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UA vs another airline for SFO-HKG monthly roundtrips?

UA vs another airline for SFO-HKG monthly roundtrips?

Old Apr 28, 18, 3:36 pm
  #46  
 
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I fly this route fairly often and will be on it next week. I have also flown most of the Asian carriers in business. I like the schedule departing from Hong Kong, on Cathay, (same from Seoul on Korean and Asiana) as you can get a full day of work in, take a late flight and be home that night. I don't care about the food - it is good on Singapore and China Air - but it is the seat and comfort that is the primary factor for me. United wins this as a combination of a long seat and the option to use the cooling vents make for a comfortable ride. The seats on Cathay are lacking, while they are great on China, Korean, JAL and EVA. I have not tried the new Singapore seat and did not like the old one as you slept at an angle. Flew the Asiana 380 the other day and was not impressed. In addition, I use my miles for family trips and while there has been devaluations recently, they still work. I hardly ever use my miles on American and Delta.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 3:39 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by polar8 View Post
After 2 roundtrips, I would be MVP on Alaska and Gold on United. Then thanks to the multipliers,
If you're doing 12 $6k roundtrips per year, you're going to hit GS. In fact, you'll hit 1K during your 4th roundtrip, at which point you'll start earning 66k miles per ticket. With that kind of miles stash, you could redeem for standard UA awards, which are last seat availability.

So I think UA clearly wins on FFP and elite benefits, while CX and SQ win on schedule and in-flight product (though the 77W and Polaris lounge at SFO present a reasonable alternative).

I don't think this is an easy call at all.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 4:25 pm
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by polar8 View Post
I just ran some basic calculations. Hopefully this helps someone else in this situation. On a typical SFO-HKG fare, say the flight costs $6k and is 14,000 miles long.

On Alaska, I would earn 31,500 points per trip. On United, 30,000

After 2 roundtrips, I would be MVP on Alaska and Gold on United. Then thanks to the multipliers,

Alaska: 38,500 / United: 48,000

So United definitely has an advantage on # of miles earned. Then I went on to compare award redemption value. It seems like AS awards cost slightly less in points. SFO/SJC-Hawaii was usually 17.5K points on AS vs 25K on UA, for example.

My conclusion is what others have also suggested: United seems like the best value if you're going to be hitting the higher status levels like Plat/1K. If not, Cathay gets you better service, more flexible flight times, and similar value at lower status levels.

You are missing the trees due to the forest. Kacee has said this twice in this thread already

Screw gold, nothing matters until 1K and even that sucks compared to GS, ESPECIALLY when you fly for leisure with your best girl/guy/whatever

GS ability to essentially manufacture business class tickets from thin air is a boon for leisure activity

You will make UA 1K on your 4th trip and take a year to make GS (There is a MUCH quicker way if your company gives UA 50K upfront)

I really don't think this is a hard call at all, especially when you mention Europe as LH and UA fly SFO-FRA and you can get anywhere in EU from there easily, either by plane or train. UA and *A in general have Asia covered like no other - that isn't even remotely a debate.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 4:28 pm
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
If you're doing 12 $6k roundtrips per year, you're going to hit GS. In fact, you'll hit 1K during your 4th roundtrip, at which point you'll start earning 66k miles per ticket. With that kind of miles stash, you could redeem for standard UA awards, which are last seat availability.

So I think UA clearly wins on FFP and elite benefits, while CX and SQ win on schedule and in-flight product (though the 77W and Polaris lounge at SFO present a reasonable alternative).

I don't think this is an easy call at all.
You're absolutely right about the GS status, and the miles are appealing. However, a lot depends on when and for how long these 1x month trips start. If this begins next month or later, he won't be GS in 2018/2019, but if he continues at that same rate of travel, he'll have it for 2020.

In the meantime, he'll be earning a gold mine of miles, but still won't be able to CPU on his BOS trips.

It's a tough one, but I'm sticking with CX/AS in this scenario.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 5:10 pm
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by NoLaGent View Post
You're absolutely right about the GS status, and the miles are appealing. However, a lot depends on when and for how long these 1x month trips start. If this begins next month or later, he won't be GS in 2018/2019, but if he continues at that same rate of travel, he'll have it for 2020.

In the meantime, he'll be earning a gold mine of miles, but still won't be able to CPU on his BOS trips.

It's a tough one, but I'm sticking with CX/AS in this scenario.
A good point. UA GS > AS 75K, but, but, but until OP gets there AS 75K > 1K. A midyear change to UA means no GS until OP hits around $60K in 2019 (it is, or at least used to be offered early if you hit it early).

