I have previously noted that American Airlines has gutted their Advantage frequent flyer and because of that I am leaving American. Loyalty is a two-way street and American has worked hard to make it a one-way street, well I’m not riding any more. But of course that decision was reached only after I had already booked enough to re-qualify for next year. Oops. I status matched (challenge) to United and got a surprise, 1k! The real question is whether I pursue it.
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Why Did I Start a Status Challenge?
At the halfway point through the year I have achieved Executive Platinum status through January of 2019 and I simply will not gain enough EQDs to move up to Concierge Key. The CK status level has been announced publicly for the first time this last year, but the requirements to reach it have not – data points from Concierge Key members seems to suggest $40,000/year is around the required spend. Sometimes, they give it away for free of course.
Since it is clear that I will not receive any additional benefits for my status with American and I do not anticipate earning status with them again next year, I need a new home. United has not been my cup of tea but so many high frequency travelers seem to love them, perhaps because of their Star Alliance partners, perhaps because of Nostalgia. Matthew is one of their biggest fans probably for both reasons.
When pursuing a status challenge, most airlines will offer them year-round but for those that begin their challenge after the midway point in the year (July 1st) status would be granted for both the current year and all of the next year. That means that next year, if I find value this year of course, I can pursue status with United while already holding their status which makes it all the easier to tolerate the long ride to entitlement.
How Does the Challenge Work?
United has a publicly available website that shows the details of the challenge. Matching status with one of the qualified airlines will adjust your Mileage Plus account for a 90-day trial period while you fly a prorated amount of miles. For those who hold status above the stated levels (American Airlines Executive Platinum, Concierge Key or Delta Diamond Medallion) status to one level lower (75,000 mile level) will be given instead.
The qualifications are a dream for those that typically do not spend enough money to qualify due to Premier Qualifying Dollar spending requirements. There are none. If you fly the prescribed amount of miles you are awarded the status level with no PQD requirements at all. If you fly less than what’s required for your status level match you will fall to another status level or if you fail to complete the very minimum, you will have no status at all following the 90-day trial.
For those current United status holders concerned about their valuable Systemwide Upgrade percentages dropping with a flood of challengers, not to worry – upgrades aren’t awarded until challengers are successful. When challengers are successful, they receive just one regional upgrade and two Global Premier Upgrades (SWUs). Here is the confirmation email I received:
Congratulations! You have been awarded a trial period of Premier® 1K status in the MileagePlus® program valid until 03 October, 2017! This will make your travel with us comfortable, simple and more rewarding than ever.
To remain a Premier 1K member through January 31, 2019, you will need to fly 35,000 Premier qualifying miles (PQM) or 40 Premier qualifying segments (PQS) on flights operated by United® or United Express® between 05 July, 2017 through 03 October, 2017.* You can check your progress toward meeting your goal by logging in to mystatus.united.com.
If you meet the above required PQM or PQS threshold(s), a Premier 1K kit will be issued and mailed to you. Until you have a card, be sure to add your MileagePlus number to your reservation in order to fully benefit from your Premier status.
MileagePlus members are allowed to earn Premier status through the Premier Status Match program a maximum of one time in a five-year period. In order to re-qualify for Premier 1K status in subsequent years, you will need to meet the published criteria. For details about the MileagePlus Premier program, visit http://www.united.com/premier
We hope you will travel with us often and take advantage of the exceptional benefits and service reserved for our Premier members around the world. Thank you for choosing United, and enjoy your Premier 1K membership.
Your MileagePlus Premier team
So What, You Status Matched – Why Is This Important?
The offer to match to 1k is not a published option. I have no reason to believe that I was offered this status level for any particular reason. Qualifying for American Airlines Executive Platinum status halfway through the year with a trend of $13,000+ in spend and 104,000 miles before July 1st might have something to do with it, but I doubt it. I am speculating (nothing more than that) United simply does not want to be held to offering the top tier status match publicly but will do so in private.
Interestingly, the rest of the status match requirements are all loosely to the corresponding PQMs required for each level. For example:
- Silver requires 25,000 Premier Qualifying Miles per year, the challenge is 7,000 for a 90-day period (equating the trial period to 28,000 miles/year).
