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Old Oct 11, 01, 11:39 am   #1
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Is Platinum Medallion Status Worth it?

Since the SkyMiles program began, I have been PM, and mostly on my own money. I am also a MM (1.3 flown miles). It looks like I won't make it on my own. I need about 40k to reach PM again if I stop flying today. But I'm really not sure how much I will fly next year, since I fly AS a lot now when I got to my BUR area home.

I know I drop from unlimited upgrades to only 8?? segment upgrade points. And I know it will be much harder to get a upgrade (In 5+ years, I have sat in coach maybe 4 times).

Unfortunately, COMAIR strike affected me on 5 roundtrips, but DL said I don't live in one of the cities and so they wouldn't renew my status even though they see I fly through CVG regularly.

With the current double miles promotion, all that I would need to do are 2 coach RT's to Europe and I would have my status. I'm wondering if it is really worth spending the approximately $1000 this would cost.

I also have more than 600,000 unused miles.

My questions are this:

1. Is it worth it to do mileage runs? (I don't relish coach flights to Europe and M fares are over $1000 each).
2. What has been the experience of those who have dropped from PM to GM?


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Old Oct 11, 01, 11:57 am   #2
 
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Jeffreyt - one thing to consider is your use of the CRC's. That is worth several hundred dollars per year and is free to PM but not GM. If you use them that $1,000 you have to spend would be mitigated to some degree by the free CRC access. Just a thought.
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Old Oct 11, 01, 11:58 am   #3
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I've been "stuck"on gold, but could reach platinum with the same kind of expenditure.Without Intl. flights, I don't see the value. I ,by booking carefully,almost always can upgrade the non-LU'ser fares.What really bothers me,though, is how Delta could so easily "turn" on one of their better clients.
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Old Oct 11, 01, 11:59 am   #4
 
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jeffreyt - another thought. If you drop to GM and continue to heavily fly Delta, you may end up paying (ugh!)for some upgrades or worse yet, find yourself in what has to be the industry's worst coach seat.

[This message has been edited by bnaboy (edited 10-11-2001).]
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Old Oct 11, 01, 12:27 pm   #5
 
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jeffreyt, when I was GM, I had about a 85% upgrade rate flying out of ATL.
Think about the $$ you will spend out of your own pocket next year for upgradeable seats when you end up not clearing the list and you will probable find that the $1000 investment will be well worth it.
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Old Oct 11, 01, 1:36 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by jeffreyt:
With the current double miles promotion, all that I would need to do are 2 coach RT's to Europe and I would have my status. I'm wondering if it is really worth spending the approximately $1000 this would cost. </font>
Jeffrey, You are overestimating what it will take to get the 40K that you need to reach PM. The way that I figure it, you can reach the status with one domestic trip and one to Europe, and you can do so for under $700.

Try this: SEA-DFW-JFK-FCO-JFK-DFW-SEA for $540.46. Total BASE miles is 29,312 because of doubling. I priced this to give you two or three days in Rome, so not a pure mileage run. Dates I used are departing just after midnight on 10/31 or 11/1 with a return 11/4 (Sun). Then, to get those remaining miles you need, you do a SEA-DFW-ATL-MCO-DFW-SEA run the following weekend for $145.25. After doubling you get 11,070 BASE. You can have more time in MCO if you go SEA-ATL-MCO-DFW-SEA, but you only get 10,650 base which will leave you with 39,962 when added to your FCO trip. Anyhow, the point is that you are only spending under $700 and you are doing one of the trips domestic. If you want to get creative, you can replace the FCO trip with SEA-SLC-JFK-IST-JFK-SLC-SEA. This one costs $583.20 and gives 1,464 more BASE miles than FCO.

When you add in your PM doubling and 2K for buying the trips online as well as 2x dollars spend on your DL Amex, you are looking at nearly 64,000 miles for about $700. When you factor in free CRC membership for another year, you can take off the GM CRC rate ($250?) to bring the value even higher. Also, if you qualify for "Rake in the miles," things look even sweeter.

The real downside? Two weekends spent in DL coach. Don't you wish you could just buy the flights and get the credit without flying them? Of course, I gave you the luxury of a few days in Rome or Istanbul, so that is not bad.

One final idea. If your time is worth more than your money, you can take care of the 40K in one fell swoop with a run to BOM. No matter how you cut it, the roundtrip during the double base miles promo will yield the 40K you need. You have to try lots of combos to find a decent fare. Most of what I come up with is $1300, but I got one under $900.

