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The Mid-Year Requalify... now what?!?

The Mid-Year Requalify... now what?!?

Old Jun 2, 08, 9:57 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Programs: AC SE 1MM, Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium Elite
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The Mid-Year Requalify... now what?!?

Hi all -

I seem to fall into the same trap every year... I've already requalified for Elite for next year, sitting at 39k miles as we speak (or I speak I suppose

I'm pretty much a NA-only flyer, maybe a trip to APAC or EMEA before year end, but definitely not one to bank on. I do a lot of YYZ-West Coast, but not weekly (Sales, not Consulting) so my schedule is variable.

My mid-season options:
1. Get creative with routing, make all west coast adventures into MR-type flights, and try for SE. 40K now (5 months) is 8K per month, so ~100k isn't out of the question if I keep it up.

2. Cut my losses on SE, and start to collect elsewhere... AA being the best bet given my travel.

Two issues I see: a) from YYZ, AA doesn't provide the options that AC does (obvious) and b) I tend to zero out my AE account with annual trips to APAC/EMEA so if I dilute my account more, I could miss out of AE tickets (or other carrier award tickets).

3. suck it up, assume I will be Elite for life, and continue to be envious of everyone else's shiny black SE tags


It's too bad there isn't a 65k-75k threshold for a status level, 35k seems 'easy' to me each year, but 100k is near impossible...

anyone have this same issue each year, and if so, what do you do about it?

Safe Travels,

T.
AskTravis is offline  
Old Jun 2, 08, 10:06 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Originally Posted by AskTravis View Post
continue to be envious of everyone else's shiny black SE tags
Sounds like you need to hit SE at least once to see if it was worth it for you. With the expected economic/airline downturn this year could be your last chance!
tomvancouver is offline  
Old Jun 2, 08, 10:15 am
  #3  
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This is a pretty common situation given the gap between E and SE...and few of us would want to see AC raise the E qualification to 50K as is the case with most other carriers for their mid-tier elite status. For a NAmerican traveler, SE is pretty tough to hit unless you are commuting across the country every other week, or doing lots of short hops and thus earn it by the seat of your pants with segments.

If you do travel through the US, while AA would be a natural to build up status and a ONEWORLD presence, and you could apply for the Gold or Platinum Challenge to fast track yourself to elite. (See the AA forum for details, but basically once you register you have 90-days to fly 1/4 of the normally required miles for that given tier you select. And if you wait until after July to register, your new status continues through 2009/10 even if you don't meet the normal renewal criteria this year.)

Then again, you could consider opening a UA MP account and at least earn its base elite tier, Premier. The benefit is that having elite status in UA -- you'd have to fly 25K in status miles, or EQMs -- is that you get seating in its Y+ section of the coach cabin, thus having another 3" or so of leg room and quite often an empty centre seat if the flight isn't full. Some feel Y+ is worth having status for, or even buying the package UA offers (about $300 a year) for unlimited seating, rather than the per flight supplement you can buy at the airport at check-in.

With US programs, you earn domestic upgrade credits (4x500 miles) for every 10K of status miles you earn that can be used once you're an elite for upgrading on flights within NAmerica from just about any fare. And while you may not want to use your miles in these programs for flights, you can use them for upgrading paid flights on the respective carrier. Not to mention base tier elites earn 25% mileage bonus, mid-elites 50% and top tier 100% which helps make the redeemable miles grow (though this bonus does not apply to status miles).

If you are interested in UA, consider posting on Coupon Connection asking for a "preview" Premier elite status nomination. Each year, a MP member who crosses the 30K EQM mark can nominate a non-elite MP member for this Premier status. You then get all the elite benefits that go with that tier and the member also earns a credit based on the miles you earn in the program during your first year. Like the AA challenge, if you get this after July your elite membership is good through 2009/10 and not just to the end of the current benefit year. (Though I believe many of the US programs are moving next year to a benefit year that coincides with the calendar year, now starting in January rather than March.)

