Is it worth it anymore ?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by diver1, Jan 16, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. diver1

    diver1 Silver Member

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    I am a 1K member and fly mostly in the US and mostly short trips ( 130K mikes 175 segments per year ). As a 1K now I very seldom get upgrades. Unless I use the certs and I try and fly certain routes so I get more miles or segments . I can ( most of the time ) find better and cheaper options ,but I always have the 1K in the back of my head . So I am trying to figure out the good side to being 1 K but am not finding much . I get most of my miles I use for trips from my CC’s . I have to pay to me a member of the club . I don’t travel with checked luggage ( as UL is mostly not on time you have to be ready to move fast ) And they stopped service at my home airport MOD . So now I have to drive to SMF where I have a large choice of airlines . So am I missing something ?? I have run into several people stuck on express cans that feel the same . Please advise
     
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  2. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    In a word: no.

    My advice is to choose the best "lines and times" for your trips and not be loyal to any airline.

    Different advice: choose AA

    If upgrades are the primary benefit you seek as a top tier flyer, then AA EXP will work better for you out of SMF.
     
  3. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    There may be some positives on the horizon for you at UA.
    With the new process for awarding miles, you may actually see an improvement because of all of your short segments. Count it up and see if this is true.
    The PQD requirement may reduce your competition, opening up some room in the premium cabins as other fliers fail to meet the spend requirement..
    The aggressive up-selling of P fares seems to have tapered off, so again there may be more room for you up front.
    If there is a significant cash saving on other carriers and the miles don't improve for you then 1K may not be worth it, but make sure you do a fair comparison under the new system.
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Depends on the destinations. SMF service on AA is limited to a few CRJs to LAX, a few PHX and a few DFW flights daily. That might not fit the travel patterns so well.
     
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  5. diver1

    diver1 Silver Member

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    Thanks for the advise …as an example I have to go from SMF to SAN on UAL the flight cost 350 and takes 4 hrs or more as it stops in LAX or SFO . On SW it cost 300 and it is non stop 1.5 hrs . In the past I would suffer the time and the most likely ( mostly though SFO ) delays just to get the benefits . Also the UAL trip is all on RJ’s and even worse 200’s .
     
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  6. Steve GadFly
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    Steve GadFly Gold Member

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    @diver1, we have somewhat similar travel patterns however I live in NJ and do most of my flights out of EWR so being a 1K is worth it to me. I average two or three cities per week and, since my weeks tend to start and end with a non-stop out of or into EWR, I fly UA almost exclusively including the mid-week connecting flights between the places I'm visiting.
     
  7. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Don't forget the Alaska fights if you're heading north. All my Seattle trips in recent years have been from Sacramento on Alaska and accrue AA miles. What works against me in Sacramento, though, with AA, is fares. I did a JFK flight earlier this month for $314 from there, but historically NYC fares are cheaper from SFO and all the Europe sales I find are cheaper from SFO. Prior to that, the last paid AA trip I could make work from Sacramento was back on Presidents Weekend to BOS. Should add that both of those trips had issues (AA cancelled all BOS flights due to a storm and I was rerouted on US and had a forced overnight in PHL when the PHL-BOS flights were cancelled, and just last week my LAX-SMF was diverted to Fresno and we were put in cabs for the rest of the trip). Sacramento might be a tough place to be an AA flyer if you're fare conscious like I am. It's about the same distance from me as OAK, SFO and SJC.
     
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  8. mikeschu
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    mikeschu Gold Member

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    Also going south, AS has flights out of SMF and FAT. I know of at least one non-stop FAT-SAN on Q400s with AS, and they frequently go on sale.

    SMF is a tough little airport for airline loyalty because it's fairly good-sized with a good number of people, but not so much where the major carriers outside of WN have frequent, reliable service (UA almost counts except it's RJ to SFO). I found when I was flying to and from SMF that often it came down to schedule and price. I'd pick WN most of the time unless another airline was cheaper and worked; I remember flights on UA, DL and pre-merger HP.
     
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  9. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    I used to fly STL-SMF routes a lot as my main office was in Rancho Cordova but lived in STL. I like AA the most which used to make sense out of STL but was never a good option getting into SMF. Kinda like "You could fly better routes but you couldn't pay more". Because of that issue I ended up flying Southwest a bunch as well as Delta regional jets though SLC which wasn't great. Although Delta did run a 5k bonus per trip out of STL for a while that was really good for me. With Southwest you don't get a business class but if your an A list'er you can usually get a good seat, drinks, carry on space, etc. They also have the companion pass which is nice if you can use it. Down side with Southwest is no business seats or lounges.
    I think it depends on where you travel. If you stay in the West a lot then Alaska or Southwest might be good choices. If your all over the country I think you might do better with a larger carrier like United or Southwest. I fly MCI-SJC a lot now days as my new company is located in Santa Cruz. I usually end up on American as the Alaska flights mostly hub through Seattle and a quick stop in DFW or ORD is better for my time needs. You can always get credit card miles for reward flights but the status benefits and routes are at issue for you I think.
     
