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This is an interesting discussion. In an ideal market, I guess we would buy on convenience, quality of service, and “value”. However, the powers of loyalty are strong and we make our choices thereafter.
I’ve been a Lufthansa Senator since 2000, qualifying each year with a low point in 2008 of 110,000 miles (M&M status is valid for two years, and you need only to qualify in one of the two years). Prior to this, I was SK Gold and United Gold. However, I consolidated everything into Lufthansa.
On the hotel side, I have been Hilton Diamond VIP since 2006, and despite the downgrade of benefit still enjoy this. I book all personal travel in Hilton properties unless they are too expensive. Come close to Starwood Gold a few times, had Marriott silver for one year.
I have the luxury of working for a company with a travel policy of Club/Business always. Even my European trips are in Business. Personally, I tend to travel Swiss in Europe on personal trips to take advantage of their business specials. However, for business I am always in the “cheapest” option so I end up on all carriers. Last year I made 30 of which only four were long haul. They were spread across; LH, OS, LX, SK, BD, TK on the Star side. I was on BA, AF, KLM, MH… So, I cleared BA Silver and FB Silver in addition to LH Gold.
For 2010 and beyond, we have agreed to minimise travel on AF and KLM. KLM’s European Select is a joke, and AF is not far behind. My focus is always M&M first, then BA Silver from now on. I probably could go for Hon with M&M but the cost would be too high…