Suggestions for a grounded former Elite

Old Sep 7, 05, 3:18 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Vermont
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Suggestions for a grounded former Elite

Good day.

It has been a long time posting here on FT. I miss the commentary and sharing opinions with other fans of HP. However, I have come back to ask for a few final pieces of advise as I wind down my "travel career." Due to a recent cross-country move on my part, start at a new position, and other factors I will not be able to continue maintain my former amount of flying (and hence, elite status). Prior to this, I flew HP for about 60,000 miles per year (not much I know by many FTers standards', but what I consider a "fair" amount - definetly above that of the general public) and United for the balance of my buisness.

Although I've tried to spend down my account by upgrading friends, getting comp tickets, etc, due to a near-orgy of travel this summer, and lack of friends to buy tickets for, I still maintain a balance of about 100k. I continue to use HP's BofA credit card and I add about 3k miles a month to my account this way. My goal has always been to save them up to reach a first class trip to Asia on one of HP's partners (such as to Austrialia, which would rack up 400k for two). However, due to the merger I'm not sure this is in the cards.

I've easily made elite for the next year, but my EQMs will be frozen in place -- I won't be flying anymore (which is a real shame as the HP's elite status deal with SPG really got me hooked on Starwood properties) . I'll only be earning HP miles through my credit card & partners associated with HP.

Basically, my question is, what would you do with the miles if you were me? Would you both to keep trying to accrue them without flying for that possible dream vacation in the future (need not be now - I can wait 3-5 years), or toss in the cards and cash 'em in for whatever I can get now before the kind folks @ US Air get their hooks into the Flight Fund program? Should I even bother to maintain the HP credit card?

Thanks again! It's been a pleasure.




By the way: Thanks to all of the HP employees over the years (ground [especially those at PHX & SLC], phone & in-flight) who made my travel much more enjoyable. Of course, I'll never know if I actually met any of you on my travels, but I wanted to say thanks anyway.
AgtMulder is offline  
Old Sep 7, 05, 3:48 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Will you still be doing travel on United? The miles will all merge into a dividend miles account that can be redeemed for travel on any *A member, including Asia or Aus. Right now, 2 First class tickets to Asia are 240K total miles, and 300K to Aus.

I recommend keeping the miles and letting them build up. If you fly the new US or United, you can earn miles on what will be your new Dividend Miles account.
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Old Sep 7, 05, 4:11 pm
  #3  
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AgtMulder, I'm sorry to hear of your change in frequent flying status (though happy for you, as I assume this move is a positive step for you). You have consistently been an insightful, positive and helpful member of this little corner of the FT world. I, for one, will miss your contributions.

As to your question, given your "near-orgy of travel this summer," if I were you, I'd sit on the miles and let them roll into the new DM. In fact, I'd be tempted to open an account there and apply for a DM VISA, just to seed that account, and be that much closer to a big award down the road, after the two programs are combined into one.

Very early in my career I traveled like crazy, virtually commuting to Asia. I flew so much that I amassed more than 1 million miles on NW in under 2.5 years. Then, I'd had enough and changed roles to a job that afforded almost no travel -- by choice. (I'm now back in the travel game, but that's a story for another day.) I have to say that those miles came in very handy over the next few years, as I used them for nice, luxurious vacations that meant so much more to me given that I wasn't already on a long-haul trip to somewhere around the world every week.

I think your mileage award options to exotic destinations with the new US will only increase. Plus, given your FT experience, you'll have the knowledge to use those miles to maximum benefit when you're so inclined. I don't think there is any reason to rush out and use them today.

Best of luck to you and drop in and say hi now and again!

Cheers!

AZ
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Old Sep 7, 05, 5:48 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
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My career seems identical to AZ Travels the World's. I broke 3M with UA some years back due to my role that seemed to be copied by Tom Hanks in "Castaway" He was with FedEx and I was with TNT. (TNT got burned by HP in their bankruptcy through our Ansett Worldwide Air Services leasing unit and our largest single equity ownership of HP) Six weeks out, six countries, see the wife for two days, then six weeks out again. Around the world tickets were the norm for me. I had offices in Windsor UK, SYD and SIN but worked on every continent but Antarctica.

Here's where we disagree though. Those miles are not real, there are no contractual obligations of any sort connected to them. Given the high risk of HP and US merging, if it were me, I would spend them sooner rather than later. Having said that, I believe that he's correct in waiting until they roll into the DM program, then use those suckers for international free flights ASAP!

I've already tossed in the reins on the merger and have moved completely over to AA because I believe the merger will fail given a few little signals I've picked up.

Ultimately the decision is up to you. How much risk can you accept to put off a potentially free or cheap vacation in the future? I don't invest in airline stocks for a reason.......

Enjoy the less hectic life my friend!

Last edited by KevAZ; Sep 7, 05 at 5:50 pm
KevAZ is offline  
Old Sep 8, 05, 12:39 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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is there a fee for the CC. if so, you may want to ditch it and switch to some other rewards card. you won't be using the miles much it seems and tow get 300K additional miles to get 1st class tickets, it'd take 100 months or 5 years to qualify for a ticket. at that point, I don't know how easy it would be to get the seats you're looking for. there's no need to spend $$ for that.
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Old Sep 8, 05, 10:02 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Agt Mulder,
I'm so sorry to hear we will lose your business! I do sincereley appreciate our Elite Frequent Fliers, and when I see their status on the F/C report, I know they will be my 'friends' for the flight.
Good luck with your move!
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Old Sep 9, 05, 7:33 pm
  #7  
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AZ, Medic, UA, & Lifer,

Thanks for the advice. I'll need to think this through a bit more, but I believe my solution will be to open up a divident account and try to bulk that up before the merger as much as possible. Since the partnership to Asia/Australia through HP will probably be terminated (especially if they stay in the star alliance), and since I'm almost halfway to a 300,000 award for 2 Int'l first class tickets, I'll probably switch to US (Question: If crediting to a US account on a US flight before the merger goes through can I still preboard if I flash my UA 1P card?) although I have gotten a bit used to UA recently as my "back-up" airline -- but not many miles, so not worth sticking with it. I'll probably just end up liquidating the UA account for some domestic awards.

Does anybody know of some sign-up bonus deals with a US DM account? I noticed they'll toss 1k miles your way if you sign up for newsletter e-delivery, not much. Any refer a friend offers?

Also, does anybody know if BofA will combine credit limits, etc on the HP/US cards after the merger goes through? I heard some rumblings BofA may give up its rights to those two accounts -- is that true? If so, the whole point may be moot.

Thanks again for your advice, I'll be sure to stop in from time to time -- I am extremely curious as to your observations as to how the merger changes things (hopefully only for the better) at HP/US.

Even though I'm out of the travel game, I still get questions from my friends/relatives. Today somebody called me from PHX asking what to do about a lengthy delay due to some shenanigans with ATA. I guess once you get that reputation as a high flyer it is hard to shake.

Good luck to you all (and HP especially) in the upcoming weeks and months. I'll try to enjoy the less hectic life, although I'm sure it will be hard when those FareAlerts, weekend specials and bonus offers pop in to my e-mail box.
AgtMulder is offline  
Old Sep 11, 05, 2:40 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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To preboard on US, I believe you would have to credit it to your MP account. YMMV...

--Jon
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