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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 Jul 25, 18, 8:44 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: EWR
Programs: UA 1.5MM Platinum, UC Lifetime , HHonors Diamond, Presidential Plus card holder
Posts: 330
Platinum's value to me in 2018:
RPU cleared HNL-EWR redeye
Award upgrades cleared EWR-HKG - Gold would not have made it
Award upgrades cleared EWR-LHR - Gold would not have made it
CPUs 2 out of 8 on heavily travelled routes
Value of Platinum is directly related to expected travel. So far this year it has given me thousands of dollars of value where last year it was much less.
8MiHi is offline  
Old Jul 25, 18, 9:32 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: New York
Programs: UA Silver, Marriott LTP, Hertz President's Club
Posts: 952
Plat v. gold is a topic that can be debatable mainly because the useful nature of the benefits varies greatly on your travel patterns.

Main part I miss is BG1. BG2 can be a zoo especially at hubs on certain flights, especially if you're in the front of Y (E+) on a narrowbody trying to get a carry-on bag in the overhead without going past your seat and then having to wait for enough pax to deplane to get your bag (delays + time for this can kill connections!). Of course, on certain 1K/GS heavy routes BG1 can be half the plane, but it generally wasn't common on my routes (even flights from EWR/LGA to ORD). I also had a lot of connections when I was plat. Some of these connections I would have somehow coped in economy (26 min ORD <---> MLI in air isn't that bad) but on others it was appreciated (4 hour ORD <---> BOI flights I got upgraded a lot more as a plat and the seat/service was greatly appreciated).

I wouldn't go out of my way to earn plat unless you're close and one benefit unusually resonates with you, or if you're making it on segments (like I used to - 116 PQS in 2015!) and on routes that have less higher elites vying for the upgrades.
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phltraveler is offline  
Old Aug 21, 18, 1:23 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: ORD
Programs: United Platinum, Marriott Titanium, Hilton Diamond, Hertz PC, Avis Preferred Plus
Posts: 79
Can anyone comment on what the increased First Saver availability looks like? Is it a meaningful difference in the available seats, or is this a benefit that I'm just not likely to ever get a chance to use?

Unfortunately, I'm usually flying short haul flights out of ORD, so a lot of the other perks aren't too meaningful. I'm usually on an RJ where everyone is stuck gate checking their bag, so Group 1 doesn't mean too much. And from my experience going from Silver -> Gold was that for CPUs I went from 40th to 20th on the upgrade list, so I'm not very optimistic that Platinum would really make a difference there either.
flandery is offline  
Old Aug 21, 18, 1:31 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 5,811
Originally Posted by flandery View Post
Can anyone comment on what the increased First Saver availability looks like? Is it a meaningful difference in the available seats, or is this a benefit that I'm just not likely to ever get a chance to use?

Unfortunately, I'm usually flying short haul flights out of ORD, so a lot of the other perks aren't too meaningful. I'm usually on an RJ where everyone is stuck gate checking their bag, so Group 1 doesn't mean too much. And from my experience going from Silver -> Gold was that for CPUs I went from 40th to 20th on the upgrade list, so I'm not very optimistic that Platinum would really make a difference there either.
You can do some searches for flights you typically do or expect to take with expert mode on. On any where you see IN>0 and I0, Platinum would make the difference for you. If you're interested in domestic First Saver awards, practically speaking, no one gets those. Maybe a redeye LAX-ORD or something.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 5:41 pm
  #5  
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Danville, CA, USA;
Programs: UA Plat & 1MM, DL Plat, Marriott LT Gold, HHonors Gold, Hyatt Explorist & IHG Ambassador
Posts: 12,796
Originally Posted by flandery View Post
Can anyone comment on what the increased First Saver availability looks like? Is it a meaningful difference in the available seats, or is this a benefit that I'm just not likely to ever get a chance to use?
As 1K I find it very meaningful for Y, C and F. I sometimes compare award reservation online when logged out and logged in as 1K (because better to use non-elite miles for trips that are set in stone). Many times I find domestic Y/F unavailable unless I am logged in. Alternatively I just booked a trip yesterday where the 1K options were plentiful and convenient compared to mediocre connections for non-elites.

