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Is it worth it to stretch for 1K (over Plat)? [2019 Consolidated]

Is it worth it to stretch for 1K (over Plat)? [2019 Consolidated]

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Old Oct 14, 19, 7:17 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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Major differences between 1K and Plat (as of 09/01/2019)
1Ks
  • Earning 2 additional RPUs and 6 GPUs (plus 1 additional GPU per 25K PQMs / 30 PQSs)
  • Priority for premium cabin meal choices
  • Free drink and food item if in economy on North American flights
  • Higher waitlist priority for upgrades,
  • Waitlisting for Instant Upgrades if on Y/B/M fares (for CPU eligible flights) and clears into PN
  • No close in 60 day change fees for awards (close in fees go awatNov `5, 2019)
  • Higher earning rate for RDMs (11 vs 9)
  • While part of BG1, 1Ks can pre-board after GSs and families with a child 2 or younger
  • 1K 1-call and 1Kvoice email address customer service
  • CLEAR airport securty annual membership is provided for free
One consideration and "advantage" of Plat is it is the highest level that qualifies for PQD credit card waiver or also the highest elite elite achievable using FlexPQMs

A list of differences is available here: Premier benefits chart

Related threads
[Consolidated] "I need XXX UA PQD's/PQMs/PQSs in 2019 for Elite Status in 2020"

UA/Star Alliance: 2019 Consolidated Mileage/Status/Challenge Runs help needed

Previous thread(s)
Is it worth it to stretch for 1K (over Plat)? [2018 Consolidated]
Is it worth it to stretch for 1K (over Plat)? [2017 Consolidated]
Is it worth it to stretch for 1K (over Plat)? [2016 Consolidated]
is 1k-status really worth all that more than platinum?
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Old Sep 1, 19, 8:58 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 445
This year, looks like I'll end up with ~90,000 PQM and ~$25,000 PQD (~$7.5k UA metal, so I am way way far from GS qualification). A MR is not in my cards, as we have a newborn at home, so travel is only on a strictly essential basis this year. However, I could do premier accelerator to get the extra 10k PQM, or two Y-->Z RT upgrades would do it too, both at a total cost of ~$1000ish.

This year had 2 TATL trips in paid J, which is where all of the PQD came from. If I do travel internationally next year (not guaranteed), it will be again in paid J, so the GPUs are probably not super valuable except as replacements for RPU. For CPU, I am SFO based, flying to IAD most of the time, where employer will only pay for Y. I figure there's still only a small chance of CPU on that route even as 1K, but have never been 1K so am not sure. (Am currently gold, which is where I'll be again if no international travel occurs next year)

Given that calculation, would you say the $1000 OOP cost to make 1K is worth it? Obviously, if I could make good use of GPUs, or would often get CPUs, then yes, but otherwise seems like $1000 could buy more Y-->P paid upgrades than I would get CPU. If the GPUs work as RPUs, then I'd get my $1000 back, but I'm not sure those would clear. (and would almost never clear at booking)

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 3, 19 at 1:37 pm Reason: created 2019 thread
prometa is offline  
Old Sep 1, 19, 11:54 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 9,894
IMO if the $1,000 is upfaring two IAD trips to F, it's worth it on its own merits and 1K is just a nice side bonus

I would probably do it regardless for the soft benefits, but it is much more ymmv if you don't use the GPU. You can bum-ride the instruments for a long time on your IAD trips next year, and probably clear occasionally plus the free food and drink and better overall treatment is worth something.
findark is offline  
Old Sep 2, 19, 1:41 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Danville, CA, USA;
Programs: UA Plat & 1MM, Marriott LT Gold, HHonors Gold, Hyatt Explorist & IHG Plat Amb
Posts: 12,014
Originally Posted by prometa View Post
This year had 2 TATL trips in paid J, which is where all of the PQD came from. If I do travel internationally next year (not guaranteed), it will be again in paid J, so the GPUs are probably not super valuable except as replacements for RPU. For CPU, I am SFO based, flying to IAD most of the time, where employer will only pay for Y. I figure there's still only a small chance of CPU on that route even as 1K, but have never been 1K so am not sure. (Am currently gold, which is where I'll be again if no international travel occurs next year)

Given that calculation, would you say the $1000 OOP cost to make 1K is worth it? Obviously, if I could make good use of GPUs, or would often get CPUs, then yes, but otherwise seems like $1000 could buy more Y-->P paid upgrades than I would get CPU. If the GPUs work as RPUs, then I'd get my $1000 back, but I'm not sure those would clear. (and would almost never clear at booking)
See my calculations above. What is your current upgrade clearance rate at SFO? Pretty low I would bet. It won't be much better as a 1K, because the upgrades will still go to all the GS flyers.

