Help with least expensive *A lounge access

Discussion in 'Star Alliance' started by dc_traveler, Oct 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. dc_traveler
    Original Member

    dc_traveler Silver Member

    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    237
    Status Points:
    445
    I travel most often on United and US Airways (though not too often, as I am a United 2P). My membership in the US Airways Club just expired and I am hoping to sign up for a new lounge membership that gets me access to the United Clubs and US Airways lounges, but for as little as possible. I'd greatly appreciate any advice you might have to offer. Apologies if this is in the wrong threat or is too much of a newbie question.
     
  2. Jimgotkp
    Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,834
    Likes Received:
    80,011
    Status Points:
    16,495
    Well the cheapest would be putting your miles to an Aegean account and qualifying for *G. Just need 16K miles a year for the status. OZ is pretty good too since the status lasts for two years and you have two years to reach 40K miles.
     
  3. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

    Messages:
    28,224
    Likes Received:
    61,772
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Getting 16K EQMs is a roughly $450 endeavor if you're getting VERY good MRs. It is more than that if you do not. And you've bifurcated your FF accounts, orphaning (or at least devaluing) the associated RDMs by putting them in a separate account.

    With options as low as $395 for the membership available somewhat readily I'm not nearly as convinced that the A3/OZ approach is all that worthwhile.
     
  4. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

    Messages:
    32,725
    Likes Received:
    191,901
    Status Points:
    20,020
    dc_traveler likes this.
  5. Jimgotkp
    Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,834
    Likes Received:
    80,011
    Status Points:
    16,495
    Well if the OP is flying for purposes other than MRs then it doesn't cost anything since he will be flying for business/leisure. However, if the OP is flying for MR/status reasons then that would make things different.
     
    dc_traveler and cennas like this.
  6. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    IIRC, it's not 16,000 miles from nothing to A3 *A Gold. It's 4,000 for Silver and an ADDITIONAL 16,000 to Gold. However, when you sign up for an A3 account, they give you 1,000 status and redeemable miles, so you really need to credit 19,000 miles to A3 to get *A Gold.
     
  7. TRAVELSIG
    Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,942
    Likes Received:
    5,509
    Status Points:
    4,145
    I would stick with my United membership to get E+ benefits and possibly possibly the once in a while UDU if I were the OP. Don't mess around with getting an A3 membership to save the membership fee. Where can you get into with a Priority Pass on the other hand?
     
    dc_traveler likes this.
  8. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    IIRC some Priority Pass (not the free ones with bank accounts, etc.) give access to many United Clubs. AmEx Plat gives access to US lounges even when not flying US.

    However, the problem is that UA/CO or US *A Gold status does not give lounge access when flying domestic.
     
    dc_traveler likes this.
  9. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

    Messages:
    28,224
    Likes Received:
    61,772
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I had thought the PPass access to the UA/CO clubs had ended as of the beginning of this month.
     
    dc_traveler likes this.
  10. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    No, it only ends for Priority Pass Select and those who get their PP membership through a "financial institution." My Priority Pass is still good for the United Clubs.
     
    dc_traveler and Scottrick like this.
  11. dc_traveler
    Original Member

    dc_traveler Silver Member

    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    237
    Status Points:
    445
    Thank you to everyone for the thoughtful comments. I ended up deciding to switch my existing United MP Visa Select card to the United MP Club Visa card. I really appreciate all of the responses and the creative ideas that members of the community provided. Thanks again!
     
    cennas likes this.
  12. jumbo_cards

    jumbo_cards Silver Member

    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    40
    Status Points:
    160
    I was looking at priority pass. If I frequently travel a lot by myself and need domestic lounge access then I'd go for this instead of a United club membership just because I can still get into United club and also other lounges not operated by *A. However PP doesn't allow any free admissions for guest (not even +1), you'd have to pay like 27 bucks I think for each guest :(

    My *A FF started with OZ, which requires 40k every two years for *G, I got that in a year last year and I have the card which is valid from 2010 to 2014 .... I wanted to start fresh on United and fortunately for me, 2010 was the last year they had generous corporate status match which actually allowed *A matches. So I being a 1P since beginning of this year and have lounge access with my OZ *G card till 2014. However I think afterward it expires, I'd have to bite the bullet and pay for a membership.
     
  13. jumbo_cards

    jumbo_cards Silver Member

    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    40
    Status Points:
    160
    In addition, I believe you'd be better of doing this with OZ rather than A3... Yes, A3 is cheaper on paper to do this... but STLKG fares on CO/UA is 50% earn rate only. OZ IMO has the best non-NA *A accrual for NA *A partners :)

    If you go with A3, you pretty much is stuck with US air....
     
  14. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,272
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    Status Points:
    1,075
    With A3, you need 20,000 miles for *G. You get 1K just from signing up, so you need 19K on US Air or 38K on United (low fares) to qualify.