But I think the difference as OP said is that CX has different (and better) flight times. If I was doing this flight monthly, UA's flights which leave SFO at 1:15p and arrives at HKG at 7 pm, is not ideal IMHO, as it eats up the day of departure, and I would rather use that day getting situation in HKG if I had business the next day.. The return (leaving HKG at 11:15a arriving in SFO at 8:40a).is worse, you basically blow a day away on both ends.

CX OTOH has flights from HKG which leave at 2pm (arrive at 11:30a); 7p (arrive at 4 pm); and midnight (arrive at 9:45p). All of these are better than UA's flight times. And going to HKG they have both two midnight departures (getting in at around 6:30 am; as well as a 1 pm getting in at 7p (same time as UA's flight).

The better schedualed HKG-SFO flights on CX, as well as having the midnight option if you want/need it, balances out IMHO the possible benifits of GS down the road.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 5:14 pm
  #51  
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Originally Posted by NoLaGent View Post
If this begins next month or later, he won't be GS in 2018/2019,
Monthly RTs to HKG in J might very well score GS in 2018, even if they don't start until June (i.e., seven in 2018). UA does look at patterns in addition to overall spend.

Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
AS 75K > 1K
That is highly debatable. I looked at matching to AS, and after a few flights was just not impressed with the product, the service, or the network ex-SFO. While they have some generous policies (including particularly ticket changes), their overall product doesn't do it for me. At all.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 5:45 pm
  #52  
 
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Originally Posted by NoLaGent View Post
You're absolutely right about the GS status, and the miles are appealing. However, a lot depends on when and for how long these 1x month trips start. If this begins next month or later, he won't be GS in 2018/2019, but if he continues at that same rate of travel, he'll have it for 2020.

In the meantime, he'll be earning a gold mine of miles, but still won't be able to CPU on his BOS trips.

It's a tough one, but I'm sticking with CX/AS in this scenario.
with the amount of PQMs he値l be getting, he値l earn a ton of RPUs. And SFO-BOS is an easy upgrade (for now)

AS is also devaluing their FFP right now. Take a look at the AS board.

By all means, try out AS. SFO doesn稚 need another GS. But if your travel patterns here are as you say they are, GS>>>>>>>>>>>AS MVP 75
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Old Apr 28, 18, 7:11 pm
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
That is highly debatable. I looked at matching to AS, and after a few flights was just not impressed with the product, the service, or the network ex-SFO. While they have some generous policies (including particularly ticket changes), their overall product doesn't do it for me. At all.
Well I guess the question is what are you looking at? AS's new product is 41" pitch domestic F and E+, or an ex-VX bird. In the basic domestic. Niether UA's seats on the airbus, nor any of its boeing narrow bodies are particularly comfortable, and some are horrible. Product (F, E+, Y-) I give the edge to AS. Now if you can get a lie flat seat on UA, well that is better, but also few and far between, and trying that for upgrades on the 77HD is DANGEROUS. You can get stuck in something far worse than E+ of F on AS, aka any Y seat on the 77HD.

I also find that comp upgrades are much easier on AS than on UA. The comp upgrade on UA has become the offered to others TOD/discount F.

UA does have a much bigger network, and if I had to fly into a lot of secondary or third tier cities, I would not be looking at AS/VX as an option. But OP said he is flying SFO-BOS. I think the big missing link ex-SFO on VX/AS is the lack of any lounge.

p.s. I don't follow AS closely enough to know about any devalutions. I am gold on AS, but have not flown them as much as in the past given where I have been flying and that DL SFO-SEA is usually my first choice.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 7:24 pm
  #54  
 
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Originally Posted by SFOdelayed View Post


with the amount of PQMs he値l be getting, he値l earn a ton of RPUs. And SFO-BOS is an easy upgrade (for now)

AS is also devaluing their FFP right now. Take a look at the AS board.

By all means, try out AS. SFO doesn稚 need another GS. But if your travel patterns here are as you say they are, GS>>>>>>>>>>>AS MVP 75
Armchairing this fellow's decision is so much fun! (seriously)

I agree with you about the RPU's and it's also mostly lie-flat (if not all, now) on UA for SFO-BOS. On the other hand, he'd be an ASMVPG75k out of SFO, which also puts him in a pretty sweet spot here, especially for CPUs to BOS.

Given the flight schedules and CX's lounges, I'm still pro-CX/AS.

