MilesBuzz! - Should I switch from UA to US Air for future miles?
Jun 17, 12, 12:37 am
PHL is a US Air hub; thus far I've been putting my miles on United, but I'm finding most flights I end up taking are US Air, especially to SFO which I'll be doing moderately often.
I probably have gotten 50k miles this year on UA Mileage Plus and am about to fly Air Canada to Vancouver (5 of us), another ~25k. I'll likely be going to Atlanta later this year (5 family members again). Should I switch to US Air? Now, or after I get enough for Star Alliance Silver/Gold/Platinum for next year?
Also, should my wife and I put all our miles on one or split? We usually travel together with the kids on business; once in a while I may fly alone; my wife may very rarely travel alone. (We work for the same company. )
We're also thinking of signing up for US Air's or UA's credit cards both for miles and for perks.
After asking in the UA miles forum, I realize I currently have ~11K qualifying miles, since it's per-person; you can't have one person take all the miles from a family flight. This next trip will get me to ~16K, and I'm going to Atlanta in the fall (1000? 1500?) So I might have trouble making Silver at all. I assume miles transferred from children wouldn't count towards access.
Jun 17, 12, 3:42 am
Miles are on a per-person basis, so everyone in your family needs their own account. Transferring miles requires co-pays that can be very expensive. Only redeemable miles can be transferred, not status miles. However, you can book tickets for other people using your miles.
Both US and UA require 25K to hit Silver elite status, and it looks like you'll hit 17K total after your Vancouver/ATL trips, so you'll be pretty short for the lowest elite status. That being said, many of the lower tier elite status benefits can be replaced by holding the airline's credit card.
The UA card recently had a 55K signup bonus (on first purchase) if you already had miles in your account. It's free for the first year and is a great card to boost your UA mileage balance (redeemable miles, not the status miles).
If you fly US a lot, having their credit card would be a good idea as well. They give 40K US miles on first purchase and free for the first year, but you also get 2 $99 companion tickets which could be useful for you in PHL as well as a club day pass. After the first year, it's $89/year, but you also get 10K miles each year + another round of companion tickets + club passes. Some of the benefits include a 5K mile discount on US Airways award tickets (so you could get a domestic roundtrip for 20K miles) as well as priority check-in/boarding.
One thing to note is that if you fly US a lot, neither of these cards will give you free baggage on US. The UA card gives you 1 free bag only on United while the US card does not give free baggage. But I don't know how important that is for you ...
Frankly, I find United's mileage program to be more flexible than US Airways. Both of them have access to each other's and every other Star Alliance partners saver award availability, but United allows one-way trips (which US Airways doesn't) and United also allows you to book partner awards online (US requires you to call in and the phone booking fee can be upwards of $50). I would keep earning miles in UA's program, especially if you're not going to hit the 25K level with US.
Thanks! That is really helpful; sounds like with our travel levels (4-6 per year, mostly across the continent but with some to Europe, perhaps a trip to New Zealand in the next year) the CC cards make a lot of sense, and keeping all the miles in UA doesn't have many minuses.
Jun 17, 12, 8:21 am
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8530/188.8.131.520 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)
If obtaining status for things like free checked baggage, priority boarding, and lounge access are important to you, consider crediting your UA/US flights to Aegean. Very low thresholds for Star Alliance elite-status qualification. But note that deeply-discounted fares on UA and some other carriers earn less 100% mileage in Aegean's program. (I believe that all published US fares earn 100% mileage on Aegean.)
For more information, see the thread in the FT Aegean forum.