sanity check...United PQMs or easy nonstop flight on AA?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by scf, May 16, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    wife and I are headed to Cancun in September for a friend's wedding....as of yesterday, UA had decent prices (around $500 each) to connect through IAH. As of today, they dont. AA has non-stop flights from ORD-CUN for just under $500 with a schedule that works well. US Air also has a flight with decent scheduling for just under $500....but it connects through CLT.

    So the dilemma becomes:

    Fly AA and have a simple nonstop flight both ways. Or fly US Air and connect through CLT and collect the PQMs on United...I should add that the ORD-CUN flight was originally part of my plans to obtain gold status on United/*A.

    What do you guys think? Would I be crazy to stick with a *A airline just to get the PQMs instead of taking a nice easy nonstop flight...?
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    It doesn't sound like you have much chance of upgrades on any route.

    *Gold is huge and can save you money on fees when you travel *A. I would probably pick US through CLT, as hard as it is for me to say this.
     
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  3. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    Wait it out. September is a long ways away. If AA really has it on sale for $500, UA will probably match.
     
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  4. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    Thanks MSP - I agree with you about the connection....just hard to stomach.

    unavaca - thought about that as well, but looked at the available seats on flights out of CUN and nothing is left below a u-fare. Would imagine they wouldn't decrease the fares that much as the flights are filling up.
     
  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    How much more is it now?

    Would not taking a PQM-eligible flight rule out *A Gold status, or do you have other options to earn those PQMs later on?
     
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  6. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    What's the seatmap like? If it's wide open, then they're probably holding back the lower buckets and I'd wait.
     
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  7. Phorever

    Phorever Silver Member

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    When in doubt fly the airline you are trying to qualify on.... Nothing is worse than doing a mileage run in December at some astronomical cost while having to think about the time you passed up a few thousand miles to save a buck.

    my .02
     
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  8. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    HMWT - price went from about $500 to about $680....not taking the PQM eligible flight wouldn't rule out *A gold, but it would mean that I might need to do a MR in the future negating any savings made by flying AA. I can't assume that I'll be doing any significant travel for work either...although there is a chance I might be in Asia/Europe come 3rd quarter, but I really can't bank on that.

    unavaca - economy looks pretty full on the CUN - IAH leg, maybe ten seats open in economy and 15 in economy plus. the IAH-ORD portion is wide open, but thats not what is making the flight expensive I don't believe.
     
  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Can you buy the necessary PQM from United (via that Premier Accelerator feature on another existing reservation) for less than what you'd pay for the difference between AA and UA? (which would be $180*2, I assume).
     
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  10. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    i like the way you think...but unfortunately, no. At approx $0.13 per PQM the accelerator is pricey. To get back the 3,500 PQMs lost by taking AA would cost approx. $450.
     
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  11. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    Hm, it's your call. If it were me, I'd still try and wait it out. If it's already booking into U, there aren't that many higher fare classes, so the downside isn't that big.
     
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  12. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    cant argue that...however you never know when AA or US pulls their deal and I'm stuck. (c:
     
  13. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    Oops, I just noticed your post said that AA has a non-stop and you're taking the wife.

    It's only 3000 miles, take the AA nonstop and fly happy. I'm guessing you're currently Silver, so upgrades on UA are going to be hard to come by. I presume you're going for vacation, so a quick flight for vacation is a nice plus, too.
     
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  14. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    thats the exact dilemma - all of the above are reasons to take the AA flight. My wife said no problem with the US flight but I'm gonna feel like an ass if we miss a connection or something else goes wrong. And you're right, I've come to accept that upgrades for Silver are non-existent so I never bank on them. And while 3,400 isn't a whole lot of miles, it is still a significant portion towards gold status.

    that is the inherent dilemma. ease and convenience versus working to obtain the gold status (i really hate not being able to book straight into E+ seats...ugh!!).
     
  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Will you have to pay for checked bags on AA?
     
  16. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    a good question. No, we travel light. I've lost a few bags before and try to carry on only.
     
  17. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    another option, and I'm trying to see if this is possible, is to fly UA through IAH on Friday have a long layover, enjoy dinner with friends and family (both of which are in Houston...) and head out to CUN on Saturday morning. Might be a nice two-birds-one-stone kind of situation. While we still have to connect, at least we can see friends/family on the layover.

    We could essentially shift the trip from Friday-Tues to Sat-Wed (leaving friday evening with a long layover in IAH..)
     
  18. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    This might be nice.

    Just to check: if you're trying for *Gold from UA, do you need to have a certain number of flights on their metal and have you met this requirement yet?
     
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  19. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    I believe its only 4 flights....so, yes, I've met this requirement and then some.
     
  20. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Good point, though the threshold is fairly low. 4 paid UA or Copa flights per year. I think flight = segment?
     
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  21. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    This is my understanding, but if the OP is counting a lot of partner flights, it would be a shame to reach *Gold except for needing one more UA segment.
     
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  22. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    would very much agree. I've already hit silver status again this year so I should be good to go - thanks for the heads up though, there are always tricks and unforseen issues it would seem!
     
  23. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    This would be a no-brainer for me. The distance is so short -- relatively speaking -- that I would not care that much about direct vs. non-direct flights. I would go with the option that gives me the maximum PQMs and lifetime miles, even if it would include a couple of stops (as long as they are short stops, i.e., < 2hr).
     
  24. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    And I'd probably go the opposite direction. The distances are so short that giving up the PQMs wouldn't matter at all to me. I did B6 to SJU the other day for this very reason. Better flight times, price and a pretty darn good Y product. You won't actually get that last one with AA, but the idea is the same. But that comes from the PoV of flying 150K+ PQMs a year.

    I'd also give it a week to see if things come back down. I don't think we've come anywhere close to the lowest prices on fares for September yet. Then again, if you're traveling on holiday dates maybe not.
     
  25. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Not sure exactly what dates we're talking about, but I just tried Bing Price Predictor for the first time. Sept 14-19, both UA and AA want about $438 for the non-stop and Bing recommends to wait as fares are steady or falling.
     

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