Newbie question: United Silver or *Gold via Aegean, which should it be?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by jools1006, Aug 26, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. jools1006

    jools1006 Silver Member

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    Hello everyone!

    Relative newbie here.

    I don't have status (yet) but would like to start earning towards it. I've chosen United / Star Alliance since I fly out of SFO and they serve the routes I typically fly on, and I just got the Explorer Visa from Chase.

    I don't fly domestically very much - mostly between SFO and LAS, LAX and occasionally SAN.
    I could possibly hit 25,000 miles for United Silver between this year and next year, but would it make more sense to credit to Aegean for *Gold?

    I'm about to book three domestic segments on United and notice that there are V-UP fares for only a few dollars than economy. Do these definitely put you in First and do they definitely earn 150% of PQM?

    Thanks in advance for any help, MP'ers! I've learned a lot from lurking/reading.




    1. What is your origination city/airport? SFO
    2. Where do you tend to travel? LAS, LAX, SAN
    3. What is you goal for the frequent flyer program (status, upgrades, rewards, etc.?) Status, rewards, upgrades would be nice
    4. How much do you travel in an average year? Varies but between 5-15 shorthaul roundtrips
    5. Do you fly for business, pleasure, or a mix? Pleasure
    6. How much of your travel is paid by someone else? None
    7. How much control do you have of choosing flights, airlines, etc.? Total control
    8. What days of the week do you typically travel? Any
    9. Can you book flexible fares? Prefer not to, prefer the cheapest
    10. If you are likely to qualify for elite status will it be miles or segments? Miles, I think.
    11. Do you have a preference or imposed requirement of hotel/rental car/credit card partners? No preference, no imposed required. Currently have quite a few Chase cards.
    12. Can you get extra miles from credit cards, surveys, other partners? Yes.
    13. How would you like to use your miles for awards? (Intl F & C trips, domestic flights, other non flight awards). Intl F and J trips. Hotels.
    14. What benefits do you hope to receive for elite status?
      1. upgrades: free, with instruments, paid Yes
      2. lounge access: domestic vs international travel Yes
      3. premium lines for check in Yes
      4. premium security lines Yes
      5. IROPs handling (How are you treated when things go wrong?) Yes
      6. elite phone line Yes
      7. early boarding Not worried
      8. free bags Yes
      9. OPUPs (Upgrades without fees, miles, or upgrade documents) Of course!
      10. last minute flight availability Yes
      11. fee waivers Yes
      12. free same day confirmed/standby flight changes yes
     
  2. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Wow you can 25k miles doing SFO-LAS/LAX/SAN ? I woul2d think you would be able to hit Gold via segments alone since its 3xxmiles One way between LAX-SFO. Avg it to be like 700 RT. That's close to 35 RT = 70 segments.

    But tha'ts just another idea I guess ... Crediting Aegean would get you to Gold Faster; but looking above you should hit UA gold anyways just via segments alone and crediting UA miles should easier for RDM than Aeggean.

    Yes & Yes I think?
     
    jools1006 likes this.
  3. jools1006

    jools1006 Silver Member

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    Oh good point, I hadn't thought about the segment angle. If I buy a discounted first fare, it earns 1.5 segments which requires only 20 flown segments for United Silver, if I'm reading the table correctly.
     
  4. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    Did you make a typo? You say you don't fly domestic but fly from sfo to san,lax and las, those are all domestic.

    You will have to requal every year for elite status. Your eqm's and segments all reset to 0 on jan 1. So if you have 24500 eqm's on dec 31...you will have zero on Jan 1. (if doesn't effect your rdm's).

    Not really sure you will see much of a diff in benefits between what you get now with your CC and silver status on these routes.(except for a 500 mi min and 25% rdm bonus) Especially if these routes are flown with small planes you won't sniff an upgrade.

    If you flew longer routes or international you would see more benefits with higher status. It's just with the short hops you do I just don't think you will get much out of status.
     
  5. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

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    This comes down to upgrades or club access. As a mid-tier on UA, you have a decent chance to get an upgrade some of the time, but far from all. As a Gold on Aegean, you'll at least get lounge access ALL of the time.