- Gold requires 50,000 Premier Qualifying Miles per year, the challenge is 12,000 for a 90-day period (equating the trial period to 48,000 miles/year).
- Platinum requires 75,000 Premier Qualifying Miles per year, the challenge is 18,000 for a 90-day period (equating the trial period to 72,000 miles/year).
However, the challenge for 1K is substantially higher.
- 1K requires 100,000 Premier Qualifying Miles per year, the challenge is 35,000 for a 90-day period (equating the trial period to 140,000 miles/year).
That amount is staggering, but they hold their status in high regard. Then again, if I hit it I should have nearly uninterrupted upgrades on United for the next 19 months domestically and that might be worth it.
So, Should I Do It?
The thing is, I didn’t really plan on doing any more than 12,000 to 18,000 max during the period. I can hit 7,000 points no problem with regular travel patterns that I can switch to United, 12,000 wouldn’t be a stretch, 18,000 would. But given the chance to move straight across from top tier to top tier with no revenue requirements is potentially too hard to pass up.
In order to hit it I would need a some old-fashioned mileage runs. That’s right, they are BACK! So what is top tier worth to me for next year? Can I get it done on two runs from Newark to Bangkok via Tokyo? Yes – 38,360 miles and the last fare sale I saw had prices for about $500 roundtrip.
Help me out here, for $1,000 out-of-pocket and 72-80 hours in coach would you go for 1K?
Yes. I did it back in the day to initially gain 1k had it for a few years before being matched EXP. Well worth it but than again everything was destroyed by Smisek and Munoz doesn’t seem to be offering anything better. But for year and a half I would.
@UnitedEF – Sounds good, I am 65/35 for going for it. I feel like I should go all the way if I am going to do it. There is no sense in going for anything less than 1K. Right?
As a former 1k and GS on united you might be surprised at how many upgrades you don’t clear. If you live in a major hub like SFO there are thousands of elites just like you flying on expensive business fares. I would say that GS I cleared maybe 80% of the upgrades but as 1k it was lower than 30%. The drop in value to 1k was huge. As a platinum later on I basically would never clear unless from smaller airports.
@Mon – Home airport is PIT, though I will have to frequent those hubs on connections so the data point is important. On AA I would clear about 85% of the time as an Executive Platinum. Perhaps coming out of PIT I can maintain the same, though this is an old US Airways hub, then focus city now somewhere in between so perhaps my percentages would be just as good. There’s one way to find out of course…
Don’t count on it… I’ve been 1k for five years out of Cleveland and my upgrade rate is about 35%. There are way more 1Ks than you think.
@Gary – My experience out of PIT (former US Airways hub) on AA (now merged with US Airways) is lower than at other airports. But they aren’t 35% low. I fly out tomorrow on AA and have been cleared for my connection from DFW but not from PIT. That to me, seems odd and may reflect the challenge I will have with United as well. If I don’t clear upgrades they will only have me for a few flights before I go back to AA or pursue DL.
Agree completely with @Mon – do not expect anything close to “nearly uninterrupted upgrades” as a 1K on UA. My upgrade rate as a 1k ex-EWR was abysmal and one of the things that drove me to AA, where despite the devals I am much happier as an EXP and clear upgrades MUCH more often than I did at UA. Also keep in mind that you will be paying an additional $20-$25 per one way on UA just to access your 1k benefits with Basic Economy on every route now.
@Darin – Eek, basic economy. I forgot about that scourge. Did you switch to LGA/JFK or are you still flying from EWR but on AA now?
JFK/LGA now – they were always more convenient for me, so it was another benefit of leaving UA. I waited until I hit 2MM so that I have platinum on any random flights I need to do on UA. I left UA after over 15 years as 1k and after experiencing the death by 1,000 cuts of the program – while AA is doing the same to its program, I find EXP overall to still be superior to 1k (definitely from an upgrade perspective but in recognition of status overall as well). Not sure how flying out of a non-hub will be better: you’ll still always be flying to/from a hub.
A little update regarding upgrades on UA so far, I’m 7/9 with one of those misses a voluntary one as I gave up a first class seat to take an earlier flight. Not bad in my experience.
