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Where to credit UA flights (casual traveler)

Where to credit UA flights (casual traveler)

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Old Apr 15, 19, 11:12 am
  #1  
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Where to credit UA flights (casual traveler)

I used to fly UA but have reduced my travel except a handful trips a year nowadays. Given the upcoming changes to the program, I would like to explore crediting my occasional UA flights (likely cheap economy tickets) to another program.

My questions:

A) Logistics, how exactly to avoid my UA # being associated with PNR. I guess ideally I should not book such flights while logged in to my account, otherwise PNR would automatically associate with my UA #. Or is there a way to change/update passenger FFN?

B) Between AV, NH and OZ, which program is better? In my specific case, primary goal would be TPAC travel or TCON (e.g., east coast to SFO/SEA/PDX). My occasional travel on UA probably wouldn’t yield much accumulation until years after. In terms of milage expiration, NH is 36 months and OZ is 10 years of hard expiration. So is AV actually better (b/c flight activity extends miles validity)?

C) Travel benefit. I have the Mileage Plus Explorer credit card. I suppose I’d loose free checked luggage benefit if my PNR is associated with another program. But how about the 2 club passes?

Thanks for your input.

Last edited by deltame; Apr 15, 19 at 12:10 pm
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Old Apr 15, 19, 11:58 am
  #2  
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Your biggest problem, if you are talking 3-4-5 years of accumulation to make a redemption, is you are trying to predict the future.
Who knows what these alternative programs are going to look like in the future?

Yes, you will lose the benefits of your Explorer card as those are tied to your MP account. You could try changing the FF account post check-in but then you need to repeat the game for the return.

For now the UC passes are OK regardless of FF account (if flying an *A carrier after Nov 2019)
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Old Apr 15, 19, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by deltame View Post
B) Between AV, NH and CZ, which program is better? In my specific case, primary goal would be TPAC travel or TCON (e.g., east coast to SFO/SEA/PDX). My occasional travel on UA probably wouldn’t yield much accumulation until years after. In terms of milage expiration, NH is 36 months and CZ is 10 years of hard expiration. So is AV actually better (b/c flight activity extends miles validity)?

C) Travel benefit. I have the Mileage Plus Explorer credit card. I suppose I’d loose free checked luggage benefit if my PNR is associated with another program. But how about the 2 club passes?

Thanks for your input.
B) You listed CZ -- did you mean CA? China Southern (CZ) isn't a United partner; Air China (CA) is.
C) The 2 club passes will continue to be valid, although I doubt they're worth the $95.

How often do you check a bag, and what's your average fare?

If a "cheap economy ticket" is $300, and you check a bag each way, the Explorer card is saving you $60. I doubt you'd get $60 worth of miles from any alternative program on a $300 ticket. You might do better sticking that money into a fund to use to pay for your TPAC travel.
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Old Apr 15, 19, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
B) You listed CZ -- did you mean CA? China Southern (CZ) isn't a United partner; Air China (CA) is.
C) The 2 club passes will continue to be valid, although I doubt they're worth the $95.

How often do you check a bag, and what's your average fare?

If a "cheap economy ticket" is $300, and you check a bag each way, the Explorer card is saving you $60. I doubt you'd get $60 worth of miles from any alternative program on a $300 ticket. You might do better sticking that money into a fund to use to pay for your TPAC travel.
Sorry, I meant OZ, Asiana Airlines. Thanks for pointing it out, I've corrected in the initial post.

I usually don't need check a bag for domestic travel, except on rare instances.

Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Your biggest problem, if you are talking 3-4-5 years of accumulation to make a redemption, is you are trying to predict the future.
Who knows what these alternative programs are going to look like in the future?
Yes, however I already have 500k+ UA miles, and recent changes made me realize I should not put all eggs in one basket especially when its known the ship is sailing into the dark ocean.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 15, 19 at 2:30 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Apr 15, 19, 12:44 pm
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Originally Posted by deltame View Post
Sorry, I meant OZ, Asiana Airlines. Thanks for pointing it out, I've corrected in the initial post.

I usually don't need check a bag for domestic travel, except on rare instances.
Fair enough. Note that the Explorer card will also allow you to bring a full-size carry-on on domestic BE fares, which you otherwise can't do unless you're *G.
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Old Apr 15, 19, 2:40 pm
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If you book discount economy fares or Basic Economy, check to see how many miles the alternative program will provide. While UA RDM earnings can be poor, alternative *A programs can be bleaker for UA flights. 25% of base miles is common for K fares and 0% for BE.

Check wheretocredit

OZ is probably as good as any for the lower fares

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 15, 19 at 2:52 pm Reason: link
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Old Apr 15, 19, 4:02 pm
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In terms of award miles it really doesn't matter where you go, you're looking at drops in the bucket for infrequent K fare travel. These days the vast majority of award travel is accrued via credit cards with many credit cards allowing you to transfer points to other programmes or book whatever flight you want (i.e. AmEx Fixed points Travel program).

In terms of accruing status, OZ may make a lot of sense considering you'll get lifetime *A Gold once you hit 500,000 miles across all *A partners (not just OZ). They also grant up to 4 years of *A Gold status and give you up to 2 years to qualify for elite status. A3 is another possibility especially with their lower re-qualification threshold.

-James
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Old Apr 15, 19, 8:07 pm
  #8  
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I also think OZ is probably the best of the 3 for infrequent traveling (at least as of about a year ago when I last looked into things in more detail). The 2 years to earn status (plus having status for 2 years after that) seems like a big plus if your traveling patterns aren't very regular from year-to-year. Also I think they earn fairly consistently across all UA fare classes (except basic economy) which not all programs did if I recall. If you did get to *A Gold status you'd have the perk of getting UA club access even for US domestic flights. If I recall, I think OZ also had an interesting credit card offer where (in addition to the signup bonus) you also earn like 10000 miles per year for a $100 annual fee, so you essentially get to buy 10K miles at or below market value each year to help pad out your account if you're not earning that many miles from flying directly.
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Old Apr 16, 19, 12:44 am
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I won't bother the trouble.

Unless you have some decent collection with another program, starting anew only makes things even more complicated, as you will need to manage 2 programs instead of one.
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Old Apr 16, 19, 8:31 am
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Many thanks! It appears RDM earning rate from the 3 alternate programs are still distance based. I spot checked a few economy fare class on UA, K and G, for example, would fetch about 30% to 50% of miles flown. No doubt RDM earning from my occasional UA flights would likely to be insignificant in a given year. However, when (very) cheap fares are concerned, distance based earning programs do provide greater yield.

OZ would be great if I were to pursue status. The draw back for my specific case, as everyone said, is that I will likely need additional source of RDM (I.e., transferable points in order to supplement miles earned from flight activity) for a more meaningful redemption. Among the 3 programs I’m considering, OZ has the least of point transfer partners.

I cannot seem to decide between AV and NH.
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