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Struggling to make Star Alliance Gold this year, suggestions?

Struggling to make Star Alliance Gold this year, suggestions?

Jul 23rd, 2011, 06:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Once you study those charts, you'll see that the most "efficient" way to earn status and miles is by flying longhaul in economy and achieve gold status. Which is what my parents do year after year. Paying business to earn EQM is not efficient, as you pay ~4x the cost to get 50% more EQM. Plat also doesn't get more spendable miles than gold, so no need to get past that.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2011, 07:04 PM
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Thanks rkkwan.

I just checked flights and now the whole trip might be in jeopardy as fares are so high. I found available upgrades on flights that will work, but at a price - $1,903.40, plus $500 surcharge each way, plus 60,000 miles (total). So, $2,903 to get from Singapore to COS, and close to $1000 to get from PER-SIN. Then, the additional flight to LAS and on-the-ground costs.

I'm questioning whether keeping my PE is worth the time, money and effort. The trip itself isn't necessary, it's just something I'd like to do.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2011, 07:55 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 774
Dear Mel,
Prices sure have gone up to the USA!Hope you find better ones . On the original question, we've often bought those extra miles needed for a long trip from United, and in May when we last flew to the USA from Oz, United offered us a really good price to buy extra miles (by email). DH does all the booking, so I can't quote figures. I remember once, though, several years ago, we spent a fortune for a night in one of the best suites at the Intercontinental in Sydney, just to get extra points, rather than buy them. It was worth it - free drinks and nibbles, and a wonderful place to meet Sydney relatives.

Not being business class flyers, and in these days of crowded aircraft, last May when we had to come back to Sydney from San Fran. prematurely, so no booked seats, DH got four seats up the back to stretch out on, and I got three! Luxury!!!
Carrabella is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2011, 08:24 PM
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Hi Carrabella -

Lucky you for scoring an entire row of seats!

Unfortunatly, UA doesn't sell miles that qualify for elite status (although I seem to recall them doing it during a promotion a few years back) just miles to redeem for flights.

Flying from Perth has always been an expensive proposition, especially on SIA, the only Star Alliance partner, but the SIN-COS flights on UA have been in the $1500-$1600 range for the past few years. Then UA added a $400 co-pay in addition to the 25,000 miles per way to upgrade to Business. Apparently, as of June 15, it's jumped to $500 plus 30,000 miles to upgrade each way.

I've looked into flying from SYD-COS, but that routing earns fewer miles and Star Alliance doesn't have an Australian airline partner, so I wouldn't earn any miles flying from PER-SYD.

This is making me crazy!
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2011, 10:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Traveling a distance that is equivalent to the circumference of the Earth just to get gold status is not worth it, IMHO, unless you can do it for about 4 cents a mile, so under $1100 US for the 26,000 miles.

At 8 cents a mile I would really want to be going to COS. Your tickets at $4000 or so is upwards of 16 cents per mile and that is not counting the value of the net miles used to upgrade. At that rate it would have to be a burning desire for me to go to COS.

If you are thinking about not making the PER-COS trip then the question is: how do you get to Premier status, as you will be 1,100 miles short of 25,000.

For that (or even instead of the LAS trip if you do go to COS) you might take a look at the Chase Mileage Plus credit cards. One of their cards, Mileage Plus Signature Visa, offers (or offered in the past, at least) 5,000 EQMs for signing up. I don't know if that offer, or something like it, is still available. This is FF miles advice only and not financial advice!

This past January, United sent out fast track offers for MP members to get back to their lost status. For example, I dropped from 1K to PE in January. They offered 1K status if I paid a fee of $499 and flew 25,000 miles within 90 days. Other people got offers, some of which were even less atractive. But I had 17,000 miles already booked, so I paid the fee and did a couple of mileage runs. I am not sure if it was worth it. There were offers to people to fast track to PE.

There was a long discussion about this offer at flyertalk. I have a vague recollection that Aussies didn't get the offer, but maybe they did. It was the first time that I know of that UA made such an offer and maybe it was the last.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2011, 11:27 PM
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Thanks again, food for thought.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2011, 11:33 PM
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SYD-LAX-JFK-LAX-SYD + JFK/EWR-LAX-COS would do the trick.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2011, 11:34 PM
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+ the return COS-LAX-JFK.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jul 24th, 2011, 08:13 AM
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Continental sells extra EQM when you purchase a ticket of theirs, but so expensive it's really much better off to take a mileage run trip.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 12:55 PM
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I have an award reservation with Continental and just noticed the Elite Maximizer offer.

It gives two options, one for 7500 miles and the other for 20,000 miles.

I could pay $225 for 7,500 redeemable miles (RDMs). That is 3 cents per mile. If I do that then I could pay an additional $338 and get 7,500 elite qualify miles (EQMs).

I could pay $600 for 20,000 RDMs and, optionally, an additional $900 for 20,000 RDMS. A total of $1500

If you value 1 RDM at 1 cent then the 20,000 RDMs would be worth $200. That means that I would be paying $1300 for the 20,000 EQMs, at 6.5 cents per mile.

I could fly to Japan for $900 and earn 12,000 EQMs and 24,000 RDMs. Subtract $240 (the RDM value) from the $900 ticket price and the EQMs cost $660. That is 2.75 cents per EQM.

6.5 minus 2.75 = 3.75 cents. 3.75 * 20,000 RDMs = $750.

Actually flying 20,000 miles would also cost 40 hours. So it is a matter of spending %750 + 40 hours or spending $1500.

Four roundtrips LAX-BOS at $250 per trip would be $1000 and earn 20000 EQMs and 40,000 RDMs. Subtract the RDM value from the ticket prices and the RDMs cost $600 plus 40 hours. Compare that to $1300 plus 0 hours via the offer.

This math only applies for *Gold fliers that earn 100% bonus miles.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jul 31st, 2011, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Where did you see this CO offer? I'm looking to book another award trip to BKK in Oct thru CO's web site, using my UA miles (which I've already transferred, so that I can JUMP when the iron is hot...so to speak). Does this CO offer you are talking about come up after you've booked an award trip, or is it in a special place such as "My Promotions" on UA's site? I'd be curious to see what offers I would get from CO.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2011, 03:19 AM
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Carol - Yes, the offer comes up only after the ticket is issued.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2011, 07:55 AM
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The EQM offer is available for my CO ticket but I don't see it on my UA tickets.

UA offers the Award Accelerator which is the option to buy RDMs.

CO gives the option to "buy extra miles". I had not taken a look at this offer until Ray mentioned buying EQMs.

When you click on that CO option, I am given the two choices for buying the RDMs. After entering my OP number (again) I can select one of the choices. At that point it displays another checkbox for the option to add Elite Maximizer to earn EQMs. So you can buy RDMs only, but in order to buy EQMs you have to buy the RDMs.

It says that the miles post to your account within 24 hours. This is a very interesting feature of the offer. I think it means that I can buy the EQMs now, get the miles, and then cancel and refund my award trip later (fee free as a Platinum).

I would never use the RDM purchase option with either UA or CO, not even if I didn't have lots of RDMs in my accounts. But I could see buying EQMs under this option.

I don't think that I would choose to pay $1500 for the 20,000 EQMs. But paying the $663 for 7,500 EQMs would be an option if it was December and I was at 93,000 EQMs.

It was clever for CO to offer 7,500 miles and not 5,000 miles. If the cost per mile was the same for 5,000 then it would cost $443. I could (and would) do one 5,000 mile mileage run, but 7,500 miles means two trips.
mrwunrfl is online now  
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