One More Flight = Platinum - Worth It?

 
Old Nov 13, 11, 7:02 pm
  #1  
GAD
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One More Flight = Platinum - Worth It?

Greetings all. Long time lurker, first time poster.

I fly every week, but on small commuter planes (man, do I hate prop-jets). As a result, my elite status is based on points. At the end of this year, I will have 88 points - two shy of platinum status.

Would it be worth it to book a quick flight somewhere to attain platinum status? I've read every page I could find, and I cannot figure out exactly what the benefit really is. I've read this page 100 times: http://www.continental.com/web/en-US...e/default.aspx but it isn't clear to me. Specifically these two lines:

Regional Upgrades ** (Can now also be used on most United flights. Learn more.)

Six System-wide Upgrades *** (Can now also be used on most United flights. Learn more.)

What does that mean? And would it be worth it to bump my status at the cost of $200-300?

Thanks all!

GAD
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Old Nov 16, 11, 8:12 am
  #2  
GAD
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Can anyone help me? Sorry if this is a newb question.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 8:30 am
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Easy answer is yes. It becomes more difficult in deciding whether or not you think it is worth it. If you are only flying puddle jumpers and never really have the chance for EAU's then it's probably not worth it. If you plan on flying in bigger planes next year then it is definitely worth it since you'll likely be upgraded at a fairly high percentage. It all comes down to your travel habits and what you think your future travel is going to look like. That's my opinion.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 8:32 am
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Originally Posted by GAD View Post
Greetings all. Long time lurker, first time poster.

I fly every week, but on small commuter planes (man, do I hate prop-jets). As a result, my elite status is based on points. At the end of this year, I will have 88 points - two shy of platinum status.

Would it be worth it to book a quick flight somewhere to attain platinum status? I've read every page I could find, and I cannot figure out exactly what the benefit really is. I've read this page 100 times: http://www.continental.com/web/en-US...e/default.aspx but it isn't clear to me. Specifically these two lines:

Regional Upgrades ** (Can now also be used on most United flights. Learn more.)

Six System-wide Upgrades *** (Can now also be used on most United flights. Learn more.)

What does that mean? And would it be worth it to bump my status at the cost of $200-300?

Thanks all!

GAD
You can use SWU/RU Upgrades (applies only to certain fares) on a one-way ticket to upgrade your seat (pending availability). It gets more complex than that but that's the general gist. You also get priority in Unlimited Domestic Upgrades.

Whether it is worth it is a good question. If you fly a lot, then maybe.

You might want to consider just doing a cheap segment run (refer to the Mileage Run forums). They sometimes have segment run deals on there as well.

Only you can determine if the status is worth the effort and money though.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 8:34 am
  #5  
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If you are only going to fly on puddle jumpers (I'm like you, the last time I flew on CO domestic mainline was in 2005) then it's probably not worth it. There are the regional and system wide upgrades, and for $200-300, it's probably worth it to gain access to them, although I have read here that finding award inventory available for those certificates can be quite challenging.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 8:58 am
  #6  
GAD
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Thanks.

I fly weekly, mostly on small regional planes. Occasionally I fly cross country (1-2 times a year), and my gold status has paid off in the form up upgrades in the past. I've also missed upgrades when higher-ranking elites have been before me in the queue, so I get that part of it.

Using my million+ Marriott points, I'm thinking about taking the family to Paris next year. I was wondering if platinum status would help me in any way on that flight. I understand the whole "group is treated at the lowest elite level in the party" idea, and get the business first cabin idea too.

Would platinum status in any way help me to score an additional comp ticket? I have enough miles to get one, but with the cost of inter-continental travel, another free ticket wouldn't hurt. As I understand it, the only way to get tickets is with miles, and as a point flyer, I don't have many.

Thanks again,

GAD
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Old Nov 16, 11, 9:34 am
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Yes I would do it.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 9:39 am
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by GAD View Post
Would it be worth it to book a quick flight somewhere to attain platinum status?
Assuming your travel plans don't change, yes, since next year Plat gets a 75% bonus and Gold gets a 50% milage bonus.

~88 flights @ 500 miles elite minimum = 44k miles.

2012 Gold bonus: 22k miles
2012 Plat bonus: 33k miles

11k miles @ 2cpm = $220

So as long as you can find a round trip for under $200 it'll be worth doing, not even counting the miles you earn from the extra trip, the value of two regional upgrade certs and better upgrade chances.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 10:59 am
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I'd go for it. You should be able to find a quick turn round-trip flight somewhere under $200 all in.

Starting with the new program (March 2012 or so), Plat gets a 75% mileage bonus compared to 50% for Gold (and 100% for Gold/Plat/Premier Exec today). At the 75K level, you also get 2 regional Premier Upgrades (RPU), currently known in UA as a CR-1. This is an upgrade instrument you can use within regions (eg, flying to the carribean or Hawaii or even domestic flights, if you want to ensure yourself of an upgrade on a transcontinental flight).