Can you explain why you were matched to 1K instead of Platinum? You don’t mention that detail. I lost my 1K status on Feb 1 for the first time in more than 10 years. I hold Delta Diamond and AA Executive Platinum statuses, and I would love to get my 1K back without spending roughly $14,000 for 12,000 PQD. Any advice? I wonder if the Star Alliance Silver/Gold exclusion applies if you currently have that status through United (I am lifetime MM/Gold/Star Gold).
Note that you could earn 33,852 PQM for $2,343 by flying 3 round trips LAX-IAD-ATL in first (P) class. Much better than coach…I am sure you could find other paid first class itineraries for even less.
@Gene – The fact that they matched me to 1K is what made me want to write the post, it’s an unpublished benefit and I am not sure why they did, though I posit in the post that perhaps it is because I have prequalified so early in the year and have decent (though not Global Services or Concierge Key) spend.
From the rules I have seen, as long as you have not matched to UA in the last five years, you are eligible and you should do it. You might be able to submit more than one supporting document (I simply didn’t try so I can’t say) and if you could I would submit both of your statuses to show that you are clearly flying an awful lot.
On the run you suggested, that’s a little rich for my blood. However, if I could pick a roundtrip in Polaris internationally that would help me hit it for a reasonable rate, I might do that instead. With AA’s challenge I believe it was butt-in-seat miles, so I will check the rules. If buying a premium ticket is allowed then I will shop that right away. There were some cheap deals to Rio in business that might get me pretty close pretty quickly.
PQM fare class bonuses are definitely allowed. I may be doing a trip to Rio if I get a match! Thanks, Kyle!
Kyle — can you please share more details of the Rio fares you reference? Thank you!
@Gene – I just checked and sadly, they are gone. However, I have found Mumbai from DCA (just my first pass) in P for $2300. PQMs awarded would be 32,020 and that is probably my ticket, though I will have to add $60 in Indian e-visa costs to the budget.
Considering that AA keeps trying to sell me lowly Gold status for $799, getting 1K for $1,000 is a bargain. I’d say do it, though I guess I’d suggest asking some current UA regulars about their upgrade success rates, if those upgrades are what’s most important to you. It would kinda suck to spend all that money, only to be disappointed if your upgrades don’t clear very often.
@Meanmeosh – Agreed. I guess that’s the other thing that’s good about a trial and then having both statuses next year. I really can try both out and see what is a better fit.
I’m a 1k out of sfo & have been tracking my upgrades for the last 2 years in a spreadsheet.
Here’s my upgrade percentage:
Intl with gpu: 8%
Domestic with rpu: 16%
Domestic without rpu (I.e., comp): 11%
In fact, 4 of my 6 gpu’s expired unused last year because they never cleared on flights through the year. Including on long haul flights like sfo-fra, add-on, set-tlv, etc. And these are typically higher fares, like Q, U, V, H etc.
From what I hear from colleagues tracking AAL, they are much much better for exec plats.
@Anon E Mouse – Are your colleagues also flying out of SFO? I would imagine an Executive Platinum on AA flying from SFO would clear pretty well as would a 1K flying from Dallas or Miami, but here in Pittsburgh, it’s no man’s land.
I am based out of LAX: 1k and EXP. Strange as it may seem, I have more luck getting upgrades on flights originating from LAX. Last month bought OW ticket United LAX to NRT (via SFO) on economy for $525 and used a systemwide to upgrade to BF. Same route originating from SFO was $1800 with no upgrade possibility. Still a mystery how these things work…
@Comp-Lee-Kate – I couldn’t possibly explain some of the logic regarding the upgrade, either the space is there or it’s not. The O&D market competition makes sense to me, though I can see how that might not make sense to everyone. It’s all based on competition. If all of the competition is charging $1800 from SFO to NRT but out of LAX the competition is at $525 then of course you want to avoid losing business in LAX because of the price but need to make money where you can (SFO). However, when thinking about the upgrade, the seat is either there or it’s not regardless of where you depart from.
I’m a 1k out of sfo & have been tracking my upgrades for the last 2 years in a spreadsheet.
Here’s my upgrade percentage:
Intl with gpu: 8%
Domestic with rpu: 16%
Domestic without rpu (I.e., comp): 11%
In fact, 4 of my 6 gpu’s expired unused last year because they never cleared on flights through the year. Including on long haul flights like sfo-fra, ewr-bom, ewr-tlv, etc. And these are typically higher fares, like Q, U, V, H etc.