  10. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    Status doesn't change your life. Saving time and money does.
     
  11. diver1

    diver1 Silver Member

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    Very good point .That is what I have been think is to use the tool that best uses your time
     
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  12. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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    I pretty much limit my travel to 2 primary airlines. US Air/American and United. If I could focus on 1, I would get status. But spreading my travel out means I miss out.
     
  13. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I tried 100K on both AA and UA the year I made my transition to AA as my primary carrier. Between 200,00 paid miles, plus about 50,000 miles in award travel beyond that, while I was still working 40 hours a week, I found that it was way too much and was just not fun. I think the only thing that saved me was having a 4 day work week and 14 weeks of vacation a year (combination of overtime, banked holidays and actual vacation time). Without those 3 day weekends, where I did some mileage runs, it never would have worked. I decided that anything over 100K I would put on UA and AA would be my primary for the first 100K only.

    Eventually UA devalued my million miler benefits and I stopped putting any miles on them (2012). It would have been 30K last year with the formula I was using if I was still loyal to them. AA got those miles instead.
     
  14. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    I find that some status (gold or higher) saves me time (SDC, priority services and greater availability of economy awards) and money (E+ at reservation, luggage) out of EWR. So I do find that level to be worth some effort to achieve on UA if you expect any significant flying in your future.
    Such status does make my flying life easier.
     
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  15. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    There are clearly some benefits to each program that affect each flier differently. For me UA MM is an upgrade from PMCO's MM program and the companion benefit is worth a great deal to my family. Between the extra accumulation of miles, the differences in flights when we don't fly together and the family goodwill, I do not see the devaluation at all. I agree that without a companion the reduced upgrade options are disappointing, but I like the current program. I am not sure that I see any advantage to the AA/US MM program over the UA program. At 3MM I would probably fly AA exclusively, but, except for some certs (a worthy benefit) and RDMs (at 1K on UA for 3MM a premium traveler might get more RDMs), it doesn't seem like I would get much above the benefits for 1MM on UA.
     
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  16. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    But then you weren't a premerger million miler at UA. Those members did take a benefit hit. I would not count on any lifetime benefit you have at UA existing tomorrow whether they be at 1MM, 2MM or 3MM.

    As a premerger UA million miler and lifetime Premier Executive, my 100% mileage bonus dropped to 50% and the two regional upgrades that were issued yearly just disappeared when they retitled my tier to Gold and changed the benefits. The upcoming revenue based program really doesn't work for a leisure traveler like me, even though I rack up the miles, so If I hadn't walked away in 2012, I surely would walk away come March, 2015, with only 8 miles per dollar spent at the 50K level. That's 2,400 miles on a $300 transcon, while AA gives those at the 50K level 10,000 miles for the same trip.
     
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  17. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    For now.
     
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  18. Zorrbabe

    Zorrbabe Member

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    I am a new mileage plus member in the last year and I have not seen anything yet to make me think they are wonderful LOL.
     
  19. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    Compared to the other legacy carriers, UA is the only one at the second tier level for their 1 MM members. The PMUA program was so out of sync with their competitors that I could see how it would be so costly to them that devaluation in an "at capacity" era would be inevitable. Keeping the lifetime status at Gold and adding companion status makes achieving the status worth it (to refer back to the topic of this thread).
    In analyzing the program and in consideration of the dissent in the MM lawsuit I am willing to believe that the program is well balanced at these levels and likely to stick for awhile, at least for current members.
    I believe that AA will not keep their current plan so your 10000 miles is in jeopardy as they discover that giving away significant miles and perks to lowest fare leisure travelers is not profitable.
    I expect that UA will find other ways to hand out RDMs when they find "sponsors" willing to pay for them (think MP dining). Perhaps they may consider elite bonuses for these non-flying sponsored mile awards.
     
  20. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    The issue is being viewed from different viewpoints. The arguments are all valid, but they don't address the same points at the same time.

    It might make sense economically to devalue. By all means the airline should do that to be more profitable if that is what they need to do. Go forth Delta and United. Do what you have to do. Be profitable. Thus 8MiHi is right.

    It does make sense as a leisure traveler to want to maximize your gain, but they did enter a social compact. I think the better solution for United would have been to honor what was promised and grandfather in those legacy MM flyers. Personally, I want my reward to be based on the amount of time on in the tube. I don't actively enjoy seats less than 18" wide and 31" pitch or less. I'd take a time based reward in my ideal world, but mileage seems to best reflect this. Comparisons that people make to hotels have no meaning to me. It's two very different experiences. I don't spend 48 hours in that hotel room on my 2 night stay. I do spend most of my time in the tube on a flight.

