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Qualifying Miles Calculations---All about Money?

Qualifying Miles Calculations---All about Money?

Old May 18, 15, 6:19 pm
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Qualifying Miles Calculations---All about Money?

This really belongs in a "Premier Qualifying Miles Buzz" section, but don't see one.

Does anyone know of an app or other method for comparing airlines' methods of computing premier Qualifying Miles? This could be useful for someone who is considering a status match and is undecided about which airline, or who just wants to know what they may have to spend (or endure) to get a certain number of qualifying miles out of their airline.

I am in the midst of a status match, and wasted a lot of time trying to create convoluted demi-MR's on the new airline (which is Delta) before discovering that really, it now seems to be all about money. I know that is also the case now with UA.

Ultimately, it was more cost effective to just buy expensive tickets than to make myself and spouse miserable on red-eyes and other horrible options that cost the same as an efficient FC. I suppose we might get more regular miles out of these longer runs, but it seems hardly worth the effort.
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Old May 18, 15, 7:05 pm
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It's very complicated. If you go to each airlines site, you'll see that it sounds simple until you start looking at flights with partners, and then it gets very complicated, because it varies from partner to partner, and which many partners from fare code to fare code.

So it's hard to compare unless you take only the very simple case of flying only the airline whose program you're trying to get status in.

But even then, it changes from year to year ($2500 a year ago to $3000 now, for example).

And then there are the roundabout ways (other than one-time status match) to get some status at some airlines. You can get get UA Premier Silver status (but no higher status with UA) by spending just $800 a year, through a combination of two things:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marri...announced.html

(Marriott) http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marri...-required.html

(The first is that Marriott Plats get UA Silver, the second is that you can get Marriott Plat status just from holding meetings.)

If your goal were UA Silver, and nothing more, then this seems more cost effective than MRing $3000 worth of flights, if you don't have a "natural" need for anywhere close to $3000 in flights. And when you get UA Silver status through Marriott Plat status, the requirement to fly 4 flights on UA metal a year is waived.

But I'm not aware of anything like that for DL. Yes, DL does have a tie-up with SPG, but until the UA/Marriott tie-up, it does get you fully to even the first level of status IIRC. plus I know of no similarly cheap way to get SPG Plat status anyway.

Then there's AA and AS (Alaska), which so far do not require any dollar component.
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Old May 19, 15, 5:29 pm
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Thanks. I have status on two airlines now, but still would like to know whether I need to waste time figuring out MR's. If all the airlines pretty much require you to "buy" qualifying miles with dollars (read expensive fares) rather than filling seats (read arse numbing MR's), then no need to waste more numbing hours figuring out MR's. I might try asking this a different way to see if anyone has it sorted.
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Old May 20, 15, 12:05 am
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See a related post at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta...l#post24842103

The creator doesn't divulge the formula, but ttflyer's system at http://fly.qux.us/smcalc/ seems to work, at least for Delta. The others I either couldn't access, couldn't use because they are PC, or they really relate to mileage and not qualifying miles.
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Old May 22, 15, 1:10 pm
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Originally Posted by landrew View Post
Thanks. I have status on two airlines now, but still would like to know whether I need to waste time figuring out MR's. If all the airlines pretty much require you to "buy" qualifying miles with dollars (read expensive fares) rather than filling seats (read arse numbing MR's), then no need to waste more numbing hours figuring out MR's. I might try asking this a different way to see if anyone has it sorted.
It seems pretty straightforward. You know how much you need to spend and how many miles you need to fly, just do the math. For UA and DL it is all about the money. For WN its all about total points (miles) but includes credit card bonuses. AA is all about EQM but you may need fewer EQM if you are flying high fares which earn more EQP.

Really what you should be doing is calculating what elite status is worth v. credit card benefits (easily obtained by paying low annual fees). How much do you value Group 1 v. Group 2 boarding? More than 1 free checked bag? Lounge access on cheapo international tix? Fee waivers on award bookings? E+ seating at time of booking?

IMO, the last item is the biggest benefit and can be easily monetized as I have been paying through the nose to upgrade to E+ seats. The fee waivers on awards are also very useful by essentially acting as an free call option: you can book an award, but cancel if something better becomes available (paid or award).

Personally I find anything below UA Gold/AA Plat/DL Gold to be mostly worthless and thus not worthy of any extra $$ for MR. In the old days you could also justify MR by considering the value of the miles, but much less now with the new UA/DL/WN programs that award fewer miles on low fares. YMMV.
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