From what I hear from colleagues tracking AAL, they are much much better for exec plats.
Mr./Ms. Mouse – As I updated previously, comp upgrades whether in hubs or outposts are 7/9 for the year with one of those misses given up voluntarily as I gave up a first class seat in favor of hopping on an earlier flight.
I am in the same camp as my fellow 1K’ers postings here. I don’t live in a UA Hub city and my success at upgrades in the past year has been abysmal. Quite frankly, the value proposition of being a 1K has dramatically decreased in the 13 years I have been 1K. Aside from lack of upgrades, it is the decline in customer services and attitudes towards 1Ks. They drop the 1k dedicated customer care line, moved 1K boarding behind GS, etc. I’ve pretty much have moved on to other carriers wherever possible. Do a mileage run to asia on Singapore and enjoy the better respect and better service.
@D.A – Noted. When I do the math on the run I am looking at and offset the costs with some points, it’s probably worth it. I would rather spend more to fly in business and knock it out in one weekend rather than two trips in coach to Southeast Asia. Yes it’s double, but it also gives me back a lot of time, so that’s probably what I will do.
Congrats on making the jump, Kyle. As you know, I’m a recovering United 1K MM. While I still fly UA, not enough to qualify over the Gold I get due to lifetime status.
If you are looking for domestic upgrades, I think you’ll be disappointed. My 3rd year now as EXP, I clearly missed the “good old days”, but the domestic upgrade percentage is drastically better on AA vs. UA. That is of course based on my anecdotal experience, but I think a major difference is how aggressive UA is at upselling to F, whereas AA is not quite so pushy. I’m somewhere north of 75% on free domestic upgrades on AA, and my last few years as 1K (ended for me 1/31/17) were more like 33% or so.
In any case, good luck. I’m my opinion, with some exceptions UA is mostly trending upward, while AA is going the other way. Hopefully you can make the most of it.
@Bard – That seems like a mixed review. We will have to see how the next year unfolds.
I’m a 1K and can’t even get upgraded on RPUs or GPUs domestically. I get CPUs are basically non-existent, but these upgrade coupons are “benefits”.
@Jack – All the commenting UA 1Ks seem to agree that upgrades are next to impossible domestically but they also seem to live in UA hub cities and I do not. I can’t determine if my experience would be as bad or if it all depends on where I connect.
I’ve held 1K off and on for most of the last 7 years. I think the only way it’s worth it is if you can redeem the GPUs. Since United has a fare class requirement, you’re obviously taking some risk. If you feel like you have enough opportunities to play GPU-roulette, go for it!
@Pizzaman – I am kicking it around, but upgrade comments from all of our readers so far have suggested that it may not be such a good idea.
I’m a reformed United 1k MMer. I stopped flying United in 2012 despite IAD being my home airport. I don’t miss United one bit and I am certain they don’t miss me either.
The fact that United is willing to give you 1K for ~$1,000 days a lot about how much they think status is worth. I would pass.
@Rjb – I should be clear that they are matching me during the challenge. Separately I have found routes that could achieve the status for about $1000 (though Matthew has since shown me a way to do it for $606 in coach hell). This was not a sale offered (spend $1000 get 1k) in case I had not made that well enough known, however, in essence it is the same thing.
I was UA plat all last year, being based out of Tulsa, my upgrade chances were around 23 out of 24. Maybe because I’m not in a hub city, but I also got upgraded through hub cities on my outbound segments. I’m now a UA silver but working my way back up.
@Alex – I am hoping that if I complete the challenge successfully, I will have your experience in PIT instead of some of the others who have not been as fortunate with upgrades as 1Ks.
I think you should still go for it. On some routes it is hard to get upgraded (my GPUs almost never ever cleared on EWR-TLV and TLV-EWR, when I was a 1K). However from other cities and countries they cleared easily (AMS-FRA). My friend Melissa, who’s a 1K and flies out of New Mexico, gets upgraded domestically all the time.
