Elite status worth it?

Jun 29th, 2004, 02:00 PM
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Elite status worth it?

Every year I fly about 20,000+ miles on United but never quite enough to get elite status. Would it be worth it to take an extra trip just to get elite status?
ET is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 02:12 PM
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I'm not familiar with United's program, but it certainly is worth it on my carrier and you can compare the benefits:

1. Frequent upgrades to first class, even at the lowest elite tier. Better selection of coach class seats, regardless.

2. 50% bonus FF miles at the lowest elite tier.

3. Discounted club membership.

4. Pre-boarding (no more fighting for overhead space).

Elite status can significantly improve the experience and economics of air travel for you. It is definitely worth it for you, since you are so close anyway. Find cheap long-haul to put you over the top and you'll never want to look back.
Flyboy is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 03:42 PM
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I also don't know anything about United; but I do know with American and Delta, it is definitely worth it. Even as a lowly Delta Silver, I have been upgraded on over 50% of flights. On the flights not upgraded, I am almost always in an exit row seat. You get bonus miles for all flights (which can add up fast).
RachelG is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 04:12 PM
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Absolutely. United has "Economy Plus" seats on all of its mainline planes (except the 767-200), with about 3-4 inches more legroom. As a elite member, you can get seats pre-assigned in that cabin.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 08:44 PM
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I think it is worth it, that is why I did it the last two years.

In December 2003, I got a very cheap ticket to Sao Paulo on United partly to get to Premier level. The qualifying flight left GRU at 11:55 PM on December 31.

In December 2004, because of a double elite qualifying miles offer, I was an overseas United flight away from getting Premier Executive status. The qualifying flight was on Dec. 29th or so, a return flight from Brussels. Not only was the seat an E-plus seat, but they had "premier" seating. The UA person at BRU said that if I chose to switch to a center aisle seat that she could guarantee that the seat next to me would be empty. I don't think anybody in the e-plus section had anybody in the seat next to them while the regular coach was pretty well packed wall to wall.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 10:07 PM
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Forgot to add that an "elite" status will also make a lot more seats available to be claimed with standard awards for travel, without having to spend double miles.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 11:27 PM
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rkkwan, I am not sure what you are referring to. I think you mean "saver" awards, "not standard" and the benefit is exclusive to the top tier. The UA webpage says that for Premier Exec 1K:

Exclusive Saver Award inventory
As a 1K, you have access to an exclusive inventory of United Economy® Saver Award seats reserved solely for your redemption (subject to capacity control). The 1K Saver Award availability is reserved from the current Saver Award inventory allocations.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 02:59 AM
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ET - depending on where you're located, ie. LAX, ORD, IAD, DFW (or any other of UA hub cities) - many flyers will towards the end of the year take some real short inexpensive trips to get the minimum 500 miles even if the flight's actual miles are way less than that. It doesn't necessarily have to be a long expensive flight to get those last few miles needed.
Jun 30th, 2004, 05:11 AM
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mrwunrfi - Yeah, United calls the 25K (domestic) award "Saver", and 50K "Standard". I do mean that 25K one. Some other airlines call their 25K ones "standard", and 50K something else (like "Easypass" for CO")...
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 07:06 AM
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rkkwan, I hope I am missing something but the only info at united.com that I can find about extra saver awards available to elite level flyers is the statement (above) saying that it is a benefit exclusively for 1K members. So, it would not be incentive for the OP to get to Premier. I would apreciate it if you could point me to info that says that more saver awards are available to Premier or Premier Execs.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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mrwunrfl - I haven't flown enough on UA to become "elite", but I know CO, DL and probably other airlines do have more seats available at the 25K level for their elite members. I was assuming that UA's program is similar.

Also, airlines may not tell you about better access to FF awards. They seem to be pretty secretive about the number of seats available on each flight for various awards.

But again, to answer your question, my statement was only general, and I have no specific information about UA's policy about this.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 02:09 PM
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Ok, thanks. I called Mileage Plus and was told me that the wider availability of Saver awards was only applicable to the 1K level. So, it sounds like it is not as generous as CO and DL, but I'd guess we'd have to know what the general availability is for each carrier to make a valid comparison.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 1st, 2004, 04:01 AM
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My husband is elite, I am not. (A lot of people think that's a good summary of us overall.) The difference in quality of travel-life is marked, and I much prefer to travel with him and get the benefit of his status. On AA, it includes checking in with First Class, boarding in the first group, extra consideration if there's some foul-up with routing, and better access to upgrades. My son is elite on United and he loves having access to the Economy Plus section of the planes.

Let me also mention that, at least with AA, my husband has occasionally come close but not quite made Gold status for a given year, and a sweet-talking telephone conversation usually resulted in them giving him the benefit of a few miles to give him the Gold level. That probably wouldn't work for a first-timer (but maybe....), and it has to be for some very small margin (like 300 miles), but it's worth considering. One year he took a quick trip up to New England and back just to get himself within "hailing distance" of elite status, and it was definitely worth it.
Jul 1st, 2004, 05:07 AM
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The OP says he/she flies 20K+ miles a year, but we don't know how close it is to 25K. I'd definitely do it if it's within one MR (mileage run) of getting there. It's easier if he lives on the coasts, as a roundtrip to the opposite side of the country will make it. However, if it's Chicago, and a full 5,000 miles is needed, then that''d be tricky to get a MR within reasonable time and cost to get those miles. [Still possible, as there are often good deals to Europe in the late fall.]

So, it really depends...
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 1st, 2004, 05:54 AM
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I'm not familiar with United's plan, but in general I think it is well worth achieving elite status. On Continental, the plan I joined, we get to use a separate line to pass through security, which saves a lot of time, and even on those flights where we don't get upgraded, we have access to booking the better seats in tourist class.

One point against joining a program, however, is that one tends to limit oneself to just the one airline, or its partners, in one's pursuit of miles and status, so it is very important to select an airline that offers flights everywhere you will want to go (even after retirement), and that has a good program. Not all programs are equal, and you don't want to tie yourself to an inferior program.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Jul 6th, 2004, 03:33 PM
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To learn more about the pros and cons of "mileage runs" to achieve elite status, the real perks of elite status with particular programs and, generally, tips for air travel, go to flyertalk.com and check out the "United" board and the "mileage runs" board. On Flyertalk, you'll find an exceptionally knowledgeable crowd of frequent flyers who enjoy sharing their tips with you.
Kate_W is offline  
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