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Is it worth it to stretch for Plat (over Gold)? [2018 Consolidated]

Is it worth it to stretch for Plat (over Gold)? [2018 Consolidated]

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Old Oct 24, 18, 3:27 am   -   Wikipost
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The value of Platinum status over Gold status is generally a "YMMV" situation. Different people will value different benefits in different ways. Here are the most commonly cited differences that people mention:
  • Boarding in Group 1 instead of Group 2 [until September 18, 2018, after which Gold and Platinum both Group 1]
  • 2 RPUs (none for Gold)
  • Improved chances at CPUs through higher priority
  • 8 companions in E+ on same itinerary vs. 1 companion
  • 3x 70 lb. bags on UA instead of 2x, although plats and golds have exact same additional bag allowance provided to *G on other Star Alliance carriers
  • Greater RDM earning rate (9x instead of 8x base fare)
  • Free award reservation changes, cancellations, miles redeposits if 61 days or more before departure, otherwise $50
  • Somewhat improved premium cabin award space availability
  • Presidential Circle status with Hertz

Plat is the highest level still eligible for Chase MP-branded credit card spend waiver of PQD requirements.

A list of differences is available here: Premier benefits chart


Related threads
[Consolidated"I need XXX UA PQD's/PQMs/PQSs in 2018 for Elite Status in 2019"

UA/Star Alliance: 2017-2018 Consolidated Mileage/Status/Challenge Runs help needed

Previous thread(s)
Is it worth it to stretch for Plat (over Gold)? [2017 Consolidated]

Is it worth it to stretch for Plat (over Gold)? [2016 Consolidated]
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Old Dec 26, 18, 11:45 am
  #76  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: LA
Posts: 7,075
Originally Posted by joe_miami View Post
I'm thinking about going free agent next year and just buying upfront on flights longer than ~3 hours. United's qualifications are simply out of whack for people like me who mostly travel short- and medium-haul international, even with a lot of P fares mixed in.
I went free agent the past two years. I liked it. I was able to buy tickets on any airline I wanted at the best price/time/cabin. I'm still confused why that's good for UA, but it worked for me. Don't get me wrong, I still flew UA and star partners, but for a 75k a year traveler buying mixed fares and living in LA, loyalty doesn't make sense right now. I say that as a UA MM, so I have a backup.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 12:55 pm
  #77  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K, DL, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 7,927
Originally Posted by joe_miami View Post
Same here. If the only way to qualify for status is to pay for seats upfront a big percentage of the time,* then what's the point of having status? The average person in this situation would pay less just biting the bullet and paying fees, E+, etc., when necessary.


(* I actually did pay for seats upfront quite a few times this year, but I'm still nowhere near the PQD.)
Even if you are buying paid premium out of your own pocket, status is a huge benefit because every confirmed upgrade is a cost savings. I think this is a little bit of why I am less upset than most over the perceived decline in upgrades. I have a fair amount of OPM work travel, but I also buy premium fares on my own dime -- every time I use a certificate at booking or take a route where I am sufficiently confident I can CPU, that's a significant amount of money back to my own pocket. I don't see it as being "entitled" to buy Y and play F; status is like a rebate where I get occasional discounts on premium travel (in addition to the better access to competent agents, and much better treatment for short flights where I am willing to pay and fly Y). In this regard, I find (USA) airline status vastly superior to any other rewards program I have been part of.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 1:03 pm
  #78  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Miami, Florida
Programs: UA Gold, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Gold, IHG Platinum
Posts: 2,495
Originally Posted by findark View Post
Even if you are buying paid premium out of your own pocket, status is a huge benefit because every confirmed upgrade is a cost savings. I think this is a little bit of why I am less upset than most over the perceived decline in upgrades. I have a fair amount of OPM work travel, but I also buy premium fares on my own dime -- every time I use a certificate at booking or take a route where I am sufficiently confident I can CPU, that's a significant amount of money back to my own pocket. I don't see it as being "entitled" to buy Y and play F; status is like a rebate where I get occasional discounts on premium travel (in addition to the better access to competent agents, and much better treatment for short flights where I am willing to pay and fly Y). In this regard, I find (USA) airline status vastly superior to any other rewards program I have been part of.
No doubt the upgrades and other benefits have value, but we're talking about people who are ~$3,000 to ~$4,500 away from the Plat PQD. Deliberately spending that much extra in the hopes of future upgrades seems fairly crazy. (In my case, I could have reached 1K's PQM for about $1,500 more in UA flights, but I still would have been ~$6,000 short of 1K's PQD.)
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Old Dec 26, 18, 1:08 pm
  #79  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K, DL, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 7,927
Originally Posted by joe_miami View Post
No doubt the upgrades and other benefits have value, but we're talking about people who are ~$3,000 to ~$4,500 away from the Plat PQD. Deliberately spending that much extra in the hopes of future upgrades seems fairly crazy. (In my case, I could have reached 1K's PQM for about $1,500 more in UA flights, but I still would have been ~$6,000 short of 1K's PQD.)
Fair enough -- $4,500 extra to qualify for Plat is obviously crazy. But the ~$400 worth of CPUs you could probably swing there is a nice kickback if you decide to move all your travel to paid F
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Old Dec 26, 18, 1:13 pm
  #80  
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS MVPG; Marriott Plat Premier; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Refugeeist
Posts: 37,463
Originally Posted by joe_miami View Post
No doubt the upgrades and other benefits have value, but we're talking about people who are ~$3,000 to ~$4,500 away from the Plat PQD.
That's clearly a very poor value proposition.