So depends upon your travel pattern for the balance of the year. But you're not the only one who faces this conundrum. Most do cross the 40K AE line to pick up the pair of SWUs if they feel they'll need them.
Shareholder is offline  
Old Jun 2, 08, 10:22 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: YYZ
Posts: 1,099
In a some-what similar situation

Having already re-qualified for E with 39k..not sure if I should give it a go to push for SE.

Trips I have planned-

YYZ to SYD/AKL in fall. Was going to try and use points to go in J but could play and try to use SSWU's. Downside is it is going to be a long flight if cant use em!

YYZ to Stokholm - should be a provided J for work

YYZ to Barcelona - this trip is an iffy and would be on my own dime.

probably 2 trips YYZ to YEG..usually buy Tango but could go Tango plus if need be.

That totals around - 75k in my estimates. Still a far way from 100K. Any thoughts??

One option would be to get a RTW and combine my Barcelona and SYD trip...
llbean is offline  
Old Jun 2, 08, 4:25 pm
  #5  
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Consider a mileage run if necessary to cross the SE threshold. That's what I did last year when I saw I was in sight of SE for the first time. Yes, you will be called a "bottom feeder" for doing a low cost mileage run, but tough! I got it, and I am very pleased with it. I loved it when my SO and I decided to do a spur of the moment trip to Florida in March, and booked 2 classic tickets at 25K each on 10 days notice. ^^^

Plus, you will earn 100% bonus miles on all AC metal instead of 50%.
margarita girl is online now  
Old Jun 2, 08, 5:02 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
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what kind of mileage run did you do?
llbean is offline  
Old Jun 2, 08, 5:57 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Originally Posted by llbean View Post
what kind of mileage run did you do?
MG can share her fun routings ex-BUF

Another option (fewer longer flights vs. many shorter) is flying to SYD through SIN - that's what I did last year (YYZ-LAX-SIN-SYD r/t) OR - fly to LHR first and buy a LHR-SYD roundtrip... it's about the same price (or even less) than ex-YYZ...

If you have a lot of miles SE will definitely be worth it for the redemption options - and an extra 50% bonus!
mikeyyz is offline  
Old Jun 2, 08, 6:42 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Originally Posted by AskTravis View Post
I do a lot of YYZ-West Coast, but not weekly (Sales, not Consulting) so my schedule is variable.
Assuming West Coast is US and not Canada, I'd go for either the AA or UA status. Depends on which network you'd use more often.

I'm in a similar situation every year (70K+ Q miles/yr). Having done the math, I figure another 30K Q miles miles would run me in the vicinity of ~$2K+. However, the extra 35K bonus miles from SE (assuming I maintain my normal 70K+ Q miles pattern), isn't worth the $2K IMO.

You'll have to do your math and see if it makes sense to you.
Braindrain is offline  
Old Jun 2, 08, 7:10 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Originally Posted by AskTravis View Post
My mid-season options:
1. Get creative with routing, make all west coast adventures into MR-type flights, and try for SE. 40K now (5 months) is 8K per month, so ~100k isn't out of the question if I keep it up.

2. Cut my losses on SE, and start to collect elsewhere... AA being the best bet given my travel.

Two issues I see: a) from YYZ, AA doesn't provide the options that AC does (obvious) and b) I tend to zero out my AE account with annual trips to APAC/EMEA so if I dilute my account more, I could miss out of AE tickets (or other carrier award tickets).

3. suck it up, assume I will be Elite for life, and continue to be envious of everyone else's shiny black SE tags


You, and only you, can decide what is SE worth to YOU.
If it is shiny black tags and you are willing to pay money and time to get them, then obviously it is worth it to you.
If you have a largish AP balance and want to make good use of IKK, then SE is well worth it.
Do you often have tight connections or travel patterns that could be helped by the concierge service?
Do you travel on T+ fares that could be more readily upgraded as an SE as opposed to E?

SE has a different value to each and everyone of us, the value can change depending on time and circumstance. I will likely reach SE this year, the perk most important to me will be IKK. I do not see my self using the concierge service. In order to take advantage of IKK, you need the time and right circumstance to be able to use it.

