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Old Jun 15, 05, 12:21 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Frustrated trying to find ANY MRs on UA from DEN

I got very interested in MRs when I started reading this forum over a year ago. I read the stickies, mastered routing tables, played with ita, etc etc.

But I have never been able to successfully find a bookable UA MR from DEN at less than 4 cpm. The recent posts by VPescado inspired me to try again... but I just don't seem cut out for this.

I'm looking for a classic MR from DEN in July; classic meaning:

1. I'll go anywhere, at any times; I just want EQMs
2. I want to be flying as much as possible (no hotels, if can be avoided)
returning in 24-36 hours.
3. I want to get EQMs on UA/UX/TED (or if need be, codeshares, tho
then I don't get miles toward 500-mile upgrade certs)
4. I want to minimize cpm, in particular < 4 cpm

I realize summer is working against me here, but I'll have a new baby in August, so it has to be now. I'd like to get as many miles as possible for between $200 and $500. And, since this would be my first MR, I'd like the routing to be as ridiculous as possible.

I've spent at least 30 hours on this with zero success. The closest I've come was yesterday when I found DEN-PIT-IND-CLT-TPA-IAD-IND-CLT-DEN for $196, Jul 12/13 (5946 miles, 3.3 cpm); this was on ITA and I couldn't book it anywhere (ual.com, orbitz, etc). The problem seemed to stem from the fact that ual.com wasn't finding all the US codeshares and/or inventory in the fare bucket sold out as I tried to book.

Dreammaps no longer shows a cheap DEN-TPA fare for UA, so now I'm stuck with a higher fare to MCO or SFO (the latter just went on sale last night). It's possible to do an SFO trip with the usual dance around PSP, LAX, LAS, SBA, for extra miles, but the cpm on all the itineraries I could find were more like 5.5 cpm. Yuk.

I'm pretty frustrated at being so bad at this after having spent so much time reading. Maybe someone with more experience could advise? (Advice like: stop living in DEN isn't helpful )

john//
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Old Jun 15, 05, 12:30 pm   #2
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If you can take your complete ITA itinerary to a travel agent, it is quite possible that it could be booked. You'd be out the booking fee, but I've found that sometimes TAs have discounts that can offset the fee. A complicated MR is going to be nearly impossible to book on-line anyway so you'd be paying a booking fee even if making a call to UA reservations. Good luck!
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Old Jun 15, 05, 12:44 pm   #3
 
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when you price out these MRs
do you go from segment to segment?
like....den-psp-lax-las-sfo?
or just den-sfo
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Old Jun 15, 05, 1:28 pm   #4
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It's just the simple fact that DEN is a UA fortress hub. They control about 70-80% (can't remember the correct percentage) of the flights here. If a competitor introduces a very low fare in/out of DEN, UA strikes back by lowering the fare of a comparable route to/from the competitor's hub. From my observations, it's very rare for UA to match competitor fare sales in/out of DEN (with the more common exception being F9).
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Old Jun 15, 05, 2:24 pm   #5
 
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As a local resident, I would agree that COS/DEN runs are few and far between. However, with the right amount of patience and good eye, you can usually snag something. I've also been keeping my eye out for a July MR on UA -- but as you know, with summer airfares, the chances of that happening are slim.

I recently booked a $250 fare to San Juan, Puerto Rico for July travel. It's semi-MR, semi-sit-on-the beach. The trip will net me about 6,900 EQMs (at a cpm of 3.6). Unfortunately, that fare is no longer around.

Columbus, OH (CMH) usually has decent fares from COS; and you get a pretty good routing through Texas; such COS-DEN-IAH (or DFW) -ORD-CMH and back. I don't have time to run dates for you right now, but you can look into that.

Sometimes United.com takes some finaggling to get it to give you the ITA routing. You may have to bite the bullet and just call. Some of the agents I have talked to actually enjoy helping me book runs!
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Old Jun 15, 05, 2:36 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fzwinter
If you can take your complete ITA itinerary to a travel agent, it is quite possible that it could be booked. You'd be out the booking fee, but I've found that sometimes TAs have discounts that can offset the fee. A complicated MR is going to be nearly impossible to book on-line anyway so you'd be paying a booking fee even if making a call to UA reservations. Good luck!
My favorite TA charges $26. I have no idea if that's hefty or not since I use no one else (and this is for work-related travel, so it's mandatory to use them).

I suppose that would be acceptable. However, with 8 segments, the fare was gone within a few hours (probably due to the fare bucket filling on 1 of the segments). I think it would take a few hours to get the booking because of its complexity and the busyness of my TA.

