Is getting 1K worth it? Regular paid J flyer.

Old Jun 12, 17, 6:01 pm
  #1  
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Is getting 1K worth it? Regular paid J flyer.

Hi folks,

I am a current AC Aeroplan/Altitude member but I'm looking to change my allegiance next year for a number of reasons. Somebody in the AC forum suggested I post here. Beginning Jan 2018 I will need to fly YVR - NYC (any airport) once a month, most of this can be in paid J on UA. I previewed some of their fares for dates that I might be flying and it shocked me how affordable the J tickets are. On top of this travel, I will be flying maybe 5 other trips max in Y. I am by no means spoiled and could just as easily buy Y for my YVR - NYC trips, but then I wouldn't make it to 1K.

So it appears to me the choice is fly in all Y all year, save some cash and be "stuck" with UA Gold (which I haven't heard great things about), or pay for J for most of my transcons and get 1K. 1K sounds nice, I'm just worried it would feel like a waste by barely using the upgrade privilege, again, maybe 5 round trips per year at best. I guess I would just be using 1K for the bonus award miles and the irrops service? Current Gold or 1K members, is it worth it to get to 1K, even if it means using the upgrade privilege only a very small amount?
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Old Jun 12, 17, 6:32 pm
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UA YVR-EWR is a domestic recliner in J, not lie flat. Pretty uncomfortable ride for a 6 hour flight.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 6:36 pm
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The main differences between 1K and Gold are:

  • GPUs. This is the biggest difference. If you can take an international vacation and use your GPUs, this is easily several thousand dollars in value. If this doesn't fit your travel plans (you may need some flexibility in destination and time), they're not very useful.
  • CPUs. The availability of upgrades on United is a contentious topic, but I think it's an accurate summary to say that CPUs are something that can be planned for as a 1K, whereas at Gold you should pretty much always expect to fly in Y if that's what you buy. This is not to say that 1Ks always get upgraded (they don't, and if you are traveling hub-to-hub on peak business days, you will never CPU). But I would estimate there are something like 50x more routes and times where a CPU is a very likely thing as a 1K compared to a Gold. None of these are SFO-ORD or SFO-IAD.
  • No change fees on awards. This allows you to pull all sorts of flexible tricks for award travel, such as switching to LH F at the last minute. Formerly a Plat benefit, and now reserved for 1K.

Personally I would do it. But it has nothing to do with 1K and everything to do with making YVR-EWR in J. That's a long way to fly in the back of a 737.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 6:42 pm
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But if I'm paying for J on YVR-EWR, I think I'm choosing AC on the 787 or CX on the 77W.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 6:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
But if I'm paying for J on YVR-EWR, I think I'm choosing AC on the 787 or CX on the 77W.
Or PR on the 77W.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 6:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
But if I'm paying for J on YVR-EWR, I think I'm choosing AC on the 787 or CX on the 77W.
Sure, if the price is right. OP was comparing UA J and UA Y though.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 6:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
But if I'm paying for J on YVR-EWR, I think I'm choosing AC on the 787 or CX on the 77W.
If their very thin schedules fit your schedule.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 7:07 pm
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One of the myriad threads on this topic http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...solidated.html
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Old Jun 12, 17, 7:08 pm
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UA YVR-EWR is a domestic recliner in J, not lie flat. Pretty uncomfortable ride for a 6 hour flight.
UA does connecting flights through ORD and DEN to EWR/LGA as well, I think they only have one daily non-stop in that 739. I might actually prefer the connecting flight in this case due to the use of narrow body a/cs, it's nice to get up and walk around the airport for a bit.

But if I'm paying for J on YVR-EWR, I think I'm choosing AC on the 787 or CX on the 77W.
I have flown AC J on the 788 from YVR to EWR and I think it goes without saying that it blows UA domestic first recliners out of the water. That being said, it's also c$3,500 for AC J, whereas UA J is ~ c$1,300 for the connecting flight through ORD/DEN.

Sure, if the price is right.
Exactly.

If their very thin schedules fit your schedule.
Many more options for connecting flights.

Anyone other than @findark have an opinion as to whether 1K is worth it for my situation? Any good/bad experiences with UA irrops for 1Ks here?

