Fast track elite status options?

Old Apr 11, 18, 11:00 pm
  #1  
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Exclamation Fast track elite status options?

Hi - I just got into a global business school MBA program and I will be traveling from JFK to Singapore, Los Angeles and China just in 2018 (most likely on Star Alliance airlines).
In 2019, I'll be traveling from JFK to India, Singapore and Los Angeles (most likely on Star Alliance airlines and Jetblue to LA).

I currently do not have any airline status and would be grateful for any recommendations on credit cards that can accelerate elite status so I can get upgrades / better award seat availability on my flights. I am open to other airline alliances as well.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 11:06 pm
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I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but "fast tracking" any kind of elite status (other than Silver on UA) with 2 Intl trips and 1 t-con, isn't going to help you in the upgrade department at all.

Better award seat availability is open for discussion if you get the Mileage Plus Explorer card, but that seems kind of a moot point given the amount of miles you'll have earned for redemption after that, although you will have some.

Keep all your travel on UA metal (which is easy on those routes), and you'll have a nice start towards some good rewards (hopefully) down the line.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 11:10 pm
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If you're flying from JFK, UA is not your airline.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 11:38 pm
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
If you're flying from JFK, UA is not your airline.
HA! While that is very true, perhaps the OP can depart from EWR for these trips.

paypal930, UA no longer serves JFK, but you can utilize their hub at Newark.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 11:56 pm
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Get the MP Explorer card to get more miles and use those for award flights or trying to do miles/co-pay for upgrades. I donít think youíll get to RPU/GPU territory unless youíre doing each of those flights a few times a year. Also since youíll be abroad the Explorer card doesnít have international fees.
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Old Apr 12, 18, 12:25 am
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Originally Posted by payal930 View Post
I currently do not have any airline status and would be grateful for any recommendations on credit cards that can accelerate elite status so I can get upgrades / better award seat availability on my flights. I am open to other airline alliances as well.
Elite status and credit cards do not really match each other up.

(FWIW - UA used to have a co-brand allowing that. The card is now closed for all new applications.)

Also - elite status works best if you truly travel frequently, especially in Y. So in your case, your travel will not be frequently enough.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 12, 18 at 12:47 am Reason: Snarky comment removed
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Old Apr 12, 18, 12:45 am
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
your travel will not be frequently enough.
OP never states the frequency of travel, just the destinations.

OP: As others have stated, (a) UA doesn't fly out of JFK, and (b) in order to get upgrades on these routes, you're going to need quite a bit of flying. In fact, realistically, NYC-LAX upgrades can be difficult on any carrier, as the current business class prices are often low enough that the cabin fills up without any upgrades at all. (Business class starts at $300 more than coach each way on that route).

UA does not provide complimentary upgrades at any status level for any of the routes you've mentioned -- you need to use miles (plus a cash copay) or an upgrade certificate for any of them. You get your first two upgrade certificates -- which could theoretically be used on EWR-LAX/vv -- at 75K status miles and $9K in spending. You'll get more, including 6 that can be used on the routes to Singapore, China, or India, when you reach 100K status miles and $12K in spending.

All of these upgrades are capacity-controlled, and there is never a guarantee that you'll be able to upgrade the particular flight that you want.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But, unless you plan to travel these routes regularly and have quite a bit of flexibility on travel dates, your best bet is hope for an inexpensive cash upgrade offer.
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Old Apr 12, 18, 1:43 am
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Somewhat off-topic, but when I saw this thread my first thought was when I calculated that you can do SFO-HKG-GUM and v/v in full J twice, and earn roughly 12k PQD and 100k PQM - probably the fastest way to make 1K for a roughly par amount of money. They seem to have replaced the routing-based J fare with an MPM one, though
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Old Apr 12, 18, 9:33 am
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I figured it might be a long shot, but was worth trying.

with the Star Alliance partner airlines i can fly out of JFK or EWR (rare instances LGA).

you're right! i was planning to fly out of JFK or EWR with star alliance partner airlines.

Last edited by J.Edward; Apr 12, 18 at 11:44 am Reason: merge posts
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Old Apr 12, 18, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by payal930 View Post
you're right! i was planning to fly out of JFK or EWR with star alliance partner airlines.
UA status will not give you any meaningful access to upgrades when flying Star Alliance partner airlines.
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Old Apr 12, 18, 9:38 am
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not the bearer of bad news, i used to be so well versed in miles/points (that whole world) when i was a frequent traveler as a consultant. not so much anymore so i thought i'd reach out to experts
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Old Apr 12, 18, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by payal930 View Post
you're right! i was planning to fly out of JFK or EWR with star alliance partner airlines.
If you're flying partners but aren't getting a MileagePlus credit card then maybe you could think about using Aegean or Turkish to get at least Gold status so you'll have the benefits of lounge access, Fast Trak and what not if you are flying in Economy.
Others here may have more insight into those but from the years on flyer talk I've gleaned that those two are "easier" to reach Gold.
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Old Apr 12, 18, 12:44 pm
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Originally Posted by payal930 View Post
Hi - I just got into a global business school MBA program
CONGRATS! Sounds like a very fun program!
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Old Apr 12, 18, 2:33 pm
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My advice: get a SO among your cohort in the Anderson-NUS program who has 1MM and 1K status and be their designated companion.

Otherwise you're probably better off Kayaking and looking for deals on cheap business class fares rather than trying to accrue status on United.

My impression is that JFK hubbed DL is better for credit card + flying your way to status, though their status (short of diamond) isn't worth as much as United's. (Again: just an impression, not sure).
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Old Apr 12, 18, 4:46 pm
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Originally Posted by endrond View Post
My impression is that JFK hubbed DL is better for credit card + flying your way to status, though their status (short of diamond) isn't worth as much as United's. (Again: just an impression, not sure).
And United's, with its lack of lounge access privileges, isn't worth as much as any other Star Alliance carrier's.
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