Is Purchasing of 'Fractional' Premier Accelerator Miles Allowed?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by NYCUA1K, Aug 17, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    At the conclusion of my last trip of the year in December, my total PQM will be 112K + change. For 13K PQM more I would reach 125K PQM to qualify for 2 extra RPUs (these babies will be **scarce next year!). While I would not consider doing the following for RPUs but would for GPUs, I am curious to know whether it is even allowed:

    For the last trip I mentioned above, I am being offered 40K Premier Accelerator Miles (PAM :D) for $4,240 or $0.106/mile or ~11cpm. Regardless of whether that is good or bad value, I have two questions:
    1. Suppose I wanted to purchase only a 'fraction' of PAM that I am being offered, e.g., I'd purchase 15K PAM for $1,590 rather than 40K for $4,240. Would this be allowed
    2. Supposing that the above were allowed, could I add the 15 purchased PAM to my 112K PQM total to reach 127K PQM thereby qualifying for 2 extra RPUs?
    My interest in this is that if I were at 135K PQM and I could purchase 15 PAM to get 2 extra GPUs, I would seriously consider it.

    *edited
     
  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You cannot, AFAIK, change the numbers offered to you or purchase a number different than what is offered. You can, however, book other trips of distances closer to what you actually require, buy the PAMs and then cancel those trips. With a bit of trial and error you should be able to find an itinerary which gets you almost dead-on to the exact number you're looking for.

    Do keep in mind that historically the price of PAMs has gone up as the year progresses so if you wait until November or December the 11cpPAM number might be higher.
     
  3. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Of course! My thinking was one dimensional on this in that I was considering only my last intl trip when I do have three shorter trips before that, which are, in fact, offering 12K-18K PAM and would be perfect! So, rather than booking and canceling trips, which seems like a viable option, I can simply figure out what I need and get it from the shorter trips.

    Good point. Also, the fact that I can use my earlier shorter trips to accumulate on PAMs, and the realization that RPUs will be **scarce next year when the new rule of awarding them at 75K and 100K goes into effect are making the option to get PAMs quite attractive.

    As for my second question, or it is all a moot point, should we assume that once purchased PAMs become indistinguishable from PQMs for the purpose of earning RPUs or GPUs?

    **kept using 'scare'!
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    This is my understanding. They do not count towards MM/lifetime but they do for all other PQM-related metrics so far as I'm aware.

    Do also remember that the GPUs/RPUs now expire a year-ish from when issued, not at the end of the following calendar year, so there is a bit of a balance which must be reached when trying to figure out just how early to cash in when buying the PAMs, assuming you want the upgrades to expire as late as possible.
     
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  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    That is how things worked pre-merger for all UA upgrade instruments; they expired a year from the date deposited. I still assumed (correctly) that this rule has continued unchanged.

    Short of earning status very early in the year (impossible for me), it is tough to get GPUs that expire in Jan or Feb of the following year. So, for early year flights, one must dip into a new supply of GPUs.

    As for getting PAMs, I think that I am going to do it. Getting 38K PAM for $4,108 would get me to 150K PQM. This would give me a total of 8 (6+2) GPUs and 8 (4+4) RPUs for next year, which my back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate will pay several time over for themselves (e.g., lowest fare business ticket to SIN is currently $5624 while a GPUable W fare ticket is $1998).
     
  6. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Historically they could be extended reasonably easily, at least some of them. And they also didn't post to your account until the new year started. Now they post to your account as soon as you cross the threshold. The posting timing is the big difference.
     
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  7. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Yes, indeed, I now recall because I'd asked a question on that recently. The GPUs now post shortly after one re/qualifies status, meaning that timing becomes critical. So, now I see the "balancing act" -- a dilemma really -- that you mentioned in your prior post: If I purchase the PAM now, I will re-qualify for 1K in August and the GPUs and RPUs will post now and expire by next fall, which is not good. But if I wait until the end of the year, then the PAM may get more expensive.

    Considering the options, I'd rather take my chances and delay re-qualifying for 1K, which I can do until mid-November, and then I will consider purchasing the PAM just prior for my last trip in December (I'd have to purchase 40K rather 38K because of the "denominations" in which they are offered, but that will be fine).
     
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  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Just remember that the price is likely to go up in November and December.

    As for purchasing a particular number, you should be able to get pretty much any number you want, so long as it is more than 500. Just book a new trip at the appropriate distance, buy the PAMs and then cancel that ticket. Within 24 hours there's no problem with the refund so it doesn't even have to be a refundable fare. Buy different length trips to get to the exact number you want. No need to pay any more than the absolute minimum to get the benefits you want.
     
