Hello, Newbie looking for guidance

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by FrauSchmidt2008, Oct 4, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Hi! Newbie introducing myself with a bunch of questions (I know, typical).

    One plus year intermittent lurker to FT and just found this website. A little history first – I live in the WAS area and have learned that this gives me multiple choices for airports to fly out of. I usually travel alone, I travel both for business (sometimes twice a year to other countries, my agency uses UA/*A – just returned from trip to Mongolia in August), and pleasure (to spend time with my German husband and his family in Germany). Two years ago I reached 1P (?) but had no clue what that meant except that I no longer had to pay for E+ seating and was able to use the premier lines, as well as the baggage perk. Was not able to do whatever I needed to do to keep that status for last year (mainly because I really had no clue as to what I should be doing and could not fly due to ENT complications). I never paid attention to the emails/snail mail that I received from UA, thinking it was junk mail and might have missed out on some important information/deals.

    I find that I absolutely loved the perks that came with the miles I had accumulated with UA. Now, after doing a bit more regular reading (head is swimming), I know what I should be doing to maintain my status or climb to the next level. I joined Mileage Plus Shopping and have done quite a bit of shopping, and I see that I am only 2,044 elite status miles (EQM) or 23.5 elite status segments (EQS) away from Premier status. By the way, I just learned the difference between EQM and EQS (thanks to FT) in the last month.

    I wanted to visit a friend in Denver and have booked a flight (BWI-DEN-DEN-EWR-BWI) for next week. I tried doing the ITN, Kayak, Travelocity, etc. route to maximize my miles and just gave up and went with what UA had on their website.

    I currently have 74,507 miles with UA and my trip to Denver looks like this:
    BWI-DEN = 1491 Traveled Miles / 1490 Award Miles
    DEN-EWR = 1605 Traveled Miles / 1617 Award Miles
    EWR-BWI = 169 Traveled Miles

    Cannot figure out why the Traveled/Award Miles do not match???

    Either way, I know that I will earn the 2,044 elite status miles needed.

    My question is, where do I go from here in my quest to become a FF/MR with status? I am planning a visit to Germany (into FRA) mid-December and returning during the first week of January and then another trip to Germany in mid-Spring. Do I use my miles for an Awards flight for December, can I use both miles and cash, or should I hold on to my miles until 2012? Also, another newbie question, do I still accumulate miles if I book a trip using miles? I tried finding an answer on FT but I guess I am not savvy enough to know how to phrase the question in the search box. I even tried to google the question.

    Please forgive me if this is too long of a post. This is my very first post and I chose MilePoint because I do not feel quite as overwhelmed with the reading I am doing.

    Thanks for everyone’s help and I AM SOOOO EXCITED to be a part of the MR club!:)

    FrauSchmidt
     
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  2. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP, FrauSchmidt2008!

    First, a question, before you detailed your upcoming MR, you mention your 74,507 miles but not your current EQM balance. Be sure you know that only EQM/EQS count towards status.

    Next, assuming you already know that your upcoming MR will push you past the 25K EQM needed to reach Premier (2P) status on UA, CONGRATS on realizing how to seize something within easy reach.

    Other than possible calculation discrepancies, I can't give you an exact reason for the slightly different mileage numbers but really the bottom line is just be clear in the exact number UA says you need to reach your desired EQM or RDM goal.

    As for "where to go from here", that's an important question to ponder. For 2012, UA is making major changes to MP & sadly Premiers bear the biggest brunt.

    Given that you said you will likely be flying more in 2012 (Congrats btw on your improving health!), READ UP on the changes & the several FT/MP threads & blogs (http://boardingarea.com/bloggers.php) that analyze the changes and comparisons to other programs to see what works best for you going forward. fwiw, I'm a 1K and even though the changes for that status aren't as bad, I'm still considering a switch to the dAArkside.

    Generally, you can not earn EQM/RDM on award flights. However, there are ways to earn EQM/RDM on flights paid for with credit card loyalty programs such as Citi's Thank You points or Cap1 rewards.

    If you'd like to use award miles, spend some time reading up on the various credit card threads/blogs to learn that how to wisely play that game, as credit card bonuses are is a quick way to accumulate a large number of miles. Remember though maintaining good credit is vital and no number of miles are worth putting your financial health at risk.

