Quickest way to earn 20,000 miles before 12/31

Old Aug 14, 2005, 3:31 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 50
Smile Quickest way to earn 20,000 miles before 12/31

I'm finding myself 20,000 miles short of the next tier in America West Flight Fund as of today 8-14-05...with only about 7,000+- miles of travel planned before now and the end of the year. Any suggestions on quick trips to pick up an extra 15,000+- miles between now and then? There's no way I'm making it to the next level based on segments.

Also I noticed this in the FLight Fund terms and conditions:
"the 50% "Class of Service" bonus you earn when traveling on
qualifying published First Class Fares on America West will
count toward Elite status."

What is a "Class of Service" bonus? Does it just apply to first class, or does it apply to "full-price coach"? fares as well? Where does it show at the time of reservation, and after the fact? I just searched all of my FF activity for the past 3 years, although I have flown first class quite a few times, I don't see a single "Class of Service" bonus.

Whew! A lot of questions, the point is...what's the quickest, easiest way to tack on another 15,000 miles. Would a few round trips from LAX to JFK in first class do the trick? Is there any way to accomplish this without actually FLYING (yawn!) such as buying miles or transferring from some other plan? Thanks in advance for any help!!
execalwaysinair is offline  
Old Aug 14, 2005, 10:31 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by execalwaysinair
. . . Any suggestions on quick trips to pick up an extra 15,000+- miles between now and then?

What is a "Class of Service" bonus?

Does it just apply to first class, or does it apply to "full-price coach" fares as well?

Where does it show at the time of reservation, and after the fact?

What's the quickest, easiest way to tack on another 15,000 miles?
Would a few round trips from LAX to JFK in first class do the trick?

Is there any way to accomplish this without actually FLYING (yawn!) such as buying miles or transferring from some other plan?
Hi execalwaysinair, first of all, let me be the first to welcome you to FlyerTalk!

Whew, you ask a lot of questions! Well, you've come to the right place. I'll start at the top.

The class-of-service bonus is the 50% bonus mileage you receive for purchasing and flying in first class. This can be full-fare first class, which virtually no one actually does, or it can be America West's relatively new advanced purchased, reduced price first class. When pricing a trip out on americawest.com, if you select the lowest available coach price option, it will give you the best available discounted coach price, as well as the lowest available first class price.

So, in answer to your next question, the bonus only applies to tickets you buy in first class; it does not apply to the "full-price coach" tickets you buy that allow elite members to immediately ugprade to first. So, unless you are buying those full price coach tickets at the last minute (in less than 7 days), you should look at the discounted first class rates. Typically, those prices are about the same; the difference is that the discounted first class fares come with a change penalty of $100 if you decide to change the flight after purchasing it and they are non-refundable (though the value can be applied to another ticket within the next 12 months). The full fare coach "Y" fare would not have such a penalty.

As for "where does it show at the time of reservation," if you buy the ticket in first class, that's all you need to do. You'll get the bonus miles.

The quickest way to add on 15K miles would be via a trip with an international partner. A trip on Northwest to somewhere in Asia, for example, would be a great start. Flying NW from LAX to Singapore would net you 17,524 miles and those miles would count toward your elite status. Flying in business/first class would be the way to do it, but the class of service bonus on partner airlines do not count toward elite status on America West. You could also do a trip on British Airways to somewhere in Europe, though you'd have to be careful about the fare you purchase. Most discounted coach tickets only give you 25% mileage credit. To be sure, I recommend buying a ticket at least in their World Traveler Plus cabin, which is a premium economy cabin. These trips are obviously farther to go, but you can be done in one long trip vs. multiple "shorter" ones.

If you were to do some LAX-JFK round-trips on America West to earn about 15K miles, you'd earn 7,404 per trip (on the non-stop route) if you purchased first class and 7,941 per trip if you flew through PHX, requiring you to do that twice. Or, you'd earn 4,936 per trip if you purchased coach for the non-stop and 5,294 through PHX, requiring three trips.

Finally, as for your question about somehow getting the miles without flying, we here at FT call EQM's (elite qualifying miles) "butt-in-seat" miles for this very reason. To earn them, your butt has to be in the seat for the flight. You can't just buy a cheap ticket and not fly. You can't transfer them in from anywhere. You have to fly.

If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask. Good luck!
AZ Travels the World is offline  
Old Aug 14, 2005, 1:38 pm
  #3  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Wow, what a detailed response! Thank you so much!

So here's my current travel plans through the rest of the year:

(2) round trips PHX-LAX-JFK 1st class @ 5,936 miles + 2,968 COS bonus
8,904 miles per RT, 17,808 miles total

(2) round trips PHX-SFO in 1st class @ 1,300 miles + 650 COS bonus
1,950 miles per RT, 3,900 miles total

total mileage from above: 21,708

1. Will all of the above miles count as Elite-Qualifying? (including the bonus?)

2. Will I still get up to the next elite level, even though America West is merging with US Airways right now?

Thanks again for the amazingly detailed response! I'm sure to become a frequent user of this forum!
execalwaysinair is offline  
Old Aug 14, 2005, 2:41 pm
  #4  
Moderator: American AAdvantage & Marriott Bonvoy
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
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Originally Posted by execalwaysinair
Wow, what a detailed response! Thank you so much!

. . . 1. Will all of the above miles count as Elite-Qualifying? (including the bonus?)

2. Will I still get up to the next elite level, even though America West is merging with US Airways right now? . . .
You're welcome!

1. Assuming that you purchased the ticket directly into first class and you were not upgraded after purchasing a Y or H economy class ticket, yes, all your miles, including the class of service bonus, will be elite-qualifying. ^ If you upgraded a Y or H ticket, the class of service bonus will not be elite-qualifying.

2. You haven't said where you currently stand in terms of the number of EQM's since Jan. 1 of this year or what your current elite status is, so I can't answer your question definitively, but the current elite thresholds are 25K for Silver; 50K for Gold and 75K for Platinum. Also, keep in mind that as soon as you qualify for a higher elite level for next year you'll also be immediately upgraded (within a week of your qualifying flight) to that higher level, so you get to enjoy the higher level for the remainder of the current year in addition to the following year.

As for the upcoming merger with US Airways, we know that our HP EQM's will count toward elite status in the "new and improved" Dividend Miles program once the merger is complete. However, we don't yet know exactly how that will work. US currently has a different elite structure: 100K for Chairman's Preferred; 50K for Gold Preferred and 25K for Silver Preferred. We don't yet know what the structure will look like in the combined program, nor what will happen to current HP Platinum members, since there is not a 75K Platinum level in the US program. All that should be announced over the coming 60 days.
AZ Travels the World is offline  

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