You won't earn System Wide Upgrades (SWU), or Global Premier Upgrades (GPU) in the new lingo, until you reach the 1K level (100k EQM or 120 EQS), so it won't apply to you unless you somehow manage another 32 segments by the end of the year

If you ever do end up on a CR7 or E170 or mainline aircraft, your Plat status will get you higher in the upgrade queue.

There will be no difference as far as *G benefits, but there are several more fee waivers for things like phone bookings, close-in awards and changes, and expanded saver award availability.

http://mileageplusmergerupdates.com/...t?cid=&tier=GN
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Old Nov 16, 11, 11:10 am
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Fellow points qualifier (soon to be non-qualifier) here. And like most points qualifiers, a lot of my flights are short hops (30 minute flights for which first class doesn't mean much) or RJs.

I think it's worth it. Then I also accumulate miles through credit cards and the various other programs to get them where I can, so when I was Plat I took lots of advantage of the additional Saver Pass availability in BF on intercontinental flights, as well as the no change/close-in fees for rewards. I haven't paid for an international flight, nor flown in Y on one since 2002.

But it also helps to have that little bit of priority over Golds when you need it for upgrades or irrops.

Come March 1, though, I join the hoi polloi.

ETA: You should be able to find something cheaper than $200-300 for your points run. Try the Fare Calendar for ideas or even the Mileage Run forum. http://www.continental.com/web/en-US...eCalendar.aspx
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Old Nov 16, 11, 11:55 am
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Originally Posted by gobluetwo View Post
If you ever do end up on a CR7 or E170 or mainline aircraft, your Plat status will get you higher in the upgrade queue.

There will be no difference as far as *G benefits, but there are several more fee waivers for things like phone bookings, close-in awards and changes, and expanded saver award availability.

http://mileageplusmergerupdates.com/...t?cid=&tier=GN
Agree, you should go for it, especially for the above reasons, if you fly these aircraft or want flexibility to change flights same day for less.

Also, the new Q400's have the first few rows with ELR and small curtains. If this becomes a FC section, then you'd want the priority for upgrades.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 9:03 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by gobluetwo View Post
You won't earn System Wide Upgrades (SWU), or Global Premier Upgrades (GPU) in the new lingo, until you reach the 1K level (100k EQM or 120 EQS), so it won't apply to you unless you somehow manage another 32 segments by the end of the year
This is a very notable point, the CO chart the OP linked to is incredibly misleading with just a few stars to mark that detail.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by GAD View Post
Greetings all. Long time lurker, first time poster.

I fly every week, but on small commuter planes (man, do I hate prop-jets). As a result, my elite status is based on points. At the end of this year, I will have 88 points - two shy of platinum status.

Would it be worth it to book a quick flight somewhere to attain platinum status?
Seeing as this is your first thread... Welcome to FlyerTalk!

As someone who gets status via segments (CO Plat, soon to be UA 1K @ 120 segments), I'd say YES. If you haven't yet booked the trips that will get you to the 88 segments, it might be easier to add 2 extra segments to a planned r/t; add a connection to each leg. Otherwise just book a cheap r/t.

The fee waivers (especially for reward tickets) are worth it. For example, the cost of booking a close-in reward ticket and then cancelling it goes from $125 to $0. This makes the miles much more useful for potential emergency trips. As a Plat., beginning next year, you will earn 17% more miles than Gold (see this page): the difference in earning 75% vs. 50% bonus is really a 16.7% increase: 175% of miles flown is 16.7% more than 150%.

(All of these have already been mentioned, but they're worth repeating.)

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
This is a very notable point, the CO chart the OP linked to is incredibly misleading with just a few stars to mark that detail.
That is a bit sneaky; it would be easy for CO to put "after earning 100,000 EQMs or 120 EQPs" in the table itself. That being said, the 2 regional upgrades at 90 EQPs have some non-trivial value.
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Old Nov 17, 11, 8:58 am
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Originally Posted by CAPTMARK View Post
Yes I would do it.
+1
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Old Nov 17, 11, 10:11 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by GAD View Post
Using my million+ Marriott points, I'm thinking about taking the family to Paris next year. I was wondering if platinum status would help me in any way on that flight. I understand the whole "group is treated at the lowest elite level in the party" idea, and get the business first cabin idea too.
There are no fees for changing awards as a Platinum, there are modest fees as a Gold. This comes in handy when you find a better routing than what you've originally booked (since that's all that was available at the time) shortly before departure. For a whole family those fees could add up to more than the cost of you earning Platinum status.

Platinums also get expanded availability for BusinessFirst awards. So it may be helpful.
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