    Also, consider promotions, especially US Airway's Grand Slam. It's on now, discussed in the aforementioned blogs and you still have time to easily & cheaply accumulate *A RDMs.

    As to whether to to pay for your upcoming Germany trips or use miles, do the math & see what works best given the ticket prices. All things being equal, for the December/January trip I'd look into using miles for the December oneway & then buying a Germany-US-Germany ticket to capture all the possible the 2012 EQMs. (unless of course you need the extra December EQMs to reach the next level (1P) in 2011).

    Similarly, for 2012, assuming reasonable ticket prices, I'd buy that ticket in order to earn the EQM that will help you reach your 2012 status goal.

    Finally, the search function on FT sucks. It's usually easier to do a Google search & include site:flyertalk.com

    hth and enjoy the ride
     
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  3. cennas
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    cennas Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP FrauSchmidt2008 and enjoy your stay here!
     
  4. Cholula
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    Cholula Milepoint Guide

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    Ditto on that welcome!

    I see your question was addressed by bk3day and perhaps others will weighin as well.

    Enjoy your travels and we'll see you around the forums.
     
  5. jmrich1432
    Original Member

    jmrich1432 Silver Member

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    Welcome, FrauSchmidt2008! I don't fly UA much, but I appreciate your questions (and the response, bk3day!) since my (limited) CO travel will now be shifting. Time to figure out MileagePlus!
     
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  6. Thanks for the welcome Jmrich1432, Cholula, and Cennas. And mega thanks to you bk3day for addressing my questions. Yes, the 74,507 miles are my EQM and the 2,044 is what UA says I need for the next level. I think my goal will be to reach 100,000+ total EQM in 2012. I appreciate the advice regarding using miles versus buying tickets for my Germany trips and the reading tips.

    So, off to do more reading for me.

    FrauSchmidt
     
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  7. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    You may want to look again, since this doesn't quite compute.

    EQM = Elite Qualifying Miles. Those are essentially butt-in-seat miles flown this year (EQM disappear at midnight on 31 December each year). If you have 74,507 EQM this year you've already qualified for Premier Executive for 2012 (Premier Gold) and indeed almost Premier Platinum at 75,000 EQM if I understand UA/CO's new chart. But then it wouldn't be 2,044 EQM that you need, it would be only 493 EQM.

    RDM = Redeemable miles, sometimes called "Award Miles". These are earned not just from flying but also from bonuses, credit card usage, etc., and don't disappear at the end of each year. They stay around until you use them (unless you don't earn or spend any miles in 18 months, in which case they disappear).

    Then there are lifetime miles. These are all the miles you've flown on United (includes United Express and -- soon -- CO as well). They really don't count for anything until you accumulate one milion or more, and they don't disappear.

    I suspect you have 22,956 EQMs for this year, since if you add 2,044 to that number you reach 25,000 EQM which is the Premier level.

    Here's how you can check: If you already have an account on United.com, go to http://www.united.com and sign into your account.

    Select "Start with My Mileage Plus" or click on the "My Mileage Plus" bar on the dropdown menu under the "Mileage Plus" tab across the top of the page.

    You'll see something like "Hi Frau Schmidt, you have XXX,XXX Award Miles." That number is your RDM -- the redeemable award miles.

    Now click on the "My Activity" tab next to the "Overview" tab just below the bar showing your progress.

    On the page that appears, in the top center, you'll see "Elite status miles and elite status segments earned". Below that you'll see "Status miles (EQM)" and a number. This is your EQM earned during the current year. It may say 22,956. (Below it is "Status segments (EQS)" and a number, which may be 6.5)

    Over to the left on that page you'll see "Miles earned". The first line says "Award miles" and it may show the 74,507 number you mentioned. It will also show when those miles will expire if you don't earn or spend miles between now and then.

    Below that line is "Lifetime flight miles" which is the total miles you've flown (not "earned") on United and United Express (and Shuttle and Ted if you were around then).

    I hope this helps.
     
  8. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    That's what I figured & why I asked. The math just didn't add up. Counselor, thanks for clarifying.
     
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  9. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    FrauSchmidt,

    Welcome to MP!

    :)
     
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  10. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Welcome to MP! :)
     
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