1st Class Domestic Flight: Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Len Williams, Jul 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Len Williams
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    Len Williams Silver Member

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    Greetings;

    I am happy to report that I will be traveling to Las Vegas in November on miles I have recently collected from Chase. I will be transferring my Chase Ultimate Rewards to Continental, then flying US Air, simply because they fly to Vegas direct from Charlotte.

    My question is: Is it worth it to use these miles to fly in domestic first class?

    Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions.
     
  2. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Well it depends for your tolerance for being in the back of the bus... I fly NYC-LAS all the time in coach and even though it's a 5 hour flight I'm not horribly upset. Granted, it helps a great deal if you grab an exit row seat, but unless the price is competitive it doesn't make sense.

    As far as an award seat though, again, it depends. You could spend the points on a flight to Vegas, or save them up and do the now infamous "Paris in February" thing (or maybe Hawaii if the cold is not your thing) in First instead.

    Accruing the miles/points is one thing, but finding a good value to drop them into is the most important part. If you could fly CLT-LAS in First for 100k miles for example, wouldn't it make more sense to spend 120k going to Madrid or Rome? Or maybe spending half of that and going off-peak?
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Normally I would avoid US, but if you're at their hub, there generally aren't other choices for nonstops.

    Is this flight considered some sort of transcon with special service or seating? Will a meal be served (in FC)? Time of day, with respect to adult beverages if you drink? And what's the difference in price (miles)? Do you foresee another good use of the miles you would save? Are you travelling at a time/date when planes can be expected to be full? If you do coach, will US let you reserve good (exit, for example) seats in advance, which might require status. Do you have status to use elite check in and security lines? Do you have lounge access to get food and drinks before the flight if flying coach?
     
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  4. Len Williams
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    Len Williams Silver Member

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    I don't have the answer to all of these questions. I have never flown 1st domestically and I was hoping someone could fill me in on the value of it.

    Also, I do not have status with US Air and I am booking through Continental. I probably will not be able to choose my seat.
     
  5. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    I really feel that sums it up well. A little extra room and a mediocre meal is to be expected.
     
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  6. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Really? You don't know the dates, schedule, or the cost comparison between FC and coach, but expect us to answer whether it's worth it?
     
  7. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Well MSP answers a question with 15 questions, but it makes you think about your situation, which is always a good thing. Most of the time you come up with the answer yourself... :)

    The important bit IMO is whether or not you want to "spend" the award on Vegas or if you want to perhaps save it for another more worthwhile trip, where you get a bigger bang for your buck. Depending on how many miles you're planning to spend, it could very well be that there's a better redemption opportunity out there other than CLT-LAS.

    The "Paris in February" thread had some good comments on this, so you might want to look at it as well. Me personally had 150k US Airways miles to burn and the choice was two tickets to Europe in Business during off-peak or Hawaii in First (which I booked). Either trip would have been over $5k spend, so I considered it a good redemption.

    If you could do Vegas for $1k or thereabouts from CLT, maybe there's other places where you could go where you'd get more bang for the buck.
     
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  8. Len Williams
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    Len Williams Silver Member

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    Flying Dates=11/9/11-11/12/11

    US AIR 1st= $548
    US AIR Coach= $2,918
     
  9. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Shirley you can't be serious.

    Backwards maybe?
     
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  10. Len Williams
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    Len Williams Silver Member

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    HA HA!

    Correction:
    US AIR 1ST= $2, 981
    US AIR Coach= $548
     
  11. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    That's more like it... :)

    Still, although it would seem like a good redemption because of the price, I'd argue it's not a good "investment" of the miles, considering the destination and the duration of the trip.

    Could be your dates -- which suck btw, since you're losing a whole day coming back and you're not there over the weekend, but I'm guessing you have your reasons.

    BTW if I had to pay $550 to go to Vegas in coach, I'd probably wait, but that's just me. :)
     
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  12. Len Williams
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    Len Williams Silver Member

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    I am coming to the conclusion that it is not worth it because of the lack of amenities in domestic 1st. The dates were chosen to take advantage of a horrible work schedule, and also to get a better rate on a hotel room.
     
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  13. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Domestic first class is generally not worth paying for since I save those miles for international trips which are far less bearable in coach. Even if you are not a big earner of miles, there is more personal value to me to go on a 2nd trip than fly in 1st once.
     
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  14. General_Flyer
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    General_Flyer Gold Member

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    If the price is reasonable and you are an M&M member, its worth it.. But not for that much of a difference... :eek:
     
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  15. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I thought this was about an award ticket that the OP was considering in FC.
     
  16. General_Flyer
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    General_Flyer Gold Member

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    Oops.. never mind then.. :p
     
  17. aanswer

    aanswer Silver Member

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    Nope, not worth it. do NYC to LAS, LAX and SFO numerous times a year. And, the only time I'm willing to use miles for premium cabins is on the United p.s. service. Most other flights are not worth the additional 25K miles.
     
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  18. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    To answer a few questions. All CLT-LAS flights (except for the red-eye returns) will serve meals. First on US has been upgraded and is very similar to domestic first on United, Continental, Delta and American. People on forums do love to pick on US (they did cut a bit too far at it's low) - but the current product is competitive - ahead of some in certain ways, behind them in certain ways (but still leaves lots to be desired compared to international competitors).

    What you get:
    A big seat, some extra legroom (not a ton more, but decent amount)
    Blanket and a pillow (for sale for $7 in coach, pillows not available on Continental, even on first red-eyes)
    Free drinks (generous pours and relatively well stocked bar (no limited on Glenlivet like on AA), Pre-Departure Drink usually (drink of choice, UA limits to water and OJ)
    Meal (think of an airplane meal from the late 80s/early 90s in economy, but in line with other carriers)
    Hot Towel Service
    Wifi on Airbus 321s (most flights from CLT-LAS, go on US Airways and look for the wifi logo)
    Priority check-in, boarding, security, free bags (weight and excess still limits apply, but more relaxed rules than economy)

    What you don't get:
    Lounge access
    TVs (bring your own laptop/ipad/kindle/book - booze might be a substitute for some)
    Amenity kits (buy it from the US Airways Company store for $2.50)
    Sundae Cart
    Hot Nuts

    Would I pay $2,918 out of my own pocket for this - probably not. Would I pay $548 - unlikely, unless i needed to be there. Would i pay 45,000 US miles (factor the credit card discount) - time and time again, especially when i don't need the EQM or am paying for a companion. There is also generally better low first class availability than economy on US.
     
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  19. Len Williams
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    Len Williams Silver Member

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    Thanks!
     

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