Mileage Run Question on United Only

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by marcusf, Feb 5, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. marcusf

    marcusf Member

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    I have a tricky question for all you experts out there. I am heading into retirement in a few years, but before I do, I am trying to make it to the next million mile tier for lifetime benefits. For purposes of boosting my mileage, only BIS miles count. No bonuses, credit cards, promotions, etc.

    I fly frequently for business and this is of course paid by my employer. Given my normal yearly travel, I will be short 250K - 300K in the next four years. So how best to boost the mileage?

    I have some flexibility and plenty of vacation days, but I want to be as efficient as possible. Longer flights with short turn arounds are fine. Complex itineraries with multiple legs and connections would be a real time sink for me. Short notice on fare availability is also ok.

    The best gateway cities for me are IAD, LAX, SFO.

    The major consideration is cost (isn't it always).

    All ideas are welcome!
     
  2. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    What's your "natural" elite status with UA? Are you planning to fly MR miles solely for the purpose of getting higher life-time status in four years (and of course earning the redeemable miles you earn doing that), or are you also getting higher status and/or more GPUs/RPUs in the meantime out of this?
     
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  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    IAD-IST. Fly it a lot. Roughly 5-6cpPQM and occasionally lower. I'm generally in favor of more like 3cpPQM just for a mileage run but that's not always easy to find.
     
  5. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    +1

    I'm trying to get my Million Miles as well- I figure I'm 2 years off. In addition to the flyertalk thread, sign up for airfarewatchdog.com. They send you an email once a week letting you know which destinations are cheap from your home city. That is always a good jumping off point when deciding where to go.

    Also learn to use and love ITA. You can search multiple cities at once (i.e. SFO to WAS, NYC, FLL, MIA, etc. and it will come up with the cheapest out of whatever you entered. Search region by region. If you do want extra stops when flying transcon, IAH is always a good choice because it is more out of the way than the other hubs. If you are flying to LAX, try getting a stop in SFO, or vice a versa for an extra 500 miles and not much more of your time. If you're headed to NYC, try and get a stop at IAD. If none of that makes sense, it will soon enough. ;) I also did a how-to post on my blog. (shameless plug, link below, see signature)

    As WA alluded to above, Turkey fares have been all the rage lately. Going international is a great way to get a lot of miles at once, however be warned, in order for it to count towards MM, it has to be BIS on United metal- that means your only choice going to IST is via EWR. SIN is often a popular choice from the West Coast (especially SFO) and Currently SEA-HKG is pretty cheap if you are willing to position for it. I know you mentioned you said you don't like stops, but if you change your mind, HNL-GUM routings are a good way to add a lot of miles on to a trip across the Pacific, especially to MNL and HKG if and when those cities come up.

    Hopefully that helps. Good luck!
     
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  6. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    Almost forgot...Welcome to milepoint! :)
     
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  7. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Keep an eye on US Airways fares as well, as sometimes they allow booking on to UA metal. For example, US is selling SFO-EWR roundtrip for $217.80 on the UA nonstops. You still get million miler credit, E+, and possible upgrades, but for significantly less cost than UA is selling those same nonstops.
     
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  8. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    You are talking about adding roughly 75K miles to your normal travel per year. This is likely to be destructive to your budget and your family/social life if not carefully planned. You may find it useful to consider trips where you can take your family/SO with you, but only if it works for them. You may also find that your time is more valuable than your money. Work may force you to do MRs on weekends and holidays, so make the most of the time you have available - Europe over Thanksgiving can be nice.
    Welcome to MilePoint and best of luck achieving your goal.
     
  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I'll also put a somewhat pointed question out there...

    You said you want to get to the next MM level. That implies you already have one. Is there really value long-term in the cost and stress of getting to the next tier? Say 250K PQMs at 4cpPQM; that's $10K in spend, right? Are you really going to get $10,000 in value over the following 15 years of travel? If you already have 1MM then you're Gold meaning free bags, *G, bonus miles and more. The only thing 2MM gets you at that point really is slightly better CPU odds, 25% more RDMs on paid flights and better fees in some cases. Quantifying the CPU bit is hard and the other two are somewhat dependent on the amount you travel. Still, I'd bet that you don't find $10K in value out of them over the years.
     
  10. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    Do you get 2 RPUs every year for hitting Platinum? Or if 3MM, 6GPUs and 4RPUs for being 1K?
     
  11. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    This option might not be avail if they merge with AA. Short term yes, but op is looking next few years.
     
  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    That's kind of where I was going with my question above, too. It's a lot of flying. It does add some RDM value and perhaps more (GPUs?) during the four years, though.
     
  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Not as a MMer. If you fly it naturally you do but otherwise no. Those benefits are for accumulating the PQMs/PQSes, not for reaching the status tier.
     
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  14. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    Huh. Well, maybe if you were at 3MM and going on to 4MM? I could see being GS for life worth $10k.
     
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  15. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    Yes, but the real question is why 4 years? If the OP is already at some MM level and is flying at least 50K/year then making up 300K would require 50K/year for 6 years. This would mean 10 years to the next level without any acceleration. As WA and others here seem to be suggesting the OP owes it to himself to do up a plan for getting there that makes sense and takes into account the time, money and personal costs of his efforts. Some goals are simply not worth the costs or are better achieved at a more relaxed pace. I love being a Million-Miler and I would certainly enjoy being a Two Million-Miler, but I can deal with the 10 years its likely to take for me to get there.
     
  16. marcusf

    marcusf Member

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    Wow, thanks very much for all of your suggestions and advice. True, there is much to consider. My family is as addicted to travel as I am. Does anyone remember United's around-the-world promotion out of IAD seven or eight years ago. It was based on segments. My son and I had great fun on weekends doing short segments and turns to build segments. We ended up with 4 business tickets around the world and the whole family went to Africa, SIngapore, Australia, and home. I was amazed that United offered this and redeemed it on a combination of UA, LH, and SQ.

    We even got to see the space shuttle reentering the atmosphere from the upper deck of a UA 747 on our way from SYD to LAX. UA ops in Chicago was tracking it for us and it was a bright orange glow traveling at 17,000 mph crossing the Pacific in 45 minutes. We followed about 8 hours later...

    Anyway, I am fortunate enough to have crossed the 2MM in time to get Red Carpet (sorry United Club) for life. Adding 2 or 3 trips a year to build miles seems reasonable and perhaps costly.

    I hope to visit here regularly between flights and many thanks for all the suggestions!
     
  17. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    True, but the best deals are likely to be a moving target over an extended period of time. Even if it's only 4 years. The "right now" offers are really the best anyone can offer.
     
  18. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    And If the latest news is to be believed, it might happen real soon. :)
     
  19. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    At 3MM you get 1K for life rather than your current Platinum for life. Major differences are 75% v 100% bonus RDMs on UA and some partners and access to M-Ups. Otherwise the fees and other bits are roughly the same. I cannot see investing $10k in the program just for that (or the associated ~500K RDMs you'll earn flying an extra 250K BIS miles, but that's just me.
     
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