    If you're willing to sacrifice a bit at first and you are willing to look over a few years' horizon, you could get the best of both worlds. I'd suggest going to Aegean Gold now...if you got it now, you'd get status till 2014 or 2015 (they are very generous with tenor of status)...then go for UA status.

    This way, you'll get club access on the ground pretty quickly, and within some period of time, will get elite status on UA. I've had no problem accessing UA lounges with my UA number in the record and showing my Aegean gold card for entry (except when agents question "what is Aegean?") ;).

    Here is my analysis of the math for A3 Gold:
    http://upgrd.com/sitinfirst/what-is...-club-continental-presidents-club-access.html

    Here is a snapshot of one time using A3 gold for lounge entry at SNA.
    http://upgrd.com/sitinfirst/west-coast-loop-part-4-united-sna-sfo-in-economy.html
     
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  6. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    He can always just upgrade his CC to the Presidential Plus card (sorry can't remember the new name) and it includes United Club membership. Plus I think his boarding group would be the same as silvers. (you basically get silver status for $395 a year.)
     
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  7. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Except for upgrades or bonus miles. There are some benefits that still only apply to people who actually earn the status.

    And a few other minor difference but this is basically the decision. Also consider what you want to do with your points and what you'll earn based on the fares you're paying.
     
  8. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    I understand that (I have both). I was just looking at the routes the OP mentioned. The La-SF is only a 90 min flight. Is an upgrade really that big of a deal if a silver can even get one? With flights this short it's an awful lot of trips just to get silver.
     
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  9. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    Facing a similar choice - I took the Aegean route. For me the club access and the waived luggage fee on several pieces was more important at the onset (especially when traveling internationally). Because Aegean qualification time is based on revolving calendar, you can time it just right to obtain the status for 3 years and then go and obtain the silver status. That is what "doing" though I will not fly enough to get silver status this year it seems (most of the flights are on miles).
     
  10. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I wouldn't care much about the upgrade on that route so, for me, no. I also don't really care about lounge access, especially when doing quick commuter hops like that, so that also wouldn't sway me. I suppose maybe I'm not the best person to ask. :oops:
    Or just put all the points in one place so you can spend them on awards which make the most sense for you.

    It really depends on what benefits you want to get out of having the status and what is important to you with your points.
     
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  11. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    My Aegean account balance is 21 miles. When the Greek economy started to tank I made sure to redeem those miles. YQ was brutal - but I still got business class redemption for less cash outlay then an economy one - so I consider myself ahead.

    As for UA, I do get some miles from flying - but the main source of miles will be UR transfer.
     
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  12. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Exactly; and considering I think UA is a lot easier than Aegean to redeem I would throw them there. Plus considering the number of short hops the OP is doing; she should get Gold no problem.
     
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  13. jools1006

    jools1006 Silver Member

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    Thanks everyone, for weighing in.

    I didn't realise this; thanks for pointing it out. It makes quite a difference.
    My membership on Aegean runs from June - May so I could at least 'keep' the eqm's I earn between now and the end of the year.

    After reading all the answers above I think I would prefer to go the Aegean route first, but I just remembered that I have Global Entry and hopefully Pre-check, so I suppose I'll have to stick with United if I'm to have any chance at all of scoring Pre-check selection.
    It's not at SFO yet, but it is at LAS and I'm flying out of there in a couple of weeks.
     
  14. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    I was wondering why you say that.

    I had no problem to redeem my Aegean miles. It required some leg work to identify availability in the flights I want and feeding them to the agent, but I would not say it was harder than calling United and doing so.

    It is true that:
    1. You cannot do it online
    2. YQ is high
    3. Cancelling penalties are bad

    But considering that you really only need to get 20,000 miles on them to get *G (don't forget that if you fly full Y, or C, the bonus miles for class of service are counted as they do not distinguish between EQM and redeemable miles), one can get *G fast, use the miles and then just enjoy the benefits while crediting one flight a year to keep them going.
     
  15. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    You answered your own question IMO.

    To me UA is a lot easier that's all
     
  16. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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