[This message has been edited by andymo99 (edited 10-11-2001).]
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Old Oct 11, 01, 2:10 pm   #7
 
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How valuable is another year of PM to you if you factor in the benefits? If you're not going to fly DL that much, and given your route structure, is it really worth the extra time and money to make PM? PMUs might make a difference if you travel overseas, maybe not. With 600K miles banked, if a CRC is worth it, you can use miles to get the membership. As a GM, in the past couple of years my upgrade success has been about 90% (mostly transcon), and like everyone else I lose lots of 800 segments every year.
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Old Oct 11, 01, 2:30 pm   #8
 
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When I was GM and talking to others, 60-80% seems a good number for upgrades, if you are one of those that calls at EXACTLY 72 hours. If you normally plan your trips over the 72 hour period, being able to request right then is really nice.

# of 800's or domestic upgrade certs is no big deal. Intl would be.

And I know that once in awhile the agent does take better care of me due to PM, though there are also times I am treated as average scum.
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Old Oct 11, 01, 2:30 pm   #9
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LexPax and I just bought tix LEX-ATH which should put us over the top for PM next year. When we factored in the CRC memberships we currently pay for, we decided it was worth it. Means a long trip in steerage, but we figure it will repay us next year.

FWIW, as Golds, we have about an 85% upgrade rate, maybe a little better. We've never had to buy 800MSUs, although I have run mine down to the last one or two now and then. But besides the CRC m'ships, we decided to go for Platinum based on being able to upgrade many of our flights at time of ticket purchase. We don't much care for the upgrade lottery, and hope that we'll have to play it a lot less frequently as PMs.

Andymo - we also looked at IST and Japan for our "status run". NRT, for instance, gave us each about 58,000 miles on a $680 ticket. Finally decided that if we only had 3.5 days at our destination, we'd go somewhere we were at least somewhat familiar with, to minimize familiarization time.

I'm undecided about just buying the tix and not flying. Guess the answer is, Sure, if it's just us and our FT friends who can do it! ;-&gt; Actually, we went to ATH a couple of years ago in coach, and lucked out. We flew through ATL, and the plane was practically empty. The food was good - the only "negative" was that I got to yakking with one of the FAs, and got a lot less sleep in my 5 seat across "bed" than I'd been planning on. I don't expect such a nice flight again, but one can always hope.
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Old Oct 11, 01, 2:34 pm   #10
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Go for PM. Now you're so close, and it's so easy to get.
Make your decision about switching early next year and enjoy free CRC access, your domestic upgrades and highest avaiability for the free tix in the meantime...

Plus, if you do the intl mileage run, try to get a cheapo consolidator fare as you will sit in coach anyways. This keeps down the costs...
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Old Oct 11, 01, 3:15 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by GG:
Andymo - we also looked at IST and Japan for our "status run". NRT, for instance, gave us each about 58,000 miles on a $680 ticket. Finally decided that if we only had 3.5 days at our destination, we'd go somewhere we were at least somewhat familiar with, to minimize familiarization time</font>
Makes sense. Of course from a mileage standpoint, NRT is not as attractive for jeffrey, who is travelling from the left coast, as it is for us in LEX and BOS. For jeffrey, IST and ATH, etc, are farther than NRT.
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Old Oct 11, 01, 3:47 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by GG:


I'm undecided about just buying the tix and not flying. Guess the answer is, Sure, if it's just us and our FT friends who can do it! ;-&gt; Actually, we went to ATH a couple of years ago in coach, and lucked out. We flew through ATL, and the plane was practically empty. The food was good - the only "negative" was that I got to yakking with one of the FAs, and got a lot less sleep in my 5 seat across "bed" than I'd been planning on. I don't expect such a nice flight again, but one can always hope.
</font>
This may be the dumb question of the day - but can you buy the ticket and not go and still get the miles. I think I know that the answer is no. Otherwise I'd buy 10 of those 100 Las Vegas fares and make myself a platnum medallion right away.

I'm still a rookie at all this, sorry.
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Old Oct 11, 01, 3:56 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by spartanjames:
This may be the dumb question of the day - but can you buy the ticket and not go and still get the miles. I think I know that the answer is no. Otherwise I'd buy 10 of those 100 Las Vegas fares and make myself a platnum medallion right away.

I'm still a rookie at all this, sorry.
</font>
Nope. Checking in won't even do it. You actually have to take the flight, and if you only take 1 leg of the flight, you only get credit for 1 leg. Some people have gone through the boarding door and then gotten off the plane, but the airlines get really pissed at that if they discover it. And, in today's security-conscious environment, you could expect a visit from the FBI if you got onto a plane and then got off without taking the flight.
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Old Oct 11, 01, 5:54 pm   #14
 
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GG-

When are you guys heading to Athens? I'm sorely considering a run myself, especially since I "earned" $600 in bump vouchers two weekends ago...


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Old Oct 11, 01, 6:35 pm   #15
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This is great feedback. Many thanks to andymo99 et al for the ideas.

Let's say I decided to do a turnaround in a foreign airport, like FCO or BOM.

Would I have to go through customs?
Where could I checkin for my return flight?
How much time should I allow?
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