Also, another point I just thought of - since I would be flying J most of the time, except for leisure (5x per year max due to my schedule, as I mentioned) wouldn't the Priority Access benefits be moot most of the time, as they're included in the J ticket? Do 1Ks get a dedicated check-in, separate from domestic first, gold etc. at EWR/LGA? What about boarding priority? I'm usually an AC flyer, so excuse me for not knowing this.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 7:16 pm
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Originally Posted by The_Virus360 View Post
since I would be flying J most of the time, except for leisure (5x per year max due to my schedule, as I mentioned) wouldn't the Priority Access benefits be moot most of the time, as they're included in the J ticket? Do 1Ks get a dedicated check-in, separate from domestic first, gold etc. at EWR/LGA? What about boarding priority? I'm usually an AC flyer, so excuse me for not knowing this.
All of these are the same for J and 1K. findark's analysis is pretty good on the differences.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 7:18 pm
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Not sure of the required timing for your trips, but have you looked at the CX nonstops between YVR/JFK with a true premium product?

Business Class is a little pricey, or you can choose their affordable PY product which will be better than the domestic F seats and inflight service offered by UA.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 7:24 pm
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Originally Posted by The_Virus360 View Post
Anyone other than @findark have an opinion as to whether 1K is worth it for my situation? Any good/bad experiences with UA irrops for 1Ks here?

Also, another point I just thought of - since I would be flying J most of the time, except for leisure (5x per year max due to my schedule, as I mentioned) wouldn't the Priority Access benefits be moot most of the time, as they're included in the J ticket? Do 1Ks get a dedicated check-in, separate from domestic first, gold etc. at EWR/LGA? What about boarding priority? I'm usually an AC flyer, so excuse me for not knowing this.
Well, I think you're actually choosing between Y as a Gold and J as a 1K, right? If, as you said, you consider the cost of the J tickets reasonable, then that's a no-brainer to me -- go for 1K. Spending 6 hours each way in a narrow Y seat doesn't sound like that much fun if there's a reasonable alternative. As for the benefits, although it can be hard to use the GPUs unless you're flexible, you're allowed to give them to family / friends / co-workers (although you can't sell / trade them, just to be clear). They might make someone a nice gift. :-)
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Old Jun 12, 17, 7:33 pm
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Originally Posted by The_Virus360 View Post
Also, another point I just thought of - since I would be flying J most of the time, except for leisure (5x per year max due to my schedule, as I mentioned) wouldn't the Priority Access benefits be moot most of the time, as they're included in the J ticket? Do 1Ks get a dedicated check-in, separate from domestic first, gold etc. at EWR/LGA? What about boarding priority? I'm usually an AC flyer, so excuse me for not knowing this.
As noted, the experience between a 1K and a general member in a premium cabin on UA is very similar. Some airports have a check-in counter which is for 1K and Polaris (UA long-haul int'l J/F) only, but this is not an appreciable benefit. Boarding priority, security, etc, is all the same. 1Ks get first choice of meals in the premium cabins, again a very minor perk. If the questions is "if all my travel is paid J/F does 1K have any value?" then I'd say the answer is not a whole lot. Lower wait times in case of IRROPS and more award miles, but that's about it.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Well, I think you're actually choosing between Y as a Gold and J as a 1K, right?
But really it's this. It sounds like you're asking "should I fly in J or Y"? And the answer is definitely J
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Old Jun 12, 17, 7:36 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Not sure of the required timing for your trips, but have you looked at the CX nonstops between YVR/JFK with a true premium product?
The PR non-stop is 1/3 the price.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 7:54 pm
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Thanks everyone, this has all been very helpful.

If the questions is "if all my travel is paid J/F does 1K have any value?" then I'd say the answer is not a whole lot. Lower wait times in case of IRROPS and more award miles, but that's about it.
You hit the nail on the head as to what I was trying to figure out .

It sounds like you're asking "should I fly in J or Y"? And the answer is definitely J
Assuming my financial situation doesn't change unexpectedly, it looks like this is the route I will go with. I will take the irrops support and bonus miles, perhaps use a few of the GPUs/RPUs and give the rest to friends/family.

I looked in to the CX schedule/pricing etc. The real deal breaker for me is the schedule. Their flights are only ideal in one direction (red eye from YVR-JFK). In the opposite direction, the flight leaves late from JFK and gets in at about midnight to YVR, not ideal for hitting the ground running early the next morning, as I live about an hour away from the airport. I would be in bed by 1:30-2am at best .
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