Advantages of Star Alliance Elite

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May 4th, 2011, 01:09 PM
  #1
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Advantages of Star Alliance Elite

I can see myself getting up to 75,000 miles with Continental/United this year. Would there be any advantage of getting 90,000? I know there are advantages of getting 100,000 miles in one year but I don't think I can do that.
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May 4th, 2011, 01:27 PM
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Man, it's really too bad you can't get 100,000. That's where I am. It's called "1K" and it gets you 6 of what are called SWUs (system wide upgrades) which allow you to purchase an economy ticket and get an upgrade (if available). At 50,000 you are a "Premier Executive" level, which will give you a Gold Star Alliance card. That card gets you in much shorter check-in lines (usually) at the airport, and it gains you entry into various airline lounges when travelling out of the country. I was at prem exec for a few years and got really used to some of the perks, like 3 check bags, 70 lbs each, at no charge on int'l flights, which I do many of each year.

I'm sure others will chime in with their thoughts. I just wish, for your sake, that you could get to 1K.

Carol
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May 4th, 2011, 02:09 PM
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I think wally's main account is with CO Onepass right now. At 75k, he'll already be Platinum there, so already top group for upgrades, etc. Therefore, main benefit to get to 100k is indeed the 6 SWUs (plus the 4 CR1s (regional upgrades)), compared to only 2 CR1s at 75k.

There is no difference whether you're at 90k or 75k.
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May 4th, 2011, 02:12 PM
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BTW, I agree with Carol that if you can get to 90K, it's probably worth a mileage run to get the extra 10K to become 1K. The 6 SWUs are worth it since you do seem to fly international quite a bit.
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May 4th, 2011, 02:42 PM
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Do the 6 SWUs work for domestic flights only? I have almost 200,000 miles with Continental. How helpful would they be in upgrading from economy to Business with Air New Zealand and Luftunsa?

When your on the upgrade list for a domestic flight, would 90K get one ahead of a 75K?

Carol, what percentage of domestic flight do you think I would be upgraded to with 75K? How did you do?
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May 4th, 2011, 02:50 PM
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Just curious, Carol, how many shoes do you travel with--three bags? I'm going to Japan for two weeks and planning to carry it all on the plane.
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May 4th, 2011, 03:09 PM
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SWU = System Wide Upgrade. Wherever UA and CO fly. That's why they're so valuable. For domestic upgrades, you can use those CR1s you're going to get, or use the miles in your account. Don't waste the SWUs on those unless you have a surplus.

SWUs can only be used on CO and UA metal, and I believe some codeshare on LH. You should read all the info on UA's website and Flyertalk for that.

You can also use miles for Star Alliance upgrade rewards, for applicable carriers and fare classes. CO and UA's websites have details.

There's no difference in status whether you're at 90K or 75K. You are still Continental Plat/*G. Upgrades are prioritized by status, fare class, time of purchase, etc. But never based on how many EQMs one has at that certain point.
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May 4th, 2011, 04:03 PM
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So I could use a System Wide Upgrade from LAX to Sydney? Would that get me from Economy to Economy Plus or to Business (I would hope) at no extra cost? but I would still get the miles? Do they have to be used within one year? Sorry, I've read Elite Status on the Continental website many times. Guess I'll read it on the United website.
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May 4th, 2011, 05:47 PM
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It would get you from Economy to Business. Or Business to First. You can already get E+ with your CO elite status. Here's the page about SWU:

http://www.united.com/page/article/1,,53477,00.html

You'll get the miles based on whatever original booking class you pay for. And yes, a SWU is good for a year.
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May 4th, 2011, 05:51 PM
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Oh, one major correction. The SWUs you get from CO is only good for CO and Copa for now. Not sure when they'll start to be good for UA and LH; but assuming you earn your SWUs (once you hit 100K) near the end of 2011, you'll definitely have some months to use them on UA/LH before their expire.
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May 5th, 2011, 01:49 AM
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But you get two SWU's for hitting 75K, right?
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May 5th, 2011, 05:04 AM
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You get 2 CR1s at 75K, and 2 more for every 25K. You don't get any SWU until 100, when you get your 6, then 2 more for every 50K.
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May 5th, 2011, 05:29 PM
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I think I had about 5 pairs of shoes with me on my recent trip to BKK. Actually, I had friends asking me to pick up items for them in Thailand. I go there frequently (3-4 times per year). If I bring home something my friends like a lot, they'll ask me to get more on my next trip.

And, yes, two SWU's are good for LAX-SYD, SYD-LAX, although there is competition for these flts. You can read about it on flyertalk. I did ORD-SYD, SYD-ORD upgrade both going and returning, for a wedding in March of 2010. Love the upper deck on the 747. Best seats in the house imo (except 1st class, of course). I just used two SWUs for my ORD-BKK, BKK-ORD trip, upper deck all the way.

I use my CR1s on domestic flts... Hawaii in particular, since it's a good 8+ hours from ORD to HNL.

I really think you should consider trying to get to 1K.
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May 5th, 2011, 08:02 PM
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The SWUs still require an upgradable fare. I tried to use them on a trip to AU and the upgradable fare was $1000 more than my coach fare. Plus I would have been waitlisted. I could have paid the extra $1000 and still not been upgraded. I'm 1k.
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May 5th, 2011, 09:42 PM
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For Lufthansa flights, you have to get a paper SWU certificate and present it at check-in on the day of departure. And you have to have an upgradable fare.
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May 6th, 2011, 03:10 AM
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That upgradeable fare using the SWU is definitely cheaper than an upgradeable fare using miles (M/H, Y/B fares). And yes, a lot of the time I'm waitlisted. I can think of only one time when I did not get to use that SWU when travelling to BKK, and then one other time when I wanted to use 2-SWUs for myself and my DH. I got my upgrade and he (2P level) did not get one.
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May 6th, 2011, 08:35 AM
  #17
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Thanks for teaching me "Upgrades 101" everyone! Last night I booked a ticket from PBI to Milwaukee for $218, and I'm planning to book a ticket from Miami to Europe in October on Lufthansa Airbus A380 from Miami to Europe. Perhaps a third visit to Hawaii in September and I'll have 98,000 miles. There is usually a good fare if you are willing to fly on Christmas Day.
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May 6th, 2011, 09:21 AM
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I'm planning to book a ticket from Miami to Europe in October.

If you're going to be that close to 100,000, be a little creative in routing your flight from MIA. For example, instead of flying MIA-FRA, maybe for the same price you could fly MIA-IAD-ORD-MUC-FRA. That gives you about 6225 miles each way, instead of a measly 4832.
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