Approaching 1K

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Redman, Oct 2, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Redman

    Redman Member

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    Hi all,

    My first post - I just finished a flight which brought my UA miles up to 78,000. With three months left in the year, I don't foresee any work-related trips coming up which would put me over 100K. Here's my questions:

    - is 1K really a huge upgrade over UA platinum? I know the international upgrades are certainly great, but how much are they worth? (Ie. is it worth me shelling out $2 - 4K on some flights to get them?)

    - Do you know any shortcuts to pick up some premier miles? I haven't seen any credit card offers in a while that offer qualifying miles.

    - finally, any good, cheap route suggestions out there to help me pick up the miles? I'm based out of RIX, but can easily travel to ARN.

    Thanks much!
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Welcome to MIlePoint.

    No CCs for PQM and not much in the way of cheap flights ex-EU that I'm aware of these days.

    For being based in Europe the main benefit of the higher status is going to be the GPUs and then only if you are flying on UA metal a lot to the US. My hunch is that it wouldn't be worth the personal spend to you, but that's just a hunch.
     
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  3. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    First, in order to justify the higher status you'd need to continue flying United and a lot. Second, it might be helpful if you could describe your travel pattern to date that has allowed you to accumulate 78K PQM flying out of RIX or ARN. I think that is rather impressive and might justify the expense to 1K but knowing the exact travel pattern can allow one to ascertain if it is worth it...
     
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  4. lhrsfo
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    lhrsfo Silver Member

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    As a 1K based in the UK, the following are my thoughts, which will be more or less relevant to the OP depending upon his/her travel patterns.

    As some background, I am based at LHR but most of my travel is to SFO, a route UA flies. Most of my other travel is within the EU, sometimes to places where *A flies non-stop but usually not. In those circumstances the only advantage of being 1K is using the departure lounge - you don't get better seats or any other meaningful preference and whether you get miles is a in the lap of the Gods as it's pretty well impossible to figure out what your booking class is and how that maps to UA. But you get all of those for being Platinum anyway.

    But, for my flights to the USA, UA comes through. My six GPUs and the 100% (vs 75% for Platinum) are big advantages. The days when you could choose your flight to upgrade are long gone but, one way or another, I will have used most of my GPUs this year, but it's no longer so easy and it's particularly difficult to avoid being stuck in a center seat. The extra miles are great and I was able to fly my family across the Atlantic on miles this summer, using the expanded inventory and free changes, at short notice on the dates we wanted to.

    Finally, it may not be relevant to you, but the $100 credit for Global Entry is a straight $100 advantage.
     
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  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    May not be relevant as not all foreign citizens can apply (and the OP doesn't indicate their nationality).
     
  6. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    The last time I had GPUs (2012), system integration issues and bad luck meant very few cleared, so I'm personally reluctant to spend extra money now just to have the opportunity to spend extra money next year (on W fares) for the chance to not sit in the back.

    My bitterness aside, GPUs really are the big difference, so the deciding factor for you might be planned travel patterns next year. If you're doing several long-hauls on UA metal, the GPUs might be worth it. The other perks are a better shot at domestic upgrades and the extra 25% RDM bonus. If you do ~75k on UA next year, the extra 25% bonus could put another 19k redeemable miles in your account. Given where you're based, likely some of your PQMs are on other *A metal, so I'd guess your numbers will be lower.

    Other ways to get PQMs: buy premier accelerator? This requires buying a ticket, waiting for it to ticket, buying award accelerator, buying premier accelerator, and then (potentially) refunding the ticket. It used to be that you'd be offered accelerator amounts matching the length of your ticketed flights, so it could help to find a routing or combination of routings that give you exactly the mileage you need to purchase. Looking at some of my open reservations, the offered mile amounts seem to be rounded multipliers of the distance ticketed:
    • ticket: ~2700 miles, offered 9k or 11k at $.149/PQM (includes cost for award accelerator and premier accelerator, but not the ticket itself)
    • ticket: ~3500 miles, offered 12k or 15k at $.136/PQM
    • ticket: ~10k miles, offered 30k or 45k at $.173/PQM ($7785 total!!!)
    None of these prices compare favourably to a decent mile run.

    The UA Select Visa offers some PQMs, but I don't think it's available any more.

    Is there a chance you could take advantage of an upcoming planned work trip as a positioning flight and do a mile run based in the US? e.g. if you have a trip to SFO, extend it, and then buy a SFO RT mile run.
     
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  7. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Concur re: ease. You can avoid middle seats by sticking to pmCO metal with BusinessFirst: the 777 is 2-2-2, the 757 is 2-2, and the 767 is 2-1-2. The BizFirst seat also beats the pmUA seat for privacy and space.
     
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  8. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Wow, those are some terrible rates! I am being offered 50K PQM for JFK-SIN for $0.106/PQM...
     
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  9. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    Does that include the RDM cost, too, which you need to purchase as a "package" with the PQMs?
     
  10. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Yes, it is the total: $0.02/mile if RDM only + $0.08/mile if adding PQM, for a total of ~$0.10/mile.
     
  11. dstober

    dstober Gold Member

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    Thanks for this thread, as a newbie I'm still trying to figure a few things out. Has anyone seen a way to see the RDM & PQM price before actually booking a ticket? If I'm trying to top off, it would be great to see if the CPM is even remotely worth it before booking. Thanks for any insights.
     
  12. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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    I cant speak much to United, but welcome to Milepoint!
     
