Best US Mileage System

Hello Guys,

Im here for advice today. If you don’t know, we will hopefully be immigrating to SFO soon, hopefully within the next year.

SFO has a lot of airlines serving it, but im looking for the mainline US carriers, like United, Delta, or American. I have done some research of my own, and found that it looks like United is leaning towards my preferences.

United has a credit card with Chase, we currently have a credit card with them, but we will probably be needing another card soon, and United has there Mileage Explorer Plus cards, so im thinking we go with them, and get those 30,000 or 40,000 miles, which i can’t remember, but it will get us Silver.

So right now im leaning towards United because of there vast route network, and partnership with SAA which means we could book through United and get miles. But, Delta operates direct to Johannesburg only, and no other destination.

But, im not experienced enough, so would a $2000 for three to SXM a good price? But it doesn’t say the miles.

So basically which is the best US Airline mile system? I’n not too keen on American but if it’s the best, then go ahead and say.

Please no arguing, and dumb answers based on no experience whatsoever.


Southwest has the most ‘effective’ system. (You will get the most for your miles and money). And their flights are usually pretty cheap, so that’s a plus.

Delta would be my second choice, they give a lot of opportunities outside of flying with them to gain miles, such as flying with their partners, using a specific type of credit card, etc.


Yeah, though from what i know, they don’t operate to South Africa, and i have a Delta Skymiles and flown by them, but, i didn’t find them to be very good. But i wasn’t joking at them very well either.


Lol didn’t know flights to South Africa was a necessity. I thought you wanted the best miles by US Carrier.

I still stick with Delta then. Although it’s a bit different for my family because my dad travels frequently for work, so we’ve just had miles stacking up for a long time.


Most of the big carriers mileage is not worth much. Blackout dates, restrictions, etc. Southwest is pretty good.

I prefer my Capital One Venture card. Racks up points super fast and all I do is pay for travel with points. I buy a ticket, when it hits my statement it asks me if I want to use points to pay for it. Done! Doesn’t care if it is first class or economy or what date. It sees a hotel/car/flight and I can apply points to it.

I have an AAdvantage account that I use for my work flights. I use the points for annual lounge access and other things. Much easier than trying to do a flight.


It will depend on your travelling requirements. If you’re travelling less than 25,000 miles per year, most of the major airline programs are not going to be worth the effort for you and you should just shop on price. If you’re willing to spend and are doing a lot of long haul business class travel, then spend-based programmes might be a better idea. It all depends on how and why you travel.


Got it, thank you.

@Chris_S With the Venture Card, which miles program do the points go too?

I use AAdvantage to credit all my miles from OW airlines, so I would suggest that. I use Flying Blue for SkyTeam and SAS Eurobonus for StarAlliancez


I believe the Venture card works with any airlines.

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United has the most destinations out of SFO. Are you looking for status on United or would you rather gain redeemable frequent flyer miles? How often do you fly?

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Southwest flies to 12 cities nonstop out of SFO compared to 102 for United.

I would choose United. They have a big presence at SFO. They fly to 3 cities in South Africa ( Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban) all with at least 1-2 stops. And you are correct, you can have a Chase credit card with them. I would recommend to invest in the mileage plus program and flying from South Africa to the US would definitely get you a ton of miles. Hopefully you invest in United and “fly the friendly skies”

Happy Landings,


And Delta’s fares seem to get quite pricy.

Recently United added a PQD requirement (Premier Qualifying Dollars) so for example on top of the 25k miles you need to obtain Gold you also need to spend 3k on United airfare in one calendar year. If you don’t think you can get 3k in a year then I would recommend the MileagePlus Explorer card, which waives the PQD requirement for Silver, Gold, and Platinum. (Not 1K)

If you are looking to rack up redeemable miles, (not PQM’s). I would recommend either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The Preferred earns 2x points on dining and travel which can be transferred 1:1 to many airline and hotel mileage/points programs. That card carries a $95 fee which is waived the first year. (50K point signup bonus)

The other card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which earns 3x on travel and dining and has bunch of perks including a Priority Pass membership (Over 1k airport lounges across the world for free),
car rental and extensive travel insurance, car rental perks and status, hotel perks, a $300 dollar travel credit gifted every year, as well as a $100 Global Entry/PreCheck credit which can be very useful at a busy airport like SFO. (50k point signup bonus) ($450 dollar yearly fee)

None of these cards have foreign transaction fees.


Any. Its not specific to one carrier vs another. Simply travel itself. I can fly any airline or stay at any hotel and apply the points to it. Earning points racks up fast.

Just saw this in context, the credit card bonuses are redeemable miles only, not premier qualifying miles. Those miles can only be used for free flights. The only way to earn PQM’s on United is to fly the actual mileage. If you fly basic economy you don’t get PQM’s. If you fly business or first you get a bonus, though the bonus miles don’t count toward Million Miler Status.

I definitely would go for United. Not only do they have a hub at SFO, but they are in Star Alliance, which is one of the biggest alliances. Plus SFO is a focus city for a lot of Airlines in Star Alliance. Good Luck!

you need to run multiple cards to find the best advantages.

find the best intro deals. I just picked up the “discover it” card, based soley on the matching mile for mile, no annual fee and 0% for 14 months. Ill use this card for my everyday expenses.

I also have picked uo the SouthWest card since ive started taking more flight with them.

Other cards I currently have: Venture One and Delta SkyMiles AMEX

I had a card through my bank, but i didnt like chasing the points around. So ive settled for a few less per dollar, but much easier on my brain when i should be using.

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Venture One seems like a nice card for someone that’s looking for a no-fee card that earns miles. Not sure what jdag2004 is looking for.

yea, with wanting flights out of the country on no specific airline is what i would be going for card wise.

@jdag2004 dont tie yourself down with only one card/carrier specific card. You’ll regret that.