To be a star alliance gold is awesome (I know you don’t need to be 1K for that, but still) when flying internationally. The lounges are awesome. And 1K collects more miles – 11x. Buying award flights is basically free when you’re a 1K. No fees, or very minimal. Try and compare that to MM senator…
@Marlon – Those are some good points. I had forgotten about the award flights being cheaper to book, do I have to still pay close-in booking fees as a 1K (though I believe there is a work around for this)?
No close-in booking fees, change fees, or cancellation fees for 1K members.
I’m currently doing the 1K challenge as well (Request trough the website) and as far as I know they don’t offer any GPUs / RPUs after the challenge is completed. Did they change it?
@Tiago – I couldn’t say whether they have changed it but I just went back to my email and grabbed the lines where it is addressed which is also in the image I have included in the post. Here it is: “Upon meeting the Qualifying Travel Requirements for Premier 1K status, members will be awarded 1 Regional Premier Upgrade and 2 Global Premier Upgrades, which will be credited to their account within 7-10 business days.”
The question for me, since this is so specific about the number and type of upgrades given, is whether an additional 6 GPUs are given next year as a normal 1K would receive. I am assuming so and wouldn’t fly them next year if they were omitted, but it would be better if it were so clearly spelled out as the the trial period upgrades were.
I’m planning to do a match within the next couple of weeks, I have a R/T to Australia in biz that will meet the requirements for the match and I’m thinking about an MR or two to complete the full 1k requirement.
Based on a couple of your comments here it looks like you did take the match and complete it. Did you get the 1 RPU/2 GPUs upon completion as promised in the email, and did you by any chance continue on to make 1K the harder way in the same calendar year? If so, did you get a further 6 GPUs and however many RPUs they give, or did they just give you 4 extra GPUs to match the normal 6, plus whatever RPUs they offer?
I did receive the 1 RPU/2 GPU upon successful completion of the challenge. I didn’t make the rest of 1k the hard way that year but at the start of the next year I had a full balance.
You should go for it. I have been a 1K for over 15 years and will never be GS because strategically and fortunately I don’t fly more than 125K miles a year using EWR and PHL as local airports. Never have a problem using up all GPU and RPU each year as I only book a confirmed upgrade and would never play upgrade roulette with those. Since you already have status with other airlines, adding 1k provides additional flexibility when searching for best fares and confirmed first class seats. Good luck and enjoy.
@Henry – Thanks for sharing your experience. It seems to be all over the board from other 1Ks. You seem to have great luck while others have not had the same, I think I will try it out if I can find the right routes for my mileage run.
I’m 1K & like it. Note I have been AA EXP in the past. The key for comp upgrades is flying out of non-hub city like PHL & your ticket fare class is W or above. I just flew out of EWR to LAX with a Q fare class + GPU & was #4 on the upgrade list but didn’t clear. EWR to LAX/SFO is tough to clear an upgrade for a few reasons. 1. These are PS flights only. 2. To my knowledge there are NO comp upgrades. However I got comped 2x from LAX to EWR on the 1st flight out. 3. UA offers generous $ upgrades (avg $200) . So there are a lot of business travelers that will pay this. So even on flight with 30+ biz/1st seats , I still didn’t get the upgrade. However in my economy+ seat, I was totally surprised to be offered a choice of chicken alfredo or pasta with a blush sauce FREE. This came with fresh fruit app & blondie type dessert. Near the end of the flight a Kind brand protein bar was offered. This was for everyone on the flight.
United is not perfect but their trying to learn from their mistakes while also trying to be proactive. For me it works even with the upcoming potential devaluing of award points. For me it’s easier to find international award flights on UA or Star Alliance partners than on AA without calling in.
In my opinion your status match offer is great & rare for 1K. I did a similar one with AA a few years ago for EXP. Even though AA owns PHL, I switched back to United for these reasons; better upgrade probability than AA flying out of PHL, ease of knowing how upgrades are awarded & ease of booking super saver award travel.
Thanks for the post.
@Bev – There are a lot of good notes from your comment, thanks for being specific. A lot of folks have said that the F upgrades are cheap to buy, but in my experience (before being 1K on a random UA flight) the buy-up from just economy (not Basic) to Economy Plus was nearly $400 roundtrip from an already expensive $815 domestic ticket (PIT-DEN-ISN). With American, my chances for clearing are higher but buy-ups are not nearly as attainable as other 1Ks have been suggesting they are on United. An AA buy-up will be closer to $300-400 standard (though US Airways used to sell buy-ups for less than $100) so I am more inclined to play roulette with my upgrade and usually clear. If I am both less likely to clear and my chasm is smaller ($100-200) I would be more likely to buy-up, especially if that changed my fare coding which it almost undoubtedly does not.