(and to the remark about early GS, for a 1st timer out of SFO I haven't seen that granted early in ages, unless you just go the PP route and drop the $50k, but I could be wrong. I'm pretty sure he'd be looking at 2020 for a 1st time GS in SFO)
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Old Apr 28, 18, 9:56 pm
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
A couple of options that might help you get to that point more quickly:

1) See if United will offer a status challenge, which can allow you to get at least some multiplier more quickly.
2) If your budget and travel policy allows, United Pass Plus (United (UA) Pass Plus Secure/ Flex -- Benefits, Value, Questions .... [Consolidated]), which is essentially prepaid travel, comes with elite status
This is some of the best advice in this entire thread. Before you start traveling, you absolutely want your corporate travel person (internal or external) contact the United and AA reps and let them know what you're planning for travel. At minimum, they will offer a status match for the 50k tier and possibly the 75k tier which you'll be able to hit in 2 trips. That will give you decent status within 2-3 months. If you're working with a big travel agency that has a strong relationship, you can let them know ahead of time that you're interested in GS and at least get that on the radar.

My 2 cents on this discussion. I was 1k for over 10 years and pretty much can't stand United now. Have switched to Delta and international carriers. That said, for your circumstance, I'd vote for United. My wife was GS for many years and its pretty spectacular.

If you're not looking to go back to Asia with your miles, then less point to accumulate CX miles. Even if you can redeem on OW, it's not as easy. So your choices are UA, AA, AS

Are you looking to do economy or premium redemptions on your personal travel? If economy, you have more options. You can get AA or UA economy redemptions easier.

Premium cabin space is very hard everywhere. I would agree with someone's suggestion that you split mileage which will expand your redemption options. That said, I go back to the GS discussion. If you can get GS, then that's your best tickets to premium travel.

Is schedule more important to you on personal travel and is UA biz good enough? Then get to GS and go with UA. There's just so many more options from SFO to get you where you may want to go. AA first and biz cabins are probably better to Europe but you're connecting and then your partnering with BA. Transit through LHR is a disaster and the fuel charges and taxes on BA are crazy bad.

AS gets you access a lot of different carriers and improves your chances of premium redemptions so I can't argue against that.

Fun problem to have for sure.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 9:22 am
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by polar8 View Post
The points accrual multipliers are the main thing pulling me towards UA right now, since I think I can get to the high multiplier levels within a few months of my travel schedule. Does Asia Miles have a similar feature?
Asia Miles is not worth it. If you池e going to fly CX, then AA is your best option for points accrual. If you purchase the AA codeshare of the CX flight and credit to AA, you値l earn RDM at 11 miles per $1 EDQ. Same as with UA. Buying he CX coded flight is only going to yield more RDM if the cost is under $3k for that route. Otherwise buy the AA code and earn a ton more EQD, RDM and EQM.

At one flight a month, you値l earn 8 SWUs and roughly 800k AA miles annually. Pretty good haul, if you ask me. Also, you might not get the most unbiased advice in the UA forum...
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Old Apr 30, 18, 1:56 pm
  #57  
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Originally Posted by swingaling View Post
Also, you might not get the most unbiased advice in the UA forum...
Yes, you're right, we're probably unduly harsh on UA. Only a handful of people in this thread have pointed out that CX standards have dropped substantially recently and that many people find the SQ J seat on the 350 quite uncomfortable. Otherwise, pretty much everyone here has recommended CX and SQ over UA for everything except FFP and elite status (specifically, Global Services) benefits.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 3:49 pm
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Yes, you're right, we're probably unduly harsh on UA. Only a handful of people in this thread have pointed out that CX standards have dropped substantially recently and that many people find the SQ J seat on the 350 quite uncomfortable. Otherwise, pretty much everyone here has recommended CX and SQ over UA for everything except FFP and elite status (specifically, Global Services) benefits.
EVA, NH or Korean Air are also good choices for these flights

BUT, if he wants a good personal return on his companies investment, UA wins hands down.


Same reason I fly UA, I mean I have plenty of choices for personal business traveler and I am my own booking agent with a company CC. BUT, when i want to take my family on a trip, for redemption and options, UA is the hands down winner. If i made enough money to buy Int'l FC/Business on whatever airlines I wanted for vacation, then it would be a much different story
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Old Apr 30, 18, 4:34 pm
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Hipplewm View Post
EVA, NH or Korean Air are also good choices for these flights
On SFO-HKG, once a month? No way. Non-stop is the only reasonable way to go and that leaves you with CX, UA, and SQ (+HX...)
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Old Apr 30, 18, 4:37 pm
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Originally Posted by GoSh4rks View Post
On SFO-HKG, once a month? No way. Non-stop is the only reasonable way to go and that leaves you with CX, UA, and SQ (+HX...)
comfort vs convienient

Sometimes there is a need for one over the other.....

On a basic level I do agree with you, just bringing up other options
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