UA Silver v. E+ Annual & Explorer Card

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Sunshine7, Aug 15, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Sunshine7

    Sunshine7 Silver Member

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    Newbie here with a question for UA premiers.

    I travel several times per year for pleasure and to see family. I generally stick with UA so that all my miles are in one bucket, which makes award travel more within reach. Surprisingly, I have traveled enough in 2012 that I will likely make it to Silver, which I understand has been greatly devalued after the merger.

    Here's my question: before the merger, I purchased an Economy Plus Annual Option (no longer available), which allows me to choose E+ seats at ticket purchase. (It's like being GOLD!) I also have a MileagePlus Explorer credit card which gives me priority boarding and a free checked bag.

    My question is this: once I hit Silver, will my flying experience on UA change at all? My E+ option expires in a few months, so when that happens I guess I'll have to wait until 24-hours before takeoff to see if there is E+ availability. And I think Silvers board in Group 3 versus 4 for credit card holders.

    Am I missing anything? Seems like a lot of work to get arguably lesser benefits than those I've already been enjoying as a non-premier member. But maybe my Silver benefits transfer to*Alliance partners in some meaningful way?

    In case this info is useful: I fly to Europe from the West Coast about two to three times a year (generally United on the domestic end and SAS or Lufthansa on the European end). I also have one or two trips to the southern states and Latin America. I would've been Silver after my flights last month, but my trip to Europe in April was on award miles. I just never thought I could hit the 25k mile mark as a leisure traveler.

    Oh, is there a *Alliance program that would better fit my needs / make it easier to reach Silver with my flight patterns?

    Thanks for the enlightenment. :)
     
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  2. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Frankly I think the whining about Silver post-merger is overrated. Sure, I like E+, but it's not the end of the world if I don't get it.

    Here's the entire list of benefits.

    As a Silver, some that have been a direct benefit to me (other than E+, boarding group, or free baggage):

    * Increased award availability
    * Lessened cost for changing award tickets
    * Increased RDMs
    * Complimentary premier upgrades. No, I don't get them all the time, but I've gotten them on some pretty long-haul routes.
    * Y-Ups! Gotten three of those. Kind of makes up for the bad planning of paying Y in the first place. :)
     
  3. Sunshine7

    Sunshine7 Silver Member

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    I didn't know about the complimentary upgrades. Just the chance for those gives me some hope! :) I think the lower fees for changing award tickets and increased RDMs will also come in handy. Thanks!

    I'm sorry, I don't know what a "Y-Up" is. An economy fare upgrade? Still learning the FF lingo ...
     
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  4. Sunshine7

    Sunshine7 Silver Member

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    Oh, okay. Y is full-fare economy. Makes sense.
     
  5. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Yes, but a Y-Up means that you can immediately upgrade to C or F (whichever's the next cabin up) on domestic flights, and the confirmation's at the time of booking. a bit more about them.
     
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  6. BuckleandBoots

    BuckleandBoots Silver Member

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    Here is what I would consider.

    Are you sure you want to keep flying UA? If yes, then Silver will keep next years travel perks similar to this years. (And in some ways better...wait did I just agree with Desamo?)

    If you're debating UA vs. Someone else, then getting silver will probably encourage you to stick with UA instead of re-evaluating your options based on price, convenience, etc.

    Either way, congrats! Welcome to the status club!
     
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  7. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    Silver is still valuable and generally worth working toward. Desamo gives a good run-down of the perks. As someone who often takes family members with me using award miles for them I have found the greater availability of saver awards, priority baggage handling and bonus RDMs to be well worthwhile and you will get those. Upgrades to C or F are possible with a little planning and flexibility or just good luck. If you work what it does give you, it can be a bit of fun.
     
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  8. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Sorry to hijack; but seeing this just made a thought. So all the searching I've been doing and I cant find any, can someone who is Elite look for me and I call in to book that flight? Or is the space reserved for Elites only?
     
  9. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    I doubt that might be doable for a standard award, but I would be truly nonplussed if it was possible for a saver award.
     
