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Thoughts on Earning PQP via UA Card or Higher Mileage Earnings on non-UA card

Thoughts on Earning PQP via UA Card or Higher Mileage Earnings on non-UA card

Old Apr 14, 21, 10:44 am
  #1  
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Thoughts on Earning PQP via UA Card or Higher Mileage Earnings on non-UA card

I'm debating whether it makes sense to go for PQP from a United Credit Card vs. earning 1.5x Ultimate Rewards (can be transferred to United miles). It takes $12K to earn 12,000 miles and 500 PQP with a United Card where I could earn 18,000 UR. I know it probably depends on whether it would push you over into another Premier category, but I wondered what people are doing here on basic purchases where you can't earn multiple points/mile per dollar. Any thoughts? Thanks!
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Old Apr 14, 21, 11:05 am
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It depends on how much you value premier category.
For platinum and below, it doesn't mean much these days as you hardly get any CPU. Lounges are closed mostly. Your overhead space is taken up by others.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 11:09 am
  #3  
 
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I did the same comparison awhile back, near the start of the year. I tried allocating a certain %/ of spend on every card based off my spending reports from the previous year. I did the math on my personal laptop which I don't have with me. I believe the UR points are more valuable but I was always spending between $200-$600 per year on first class upgrades to hit the next status. This year, I'll be spending 12k on the visa infinite for 500 pqp. Don't forget to account for the 4x miles/dollar on spend with United when doing the comparison. It's also more advantageous if you can put non-travel related spend on the United card due to the decreased opportunity cost when spending on the Chase Sapphire. It's really up to preference because you can always go spend those UR points on United flights and they will earn you PQP. I just don't want to be forcing myself to go on vacation to hit the PQP requirement.

I am also in school and may switch jobs in the near future so having miles to fall back on for travel is not necessarily the worst thing. If you want my spreadsheet you can DM me and i'll send it to you when I am home.
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Old Apr 14, 21, 11:30 am
  #4  
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Thanks! I found on Gold that I could get some decent upgrades that I couldn't on Silver. With reduced travel this year even with the bonus PQP, I'm not sure I'll hit gold, but maybe this will help. I have the JPMR which is like a CSR with United Club included, and that earns 3x UR on travel, vs the United Card I have that only provides 2x. With the other travel protections, it seems like the JPMR is a better choice even for United spending of all things, but it does give me the ability to upgrade from award travel. Good though about spending UR points on travel that does earn PQP, vs. award travel that doesn't!
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Old Apr 14, 21, 11:57 am
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Granted I've never done a spreadsheet analysis nor need PQP - but

You'd likely earn much more than 12,000 UA miles or 12,000 UR points (worth 18,000 with 50% bonus) due to category bonuses.

I've never thought 500 PQP for $12,000 of spend moves the needle very much

Personally - I prefer the flexibility of how I can use the UR points rather than just be locked in with UA miles.
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Old Apr 19, 21, 1:42 am
  #6  
 
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This quandary is one reason I chose the UA Select Visa back in fall 2009 when they did their refresh back then* -- particularly as an infrequent flyer, I figure the miles will always have use/value (no jokes about devaluation!), whereas "perks" cards are literally useless if you never fly UA, or fly little enough that those elite level bonuses and "level ups" don't kick in for you. To me, having those tasty category bonuses on the Select card outweighed that small loss of not having automatic priority boarding and all that jazz.

So, even though I am still UA captive in that sense, as opposed to UR that could be transferred elsewhere, it seemed like the best game theory approach to me given the unlikelihood that I would be flying enough to make the elite bonus aspects useful, and of course the above commentary that those are only marginal bumps anyway and don't get you Platinum.

Speaking of which, does UA have an equivalent to the DL Amex deal where you can buy your way to higher elite status through CC spend? I haven't paid as close attention to later UA CC offers, but I feel like that remains a unique DL perk.


*=Forgive my foggy memory, but IIRC it was something like the Select as the category bonuses card (honestly still great unless you have something like the Sapphire Reserve), the Access card basically all the "priority" stuff attached but only 2x UA purchases as category bonus, and I believe the Club Card. I noticed the Awards card pop up over the years, but it seems like one of those "downgrade" cards rather than one they really marketed direct to new applicants (may be wrong on that).
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Old Apr 19, 21, 5:38 am
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It sounds like the Explorer card (or the business variant) might be right for you because you get a couple United Club passes and the ability to upgrade on your redemptions as well as have better award availability than basic folks.

