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How to analyze whether to buy an upgrade to F with money or miles

How to analyze whether to buy an upgrade to F with money or miles

Old May 16, 19, 12:55 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Astoria, NY: LGA, JFK
Programs: Delta PM; Sheraton's Vistana BOD; SPG Gold
Posts: 2,000
How to analyze whether to buy an upgrade to F with money or miles

o.k., here's the real life situation...

Flying LGA-MCO with Mrs. Yogimax on June 1st. I'm Platinum, she's Gold, so we are both Platinum for upgrade purposes.

Right now, there are 9 available seats in F. Delta is offering an upgrade O/W for 14,400 miles or $154 per person.

How would you analyze whether to wait and hope for a free upgrade, or purchase the upgrade right now? If we purchased, we would use miles.

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old May 16, 19, 12:59 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: DTW
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1. Wouldn't spend those miles or $ for the upgrade on that flight.
2. I'd expect an upgrade as a PL on that route on 6/1. What time is flight though? That said I'd be fine in C+ on that flight.
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Old May 16, 19, 1:41 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: PHX
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The $$ to miles ratio for these buy-up offers is fixed at around 1.1 cents per mile.

This is generally considered a poor redemption value for SM's compared to booking an advance purchase round trip or even a last-minute round trip all on points.

Pay the cash if it is worth it to you.
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Old May 16, 19, 1:42 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by MarkCron View Post
1. Wouldn't spend those miles or $ for the upgrade on that flight.
2. I'd expect an upgrade as a PL on that route on 6/1. What time is flight though? That said I'd be fine in C+ on that flight.
Thanks for your response, Mark. 1:55PM.

We do have excellent C+ seats. I guess my question is related to recent similar flights where free upgrades disappeared at the last minute.
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Old May 16, 19, 1:49 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
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It is a direct flight less than 3 hours long, most probably you are doubling your cost of flights (one way) if you upgrade to first. It is a Saturday flight so less business travel. If you have excellent C+ tickets, leave it at that and you may or may not get the upgrades, but you can save your money for another flight down the road.

I vote save your cash and miles.
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Old May 16, 19, 2:22 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
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Originally Posted by FlyBitcoin View Post
The $$ to miles ratio for these buy-up offers is fixed at around 1.1 cents per mile.

This is generally considered a poor redemption value for SM's compared to booking an advance purchase round trip or even a last-minute round trip all on points.

Pay the cash if it is worth it to you.
You earn bonus MQM's with the upgrade (even with miles) which can be a consideration for people trying to earn/maintain status. Not everyone is fixated on maximizing CPM and J awards. There's generally a considerable time commitment to that as well as requiring a large degree of schedule flexibility. I wouldn't say that PWM or upgrades are necessarily a bad use of miles depending on your priorities. Flight stage length (and thus MQM earning) would be a significant factor in the decision.
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Old May 16, 19, 2:43 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 348
I think the answer depends on the situation. I have more miles than I will ever use so I would tend to use miles. I tenD to upgrade with miles or money towards the end of the year in order to push up my mqms. I would upgrade rather than hoping for a free upgrade because that route can be and often is full in first. Older people willing to pay because they don’t fly often and need the comfort a family or two off to dis. So if you have the miles or money I wouldn’t wait unless you really don’t much care.
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Old May 16, 19, 2:48 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
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I've paid $150 for a similar flight (PHX-SEA) but in that case I wasn't already in C+. So I guess my point is that the price is unsurprising, but I'd be happy in C+ for three hours since you asked
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Old May 16, 19, 4:40 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: EDI/GLA
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I havenít seen any UG offers lately on my upcoming trips to KEF or PPT with the domestic portions in the reservations. How are yíall seeing these?
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Old May 16, 19, 5:22 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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If you have 1,000,000 or more redeemable miles, Iíd upgrade now with miles. When flying with significant others, F is always better.

If you donít have the miles, but this is an anniversary trip, some other special occasion, or a trip to visit your mother-in-law, pay for the upgrade now.

If none of the above, keep your seats.

Just my opinion.
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Old May 16, 19, 7:19 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Northern Minnesota, US
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Originally Posted by AJDelvarno View Post
If you have 1,000,000 or more redeemable miles, Iíd upgrade now with miles. When flying with significant others, F is always better.

If you donít have the miles, but this is an anniversary trip, some other special occasion, or a trip to visit your mother-in-law, pay for the upgrade now.

If none of the above, keep your seats.

Just my opinion.
+1. Exactly my logic. Add in Wife and anniversary and the math changes
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Old May 16, 19, 7:24 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Northern Minnesota, US
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Originally Posted by AJDelvarno View Post
If you have 1,000,000 or more redeemable miles, Iíd upgrade now with miles. When flying with significant others, F is always better.

If you donít have the miles, but this is an anniversary trip, some other special occasion, or a trip to visit your mother-in-law, pay for the upgrade now.

If none of the above, keep your seats.

Just my opinion.
+1. Exactly my logic. Add a Wife and Anniversary and the math changes

Last edited by puck021; May 16, 19 at 7:56 pm
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Old May 16, 19, 7:35 pm
  #13  
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
You earn bonus MQM's with the upgrade (even with miles) which can be a consideration for people trying to earn/maintain status.
So let's assume this flight earns 1,000 MQM's So, if I upgrade with miles how many MQM's will I receive?
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Old May 17, 19, 4:27 am
  #14  
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I would make one point which is MCO has never been an easy upgrade for me. Only once have I gotten the upgrade going into and out of MCO. One thing is there are a lot of medallions who go in and out of MCO so lots of upgrades there. Also like LAS, MCO is a tourist destination so lots of people will convert miles or pay for F as a leisure route.
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Old May 17, 19, 5:04 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 348
Originally Posted by yogimax View Post
So let's assume this flight earns 1,000 MQM's So, if I upgrade with miles how many MQM's will I receive?

Probably right about 1500 total. You can login and do a dummy booking to get the exact number based on your status
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