IMO 1K makes a huge difference, and would be the same for Plat if it pulls from the same inventory.

Also the reduced change fees are huge as saver award inventory often opens closer to ETD. I was able to shift Mrs. B onto a 14 hour UA nonstop (saver award TATL in Polaris) from a much longer *A connection with a $0 change fee. Did this both directions. That is worth a lot to me.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 6:26 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: San Francisco
Programs: UA Gold, AS MVP Gold, Marriott Titanium, AA Plat Pro
Posts: 379
I've found that it makes a difference, though I suspect it's quite market dependent, so the suggestion of using Expert Mode to check routes you're interested in is an excellent one. It's also possible that you might have a bit more luck with CPUs than you expect. I occasionally get CPUed out of SFO as a Plat, though never on hub-hub, and mostly on red-eyes, but considering I'm usually on a K fare and it's SFO I'm still pretty happy with that.
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zymm is offline  
Old Aug 22, 18, 2:09 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: DL PM, UA Gold, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 11,338
Originally Posted by flandery View Post
Can anyone comment on what the increased First Saver availability looks like? Is it a meaningful difference in the available seats, or is this a benefit that I'm just not likely to ever get a chance to use?
Because you phrase it as First Saver, I'm going to say there is no big difference. The number of domestic flights where a saver award would be a good deal (cash price >$400 or so) than also have either I or IN space is vanishingly small.

There is a growing trend of the extra availability being meaningful on long-haul flights, but even that isn't really to a level where I would try to hit Plat just for it.
findark is offline  
Old Sep 17, 18, 11:02 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat and 1MM, Marriott Ti/LTP, Hertz PC
Posts: 884
In light of the boarding process change, do folks still think Plat is worth more than Gold? I, for one, was going to do a mileage run to reach Plat but now I am most likely stick to Gold this year. Group 1 is the only benefit I care about. Now Gold gets Group 1.
naumank is offline  
Old Sep 17, 18, 11:05 pm
  #9  
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Bay Area
Programs: DL SM, UA MP.
Posts: 12,730
But they just moved 1Ks and Platinums to board before group 1?
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Old Sep 17, 18, 11:32 pm
  #10  
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 10,458
Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
But they just moved 1Ks and Platinums to board before group 1?
1Ks, yes. Plats, no.

Plats still board in Group 1, but with Golds now instead of 1Ks. GSs are complaining about standing next to 1Ks. Plats now have opportunity to complain about having to board with Golds.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 11:35 pm
  #11  
sb3
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: UA-1K
Posts: 308
Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
But they just moved 1Ks and Platinums to board before group 1?
They just moved the 1Ks. Platinum remains group 1.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 11:59 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 5,811
Agree with the implicit judgement that the BG change makes Platinum less valuable. But Platinum still gets RPUs. So they can still snatch a 1K's seat selection.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 1:04 am
  #13  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,077
Originally Posted by naumank View Post
In light of the boarding process change, do folks still think Plat is worth more than Gold? I, for one, was going to do a mileage run to reach Plat but now I am most likely stick to Gold this year. Group 1 is the only benefit I care about. Now Gold gets Group 1.
I didn't think Platinum was worth more than Gold before unless you regularly travel with a family. This doesn't move the needle for me one way or the other.
jsloan is online now  
Old Sep 18, 18, 10:43 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Virginia
Programs: UA Platinum (1MM), Marriott Plat Premier, Hertz PC
Posts: 60
Originally Posted by naumank View Post
In light of the boarding process change, do folks still think Plat is worth more than Gold? I, for one, was going to do a mileage run to reach Plat but now I am most likely stick to Gold this year. Group 1 is the only benefit I care about. Now Gold gets Group 1.
I just came to the same conclusion. I've been stretching the past couple of years to make Plat, and for what? Yes, there's additional RDMs, but that's not significant -- call it 9000 extra RDM at Plat 's 9x vs Gold's 8x earnings. I value miles at $.01, so $90 is not going to change my life. (Even if you use the more customary 2 cents per mile, it's still not a game changer.)