Originally Posted by LHCVG View Post
Speaking of which, does UA have an equivalent to the DL Amex deal where you can buy your way to higher elite status through CC spend? I haven't paid as close attention to later UA CC offers, but I feel like that remains a unique DL perk.
This was the main point of my original post. I was thinking of trying to get the added United PQP from the Explorer/Business card where you can earn up to 1,000 PQP, but the spend is really pretty high per PQP and you probably arenít going to know if youíre only 500 or 1,000 from the next premier level until late in the year. These cards do make it possible to move up, but thereís such a limited amount of PQP from it that I was curious if anyone really uses it. Yes, you do get United miles from doing so, and if you arenít going to earn UR where you can spend on ALL categories at least 1.5x UR that you can convert to United miles, then maybe itís worth using these cards and hope the PQP matters.
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Old Apr 19, 21, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by schalliol View Post
I know it probably depends on whether it would push you over into another Premier category, but I wondered what people are doing here on basic purchases where you can't earn multiple points/mile per dollar. Any thoughts? Thanks!
Every basic purchase can be at least 2x or more.

For me, no airlines co-branded card, and you can have a lot of ways to earn faster on transferrable points, including to airlines as needed.
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Old Apr 19, 21, 8:15 am
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You're spot on, those UA PQP's are really only useful for putting you over the top. You're much better off relying on more direct earnings in most cases.

For comparison, the DL Platinum Amex offers me 10k MQM's per $25k spend, and is stackable, so from CC spend alone you can earn at least one or two elite tiers (setting aside whether that much spend on that CC is good arbitrage across your wallet).
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Old Apr 19, 21, 8:16 am
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The old PQD waiver was a lot more useful to me than the bonus PQP, as was flying Platinum miles on Silver spend. That said, assuming no bonus category spend I'm looking at earning 12,000*1.5 = 18,000 United miles + 500 PQP on my Club card vs. 12,000*2 = 24,000 TY points on my Citi Doublecash. Even if you give a larger delta between the points values than most bloggers and such do, say 1 cent, that's a difference of 6,000 miles ~ $60, so if I do end up needing the $500 PQP then it is worth it. Most of my flying is personal rather than business, so I can pretty easily tell/plan ahead of time where I'm going to land PQP and PQS-wise, so it's still worth it to me. Although it still might be easier and cheaper to do a segment run (do we have a thread for those yet? ) since hitting the segment total is worth more than 500 PQP on all but Silver this year.
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Old Apr 19, 21, 2:01 pm
  #11  
 
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As you note, the PQP are only useful if you need them. Duh! As gleff says, the least valuable mile is the one you don't redeem.

Valuation aside, the simple answer is to earn them if you need them (spend a multiple of 12k) and don't if you don't. Of course, most people can't spend $12k on a dime.

If I were you, I'd plan out my travel for 2021 in $$$ and figure out if I'll end up within $1k of a tier. Of course, UA likely will reduce qual levels this year so that preplanning will only go so far. So maybe wait til Oct/Nov to whip out your calculator.
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Old Apr 19, 21, 2:09 pm
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Good thought. Yeah, it's hard to know how exactly it will go. It would be great if United further reduced their requirements, though I haven't heard they will.

I guess I was wondering if anyone regularly uses these cards to get PQP or just goes elsewhere. It's just not a big percentage of the PQP needed at the end of the day.
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Old Apr 19, 21, 2:16 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by schalliol View Post
... I guess I was wondering if anyone regularly uses these cards to get PQP or just goes elsewhere. It's just not a big percentage of the PQP needed at the end of the day.
Yes many do, even if it is only 10-20% of the needed requirements that 10-20% less flying to achieve status. If you trying to get 80%, why bonder you are not flying enough paid trips.

It comes down to status vs free mileage trips. If you focus on the free trips part (which don't earn status), then the higher mileage earning show be the focus and not PQPs.
Both camps are well represented in this forum.
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Old Apr 19, 21, 5:35 pm
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It doesnít seem like the OP will reach 1K, but that was an important change this year for PQP earned from cc spend now counting towards 1K where it was previously capped to platinum status.

I wouldnít normally put spend on a United cc to earn the PQP, but I am in a situation where that little extra PQP might push me to 1K.

I just redeemed some UA miles for 1.7 cpm and I usually do a general comparison against a 2% cash back card. So, general spend going on a UA card wasnít a horrible option for me. I can also put about $24k on UA cards this year, so that extra 1000 PQP will likely be worth it for me this year. Normally though, I wouldnít consider it.
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Old Apr 19, 21, 5:53 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by UVU Wolverine View Post
It doesn’t seem like the OP will reach 1K, but that was an important change this year for PQP earned from cc spend now counting towards 1K where it was previously capped to platinum status. ...
For some cards no credit toward 1K, but other Chase MP cards (the Platinum card) at times certain did with their purchase PQMs having done that a couple of times.
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