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  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I thought about that but I was not sure about how that would work. It says that the PAMs post within 24 hr after purchase. I know that RT flights to HNL and to SFO would provide the right combination of get me exactly the number of PAMs I need. So, I book the two flights, wait for the PAMs to be deposited and cancel? What is the sequence and spacing of the events that would be 'legal' or would not cost me anything for non-refundable tickets?
     
  10. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    • Book flight
    • Wait for it to ticket
    • Buy PAMs
    • See them post
    • Cancel ticket

    IME the paid ones credit very quickly. I'd do it during the week, not on a weekend when other processes might be running which slow the mileage crediting.
     
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  11. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    They have been crediting in 5-15 minutes for me
     
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  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Now, it is all clear as a whistle, and in conjunction with the following
    it seems relatively trouble free.

    I have never exercised the option to buy PAMs before, mainly because this is something that pre-merger UA did not offer. On occasion I wished they did because there were times when I did not have the time nor the desire to do MRs to re-qualify status but I did them anyway because I could not contemplate not being 1K.:)

    Thanks and cheers for the edification!
     
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  13. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I booked SFO-SNA today and they offer me 2000 or 3000 RDM/PQM. Is 2000 now the minimum you can get? Perhaps that's their way to making it more expensive for those who just need a few more miles to pass a threshold.
     
  14. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I just checked an JFK-(IAD)-ORD itinerary I have and the offer was also 2000/3000. Maybe that is the new base level. I think that for a while the minimum to buy direct (i.e. not via the Award Accelerator) has been 2000 so maybe they've caught up on this side of the interface.

    It is still cheaper to buy via a reservation ($20 $30 per 1,000 miles including 7.5% excise tax) than direct ($35 per 1,000 miles plus a 7.5% excise tax). Makes no sense to me, but it is.
     
  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    For me it's $60 for 2000 RDM, so $30/1000 via the booking. They must think I am a sucker or rich. Or a rich sucker. Perhaps my new fancy avatar is the reason... time to undress that coon again, me thinks.
     
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  16. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    That was a typo; it was 3cpm for me, too. :oops:

    Still cheaper via a reservation than not.
     
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  17. Sunshine7

    Sunshine7 Silver Member

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    FWIW, I have a No Cal to LAX flight and am being offered 746 (double) and 1492 (triple).
     
  18. Michael D

    Michael D Silver Member

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    if 746 is double then 1492 is quadruple
     
  19. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Not if 746 is the base amount. An additional 746 would be double total and an additional 1492 would be triple total. ;)
     
  20. Michael D

    Michael D Silver Member

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    Your right . I should have known. Just wanted to show off my 6th grade mathematical skills for everyone.:)
     
  21. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    You weren't kidding about that! I just looked into purchasing 40K PAMs to get me to just over 150K PQMs for 2 more GPUs, and the cost is now $7,200, from $4,108 for 38K PAMs in August!

    It is (no) longer worth it at that price, I am afraid...:(
     
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  22. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    But one thing has changed. At least your GPU/RPUs are now good through Jan. 2014 no matter when earned.
     
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  23. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Right. The fear that they would expire too soon is why I had delayed purchasing the PAMs...With the new rule, it will be much easier to plan ahead and to purchase PAMs when they're still somewhat more affordable
     
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  24. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    If only I had a functioning crystal ball. I bought a few PAMs earlier in the year when they were cheaper, and now I'm going to end up with 120,XXX miles. No way that I'm going to pay the current rate for the extra 5000, so I wasted my money on the previously purchased PAMs.

    Personally, I'm just going to let the cards fall where they may. I don't care if I end up with only Gold. I'll still get the most important benefit to me (3 free checked @ 70 pounds), and I will just purchase the front cabin seats I really need/want. The $$$ would fall in my favor under that scenario, although it's highly unlikely. I'm more likely to either end up Platinum or 1K again, but it's going to occur from BIS miles only. I don't mind so much being mad at UA, but I hate being mad at ME! ;)
     
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  25. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    For my kind of travel (intl) it will be insane to check three bags every time I travel as it would greatly hinder mobility. I seldom check in any luggage. Therefore, the 3 free checked luggages is not an incentive. Again, since I travel mostly internationally I could not just purchase front cabin seats because this is against 'company' policy and I would not be able to afford it on personal trips. So, I must make 1K to get the 6 GPUs and because I often run out of them, I wanted to purchase extra ones, but the cost is now out of reach. I will plan ahead of time to see how many BIS PQMs I will get and how many PAMS I will need to purchase to get to 150K and then next year I will buy early:cool:
     
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