As Plat this year I do miss some of the 1K perks like the free meals and drinks, and the pre-boarding. But IMO those are not worth $1K. And as UA miles are not an incentive anymore (due to massive deval in November) I often find myself flying other carriers when the fares (incl. E+) are lower.

If you can use the RPUs/GPUs for transcons or international flights then I say go for it. But if you're flying mostly hub-hub then don't count on the upgrades unless you have massive flexibility. Which is not likely the case if you want to maximize time with your family.
Boraxo is offline  
Old Sep 2, 19, 1:48 am
  #4  
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS MVPG75K; Marriott Titanium; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Refugeeist
Posts: 41,378
Originally Posted by findark View Post
IMO if the $1,000 is upfaring two IAD trips to F, it's worth it on its own merits and 1K is just a nice side bonus
I think that's right. I also agree with Boraxo it's not worth $1k new/extra spend if the GPU won't be used.
Kacee is offline  
Old Sep 3, 19, 7:15 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 38
Advice - Platinum/1K now or wait until 2020 to utilize?

Team,

I'm currently UA Gold with 55,500 PQM and $11,600 PDS spent. UA Club Card Holder.

I have 4 trips upcoming through EOY which will push me to 1K both in PQM and PDS. First time, so exciting for me.

I am based out of IAD and have the following trips scheduled:

Business trips:
1 Trans Con to SFO in L. - Sept

1 Trans Pac to ICN in B and R (Premium Plus) - October

1 Possible trip to BOG in Oct - TBD

1 Trans Con to SFO in E and L. - Nov


Personal trip w/ family
1 Trans Pac to TPE in B and A (Premium Plus) - December/Jan 2020
Outbound is on 12/26
Return is on 1/4
Data Point: I will have more trans con and trans pac trips on 2020.

Questions:
  1. Is Platinum/1K 'worth it' with the above flights now via an accelerator purchase to utilize benefits with the remaining time in 2019? Obviously subjective based on CPM and what offers UA is presenting.
  2. My return is in 2020, so PDM and PDS for the return will count toward 2021 qualification?
leng is offline  
Old Sep 3, 19, 7:21 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Great White North
Programs: UA:1K AC: 50K HH:Diamond IHG:Plat Marriott:Gold
Posts: 615
Originally Posted by leng View Post
Team,

I'm currently UA Gold with 55,500 PQM and $11,600 PDS spent. UA Club Card Holder.

I have 4 trips upcoming through EOY which will push me to 1K both in PQM and PDS. First time, so exciting for me.

I am based out of IAD and have the following trips scheduled:

Business trips:
1 Trans Con to SFO in L. - Sept

1 Trans Pac to ICN in B and R (Premium Plus) - October

1 Possible trip to BOG in Oct - TBD

1 Trans Con to SFO in E and L. - Nov


Personal trip w/ family
1 Trans Pac to TPE in B and A (Premium Plus) - December/Jan 2020
Outbound is on 12/26
Return is on 1/4
Data Point: I will have more trans con and trans pac trips on 2020.

