Is basic MVP worth a status run?

Old Nov 4, 15, 8:07 am
  #1  
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Is basic MVP worth a status run?

Hi all.

I'm about 6600 miles or so from 20k on Alaska metal which is MVP status.

I live in SAN and a SAN-SEA-BOS r/t would put me over the top.

I'm United Gold already this year.

We use Alaska for vacation flying since they have so many great routes from SAN and LAX.

I status run would cost about $500 or so. Worth it?

Thanks
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Old Nov 4, 15, 8:32 am
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How much would you be looking at in checked luggage charges for next year, assuming you don't have the AS BofA card? (If you do that might change the calculus.)

The RDM bonus for MVP on 20k travel is 10,000 miles, which is maybe $150-200 in value.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 8:45 am
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
How much would you be looking at in checked luggage charges for next year, assuming you don't have the AS BofA card? (If you do that might change the calculus.)

The RDM bonus for MVP on 20k travel is 10,000 miles, which is maybe $150-200 in value.
I've got the Alaska card.

I have a flight on hold for $388 r/t. 7060 miles total.

Does lower tier ever get upgraded?

A Silver on United is almost never. Heck I'm Gold and it's rare.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 8:46 am
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It really depends on how much you fly. I have recenly made gold but for a number of years was at the MVP level. I enjoyed free baggage for the family, the plus seating, and an occassional upgrade. If you are just making a couple of family thips then it is probably not worth $500. If you are going to make a few family trips plus fly yourself for work then it may be worth it.

In my experience I would say as an MVP I get upgraded about 20% of the time. This is mostly of factor of where/when I am flying. Transcons are tough but it has happened for me, up and down the west coast is more frequent.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by buzglyd View Post
Does lower tier ever get upgraded?
It happens to me as an MVP maybe 25-50% of the time.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 9:01 am
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Yes. SAN-BOS is one of the easier upgrades in the system. My entire MVP qualification is based on the number of BOS-SAN trips I take in a year (family on the west coast). For me, I'd say MVP has been totally worth maintaining. PDX and SEA have not been upgrades for me so far, but booking far enough out you can get row 6 which I really like. The big benefit that gets overlooked is the elite # to call when you have issues. It's nice to not hold for very long when you need something fixed asap.

For me, AS MVP replaced US Silver as the best treatment for bottom tier elites.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 9:05 am
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Originally Posted by jsguyrus View Post
It really depends on how much you fly. I have recenly made gold but for a number of years was at the MVP level. I enjoyed free baggage for the family, the plus seating, and an occassional upgrade. If you are just making a couple of family thips then it is probably not worth $500. If you are going to make a few family trips plus fly yourself for work then it may be worth it.

In my experience I would say as an MVP I get upgraded about 20% of the time. This is mostly of factor of where/when I am flying. Transcons are tough but it has happened for me, up and down the west coast is more frequent.
I appreciate the input.

Most of my business flying is transcon and will be on United. I know that's not a partner of Alaska but I'm almost a million miler and need to get over the hump so my wife and I are gold for life.

I guess I'll never know unless I try. I had a small amount of wallet funds which brought the total price of the ticket to $388. I usually spend the $50 to get the bulkhead seat and drink and have spent the $125 or whatever for First.

It might be worth it. Or it might be a push!
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Old Nov 4, 15, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by buzglyd View Post
I guess I'll never know unless I try. I had a small amount of wallet funds which brought the total price of the ticket to $388. I usually spend the $50 to get the bulkhead seat and drink and have spent the $125 or whatever for First.

It might be worth it. Or it might be a push!
I personally would probably not spend $500 on a pure status run for MVP. Those $500 would buy you a few upgrades or preferred seats next year when it matters. If I could turn the run into a weekend getaway of sorts, then yes, I would consider it.