The point of traveling is to get from point A to point B on time and safely. I choose Southwest Airlines not only for price but for upstanding service. I’ve never been on an overbooked flight, the only time I’ve ever had a flight delayed was due to weather that grounded every Airlines at the time, I know when I book my bags are included in that price. It is all a matter of Common Sense!!! I learnt my lesson a long time ago when it comes to prices of travel, that benefit tier crap is a way to lure you in but the service is not enough to make you want to stay as a loyal customer because the benefits just don’t add up in the long run. Southwest by far has the best system, most friendly courteous employees, most understanding when it comes to canceling or rescheduling a flight, and they don’t try to rip you off when you get to the airport in baggage! This is where are the pros and cons need to be weighed not by status!
@Melissa – I appreciate your comments and perspective, but we are unfortunately going to disagree on many of those points. For reference, I fly 3-6 roundtrips/year on Southwest because they offer affordable direct flights from my home airport to Florida. We like the service, and frankly, the seat pitch is better than we would find in standard coach for either American, Delta or United. Unlike yourself, I have been on several oversold flights with Southwest (which I welcome as I prefer to take the voucher and VDB). Southwest claimed that they won’t be overselling flights any more, I can’t confirm that this practice has actually stopped.
In regards to your comment stating that the point of traveling is to get there on time and safely, I would say, “yes, but…” that’s not the full picture. Applying that thought process, no one should really commute in a personal vehicle. If the point is just to get from point A to point B, a bus would do the trick – it’s cheaper, better for the environment, and provides you transportation in its simplest form. Some do take the bus or the train and there’s nothing wrong with that, but some prefer their own cars for convenience and comfort. But if the only purpose of travel for you is to get you from point A to point B, then consider Spirit or Allegiant. With the cost savings, you will still come out money ahead even after adding checked baggage fees.
In regards to the ancillary charges you mentioned (baggage, change fees, etc.) you’re right, Southwest leads the way unless you have status which nullifies these costs. But this where we differ. Southwest is cheaper than the competition just 35% of the time and more expensive than the competition 60% of the time (they were just as expensive as the competition 5% of the time). I have an upcoming post going into more detail on this, but that means that 60% of the time customers are that choose Southwest are choosing the more expensive airline to avoid fees. As long as those fees cost more than the Southwest premium you’re making a logical decision. But you would also have to use those benefits in lieu of paying for them on every flight to extract the value and for Southwest to still be a superior choice if based solely on the lack of these fees. Personally, I don’t check bags on domestic flights so for me United could charge $1000/bag and Southwest could give me unlimited free checked luggage and it wouldn’t provide any additional benefit or penalty to me.
Lastly, Southwest might be a good fit for you and your travel patterns, but their limited network simply doesn’t work for my preferences. I love their short, direct flights to Florida and some of the Caribbean, but often I choose to fly farther afield. Southwest not only doesn’t fly to my preferred destinations themselves, they don’t have any partners or alliances to help me get to the places I want to go (Europe, Asia, Middle East, South America). I think many fliers that are pursuing status that requires 100,000 miles/year would also find the Southwest network to lack in breadth and depth of destinations.
I live in Central Illinois, there is a 2-3 hour drive to get to any major airport to get a direct flight. Changing planes is more difficult for me because I have MS. I flew AA a few years ago and that turned into a 2 stop flight to get a decent deal and they were very rude when I got stuck in Phenix cause they overbooked and we’re targeting single passenger flyers to fly out the next day. I felt pressured because I told them I was handicapped and on my way to visit my grandmother. I have not used them since. So when I say point A to point B I am referring to none stop flights. Spirit and Allegiant might look cheaper but not as much as some might think. My husband hates them both due to no leg room. I’m short so it doesn’t bother me. The delays are the problem with Allegiant and O’Hara is the problem with Spirit. I have never left the country so I have no clue who to fly in that case
I was just matched as well to united 1k status … currently EXP with near similar, but less, AAdvantage numbers as yours for the first half of this year.