  10. hopscotch1
    Original Member

    hopscotch1 Silver Member

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    I think that the desire for E+ relates to height of the traveler. I am 6'2" and UA has been my primary airline due to E+. My wife is 5'1", and she could care less about E+, and even complains that her bags are too far away underseat if I book us in an exit row.
     
  11. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    The numbers of Elite FFs make it tough to give silvers automatic access to E+ without bumping higher royalty buying last minute tickets. It would have been nice if UA could have at least retained the perk for the FF at reservation but without a companion upgrade before check-in.
    For the purposes of this thread, however, the point is not what has been lost, but what there is to be gained.
     
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  12. hopscotch1
    Original Member

    hopscotch1 Silver Member

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    Aegean is the easiest to hit *Gold on, but as you look at international FF programs the fare class of your ticket becomes very important.

    http://en.aegeanair.com/milesandbonus/program-description/benefits/gold-card-privileges/

    United is probably the best program for your needs, since that is your main airline.

    Funny Freudian typo

    Silver v. E+annual pass & Explorer card

    IMO, nothing to be gained by silver except RDM bonus. Flight experience won't change until annual pass rolls off and you will be unable to purchase again.
     
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  13. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Well, you could look on Expert Flyer (or other places) to see if the seats are available for elites, but only elites can book them.
     
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  14. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    can elites book for other people? :)
     
  15. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I think giving E+ at time of booking was maybe too much value for silvers, but I do try to get E+ when I can.

    I'd prefer it if silvers could confirm E+ two days out, though.
     
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  16. paladin87
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    paladin87 Silver Member

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    Yeah..E+ is a lifesaver for me...but if I were shorter than maybe I would not care as much. However, having been on flights where I was eating my knees the whole time...I care about getting E+. Enough so that I am doing a couple of MRs to make it back to gold this year.
     
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  17. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I'm really not looking forward to PDX-EWR without E+ this weekend, but I've had that booked since March and the E+ space wasn't there, then.

    And yes, going for gold myself, partly for that reason, partly for *A Gold.
     
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  18. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    You are correct about Aegean, a useful bit of knowledge for someone who travels internationally but cannot get to Gold.
    You are also correct that some perks are more tantalizing dreams rather than solid rights.
    The check-in upgrade to E+ is problematic if needed (pay or wait and hope), but nice if merely desired.
    The occasional upgrade to C or F may happen, or may not.
    Y-ups, while usually an expensive choice, can happen for last-minute purchases or same-day RT flights.

    However, the substantially greater availability of saver awards and priority baggage handling do have value. My cousin and I (both Gold or higher over 15 years) ran into the problem in the past where our spouses had accumulated significant RDMs on CO and found that convenient saver award flights, and even many standard award flights were not available for their RDMs. This forced us to use our miles, as elites, and generally let our spouse's miles sit unused. Once my cousin and I achieved MM status (within months of each other!) and named our spouses for the status match, a whole new world of availability opened to them to use their miles. So this perk can be valuable if one is actually looking to use RDMs for flights rather than upgrades.
     
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  19. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    I think *A Silver only has value if you expect someone to have an overseas funeral tomorrow.
     
  20. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I was hoping to sell my bright orange luggage tags on eBay and make a fortune.
     
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  21. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    You got bright orange luggage tags? I guess priority waitlisting can have some sort of value under some conditions, but I think that the kind of FFs that could use such benefits would probably be well past Gold. It seems that the purpose of *A Silver is to make you wish you had *A Gold.
    The OP can benefit from the greater flexibility or get a higher status from *A using the additional destinations available and the RDMs and PQMs that can be earned, but its not always as straightforward as it might be. I had problems getting PQMs everytime I flew on a partner (except HA) even as a codeshare.
     
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  22. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Yep, always do.

    That part is actually working for me. :)
     
  23. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    I do not think it's possible to book award flights using your miles.
     
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  24. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Good thing a lot of my ua miles are actually UR points then. Heh

    Thanks
     
  25. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Huh? You can book award flights for other people using your own miles. I've done it for my daughter-in-law, and a friend did it for me.
     

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