Buying Premier Accelerator Miles (PAMs)

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by SnowDogDad, Feb 10, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    Hi everyone,
    It is early in the year, but I suspect I'll be flying a bit less this year. Was considering buying some PAMs on my next trip. The itinerary I have booked calculates out to $0.149 per mile.

    I'm not entirely sure how United calculates what they charge for PAMs (and RDMs) but it seems to vary based on the time of the year and the route. I *did* do some research before asking this question. :) I have seen threads here and on that *other* frequent flyer discussion site indicating PAMs are sometimes considerably cheaper. I found some people indicating that their PAMs were costing anywhere from $0.09/mile to $0.18/mile.

    I was wondering if there was a web site that provides any sort of routes and current costs for PAMs and RDMs.

    Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Jim
     
  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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  3. snod08
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    snod08 Gold Member

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    Yes, the above point is a very important one ...no PQD's for PAMs.
    however, maybe you might make the PQD threshold easily, but not have enough miles for the status...in which case, it makes sense to buy PAM's.

    There is not any simple logic for PAM pricing.
    Sometimes prices are cheaper earlier in the year.
    Of course, becomes expen$$ive later in the year.
    Sometimes cheaper for non-elites.
    sometimes cheaper for elites.

    And so on.
     
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  4. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I was looking at possibly buying a few PAMs. My DFW-SAL-MDE-SAL-DFW train wreck itinerary has resulted in my returning to DFW on an award ticket. The price is right, but I'm going to be over 6,000 PQMs short of what I had planned to insure my 100K by year's end.

    My adversity to PAMs has been once again confirmed to be for just cause. I'm getting $0.10 +RDM cost (varies) on same flights, and $0.13 +RDM cost on others. This is the first time I have ever seen different PAM pricing for different itineraries, although RDMs have always varied.

    I'll obviously be adding an extra MR to make up for it, and I don't have as much time for it as last year. Still, I'll gladly pay $0.05/PQM and get double the RDMs for actually flying. It's one more inconvenience to what otherwise worked out to my benefit in the end (value:effort ratio still questionable).

    What I'm finding perplexing is that every time I look at the PAM pricing for a flight (and I have many booked), hitting the "Back to travel details" link on each one returns me to next week's SJO-PTY-MDE flight. That's a positioning flight to get me back to DFW from MDE with a few business/pleasure days worked in between. The glitch makes me question the pricing of all the PAMs, however.

    This is just so strange. I don't think I have ever seen an IT problem on united.com. Should I write to 1Kvoice, Smisek, DoT or just straight to Obama? :D
     
  5. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    PAMs don't earn PDQs... wow! That is news to me. But, again, I was basing what I *thought* on things I had read from 2012 and 2013, so I could have misinterpreted it.

    That *is* disappointing... I usually travel on discounted Y fares (company discount), so I can easily get 100,000 EQMs but only spend $6,500. :-(

    KenInEscazu: It seems that the PAM price varies significantly based on route.
     
  6. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    By the way, I did a calculation on the cost of PAMs (assuming that they earned PDQs) and calculated that with one or two trips on my own (at around $1,000 each), plus purchasing PAMs, I'd spend around $15,000 in order to earn 1K. Better just to buy the tickets and suffer through the flights.
     
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  7. snod08
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    snod08 Gold Member

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    If you normally spend 6500$ per year to get 1K...
    then, consider if that 3500 out of pocket spend will be worth it for you or not.

    Only you can decide that!
     
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  8. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    If you have a United CC and spend $25K on it you can get to Platinum with no PQD requirement so PAMs may be useful in this instance and Platinum isn't bad. However, you will make Gold anyway which gets you almost everything except upgrades. Then you can use the money you did not spend on other things such as TOD upgrades and the like.
     
  9. snod08
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    snod08 Gold Member

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    I support this idea.
     
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  10. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    Spending anything more than about $1,500 - $2,000 more for a year to get 1K status is a bit too rich for my blood. I will do mileage runs if I'm close to the threshold, but I have been fortunate the past few years to have been over the PQM threshold for 1K. Unfortunately, this next year I don't think I will make the PQD threshold. So, I'm trying to get used to the idea of being Platinum. I like 1K for the upgrades but also the ability to upgrade a companion and the ability to use the 1K desk. :-(
     
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  11. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    As Platinum in 2013 I was upgraded on 50% of my flights (about 40% over 3.5 hours) and I occasionally found myself talking to the secret Platinum desk when I called for help (it may be that when the 1K line isn't busy enough we get an upgrade). Companion upgrades are harder to judge as my wife is also Platinum.
     
  12. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    In the one year, when I was Platinum, it was zero - actually, less than zero, as I got far fewer upgrades, than I did, as Gold. However, while the flights were very similar, the timing was a bit different, so many factors could have played into that.

    Having been 1K for some years, we are getting fewer upgrades, unless we use certificates, or miles, or miles & $'s. Harder to get any upgrades, but that should make UA happy.
     
  13. SnowDogDad

    SnowDogDad Silver Member

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    I am disappointed that United is not very forthcoming about PAMs not earning PQDs. Everything surrounding their purchase is rather vague. But, interestingly, the purchase of the miles (award miles and accelerator miles) both include a 7.5% federal excise tax. I had thought that tax was reserved for air tickets and not "add-ons" such as mile purchases.
     

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