Should I shoot for Virgin America or United Elite next year?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Adrian Aguilera, Nov 28, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Adrian Aguilera

    Adrian Aguilera Active Member

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    This past year I didn't plan well enough to get elite status due to flying multiple carriers for work. During 2013, my resolution is to stick to one (or two) for most of my work travel. I would realistically be able to get to the lower status level on either United or Virgin as I'm based out of SFO and they have the most routing from here. I lean toward United (mostly due to international mileage redemption) but their program is so watered down at Silver and I really like the Virgin America flying experience and Terminal 2 in SFO.

    As an aside, I have a companion pass for 2013 on Southwest with the multiple credit card sign up so I will likely book with them when traveling with my wife. I could try Southwest but it doesn't sound as exciting.

    I have a trip I need to book for January so I need to decide soon.

    Any recommendations on which to go for?
     
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  2. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I would pick UA. 1) for better redemptions & 2) VX might be going bankrupt ;) haha
     
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  3. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    edekba beat me to it. If you're gonna go with a money-losing lumbering airline, you might as well pick the bigger one (United)...
     
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  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I didn't think they were losing money in recent quarters.
     
  5. misterbwong

    misterbwong Silver Member

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    I would go UA because the mileage program is better but depending on the "elite-ness" of the passengers on flights you will be on, you might not get upgrades.
     
  6. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    I was being a tad sarcastic...
     
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  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You'll never get free upgrades on VX so no real difference there.

    If you value the actual travel experience then go with that, ignoring the F program. If you care about the program then it is unlikely that you'll get more value from Elevate than MileagePlus unless you're always flying full fare for that volume of flights.
     
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  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Depending on what you care about, having the right credit card for some benefits and then going with the best flight (price, time, equipment, connections, wifi, ...) independent of the carrier, combined with selective purchases of features like E+ might be the way I'd go. I am not convinced that the lowest level of eliteness is necessarily worth much.
     
  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    True in many cases, but still worth accruing the points in a coherent manner.
     
  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I am always coherent when I am earning or talking about points :)

    Earning points (in a particular program) is one factor to consider. But if that comes at the cost of a more expensive ticket or a less convenient flight or the lack of WiFi, it may not be the ultimate deciding factor. 25,000 RDM per year (perhaps + 25% Silver bonus after status is acquired) don't have that much in monetary value.

    Case in point: I am based at SFO and mainly fly UA (and at 75k-100k miles a year I think it makes sense). But I do fly VX or WN occasionally on short hauls when other factors just make it the better choice. And I book my wife even more often on those carriers (she's only Gold, dropping to Silver next year... and the VX/WN flights wouldn't change that).
     
  11. aba20

    aba20 Active Member

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    Virgin has such a better flight experience I would pick them over uniteds better frequent flyer program.
     
  12. sithlord
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    sithlord Silver Member

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    Southwest has a great program for people like you.
     
  13. SFOPeter
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    SFOPeter Silver Member

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    For a few years I went all Virgin - better product, nicer people. Last year+ I have been back on United because of new job that fortunately pays for C so UA is tolerable. Note if you are not 1K or GS and flying out of SFO you are pretty much never going to get an upgrade.

    Net net, the VX product is better, the UA mileage program is so much better. Pick your poison!
     
  14. Adrian Aguilera

    Adrian Aguilera Active Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I think I'm going to shoot for United and see how far I can get. Hopefully, there are some DEQM promos that might get me up to Gold.

    I have Platinum Amex and it's unfortunate I can't use the lounge benefit for either UA or VX. I suppose I'll try to use US lounge where available.
     

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