Advice for Switching to United Mileage Plus

Discussion in 'Air Canada | Aeroplan' started by slalom, Dec 21, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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    Because of my prospective travel schedule in 2016, I'm considering switching from AC to United (not because I'm pissed off at AC/Aeroplan, but because I will likely be travelling far more segments/miles on UA).

    I am currently SE (past 4 years) with little hope of million mile, so I'm not concerned about that.

    I've never found that UA treats *G passengers that well - Group 2 boarding, limited complimentary access to PE seats, rarely upgraded (I'm silver on Delta and get upgraded way more frequently than on United).

    With the AC requirements for AC metal flights and $$$, I'll struggle to meet requirements for 2017 given far more frequent domestic US travel than transborder.

    UA will not status match AC, as far as I know....is there a way to get appropriate treatment and accumulate miles on United with recognition of my *G status without getting treated as a "new" customer? In the past I was told to book using my *G (i.e. AC FF #) and afterwards submit a change to the MP number (i.e. submit boarding pass, etc.) after the flight. I won't be doing this as I will travel 100 to 120 segments next year and it creates too much work for both the airline and I, with too much opportunity for error, need for me to track, etc.

    The easy switch, it seems, would be to have American status match, and then in future, status match back to Aeroplan when I return to more trans-border travel.

    Any experience or thoughts on a more elegant approach?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Doubt that UA would give you UA credit after having already paid AC/Aeroplan for miles for your flight. I think you'd probably have to change the number before the flight. But non-UA *G aren't eligible for upgrades or even E+, so not sure that starting out with an AC *G number in the record would be worth all that much.
     
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  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    So, giving them precisely the prescribed benefits is insufficient??

    *G isn't worth much for seat assignments or upgrades. Comparing it to DL where you have "native" elite status is silly. Both UA and DL are moving away from comp upgrades for elites and working to sell more of those seats outright. Stop thinking of that as a material benefit from the programs and things will look far better.

    Beyond that, if you want to do the FF# swap (not much value in it IMO) be sure to make the change BEFORE the flight, not after, as HaveMilesWillTravel notes. You're not going to be successful with a post-flight request.
     
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  4. The Lev
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    The Lev Silver Member

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    You should be able to credit your flights to UA and flash your SE card to get most of the Star Gold benefits including:
    • Star gold check-in line
    • Free checked bag
    • Lounge access (something you won't get domestically with UA status unless you pay for Club privileges)
    • Priority boarding (group 2) - although it won't show on your boarding pass
     
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  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Both the checked bag and the boarding will likely require having the status on the BP/PNR, not just "flashing the card" to an agent.
     
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  6. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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    I think AC treats non-native *G fliers better than United does (Zone 1 boarding, for example).
    All I'm looking for is priority boarding, decent seat assignments, and an occasional upgrade would be nice. I can't speak for how AC treats *G on seat assignments and upgrades, but I do know that they give them priority boarding at the same level as an SE. UA will typically give no cost PE upgrades at the gate, but given their loads, at best it is a middle seat towards the front.

    Native delta - where I got my silver status for exactly 30 segments - versus * Gold (150 *A segments or so last year, probably 50 on UA, not that they would know) - I don't think it is that silly to compare, but hey, one person's silly is another's 'reasonable'!

    Anyway...it doesn't appear that there is an elegant way to do a transition year between United and AC and get treated reasonably well (flashing card at boarding, for example, won't help with seat selection).
     
  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking when the AC agent in Whitehorse wouldn't even give me my (one) free checked bag upon showing my 1K card (it was also in my reservation) :/
     
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  8. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    AFAIK, *Gs should be in Zone 2 for boarding, whereas SEs are Zone 1. WRT upgrades, I don't have any Intel, but I should have thought they would be back with or after AC*Gs for opups. And not having eUp certs they don't have any other path to upgrades beyond LMUs.
     
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  9. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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    ...so since there is no way to transfer status to UA, and my travel patterns this year would require many more domestic US flights meaning I can't make AC metal or $$ requirements for SE again, I decided to go "all in" on American and I'm mid-status match (they gave me gold in the meantime). So far, not too bad (except the cost of Admirals Club) - much better seat selection and priority boarding. Access to upgrades should start once I accumulate some miles, and I should clear the status match hurdle by mid February.
     
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