Which ticket would you buy? AA First or UA coach and hope for the upgrade

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by prncess674, Jul 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. I am a CO gold that currently has 42K EQM for the year, so I am easily on my way to Gold/1P again this year. I have been CO Plat for the last 10 years but my biz travel tapered down seriously last year. Most of my tickets are last minuted Y/B up fares so I am almost always in F even though I am now a lowly Gold.

    However I need to make a work trip in a few weeks WAS-PHX and I am grateful that my company pays for F on tickets over 1200 miles, but the lowest F ticket is on AA so I wouldn't be earning status miles in my preferred carrier. I am unsure of my biz travel for the rest of the year it is unclear whether I would make the 75K threshold, but will certainly make the 50K threshold.

    The outbound is on a Monday morning and would be in discounted economy so the likelihood of an upgrade is slim and none if I took the CO/UA combo. The return is a Thursday morning so my chances for an upgrade would be better.

    What would you do?
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    How much more than the AA FC fare would it cost to take CO/UA with a guaranteed upgrade or discounted FC fare? Also, is there a difference in lounge access for you? Would CO/UA treat you better if IROPs happen? Are there differences in schedule, routing, and frequency that make one airline better suited for the business purpose of the trip? Does your company permit you to take a more expensive ticket and pay the difference? Would they permit a slightly more expensive ticket that protects you more if problems arise or that lets you work in a lounge while waiting for flights?
     
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  3. The AA FC fare is 950 and the Y-up on UA is 1800 so there is sizeable difference. I could take a FC flight out of BWI on US Air but I would have to get up at a ridiculously early hour to make a 7ish AM flight out of BWI from Arlington, VA.

    I would not have lounge access but DFW is a decent enough airport to get connectivity and a day pass to the AA club is always possible if I really needed to work.
     
  4. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    If you need a hotel stay for elite requal, you could overnight near BWI, perhaps on an airport parking hotel rate package.

    From Arlington, I assume you've looked at both DCA and IAD for flights.
     
  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Another question for the OP: If work authorizes FC, then they must believe that it serves a valuable business purpose. How would they like it if you choose to fly coach, especially if there isn't a big cost saving? Also, if you voluntarily put yourself on a strange itinerary and things go wrong, you could be implicitly blamed if you miss a business meeting or whatever as a result.
     
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  6. Yes I have looked at IAD and DCA. The AA routing is DCA-DFW-PHX with good connection times and DCA is spitting distance from my house. Any FC options on *A carriers out of IAD or DCA options are the 1800 fares, the only *A FC fares that match the AA fare would mean traveling to BWI. I could go full fare Y via IAH for about 1400 which still isn't feasible. The 1099 BWI on US Air appears to be the only other possibility.
     
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  7. Sean Colahan
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    Sean Colahan Gold Member

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    I would do the US first out of BWI and maybe an inexpensive hotel the night before if you don't want to get up too early.
     
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  8. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    My thoughts would go like this:

    What's the fare that offers the best deal for my employer, irrespective of how it impacts my status or comfort?

    That could mean "AA F, because I'll be ready to go", or "UA Y, because it saves some money and the connections are better", or whatever. Not just a straight cost, mind you, but what's in my employer's best interests.

    I'd pick whatever ticket answers that question best, regardless of how it impacts my status- because if I'm unsure about business travel going forward, it might be the case that status for 2012 may just be something that benefits me, personally, and not the company paying me and my travel bill. My obligation's to my employer, not to the shiny cards in my wallet or mileage balance.

    However, if it's really a pick'em, THEN I would start worrying about "how does this affect my status?". But only then- if there's a clearly better option that doesn't benefit me personally as much, it's too bad, but this isn't personal travel and about what I'd like, it's about what serves my employer best.
     
  9. AA F out of DCA vs US F out of BWI are similar in cost and connections. The person who is inconvenienced is me because it would mean I would have to drive out to BWI on Sunday night and pay for a hotel out of my own pocket.

    The lazy side of me is play the upgrade lottery with UA and just take the super cheap Y ticket on UA Monday morning and just suck it up in E+ and hope for some upgrade love as lowly 1P. Sure E+ isn't as nice as F, but I am not tall and as long as I am not seated next to a sumo wrestler I can usually work fairly comfortably in E+.
     
  10. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Would UA F be cheaper one-way? Can you mix and match? If not, the lazy side of me would vote for the AA F ticket.
     
  11. I ended up booking the super cheap DCA-ORD-PHX roundtrip. I was able to confirm exit rows on all but one segment. I figure I will earn a few more miles connecting and there is always a chance of clearing the upgrade list.
     

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