My wife is MVP and her upgrade percentage is about what others describe. I will drop to MVP next year (unless I spend > $500 on MRs to reach Gold, but that seems unlikely considering my schedule.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 9:52 am
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Originally Posted by buzglyd View Post
I usually spend the $50 to get the bulkhead seat and drink and have spent the $125 or whatever for First.
Any flight that gives you the opportunity to upgrade for cash at check-in is one that should upgrade for free for MVP. If you're seeing the cash upgrades with any regularity, that's a good sign for your routes.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 10:23 am
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your alaska flights are with family. do you really want to be upgraded when they aren't?

if on same ticket you won't get upgraded anyways.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 2:25 pm
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I did a small mileage run at the end of last year to make MVP and for me it was very worth it but it so depends on your individual situation. I mostly travel transcontinental primarily Seattle to the DC area airports and I got the status for free baggage, extra mileage earning and better coach seats. I had read that it was hard to get upgraded on transcontinental flights so I was quite surprised to be upgraded both ways the first time I flew this year and then many times after that. I think the days that I travel are a big reason for this. I tend to fly against business travelers (I live and work in Seattle but have an elderly mother in the DC suburbs, so I go to DC for the weekend periodically). I also usually travel alone and book far in advance. My experience as Alaska MVP was so good, I flew exclusively Alaska this year and I will make gold with a weekend trip in December. I'm looking forward to having the extra gold benefits next year. Now my son has moved to New York and my daughter keeps saying we should visit more parts of America, so I am tempted to go for 75k this year.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 4:07 pm
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I appreciate all the replies.

I have until tomorrow to make my decision.

I'm leaning toward giving it a try.

I'll fly SAN-BOS once or twice in 2016 and SAN-MCO as well. Both non-stop.

Plus we also have non-stops too all the islands from here and I love the LAX-DCA non-stop.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 5:30 pm
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MVP is great if you fly routes that are easy upgrades (SAN-BOS, SAN-HNL, etc). Whether it is worth flying cross country for the lowest tier elite status is up to whether or not you will actually use the benefit next year.

I've been MVP for a couple years now and enjoy the SDC policy, preferred seats, call centre, and occasional upgrades. I personally wouldn't do a MR for it, but thoroughly enjoy the benefits nonetheless.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by sturges View Post
MVP is great if you fly routes that are easy upgrades (SAN-BOS, SAN-HNL, etc). Whether it is worth flying cross country for the lowest tier elite status is up to whether or not you will actually use the benefit next year.

I've been MVP for a couple years now and enjoy the SDC policy, preferred seats, call centre, and occasional upgrades. I personally wouldn't do a MR for it, but thoroughly enjoy the benefits nonetheless.
There are SDC benefits for MVPs? I thought that was only for Golds and 75Ks.
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Old Nov 4, 15, 6:26 pm
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One other benefit that I don't think has been mentioned yet: once you have MVP, you get access to the preferred seating. That's not such a big deal (the seats don't seem very different to me), but it can mean the difference between getting stuck in a middle seat or having the options to nab a window/aisle seat when booking close in.

Here's my context...

I've generally only been an occasional flyer for work. This year, I started going more often (averaging a bit more than 1/month), all fairly short trips (Seattle to Bay Area and back). Back in August, I ran the numbers, projecting the rest of my year's flying based on the previous months. I figured I'd be about 6000 miles short of MPV. I decided to do a run SEA-FLL-SEA when they had a sale (IIRC, around $300 all in). At the time I figured it was probably frivolous and a waste of money, but I decided it wasn't a terrible way to spend a Saturday, and went for it. Right around the time I booked that (August), my job assignment changed, and I started flying much more often. That Saturday I spent crossing the country twice would have been nice to spend at home, but I'm glad I went. Because of the extra trips I was now doing, I hit MVP in September rather than in December. It turned out to be a good thing: I ended up having to fly quite a bit more for work (2x/week for a while), and I had to book more than a few trips at the last minute. Booking at the last minute, the non-stop flights I wanted usually only had middle seats available. But because I was plain vanilla MVP, I had access to the preferred seats, which even just a few days out, had a few window/aisle seats available. Had I not been MVP, I would have been stuck in a lot of middle seats over the past 2 months. I hate middle seats.

So, even though I have yet to get a single upgrade on AS, being MVP made a difference for me, and in retrospect was worth what I paid for the run to FLL. Your situation may be entirely different, but it worked out for me and I'm glad I'm set for next year, too. Maybe someday I'll even get a chocolate bar.

Hope that helps.
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