Copa Airlines has released their partner earning rates for Star Alliance partners and GOL and although the earning rates are not overly generous, they beat the current earning rates offered by United in certain situations.
For United Airlines flights, Copa will offer anywhere between 50% of miles flown for discount economy tickets, the tickets most people fly on, and up to 100% of miles from for premium fares such as First, Business, and Full Fare Economy.
Although many individuals were hoping that Copa ConnectMiles would become the best alternative to MileagePlus, James explained why Singapore’s KrisFlyer is still better as all fare classes earn 100% mile earning rates.
Depending on your travel patterns, even earning 50% miles on miles flown via Copa ConnectMiles is still better than the revenue based program that United MileagePlus offers, especially for long haul travel with multiple connections purchased at a reasonable fare. However buyer beware, as depending on the routing and your elite status, you still may be better off credit the miles to United then Copa, especially if you have United elite status as 50% of base miles is a very low earning rate.
I looked at tickets for the following routes on July 15, 2015 with a return of July 22, 2015 and only looked at tickets priced in United Discount economy class (S,T,L,K,G,N) in order to compare miles earned if credited to Copa ConnectMiles verse United Mileage Plus. I only looked at flights operated by United, not Copa and assumes that the traveler has no elite status with either airlines, as Elite status earns additional bonus miles.
|Route on United Metal||Base Fare||Copa (No Status)||United (No Status)|
|LAX – EWR – LAX||$388||2454 miles||1940 miles|
|NYC-IAH-BOG-NYC||$437||3766 miles||2185 miles|
|MIA-IAH-GRU-NYC-MIA||$1011||5838 miles||5055 miles|
|LAX-LHR-LAX||$1256||5456 miles||6280 miles|
|DEN-CUN-DEN||$350||1670 miles||1750 miles|
|IAH-AUS-IAH||132||143 miles||660 miles|
It is clear that Copa ConnectMiles is not targeting travelers who are fed up with United MileagePlus revenue program who only travel domestically, but instead Copa is targeting travelers who fly Copa or travel between North, South, and Central America – Copa’s largest and only market where the compete directly with United. When United switched to a revenue based program, it placed Copa Airlines at a disadvantage to the region’s largest competitors LAN and Avianca, hence the creation of Copa ConnectMiles.
If you travels often takes you between the Americas, I would highly suggest switching from United MileagePlus to Copa ConnectMiles, as you will earn more miles by flying directly with Copa (100% of miles flown on ALL Copa flights) than you would earn with United. Copa ConnectMiles will be especially beneficial for those who fly Copa Airlines flights more often than United and/or fly discount economy. Yet before jumping ship to Copa, do the math. You may actually be earning more miles with United’s revenue based program than with Copa Connect.