Jumping in to US Dividend Miles headfirst... and I could use your help!

Discussion in 'US Airways | Dividend Miles' started by NewGamePlus, Feb 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    So... here's the setup:

    I'm going to be flying to Italy in September of this year. I live in Philadelphia, and I think I've committed to throwing my hat in with US for my first FF program, as I'll be here for the foreseeable future and my understanding is that miles accrued with US can be used to purchase tickets with other Star Alliance airlines. If any of this is incorrect or setting me on the wrong path already, please let me know.

    Anyhow, with the Buy Miles promotion going on now, and all the talk by more experienced USers about a probable upcoming DPQM promotion (which I don't really understand) I'd like to get some sense of what you all feel would be the most appropriate strategy to achieve my goals, as follows:

    • Stop always flying the cheapest available fare and commit to an airline program
    • Achieve at least silver (or equivalent) status with my chosen airline by year's end
    • Find the best combination of cost effectiveness / comfort for my trip to Italy
    • Take a flight (any flight) in a cabin other than coach for the first time in my life

    And there it is. I'm open to pretty much any and all suggestions on accrual, purchase, flights, strategy, etc., and I'm happy to clarify or expand on anything I've written if I haven't provided enough info. Oh, and due to some incredible decision making in college, applying for credit cards to accrue miles is not an option for the time being. Thank you in advance for your time and help!
     
  2. nomflyer
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    nomflyer Silver Member

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    If you want a quick way to achieve Silver status you can sign up for a Preferred Trial. For $200 you'll get Silver status for 90 days. Also if you complete 7,500 miles within those 90 days you'll keep your status at least until the following year. If you time it right, your flight to Italy alone should get you more than 7,500 miles. You may even end up with Gold or higher, if you have enough trips planned within the trial period.

    Here's the link: http://www.usairways.com/en-US/dividendmiles/promotions/trialpreferred.html
     
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  3. RedM3Pilot
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    RedM3Pilot Gold Member

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    DPQM not only doubles the miles you can redeem later but also doubles the miles for attaining/maintaining status. It usually isn't system-wide but it offered to/from select cities. For instance, if they have a DPQM promo for SAN and you fly SAN-PHX, DPQM will yield 1,000 miles towards status instead of the normal 500*.

    Buy Miles is very cool but it doesn't do anything for status...it allows you to bank miles towards that special premium cabin trip in the future.

    *Do sign up for the Preferred Trial as suggested above in order to earn at least 500 miles per segment and at least a 25% bonus.
     
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  4. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    Do you need to travel for work this year, or is your travel going to be entirely leisure based? Basically, how often do you anticipate flying over the remainder of the year?
     
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  5. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    Nom: Thanks for the heads up on the trial program. I remember looking at it before, but hadn't factored it in to my plans at all.

    Red: Thanks for the DPQM breakdown... is it true that there's usually a promotion around March for this sort of thing?

    Deac: I may be doing a bit of travel for work this year, but probably not much. That being said, I'm young, I'm single, I've got a good job, and I'm not opposed to spending my weekends on planes. As a matter of fact, one of my goals for the year is to travel more often in general, not just the Italy trip. So... I guess I have no specific plans to fly a given number of times, but I could easily see flying once every six to eight weeks just for the purpose of gaining/keeping status if I can find a good CPM solution.

    Thank you all for the responses so far!
     
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  6. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    Are those your goals in order of priority? What's most important to you: the status, the comfy trip to Italy, the premium cabin? How much time and money do you have to devote to the little game we play? Would you be able (both financially, and from a family/work commitment standpoint) to take a couple of extra trips just to get the mileage?

    What part of the status/which benefit do you wish to really capitalize on?

    Also where are you likely to fly to/from? If you're based in PHL and flying to ORD, for example, and you're most interested in status so you can get upgrades, you might have to re-think things as this is a very tough upgrade for even high-tier elites. If on the other hand you want the status so you can have free checked bags, the actual routes you fly will be less important because you're not competing for the free bags. Understanding the why's help make the right decisions :)
     
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  7. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    For the last few years, US has indeed done a DPQM promo around this time of year. We're all waiting paitently and hoping the trend continues :D
    These promos generally do NOT give DPQM for flights booked before the promo is announced. Basically when they announce it, you have to register, and once you're registered, you get your DPQM for anything new that you book during the promo period. So if your plans are flexible, I'd sit tight on booking anything till we see if that promo drops. If we don't see it by late May, I'd imagine it's not going to happen, at least not as a Spring promo, because there is no need for them to give us a promo to encourage flying during the summer when people are already filling up the planes.
     
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  8. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    I suppose those goals are more or less in order of priority. To be honest, my new job allows me a bit more freedom in my off hours than my previous position, and with no other commitments, I figure... why not fly? I moved away from family and friends to take this job, so there are multiple places domestically that I could go at any given time just for a visit (LA, San Fran, Boston, Orlando, Colorado Springs, Chicago, etc...) BUT! As I said earlier... I could see myself mileage running or just hopping on a plane somewhere just to go!

    As far as whats most important... I'm 6'6". The possibility of not having to sit with my knees tucked to my chin every time I fly would be awesome.
     
  9. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    OK so if you want to get your 6'6" self out of coach as often as possible, I think you need to set your goals higher than making just Silver. PHL is an elite-rich city and you'll be competing with all the higher-tier elites to get up front. Silver won't cut it on the transcons where it matters most. Will you never be upgraded to SFO? No, I wouldn't say "never." But CP's and Plat's have a tough upgrade there, so you will be in lind behind them...