    If you create a compact with someone by saying, I will give you X if you do Y, then you should live up to it. If someone tells me I have to fly 16 hours to SYD while standing on my head and I will then get free drinks for life on their flight and I do it, I don't expect them to come back 5 years later and say, sorry, alcohol costs too much now so there is now a copay. So whoever got their status under a set of terms and conditions after meeting said criteria, should get to keep them. Or don't offer it in the first place. Or put an expiry date on it. Thus tom911 is right.
     
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  21. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    It still is at AA, and that's one big distinction between being an AA flyer and being a UA flyer come March 1, whether you're a lifetime flyer or just a midtier flyer based on status this year. For leisure travelers, it's hard to have the counter tilt in UA's direction.

    I acquired my 2MM lifetime status on AA mostly with flying, but that was when AA bonus miles and credit card miles counted in the total, so 1MM of flying with 100% bonus miles gave me 2MM lifetime status. There was even a time that AA credited you extra business class miles every time you upgraded with a systemwide, and I've had those in account every year since 2002 and got some miles there. Those accrual routes are not out there any longer (strictly base miles now) but a lot of long time AA flyers took advantage of them and have a lot of past activity that has got them closer to the goalposts. At AA, it took me 3 years for 1MM, 6 years for 2MM and 9 years for 3MM. At UA, it took me 19 years to get to 1MM, but that included a 5 year absence after the bankruptcy where I kept my account alive with Safeway grocery miles and no other activity.

    I really would like to fly UA. I had no problems with the flight experience there and found them reliable. I was disappointed they changed the rules on systemwides that were good on all fares when I started with them (raised to H and then dropped to W), but I was able to live with that and donated my systemwides to family and friends that could use them on the higher fares (my brother was in Afghanistan with Army Corp of Engineers and got a couple, as did one of his cowokers that I surprised on the same flight home with him). I was very upset when UA changed my million miler benefits and the only solution I saw there was to walk away.

    With 8 miles per dollar at midtier, or even 11 if I made 1K, UA just doesn't work now on $300 domestic trips and $700 Europe fares. My $700 trip to Lisbon and home from Madrid this month brought in around 26,000 miles with AA. If I did the same trip on UA March 1, based on lifetime Gold, I'd get 5,600 miles. It would take some major changes for me to come back to UA. Giving me 1/4 of the miles that I get at AA isn't the change I'm looking for.

    As to AA changing in the future, the jury is out. Alaska has gone on the record that they have no plans to change accrual rates. AA could very well follow them down that path. I recall many flyers telling me that when UA changed the systemwide rules back around 2001-2002, it was just a matter of time until AA matched. I'm still waiting on that. I'm just not convinced AA intends to follow UA at all in terms of revenue based miles.
     
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  22. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    Given the choice for leisure travel, AAs current system is far more attractive. Given my location (EWR based) AA would cost me time for many of my flights. So UA it is for me.
    Further, if the economy tanks, I can see how UA might go back to an actual miles system for competitive reasons. However, if the economy remains OK and flights continue to fly near capacity, then I see AA going to a revenue model eventually.

    As a PMCO MMer my position was enhanced and it works for me, so I continue to think aiming for UA MMer status is worth a lot. I agree that PMUA MMers should have been given a choice to keep the upgrades or have companion benefits. I don't quite see how they could give back the relative position of PE without complications and giving Platinum would actually raise the relative position substantially above what it was.
    Given a choice between two certs and the old position of Premier Executive versus companion status, I would take companion status. The certs are nice, but in the current environment PE is likely to get boxed out of upgrades more than it used to and my wife really appreciates the status share.
     
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  23. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Given that I just gave away my last two RPUs that would have otherwise expired, I am definitely preferring the partner status (which my wife is currently benefiting from by receiving 4/4 CPUs on her current trip).
     
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  24. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Premier Executive was UA's third tier after UGS and 1K before the merger, so an equivalent ranking, though it would only come with 75% bonus miles instead of the 100% I had, would be Platinum. I know one poster here (Fredd?) thought that would be an acceptable compromise. I had already left by then and not sure that would have even brought me back. Maybe if the fare was right I'd be willing to trade off some miles and take 75%. That tier benefit is pretty much gone come March 1 with the new revenue based scheme.

    I had an e-mail from a friend that flies international once or twice a year and was asking me what I know about the changes. She was a CO flyer for years and didn't know that she'll be down to 5 miles per dollar spent. I suspect come March 1 they'll be a lot of other flyers that haven't been paying attention to the fine print and will be surprised when they're getting less miles (and, yes, I do recognize some business travelers on high fares will be bringing in lots of miles). I got my renewal kit yesterday and see the "8 miles per dollar spent" highlighted, but there's going to be some that don't take the time to read that. It's like UA wants it to sound like an enhancement, but for leisure flyers it's nothing of the sort.

    Tom in a snowy Dulles, Virginia
     
  25. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    You had the 50k status then.

    You have it now.
     
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