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  13. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    You can calculate the CPM by using United's mileage or gcmap.com to give you the mileage. You would then add any mileage you'd earn as an elite or due to the fare class you are thinking of booking. (ie substitute 500 miles for the actual mileage if less than that on a particular leg if you are an elite member; apply the applicable fare class bonus if booking Y, etc.) Then, take the total price of the ticket and divide by the mileage earned. So, a $250 ticket earning 5,344 miles would be 4.68 cents per mile. That would be cents per PQM. If you're already elite, you'll be earning more RDMs, but that isn't usually what people are worried about when calculating cents per mile.
     
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  14. dstober

    dstober Gold Member

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    Thanks, Jenny & Curt. I realized I left out a crucial bit of info! :oops: I'm looking to top off to reach a next status but don't have room in my schedule for a MR. So I am evaluating using the Premier Accelerator option to get some PQM (the RDM are just required to get access to the PQM buy). So far I haven't found a way to estimate what the Accelerator offer will be, either in terms of RDM & PQM or in terms of $, without going ahead and buying the ticket. Does anyone know of a way to calculate or estimate what the offer might be? I know the CPM is going up as we get closer to the end of the year.
     
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  15. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The lowest it is likely to be is in the 10-13cpm range. Use that as a starting point in your math. And, yes, it will likely get more expensive quite quickly as the EoY approaches.
     
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  16. dstober

    dstober Gold Member

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    Thanks for the cpm range info, Wandering Aramean. I have one booked flight but it's cpm is 0.15. :( I'm trying to guess on some potential flight routes -- haven't bought the ticket yet (and will likely cancel after PQMs have posted). Any suggestions beyond estimating 3-4x RDM/PQMs for the flight mileage for what route/flight to book? Any rhyme or reason for what tickets will get what type of offer (both in terms of RDM/PQM and likely cpm)? I'm stumped if there's a way to guess which tickets would maybe get the cpm you're talking about. Or is that completely tied to some algorithm of my status/flights booked/something else behind the scene? Sorry for the ramble..
     
  17. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    I will finish 2013 with 82,300 miles. The accelerator miles that I see on my reservations run 10.9 cents all-in, but they don't add up to what I would need. At 10.9 cent I would spend around $1900 to get to 1K using accelerator miles for 2014. But its not that simple since the miles I can buy come no where near adding to 18,000. The best I can do is really more like $2500. Maybe there are ways around that, but even at $1900 for two 1K status raises (MM companion, too) we do not plan on doing it. This is for three reasons: 1) we were well treated this year as PP, 2) We do not anticipate any international flights in 2014 and 3) we could use the $2500 in other ways.
     
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  18. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I have several flights booked that can provide a range:

    One way HKG-JFK: 20K PAMs for $2,060; on top of that one also earns 9K PQM;
    LGA-ORD: 6K or 8K PAMS @10.3 cpp.
    JFK-SIN 50K or 75K PAMs @10.3cpp
     
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  19. dstober

    dstober Gold Member

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    Is there a difference between PAM and PQM? Thanks for all the info! I'm learning! :)
     
  20. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    Pretty sure he meant PQM and it was a typo.
     
  21. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    No typo. PAM stands for Premier Accelerating Miles, which what UA calls those PQM, so that PAM is the more technically correct acronym...

    Sent from my DROID4 GLOBAL using milepoint
     
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  22. HubletUAFlyer

    HubletUAFlyer Gold Member

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    Ok..maybe frowned upon but what would prevent someone from doing the following.

    1. Purchasing a round trip ticket anywhere.
    2. Waiting for said ticket to actually ticket
    3. Go back to reservation and go into the award accelerator option
    4. Choose the mileage level desired and take it to the next level and buy Premier accelerator miles.
    5. Wait for said miles to deposit (within 5 mins likely )
    6. Cancel original reservation and receive a refund.


    I've never done this as I've never had the need to buy up in miles, but I have often used my miles to sponsor upgrades for some of the lower level elites in the company and my company allows me to purchase award accelerator miles to get whole so my personal mileage balance is not impacted as a result.

    While above may be frowned upon, I have in at least one instance, purchased award accelerator miles and subsequently had to cancel the reservation (which I keep as credit towards future travel) but the award accelerator miles were deposited almost instantly and were unaffected by the cancelation.
     
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  23. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Nothing would prevent anyone from doing it because people actually do it and UA does not even seem to care because it is "free" money for them...

    Sent from my DROID4 GLOBAL using milepoint
     
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  24. dstober

    dstober Gold Member

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    Thanks so much everyone! I got a similar JFK-SIN deal that will get me to 1K--which will come in handy for some international award travel next year! :D
     
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  25. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    My wife was in a similar situation, trying to retain her 1K status for 2014. We looked at Premier Accelerator option, for several upcoming flights. I also did the math, to determine exactly where she would be, based on scheduled travel. That was where I discovered that with one trip PHX to ORD would get her what she needed. I used HHonors points for the overnight, and even with a nice dinner and wine (so long as I did not go too deeply into the cellar), with a discounted fare on a weekend, we would save about US $250, over the purchase of the PQM's. The RDM's are of far less importance to us, as we both have over 1M each, and cannot seem to spend them quickly enough for upgrades - never used them for tickets.

    That was to acquire ~ 3,000 PQM's, and you are looking at about 8x that.

    As for Platinum vs 1K, there are not that many differences, other than the CPU's, and a little bit of consideration regarding upgrades. Some years back, I turned down an offer from UAL to buy the differential (about what you are looking at), for US $3,200, but as my wife was already 1K, that did not hurt me, when traveling with her.

    Good luck.
     
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