You need to weigh all the SE perks against mid tier perks of another carrier, will those perks outweigh SE vs E on AC.

The ideal for me would be E or SE on AC and Gold Elite on NZ, not likely to happen anytime soon, so I will stick to E or SE on AC.
taupo is offline  
Old Jun 2, 08, 7:14 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
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what would you consider a large balance to justify the urge for SE?
llbean is offline  
Old Jun 2, 08, 7:50 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by llbean View Post
what would you consider a large balance to justify the urge for SE?
Again, a decision based on personal circumstance, no different to what constitutes a large net worth, varies depending on who you ask.

If you were a couple who had the time and money to travel often in one year period, then you would want a balance large enough to do all the trips you want. Are taking numerous trips within contiguous NA, Europe, Asia, South Pacific?

I would look to the year ahead, will you have time and money to enjoy the IKK. Others use the IKK so their spouse can travel with them on business trips.

If you need to spend time and money MRing to get SE, you really need to examine how you are going to use the status, then decide if it is worthwhile.
taupo is offline  
Old Jun 2, 08, 9:29 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by llbean View Post
what kind of mileage run did you do?
Last year, I got my SE based on segments rather than miles, so that's what I was going for.

I did BUF-IAD-ORD-MLI-DEN-ONT-SFO-ORD-MDT-IAD-BUF for $279, 7090 status miles and 10 segments.

Also booked (but ended up cancelling due to snow storm, and I didn't need the miles/segments after all) BUF-IAD-DFW-DEN-LAS-SFO-PHL-IAD-BUF for $200, 6957 status miles, 8 segments.

This year, I booked ORD-YVR-YYZ-GRU-MEX all in biz class on AC for $480. AC ended up cancelling the tickets 3 weeks before my flight, but refunded the money and gave me the status miles (20K miles). (I did incur some other costs that were not refundable, so it wasn't all a gift.)

I am also doing YYZ-YVR-KIX-YVR-YYZ for $580 which should generate 14K status miles (and an equivalent number of non-status miles). As it turns out, I could probably have skipped this MR, but now I'll be able to relax knowing I don't have to sweat an MR for the end of the year.

I will get my SE based on miles this year rather than segments. Most of my business travel is short haul North America, so this was quite a feat. When possible and when there is no cost penalty, I will take the long route to get to a destination. For example, instead of flying YYZ-IAH, I will fly YYZ-DEN-IAH for the exact same money.

There is a long thread that was started today in the MR forum on a business class fare on UA from various points in the US to CDG, MOW, AMS, TXL, BRU, DEL for around $1900. If I needed the miles, I would probably try to do one of those.
margarita girl is online now  
Old Jun 2, 08, 10:20 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: AC SE, SPG Lifetime Plat, ACMM
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I'd suggest the OP consider seriously going for SE. Even now the benefits are worth it. I just requalified for SE ( based on miles) and will continue to collect on AP as the 100% bonus makes it that much more attractive. I have KF ( SQ) for the PPS but don't collect miles there. Redemption is still easy as SE.
ac777 is offline  
Old Jun 3, 08, 2:50 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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I'm in the same boat...my typical annual flying would be 70K miles and about 75-80 segments...about 80% of my travels are within Canada.

My strategy is virtually every trip is a mini MR by adding in a single segment where I can.

I'm based in YYZ

When I go to YEG, I connect in YYC
When I go to YYC, I connect in YEG
When I go to YWG, I connect in YUL/YOW
When I go to YHZ, I connect in YUL

This strategy has help me make 95-100 segments the last 3 years, and I'm on track for it again this year.

The only cost to me is getting up 1-2 hours earlier about 10-15 times per year. My only rule is I'll never book an extra segment that gets me home later on a Friday (family time). There's no additional cost to my employer, and I work in the lounges where ever I am.

To boot, I usually pick up between 5-15,000 extra AP miles each year due to IROPS and delayed baggage due to the connections....I think my bags were delayed about 5-6 times last year. In most case I landed in YYZ at 4-5PM, my bags were delivered to my house before mid-night...I'm use to it now.
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