Like many of you, I too have started booking BA....
....and Singapore Airlines.....
.....and Aer Lingus
....and Ethiopian Airlines
....and Garuda Indonesia....
....and any airline where the price is right and is going to where I want to go.
It all started in or around 2011 when VS raised the re-qualification level for AU passengers from 30 to 40 TPs. Up to then I had managed to do do 3 round trips in UC per year but knew I'd never be able to make 4. I thought that perhaps I might be able to hold on to silver and still have my trips in UC and at that stage booked a trip to SFO using miles. Those of you with long memories will recall that the night before that trip my home was flooded and effectively that ended my long-standing relationship with VS. OK I was able to make the trip and insurance covered a major part of the cost of repairs but the work uncovered some major structural problems which weren't covered and ate into my savings and the HLHF (honey lamb holiday fund). It was therefore with great reluctance and sadness that I waved goodbye to my gold card and possibly to my long term relationship with VS.
To a certain extent, it has given me the freedom to pick and choose between airlines. I have booked BA based on price and have been able to experience First on the occasions when it was even cheaper than Club World. Sometimes it has been an ex-AMS flight, others it was the only airline offering a direct flight from LHR. Nothing has made me say it is now my airline of choice.
Flying from Dublin, I have used Emirates to fly to Durban both in Business and Economy. In spite of their huge advertising and their status as the world's best airline, their model on lesser routes in Business is more akin to PE than UC, although I have to own that they pulled out all the stops on the Dublin-Dubai leg when my niece and I flew in economy at very short notice for her mother's funeral.
Ethiopian Airlines was one of necessity thrown up by a third party site as a return trip from the aforementioned funeral. It was an experience. Let us leave it at that!
Garuda Indonesia took us to and from Melbourne via Jakarta in J thanks to Aer John sourcing a Black Friday sale on the Secret Flying website which offered us flights in Business at £1089!!! We couldn't pass it up! It was a mixed bag and the trip reports are in the pipeline.
Aer Lingus - well to be fair, Aer John works there so it would be unfair of me to judge. I have done TRs on my TATL flights being as objective as I could be and am delighted that Sealink has mirrored my experience on a flight to Boston.
Finally, I did have one flight to JNB where the price was right (albeit ex-AMS) and it was like a home-coming but also like a new experience! It was my first flight since the joint adventure and my first flight in VS for three years and it brought back to me how much I miss VS. I sincerely hope it will not be the last .