    With OZ, you need to get Diamond status for *G, which is 40K miles over 2 years.

    How long are these statuses good for? I've heard multiple years in both cases, but neither is very clear...

    Another thing to consider is mileage burn rates. OZ's table for OZ redemptions seems kind of okay, but their *A redemption table is distance-based and seems pretty bad. A3's redemption table seems pretty okay, too.
     
    canucklehead likes this.
  15. jumbo_cards

    jumbo_cards Silver Member

    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    40
    Status Points:
    160
    Not sure about A3's redemption...

    OZ's is okay, useful for east coast -> europe. OZ charges fuel surcharge on their own flight and couple of *A airlines as well. I don't recommend OZ if you want to burn miles on reward frequently. But OZ has 500k miles lifetime *G on any *A flights. This is probably the easiest / fastest way to get a lifetime *G.

    In terms of how long the status is good for...

    My friend got A3 gold this year, and it lasts 2 years before it expires, so he got it in May 2011, it lasts May 2013.

    OZ arguably can have a longer status if you can achieve 40k in a year. I got mine in a year last year. I know bit more on how this works, let me give you my example.

    Apr 2010 - I signed up for OZ
    Nov 2010 - achieved 40k status miles and was *G
    Card is valid till Apr 2014.

    Basically, OZ gives you 24 month (not calendar years) from the time you sign up to get 40k for *G. The status (if you achieve it) lasts till 4 years from the date you signed up.
     
  16. JetsettingEric
    Original Member

    JetsettingEric Silver Member

    Messages:
    626
    Likes Received:
    705
    Status Points:
    695
    US Airways had a $300 3-day sale right after their grand slam. I would keep an eye out on future sales like this. I combined that bonus with free spouse membership for reaching the special dividends tier on US - bringing the cost per membership down to $150 / pass.
     
  17. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,278
    Likes Received:
    5,543
    Status Points:
    4,170
    I tend to agree. I think it makes sense for people who fly <25k a year on star alliance, where the miles earned would be somewhat orphaned anyway. This is especially true if you'd normally be checking bags on your own dime. I don't think it makes a lot of sense for people who fly a lot of star to split up their crediting. If you're not top-tier, you're giving up enough miles to almost go up a tier. You're also throwing away any rdm elite bonus, in addition to bifurcating your stash.
     
  18. jupper
    Original Member

    jupper Silver Member

    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    502
    Status Points:
    650
    As a data point, when I checked UA's website earlier today, I was offered a United Club membership (as a 1K) for $450... A bit strange, since the 1K price is $375 (or 47.5 kRDM), and there's a (RCC) virgin fee of $50...
     
    TAHKUCT likes this.
  19. TAHKUCT
    Original Member

    TAHKUCT Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,766
    Likes Received:
    7,236
    Status Points:
    5,070
    Supply and demand :) Just call them if you are planning to purchase one.
     
  20. jumbo_cards

    jumbo_cards Silver Member

    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    40
    Status Points:
    160
    Have you considered alternative forms of membership? It highly depends on your travels and spending habits

    1) I think CO has this presidential plus card that has a 395 annual fee which comes with a full United club membership. for 20 bucks more, you also get few other benefits such as hotel elite status, car rental status, etc...

    2) Pay for priority pass access (not via some credit cards, but actually a full membership). Which still allows you access United Clubs (they only block access to pp accounts who is from a CC) and a slew of other lounges from other airlines that you otherwise won't be able to enjoy. dont' quote me on this but I think it is like 400 USD which is still within ball park of what you'd be paying. The only down side to this is that any companions you want to bring is NOT free.
     
  21. jupper
    Original Member

    jupper Silver Member

    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    502
    Status Points:
    650
    Correct. But as a non-USA based Elite, the credit card and Priority Pass are non-options. The latter is quoting higher and higher fees lately...

    Plus, I cannot complain, EU based CO Golds or higher were eligible for a complementary President's Club membership. No word from the new UA/CO yet on that...
     
  22. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    516
    Status Points:
    595
    If you are infrequent traveller the American express sky guide executive club might work for you. They will reimburse you up to 12 visit a year, up to 50 dollar each. Not a bad deal if you get it with one of their promos (2.99 for 2 month and 29.99 for an additional year). I am using it now as a stop gap until A3 status will be gained.
     
  23. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I've heard about some hassles in getting these fees reimbursed. At least they used to ask you to send receipts by registered mail.
     
  24. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    516
    Status Points:
    595
    They still do, but at least in my experience this is the only hassle. About 4 weeks after I sent in my receipt the check was in my hand. It is not perfect, but in essence for about 50$ (fees and postage) you can get $600 of benefits without being tied to any one particular airline or lounge program.
     

Share This Page