Mileage Running vs. Buy-Up to Preferred

Discussion in 'US Airways | Dividend Miles' started by JetsettingEric, Jun 17, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    At some levels - the buy up to preferred makes a lot of sense.

    If I had 50,001 PQM in my DM account, I could buy up to Chairman (top tier) for $1,299 + 7.5% tax, or just under 2.8 cents per status earning, non redeemable miles. Many here would do a mile run for less than 3 cents per EQM/PQM if timing fit.

    I would get all the benefits of being CP (over and beyond Gold) including:
    * No fees on award redeposits
    * No short notice booking fee
    * additional 50% bonus miles for flights on US/UA/CO
    * 2 one-way system wide upgrades for you and a companion available for any regular revenue flight
    * Better upgrade availability

    Downsides of buying up to CP instead of earning PQM include:
    * Lower upgrade priority of buy-up CP to PQM earned CP
    * Earning PQM earns RDM which is spendable

    Upsides include:
    * Huge time save of buying CP
    * Saves cost getting to and from airport, as well as airport incidentals

    With fares being higher and lack of good PQM deals (although some hawaii deals do look attractive, coach on that flight does not), it makes sense to consider the buy-up. The biggest downside is the lack of RDM to spend.

    If you're currently a CP and intend on mileage running on carriers that gives you the 100% RDM bonus, you could earn 100,000 miles, which you can buy for 1.375 cents per mile plus tax which is about $1,478. if you're only gold, your bonus is only 50%, and if you fly on non-US/UA/CO, you don't earn any bonus.

    At 100% bonus, the buy-up cost + RDM is about 6.75 cents per mile. On the low end, if you're flying on non bonus airlines the cost would be about 4.28 cents per mile.

    Let's say you spend $30 on a transcon mileage run (getting to the airport or parking, some food, tips for club bartenders etc.) that cost for a 5,000 mile trip costs you about 0.60 cents per mile on the BIS flying side.

    Without factoring the cost of your time - the equivalent "cost" vs. butt-in-seat flying ranges from 3.70 to 6.10 cents per mile.

    Buying up to preferred at the 50,001 mark makes a ton of sense. Although pure MRs make little sense at that level - i would still take a few opportunistic short trips to places that I want to go.

    What are your thoughts? Did I miss anything in my analysis?
     
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  2. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    If you're going to reach CP anyway, buying up when you're Gold may be the best move; time it right and you'll get one set of CP certs when you buy up, and a second when you actually go over 100k. Just don't do it too late in the program year. Not sure if that's an official "how it works" but it's definitely been the pattern I've seen. Of course it's probably not cost-effective unless you can actually use all the upgrades! Even with just one TATL flight r/t with a friend it's worth itto buy from GP to CP as your Envoy upgrade on miles is $1200 r/t plus 120k miles. Or pay the $1299, use the certs and keep your miles!
     
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  3. SS255
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    SS255 Silver Member

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    I would say that you are close enough to make the buy-up worth it. I would never pay to go from 0 EQM's to CP, but the buy-up from Gold is a good value if you plan to use the upgrade certs.
     
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  4. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    All you need is 1 EQM and your cost goes down dramatically ;)
     
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  5. ArizonaGuy
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    ArizonaGuy Silver Member

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    Note that the buy-up page still says it's only good through February 2012. Do wait until July or later to make certain / verify it will give you CP for the full 2012 year.
     
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