    Here's what I woud do:

    1. If there's any flexibility in the timing of the Italy trip, I'd hold off till the last possible minute and try to book that on a DPQM promo. That's a long trip and lots of miles. But don't expect DPQM in the summer or even the fall. Historically that's a late winter/spring gig and occasionally we see it pop back up in December or so.

    2. You can also look at the 90-day range around that Italy trip and buy the Trial Preferred, then plan on flying as much as you can in those 90 days. You'd need 7500 miles for Silver, 15,000 for Gold, and 22,500 for Platinum. I'd shoot for Gold or Platinum if you can--- one trip to Italy and 3 or 4 transcons ought to get you there. IF you can do it all in 90 days. PHL-VCE gets you 8k and change, so that right there is your Silver. PHL-SFO is another 5k round trip so one Venice and two San Frans on the trial preferred gets you Gold. Not too shabby.

    3. if there is a DPQM promo keep in mind it only counts on US metal (so don't book on UA or LH) and the doubles don't count towards the trial-- so a 8k trip to Venice counts as 8k for the trial and at the same time 16k for the annual status tally. Just don't mix up your promos when you're planning or you'll come up short.

    4. Get to know the best seats on the various aircraft. 10A on an A319 has way more legroom than 10C does.
     
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  10. Sean Colahan
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    Sean Colahan Gold Member

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    I was in your shoes at the start of 2010. Did the Trial Siler, flew a lot, worked some promos, and earned BIS Gold for 2011. You may get a First upgrade to the Left coast but usualy only the first flight out on a Saturday. I agree with Dcpatti, def go for the highest you can accheive. As gold, missed the upgrade on an upcoming flight to MIA...need to get myself to Chairmans this year possibly (if the wife allows)[​IMG]
     
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  11. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    You've all been incredibly helpful, thank you so much!

    Oh... and likes all around. I hope this is indicative of the kind of advice and assistance new members can look for when the site opens to the public; I know I plan to pay it forward as soon as I'm able.
     
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  12. Sean Colahan
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    Sean Colahan Gold Member

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    I hope it stays friendly and mostly cordial too. And your welcome. Glad to help. Hope to run into you on a future MR.
     
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  13. Art234
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    Art234 Milepoint Guide

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    Best of luck in your endeavor, and please keep us posted as to how you make out...and WELCOME to MP.
     
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  14. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    I somehow got upgraded DCA-PHX on the 7am Monday flight, my first time taking that flight as a Silver. I've since taken the same flight 7-8 more times, all the rest as either Gold or Platinum, and haven't sniffed an upgrade since...took a little while to recalibrate my expectations after that first flight!
     
  15. jemmazee
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    jemmazee Silver Member

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    Keep in mind, too, that US Gold and above gives you Star Alliance Gold, which gives you access to some nice lounges for international travel. I fly PHL-FRA in coach pretty frequently for work, but an hour in the Envoy lounge (with some good snacks and a bottomless glass of red wine) is a perfect way to prepare myself for the flight.
     
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  16. cmj542
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    cmj542 Silver Member

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    Same with me. Upgraded a ton as a silver. As a gold, nothing so far. At least there's free luggage checking!
     
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  17. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    DCA-PHX has been downgauged in terms of aircraft and for some reason I think there used to be four flights a day, not the three that I currently see; I could be wrong on the latter count, though, as stuff I've been reading on the Perimeter Rules discussions seem to agree that US only has 4 exceptions. With one being the daily nonstop to Vegas that only leaves 3 for PHX daily. At any rate, they used to fly with bigger planes that had bigger F cabins. They also used to funnel a fair amount of west coast connection traffic through LAS but have sinced dropped some of those routes (i.e. LAS-YVR). So more traffic pushed through Vegas combined with lower capacity in F means a much tougher upgrade for all elites. I would expect this to get worse before it gets better, as summer peak travel season will be on us soon, but I've not seen anything indicating those planes will be upsized again.
     
  18. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    If only I could convince my company to let me start working on Tuesday's every week....
     
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  19. RedM3Pilot
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    RedM3Pilot Gold Member

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    Yeah...let everyone else work Mon-Fri and the F, er, MP'ers work Tue-Sat...or better yet Tue-Thu. [​IMG]
     
  20. tassojunior
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    tassojunior Silver Member

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    Don't forget the Barclays US Air credit card. No fee 1st year, 35,000 miles first purchase, free club passes, 2 $99 companion coupons, 5K off all rewards, preferred boarding, 10,000 miles counts toward preferred status, 10k miles & club pass on each anniversary.

    http://www.mostmiles.com/Chairmans

    And don't forget US not only has non-stops from PHL to Europe but also has flights to Rio now thru Charlotte with off-peak awards in May and October. (The off-peaks to Europe are in Jan & Feb).
     
  21. phlwookie
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    phlwookie Silver Member

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    And business travel is recovering strongly. Between capacity cut at most airlines over the past few years and an upturn in traffic, even with higher fares, planes are just more full. I usually travel to at least two cities each week, and I've been surprised by the amount of full or even overbooked flights I've seen on Tuesdays this year - and this is even in weeks without some huge snowstorm disrupting flights nationally.
     
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  22. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    Thanks again to everyone who has helped out in this thread, and congratulations to dcpatti on your new iPad!!!
     

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