airline. It means I have to fly through DFW or ORD. However, since I get 4 segments for each trip, I achieve Executive Platinum status in 25 trips. This is my third year hitting Exec Plat and I always get it through segments vs. miles. In fact, I usually only get to about 85% of the mileage requirement for Exec Plat.

I recommend you research the FF program requirements and benefits for both airlines. I would also consider other cities you think you may be flying to in the future for other clients. If you go with United for this client but then you end up having to travel to other locations that would be better served through Delta, you will have lost opportunity to be building status.

I hope this helps, Thomas!


svibanez's picture

I fly mostly internationally on a SkyTeam member airline and had all my miles credited to my Delta FF account. I've been doing this for a number of years and had attained the top tier in their FF program, which provides some pretty nice perks.

Earlier this year, Delta changed their program so status is no longer based solely on miles. Delta also counts segments and dollars spent on Delta, both of which work against me since my flights are almost always non-stop and the dollars are spent on the partner airline. This change significantly impacted my FF status (going from Diamond to Silver in a single year).

All that said, I intend to remain with the Delta program as I hope to increase my domestic travel as well as adding some other foreign destinations that would allow me to accrue all air travel to my Delta program regardless of destination.

I wouldn't be surprised if other airlines have already gone to this model, or shift to it in the near future. It doesn't help Delta pay the bills if I don't pay to fly with them but they still get to give me free flights on occasion.