Checking my mileage math...

Discussion in 'US Airways | Dividend Miles' started by MaryDarling, Dec 29, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MaryDarling

    MaryDarling Silver Member

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    I'm busily trying to figure out how to maximize my business travel for the next two years. I'll need to fly from Northern CA to Washington, DC about 10 or more times annually, and I'm able to fly business/first. My goal is to use this opportunity to load up on both miles and elite status to assist with a hoped for RTW this summer/fall.

    OAK is my closest airport, and not needing to head to SFO each time would be a big plus, so US Airways is a potential choice. I know I have 5 RT between January 1 and March 31, so my plan would be:
    -- do an elite challenge for Chairman's
    -- Fly 5 RT routing OAK-PHX-DCA-PHX-OAK
    -- Fly 1st class

    According to MileCalc, each roundtrip would net me 26,253 miles. (This assumes that, during the challenge, I have Chairman's status and the bonus, but I believe that's accurate. If not, just let me know!)

    Is that the accurate number of miles? If so, I can easily meet the challenge, but I'm new to this and amazed that many miles pile up per RT, so I wanted to check to see if the numbers are right.
     
  2. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    I hate to say it, but I don't think those numbers are correct!

    According to gcmap.com, each roundtrip plays out like this:



    4 segment path: 5249 mi
    OAK (37°43'17"N 122°13'15"W) PHX (33°26'03"N 112°00'42"W) 114.2° (SE) 646 mi
    PHX (33°26'03"N 112°00'42"W) DCA (38°51'07"N 77°02'16"W) 69.0° (E) 1979 mi
    DCA (38°51'07"N 77°02'16"W) PHX (33°26'03"N 112°00'42"W) 270.1° (W) 1979 mi
    PHX (33°26'03"N 112°00'42"W) OAK (37°43'17"N 122°13'15"W) 300.1° (NW) 646 mi

    Total: 5249 mi


    So you would net 5,249 preferred qualifying miles per roundtrip (10,498 total miles earned per R/T with the 100% Chairman's mileage bonus).

    However, if you're flying in paid First Class, that adds another layer here...I'm not positive I'm doing this right (because I've never flown paid F before), so others please correct me if I'm wrong! But I believe you get a 50% preferred qualifying mileage bonus in paid F, so I think you would get this:

    5249 base PQM's
    2425 (50% bonus for paid F) PQM's
    5249 (100% chairman's bonus) RDM's

    For a total of 13,123 total earned miles, 7,874 of which are preferred qualifying.

    So if you did Trial Chairman's, I believe you would need 30,000 PQM's in 90 days. So five trips times 7,874 per trip would get you to that threshold (39,370 total PQMs)...actually, looking at those numbers, just four trips would do it! Again, I'm not positive my math around the paid F bonus is correct.

    Having said all of this, I just want to make sure you're aware that US does not do straight-up status challenges. You have to pay to do a status "trial"...it's $200 for Silver, $400 for Gold, $600 for Platinum. The cost for Chairman's is not listed, but it clearly says if you fly 30,000 miles or 40 segments in 90 days you get Chairman's, so I'm guessing it's either $800, or it's the same $600 cost as Trial Platinum. More details can be found here: http://www.usairways.com/en-US/dividendmiles/promotions/trialpreferred.html

    Although that seems like a lot of money to shell out just to do a status challenge, you really don't have many other options out of OAK...United only flies to Denver, and there is only one DEN-DCA flight on UA per day...The only one-stop option to DCA on Delta is through SLC, but again, there is only one flight per day...and that's it for the legacy carriers (aka the ones you need to be flying to get a RTW ticket!).

    Good luck!
     
  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    If you're flying in paid first, what additional benefits would you get from status and how much would this be worth to you. Not knowing US or OAK well, I'm guessing that OAK has no lounges, does offer FC and elite check in lines, and mit offer FC and elite security lines. The difference would probably be IROPs handling, but you would get some improvement after you quickly reach lower status levels. Another difference is e additional redeemable miles you would earn, which can be assigned a value pretty easily.
     
  4. MaryDarling

    MaryDarling Silver Member

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    It's a good question, of course. The main benefits of status are the bonus miles, access to Star Alliance network and the Star Alliance Gold status for use on international trips. Also, while I can often pay for business/first domestically, I'm certainly not averse to purchasing a lower fare and gambling on an upgrade. Finally, in OAK I'm not worried about a lounge (it's my home airport) but having one at DCA could be very helpful.

    For those of you who have been at this a while, I have to tell you that trying to learn the ins and outs of what miles qualify, what miles don't, and how it all adds up isn't always easy. So thanks for taking pity on us new folks, and I look forward to the day when I can contribute more and ask less!
     
  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Does status give you domestic lounge access on US?
     
  6. javacodeguy

    javacodeguy Gold Member

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    If you plan on doing the trial only the flight miles count towards the trial. So that means you will earn 5249 miles towards the trial on each round trip. You would need to do this 6 times in 90 days to get Chairman's Preferred.

    Status itself does not. If you earn 125k PQM you get a free club membership which then gives you access to US and United clubs on domestic itineraries.
     
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  7. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    No. Lounge access is only free with *G/UsGold-or-higher on international itineraries.
     
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  8. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    In terms of the trial preferred status, which one are you going to sign up for? Each additional $200 you spend gets you an additional 25% bonus ($200 for silver and 25% bonus, $400 for gold and 50% bonus, etc). You can sign up for silver and still earn chairmans based on flying 30,000 miles in 90 days.

    For domestic flying in paid F, you really don't get too much from Silver vs. Chariman's, besides miles. Redeeming miles, there are many benefits to being Chairman's, but if you aren't redeeming right away, does it really matter?

    I would also sign up for the US Airways Mastercard. The current offer is quite good for US and with $25k spend you get an additional 10,000 PQM (although doesn't count for the challenge).

    PHX is a great airport to connect in. It's rarely affected by IRROPs, and US miles are one of the most valuable currencies out there for RTW trips. I would book it as US to North Asia with a stopover in Europe.
     
  9. Sean Colahan
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    Sean Colahan Gold Member

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    Don't forget the US Airways Club discount with Chairmans plus the SWU's you would get.
     
  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Don't forget that AmEx Plat lets you use the US lounges whenever you fly, regardless of the airline you are flying.
     
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  11. Dreamworks

    Dreamworks Gold Member

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    I heard a rumor that if you paid the silver challenge fee and then flew the amount needed for the gold challenge, you'd get gold. Of course, I could be full of crap.
     
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  12. enichols22124

    enichols22124 Silver Member

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    That's correct, I just ran the Silver Trial (Challenge if you want to call it), and the person selling it to me told me that straight out. You can buy silver, and whatever your mileage comes out to you are then entitled to for the year. So, if you got high enough, you *could* get to plat or higher on a Silver Trial. As soon as you cross the barrier for each you are automatically upgraded, even while in the Trial. Pretty enticing.
     
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