Questions:
  1. Is Platinum/1K 'worth it' with the above flights now via an accelerator purchase to utilize benefits with the remaining time in 2019? Obviously subjective based on CPM and what offers UA is presenting.
  2. My return is in 2020, so PDM and PDS for the return will count toward 2021 qualification?
1. I would not think so. The PQM will be 10+ cents per mile and this purchase will not give you PQDs. If you were going to qualify anyway for 1K, I wouldn't bother.
2. Yes.
expressboy is offline  
Old Sep 3, 19, 7:44 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: PHL
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Gold, IHG Gold, Raddison Gold
Posts: 3,216
Buying the PQM alone would not get you to 1K. You still would be short on PQD.
In any case, I think for most people, it typically is not worth throwing money at UA purely for status especially when you are only half way there.
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eng3 is offline  
Old Sep 3, 19, 7:45 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Washington, DC
Programs: UA 1K, AA, DL, LH, VX, HA
Posts: 5,640
The ~$2000 you would spend for 20k PQM to get to Platinum a couple of months early would be much better spent towards upgrading your existing fares to a premium class (which is more certain than the merely better chances of a CPU or upgrade on those flights). You could also use it to purchase RDM if that's what you want (as compared to higher multiplier) or drinks, that platinum will get you 5 of free (using coupons) on domestic flights.
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drewguy is offline  
Old Sep 3, 19, 8:19 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Jersey Shore/YYZ
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Gold, National Exec, Hertz PC
Posts: 12,323
Agree 100% with everything above. Since you have the baggage and E+ benefits with Gold, the only thing Platinum gets you is free E+ on personal trips, but you're already in PP for that leg.

Just make sure to make 1K on PQD/PQM. Does mystatus.united.com project that you will make it?
aacharya is offline  
Old Sep 3, 19, 9:33 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Navajo Nation, Northern Arizona
Programs: ex-Con *Gold (earned)
Posts: 9,014
Based on what you’ve revealed, you will reach Platinum status upon your return from ICN. Also, regardless of whether you take the BOG trip or not, you will go over 100,000 PQM on the way to TPE. I presume your PQD spend will meet or exceed $15K? Remember, on your “family” trip only your airfare (not taxes, not what you paid for family members) counts towards your “spend”.

Unless you seek status for status’ sake, don’t bother.
kale73 is offline  
Old Sep 3, 19, 10:43 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 38
Thanks everyone for your input. I agree that paying for the mileage is a waste, better off investing the money.

I just added a short flight to IND which will guarantee the PDS requirements.
leng is offline  
Old Sep 3, 19, 3:23 pm
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 445
Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
What is your current upgrade clearance rate at SFO? Pretty low I would bet. It won't be much better as a 1K, because the upgrades will still go to all the GS flyers.
My upgrade rate to any other UA hub is 0, and that's 95% of my flying. What would the chances of GPU--as--RPU clearing be? If I cleared 8 Y-->F segments over the course of the year, that'd be worth $1000.
prometa is offline  
Old Sep 3, 19, 3:28 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 9,894
Originally Posted by prometa View Post
My upgrade rate to any other UA hub is 0, and that's 95% of my flying. What would the chances of GPU--as--RPU clearing be? If I cleared 8 Y-->F segments over the course of the year, that'd be worth $1000.
I wouldn't be surprised if you could crack 20% on instrument-supported upgrades, but much higher than that would be hard. SFO-IAD is a route where finding discounted inventory for paid F is increasingly difficult, let alone clearing an upgrade. In my final days as a regular on that route this year, I was often buying C fares.

I think a lot of the question comes down to what marginal dollar value you place on sitting in F instead of Y.
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findark is offline  
Old Sep 3, 19, 3:30 pm
  #14  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Gold 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Gold
Posts: 47,576
Originally Posted by prometa View Post
My upgrade rate to any other UA hub is 0, and that's 95% of my flying. What would the chances of GPU--as--RPU clearing be? ...
Depends on route, fare purchased and time & day of the week. Hub to Hub, discount fares, traveling peak elite times; chances are still low. Change the factors, your chances will improve
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WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Sep 3, 19, 3:31 pm
  #15  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 10,211
Originally Posted by prometa View Post
My upgrade rate to any other UA hub is 0, and that's 95% of my flying. What would the chances of GPU--as--RPU clearing be? If I cleared 8 Y-->F segments over the course of the year, that'd be worth $1000.
How many times have you applied an RPU to your itinerary and finished first on the upgrade list? That's probably your best gauge. GPUs have no additional priority above RPUs; it's just a matter of status. The hub-hub routes from SFO are notoriously difficult to clear, especially on a business travel schedule.
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