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Frq Flier Program - UAL vs. Amer West

Frq Flier Program - UAL vs. Amer West

Old Jul 9, 03, 12:32 am
  #1  
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Frq Flier Program - UAL vs. Amer West

As you know I am a newbie and I figured you guys would have the best and one stop insight into this thatís why Iím posting

I was wondering which freq. flyer program would be the best for me. Unitedís or Amer West?

I fly around 6times a year to places like Portland, San Diego, Wash DC. And my home airport is SFO which has both airlines but is primarily United.

I have been with United for like forever but as I have seen they are very strict on there upgrades for even elite members and 1st class upgrades is one of my main goals of a freq flyer program.

United has also been a little stingy on there award for travel points and rules.

Am I totally wrong or am I right? Please inform me which the best program is
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Old Jul 9, 03, 1:25 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by hlmem:
...Please inform me which the best program is</font>
Greetings, hlmem; welcome to FlyerTalk. I think that you will find lots of wisdom and opinion on the topic, but you'll finally have to decide which is best for your. While it's not exactly the same topic, there is some very helpful information that might address your question, particularly from gleff in this thread:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/Forum50/HTML/018256.html

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Old Jul 9, 03, 5:30 am
  #3  
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America West has a good frequent flyer program as long as you don't care about international redemptions. Actually, it has a very good frequent flyer program. Unfortunately, in order to take advantage of the FF program you have to FLY THE AIRLINE, which lags behind the loyalty scheme.

You'll certainly get upgraded more and at lower cost as an HP elite out of SFO than as a lower tier UA elite. And HP does fly to the destinations you mention.

Of course, to fly to PDX you'll probably connect through Vegas. Do you want to do that? UA offers non-stops. You'll have to weight that.

And what do you use your miles for? If you care about upgrades, you can take the UA non-stops and confirm your upgrades with miles at booking (providing you're flexible enough in choosing your flights).

* You'll likely prefer UA F to HP F, but HP F will be easier to get into.

* You have non-stops to your destinations with UA but not with HP. If you value your time more, go with UA. If you want the miles/segments more, go with HP.

* If you want international award redemption, especially in premium classes, go with UA. If you use your miles for domestic tickets, HP is probably fine.

Cheers,
Gary

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Old Jul 9, 03, 9:50 am
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You must remember that on America West you need 25,000 miles or 30 segments to qualify for the Silver elite. Unless you will fly that many segments you will not qualify for any upgrades.

Since you will only be flying about 6 times per year it will be tough to reach the elite level.
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Old Jul 9, 03, 10:15 am
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Not too tough.. all six roundtrips would be connecting flights each way.. so (4) segments x 6 trips = 24 segments. Just add a few double connections in there (Phoenix and Vegas) and you're there. Or add just a seventh trip with six segments -- a single mileage run -- and you're silver.
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Old Jul 9, 03, 11:25 am
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Don't forget if it is domestic award redemption HP is only 20k as UA is 25k. Also
HP is partnered with BA a good Int'l carrier
for Europe and NW to Asia.
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Old Jul 9, 03, 9:57 pm
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Thanx so much for the great opinions so far, anyone else got any imput?
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Old Jul 9, 03, 11:08 pm
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With your flight patterns I would certainly recommend HP. I used to fly HP exclusively for some time, but their program didn't work for me very well (as posters above mentioned their Intl redemption is almost non-existant), but for a domestic flyer with 6-9 flights a year HP program will certainly benefit you better.
United upgrades are hard to come by unless you have a lot of miles and hold a mid tier status with them.
HP upgardes are easy to get, even for a Silver.
Also, you ever considered AS MileagePlan? Its VERY good, better than either UA or HP, and they fly to all of your destinations. If I were you I would certainly give AS a better look.

Happy Travels!

[This message has been edited by asnovici (edited 07-09-2003).]

[This message has been edited by asnovici (edited 07-09-2003).]
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Old Jul 10, 03, 4:52 am
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Good point on Alaska.

They do their own intra-California flying and they codeshare with American Eagle as well. (You can fly SFO-LAX on AS and then LAX-SAN on AA, or SFO-LAX-SAN on AA for AS miles.) They fly to PDX nonstop from SFO. And they fly to DC via SEA.

If you can scrounge up 35,000 flown miles on AS itself you can make MVP Gold (their top tier). It's 50,000 miles if you credit flights on American, Continental, Northwest, etc. As an MVP Gold you're pretty 'golden' -- confirmed upgrades at time of booking (subject to availability) from any fare.

Award redemption on Alaska is pretty good, too -- their own metal or American, Continental, Northwest, British, Hawaiian, LanChile, Qantas.

If you're an existing elite they comp status pretty easily.

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Old Jul 11, 03, 3:06 pm
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I've been flying America West since 2001 - I got a comp to Gold in 2001 and earned it for 2002 and 2003. The words I will write next will be very important to consider: I've NEVER flown coach on America West. 100% upgrade rate. Service is great, and on the one time one of my flights had a mechanical issue it was handled incredibly well. I have only great things to say about them, and I fly Delta as much as I fly them. If they fit your needs for ff miles and routes, I highly recommend them.
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Old Jul 13, 03, 9:14 pm
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I would look into the Alaska program as well. They fly to the cities you mention, and are partnered with many other carriers such as Continental, American, Northwest, and Hawaiian.

However, take the last post into account too. If you do fly enough that you will earn elite status, and enough to qualify for at the Gold level (with America West) or beyond, your chances of upgrades are excellent. But, if you aren't going to fly 50,000+ miles a year, then you can achieve Alaska MVP status at only 15,000 flight miles earned solely on Alaska.

Chances are if you do 6 roundtrips on just Alaska only, then you might hit MVP. If you do just 6 roundtrips on America West, that might not get you enough to achieve Silver elite status for 25,000 miles, and your upgrade chances fall quite a bit compared to a Gold member who flies 50,000+ miles per year.

My opinion, stick with Alaska solely, earn the miles on them, probably hit MVP status, and be able to earn/redeem miles on American, Continental, Northwest, Hawaiian, and many others.

[This message has been edited by cab747 (edited 07-13-2003).]
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Old Jul 15, 03, 10:48 am
  #12  
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For comparisons between air carriers, try this link...

http://www.webflyer.com/programs/head2head/
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Old Jul 15, 03, 10:51 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by sanFF:
Don't forget if it is domestic award redemption HP is only 20k as UA is 25k. Also
HP is partnered with BA a good Int'l carrier
for Europe and NW to Asia.
</font>
That's assuming that a UAL Saver Award for 25,000 can be obtained. My experience is that UAL Saver Awards are becoming harder to come by these days.
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