I am wondering about qualifying using Star Alliance partners/codeshares since the email says: “To remain a Premier 1K member through January 31, 2019, you will need to fly 35,000 Premier qualifying miles (PQM) or 40 Premier qualifying segments (PQS) on flights operated by United® or United Express®”
So if I book flights on SQ or others – will they count? Trying to find clarification …
@basededonnes – I invite others with specific knowledge to weigh in, but from my understanding, the answer is no. There was some language about ANA, Lufthansa, GOL and Copa codeshares with respect to GPUs that made me think perhaps those flights would qualify. However, based on how clear they are with “United or United Express” flights I wouldn’t try to qualify with anything but United or United Express. If my status dropped afterwards and I had to make a call to rectify it, I don’t think I would have a leg to stand on and could have potentially wasted a lot of time and money for nothing. In the old days I believe American only counted butt-in-seat miles though I can’t confirm that.
Another 1K has confirmed that premium cabins that earn PQMs at accelerated rates (150%, 200% or 300% of distance based on fare class) would qualify which has sent me off looking for cheap international tickets in cheap markets over long distances. I found fares from DC to Newark to Mumbai for just over $2000 that would get me to 32,000 PQMs in a short period, and that is more where I will look if I choose to proceed.
As a followup i just completed a MR: YVR-DEN-SFO-SIN-HKG-SFO in P and received 38k PQMs to complete my 1k challenge over a long weekend. Haven’t received any email but the app/site show the status:
I may have experienced most of UA equip (except 747). I liked the 1-2-1 on the HKG-SFO 77W the most. The 2-2-2 on the SFO-SIN wasn’t bad, however I prefer the privacy of the 1-2-1.
I visited most of the Star Alliance clubs that I could with the Gold Status. The SFO United Club was just packed. Really not fun. I walked over the SIN lounge and EVA lounge and they were closed mid-day until the next flights start to leave. I had a SFO-YVR leg that i dropped and booked a quick AS reward back to LA from SFO, and spent the time in the CX lounge – very nice.
i forked out $2,300 for the P fare after calculating the time and routes i’d have to spend/do over the next 3 mos. done and done. had a great trip
Flying to BKK won’t do you any good, the flights must be on UA metal and UA doesn’t fly to BKK.
The way to do this challenge (IMO) is two cheap business class flights to Asia (probably SIN), with the 2x PQM multiplier.
@Kacee – I addressed that in the comments but not in the post – you are 100% correct, I was looking at codeshares on JVs. And your assessment of SIN as a viable option is similar to what I will likely fly, though to Mumbai if the fare is still there when it is time to pull the trigger.
I am a 1K flying out of Denver and have given up trying to get upgraded with anything except $. Even that is not straightforward. As recently as yesterday, I tried to upgrade online from Denver to Albuquerque and got a message that it was not available. A quick call to United’s Web Support (800 396 1751) had me upgraded for $90.
@Malcolm – That’s a shame, though it’s a quasi-hub for United and I understand both the blessing and the curse of living in a hub city. You have direct flights everywhere on your airline, but unfortunately, it’s lots of other people’s airline in those cities too so the upgrades just aren’t a lock.
As a 1K MM, the RPU and GPU’s are a joke at best. Every year they all expire unused, as they never clear.
As far a CPU’s go, I’m at about 35%. I fly a combination of major routes and smaller routes.
I am about to RT LAX-BOS twice in 2 days to keep my 1K. Hope that I get an upgrade, but I’m not holding my breath.
I haven’t had to apply an RPU or GPU yet so I can’t comment on that aspect. CPUs for me at the end of this year is 7/9.
Im a DL Diamond and I also was matched to 1K. I already had a trip planned to Hawaii and a few domestic trips and now I’m considering flying IAH-LAX-SIN for $750 RT. That will get me over the 35K limit. Of course, I’m dreading having to sit in coach for 15 hours but since UA is cancelling LAX-SIN, I may get lucky for an empty row. Right now, those flights in the next few weeks look very empty. Since this is through all of 2019 and my partner gets my status as well as a 1MM, I think it’s a no brainer.
Look up “equivocate” and make some corrections 🙂
Edited, thank you for bringing it to my attention.