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Advice on Frequent flier programmes. watch

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    Ok, so all this was very confusing but im sure it isnt really. Just me overthinking things.
    So im off to America in early April and im thinking its about time i got on a frequent flier programme.
    I noticed Star Alliance but they say you have to take out a programme with one of the associated airlines and the points get transferred.
    I will probably be using United and Continental as they appeal fairly cheap, but i really dont understand how it works.
    Do i sign up to continental for example? Then how do the points get transferred. Anyone with any experience help would be appeciated.
    Also what are the upgrade rates like please.
    Mine is 10,000 miles return so usually what does that entital you too? Is it like 50 flights for a premium economy seat upgrade for free?
    Hope people understood lol.
    Thanks
 
 
 
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