CPUs? Most of my travel is hub-to-hub, or crappy CJR 200 legs to outstations, and I've never received a CPU on a hub-to-hub leg. In the past three years I think I've received one upgrade as a Plat that I wouldn't have received as a Gold, mostly because I rarely get upgraded. I generally value those upgrades at less than half of the upfare/upgrade price, since I already decided the P fare wasn't worth it when I bought my ticket, and also decided against buying a TOD or a cash upgrade. The upgrade I got as a Plat over Gold was on a leg where I would have been just as happy to sit in the back. So that's maybe $100 of value once in three years? And that's being generous because I wouldn't have spent $100 cash for that upgrade. (Total value, maybe $33/yr?)

Last year it took so many attempts to use my RPUs that I lost track. Here it is Sept, and I still have both of them unused so far this year. They're nice when they work, but on flights where I really want to sit up front, I just buy a P fare because RPUs generally don't work on my flights. I was able to use them on a coast to coast flight with my wife last year by avoiding hub-to-hub flights, and that was really nice. Had I purchased two upgrades for those return flights it would have been $434 according to United's charts. My wife ended up coming down with a cold the day before our return flight home, so it was really nice for us to have a pair of seats in FC where she could make a cocoon next to the window and not be trapped in 3 across E+. In that case, it was worth the full upgrade price of $217 per seat for that day. On the flip side, a couple years ago I wasn't able to use either of them after many failed attempts, so I gave them away to other guys in the company who still had to travel in the year after I was finished. Value that year: nearly zero. Now I just try to use them throughout the year on flights where I am just as happy to sit in the back, so when they don't work I don't worry about it. In general, I value them somewhere around $100 each, and if it wasn't against the MP rules, I'd be happy to sell them for that price. (Total value, $200)

I don't have a big family, so I have never needed to check in eight people into E+, I don't check three bags, I don't make reservations over the phone. To me there's no value in those perks. I do get a $50 discount on my Club membership, but my company pays that anyhow. So I save the company money, but the boss would buy me a club membership at full price if I didn't have a discount.

BG1 is really the best perk for me. I can stay in the club until boarding time, and walk up to the gate and get in the end of BG1 queue and be ahead of all the credit card holders. BG1 has two advantages to me: I don't have to wait in line on the jetway, and I have better access to overhead storage close to my seat. About half the time or more I'm stuck in a middle seat anyhow due to the way my travel patterns, so I just put my bag under the seat in front of me, so BG1 makes little difference. The only time where BG1 actually makes a difference is when I manage to score an aisle seat, but that's not that often.

So the value to me of Plat over Gold is maybe $323 per year plus the now devalued BG1.

Actually, now that I sit back and look at all of this I realize what a colossal waste of time it's been to chase after Plat. I often pick coast to coast routes that grant me 500-700 more PQMs than going a more direct route, for the same fare as direct but at the cost of several hours of my time. So far this year I've earned an extra 9500 PQM by taking these routes, and all for the sake of perceived "perks" of Plat over Gold. I have probably given away an extra 30+ hours of my life chasing $323 in "perks." What a fool I am! That's nearly minimum wage. My time could have been better spent doing almost anything else.

No more! I won't fly one extra mile, or waste one extra minute of my life trapped inside an aluminum tube in pursuit of a devalued status that doesn't offer true value in exchange for my time. The new travel style is going to be liberating! No more chasing after status, no more worrying about tracking my progress. I'll just pick the route that gives me back the greatest amount of my time and be done with it.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 11:01 am
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: EWR
Programs: UA 1.5MM Platinum, UC Lifetime , HHonors Diamond, Presidential Plus card holder
Posts: 330
Since I have the Presidential Plus CC my stretching for Platinum hasn't really been tough for years as I have always been close to 75K PQMs or better and I have the FPQMs when needed. I still do an occasional MR, but its more because I want to fly someplace.
When I retire and count on MM status for Gold the boarding will remain the same. This reduces the likelihood of a positive response to the bigger question of whether I should stretch for 2MM.
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