In most instances not worth it for 1K, either. You have to really get value from the GPUs for 1K to be worth anything even close to that.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 2:07 pm
  #81  
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Danville, CA, USA;
Programs: UA Plat & 1MM, Marriott LT Gold, HHonors Gold, Hyatt Explorist & IHG Plat
Posts: 11,431
Originally Posted by anc-ord772 View Post


I went free agent the past two years. I liked it. I was able to buy tickets on any airline I wanted at the best price/time/cabin. I'm still confused why that's good for UA, but it worked for me. Don't get me wrong, I still flew UA and star partners, but for a 75k a year traveler buying mixed fares and living in LA, loyalty doesn't make sense right now. I say that as a UA MM, so I have a backup.
I've been doing this for years. Why would anyone not book the lowest fare if the product is the same? However as an elite you still have several benefits that may cause you to pay a slightly higher fare on UA (you have to consider the TOTAL cost of travel and not just the base fare):

(1) E+ at time of booking. Some competitors do not really offer an E+ product (e.g. WN, AS) and for others it would be quite pricey for a family. I consider this a necessity and would value it at $50 one-way per person (maybe more for transcon or Hawaii)..
(2) Checked bags. For most vacations (except skiing) we average about 2 checked bags total for a family of 4. Free on UA, free on WN, free on AS and AA (credit card perks) so really only a strike against DL.
(3) EQM - I always need EQM so this has some value but only to me so a small factor when buying tix for a family of 4.
(4) CPUs - These come through more often than not to Mexico, less so on other trips. But this is really only a tiebreaker since it is not guaranteed.
(5) Nonstop flights - Can often get nonstops on UA from SFO v. connection on others. It's definitely worth $50 per person for me to avoid a connection, esp. for international flights.

So considering all these factors I will generally pay a higher fare to fly UA, but not significantly higher. Maybe $100 per person roundtrip. But this is also true for short flights on WN - I might pay a little more as the zero cancellation penalty is very handy (not to mention the value of using OAK though that's strictly personal).

Most years I fly a mix of UA, WN and sometimes AS (there is almost always a trip where the BofA $99 cert saves significant $$$).
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Old Jan 7, 19, 1:57 pm
  #82  
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Durham, NC (RDU/GSO/FAY)
Programs: AA EXP/1MM, DL PM, UA Plat, HH DIA, IHG Spire/AMB, Marriott Titanium, Hertz PC, Amtrak Select
Posts: 28,748
I'm 0/4 to start the year on upgrades. The biggest difference for me over Gold so far seems that I'm now close enough to the upgrade that missing it hurts

- 1/1 EWR-RDU A-320 W Fare: #2
- 1/6 MEX-IAH A-320 Q Fare: #3
- 1/6 IAH-ORD 737-800 Q Fare: #3

Oh well, maybe it'll get a little better after February 1st.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 3:14 pm
  #83  
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: EWR
Programs: UA 1.5MM Platinum, UC Lifetime , HHonors Diamond
Posts: 162
Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
I'm 0/4 to start the year on upgrades. The biggest difference for me over Gold so far seems that I'm now close enough to the upgrade that missing it hurts

- 1/1 EWR-RDU A-320 W Fare: #2
- 1/6 MEX-IAH A-320 Q Fare: #3
- 1/6 IAH-ORD 737-800 Q Fare: #3

Oh well, maybe it'll get a little better after February 1st.
I was able to use my RPUs (one even the HNL-EWR gold standard for RPUs) but had to scramble to finish the last one on an EWR-PBI flight.
CPUs were rare: non-existent on hub-hub flights or on 'in season' flights to Florida but showed up otherwise from time to time.
TODs have definitely made upgrades for Platinums a rare event.
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