Ah well...

john//
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Old Jun 15, 05, 2:41 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haddon90
when you price out these MRs
do you go from segment to segment?
like....den-psp-lax-las-sfo?
or just den-sfo
When I price them, it's just DEN-SFO to get the fare. Then I get the routing and see how much finagling I can do. When I try and book I of course need to explicitly enter each segment and hope the inventory is there and the flight exists and the schedule works out.

As a professor of computer science, I'm really tempted to write software to automate all of this: it wouldn't be that hard to write a program to specifically search for MRs under given parameters, but I figure as soon as someone makes this automated, the airlines will shut it down (by making the information, such as routings, impossible to get for free).

john//
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Old Jun 15, 05, 6:13 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrblack
When I price them, it's just DEN-SFO to get the fare. Then I get the routing and see how much finagling I can do. When I try and book I of course need to explicitly enter each segment and hope the inventory is there and the flight exists and the schedule works out.

As a professor of computer science, I'm really tempted to write software to automate all of this: it wouldn't be that hard to write a program to specifically search for MRs under given parameters, but I figure as soon as someone makes this automated, the airlines will shut it down (by making the information, such as routings, impossible to get for free).

john//
interesting. i'm flying was-tys at the end of the month, and i found someone that would be 2,500 EQMs on UA for like $280. not bad since there isn't much i can do going iad-tys that would be interesting.
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Old Jun 15, 05, 6:29 pm   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haddon90
interesting. i'm flying was-tys at the end of the month, and i found someone that would be 2,500 EQMs on UA for like $280. not bad since there isn't much i can do going iad-tys that would be interesting.
Yikes - that's about ten cents per EQM. Might be OK if you have to be there anyway but that won't get you any MR Hall of Fame votes!
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Old Jun 15, 05, 11:10 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyP
As a local resident, I would agree that COS/DEN runs are few and far between.

Columbus, OH (CMH) usually has decent fares from COS; and you get a pretty good routing through Texas; such COS-DEN-IAH (or DFW) -ORD-CMH and back.
JohnnyP: I will second that!

There have been no cost effective runs available out of COS for a number of months. For instance, lowest base fare COS-CMH on UA now is $231, or approximately $50 higher than it was six or so months ago. My other MR standby, COS-RDU, is up over $240.

My most recent run, taken last month, was DEN-RDU, and managed to book all eight flights for it on UA, no US!
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Old Jun 16, 05, 5:37 am   #11
 
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I would think you would need to go international so that "DEN" is not as big a factor.
You want to find low fares from LAX or SFO that the DEN segment is a cheap add on.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 10:49 am   #12
 
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UA (US metal) DEN-PHL-SJU $304 all in

I too have trouble getting good MR's out of DEN.
I just noticed a "fair" run to San Juan
$304 all in for 6240 EQM = 4.95 cents per EQM
Fare code SRONX1 looks like you could leave on a Wednesday and back on Monday. I tried Aug 10 to Aug 15 th and almost grabbed it- WORK keeps interferring with my MR's

Might be a fun weekend in Caribbean for somebody
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Old Jun 17, 05, 11:25 am   #13
 
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I would start by checking out Frontier's web site for where they have sale fares. I expect that UA matches these.

Last edited by osxanalyst; Jun 17, 05 at 11:31 am.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 11:30 am   #14
 
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Next, go here: http://www.homezonebc.com/fares/index.html

For example, there's a DEN-MKE fare of $183 valid 30-Jun thru Jul 9. It allows four transfers each way, so you might be able to do something like:

DEN-IAD-SFO-ORD-MKE

You get the idea. Find the fare, and then play with the route.

Last edited by osxanalyst; Jun 17, 05 at 11:45 am.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 11:38 am   #15
 
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Going International

Quote:
Originally Posted by yogi
I would think you would need to go international so that "DEN" is not as big a factor.
You want to find low fares from LAX or SFO that the DEN segment is a cheap add on.
There is currently a reasonable fare to SFO from DEN (under $200) that could be stretched with a local run around SFO (PSP, LAS, LAX, SNA, SBA, BFL, etc) for getting a few extra 500 mile hops. But I've never tried to do an international MR, and from what (little) I know, the rules change significantly: there are max mileage limitations, for example, right? And summer fares even from SFO are going be lousy.

Also, there goes any chance of doing the MR in < 36 hrs, as I'd been hoping.
Ah well.

john//
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