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Retiring in 5 Years: 600K Miles on UA Go for 1M Miles?

Retiring in 5 Years: 600K Miles on UA Go for 1M Miles?

Old May 9, 21, 9:46 am
  #1  
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Retiring in 5 Years: 600K Miles on UA Go for 1M Miles?

So I've flown UA over the years and unto 600M. About 5 years before retiring so can get to 1M miles if I book all business travel through them.
I can guarantee I'll be doing 400K miles in the next 5 years due to my job which requires extensive overseas travel even with the affects of COVID.

Thoughts on whether its worth getting to 1M miles?

I'll be flying with my wife in retirement. I've been 1K a few times but mainly Gold so I understand what the perks are.

Last edited by MrCheapo; May 10, 21 at 9:43 am
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Old May 9, 21, 10:02 am
  #2  
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The main benefit (and assuming they're available thought your retirement years) would be free E+ at booking and lounge access travelling economy internationally. If you intend to travel a lot post-retirement, it might be worthwhile.

On the other hand, if you're flying a lot post-retirement, you might be earning Gold anyway.

If you're travelling on other people's money (usually employer's) to get to 1MM from 600K, it might be worth it to strive for. If you're spending additional $ out of your own pocket to get there, I'm not sure it is.
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Old May 9, 21, 10:07 am
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Any other reason to book away from UA? Chasing yearly/lifetime on DL/AA?

Unless you have other reasons (chasing other airline status, other airlines offer better schedules/routing, business makes you book cheapest which may not be UA), then stick with UA
Find someone to be your million mile companion if you travel with wife (pick me please?)
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Old May 9, 21, 10:08 am
  #4  
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Don't count on it.

I am about 60K BIS before becoming 1MM. And I don't even know when I can be back flying. So IMHO - your 5-year plan will be too much, unless you are certain you can do it.
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Old May 9, 21, 10:09 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by MrCheapo View Post
So I've flown UA over the years and unto 600M. About 5 years before retiring so can get to 1M miles if I book all business travel through them.

Thoughts on whether its worth getting to 1M miles?

I'll be flying with my wife in retirement. I've been 1K a few times but mainly Gold so I understand what the perks are.
You say that you've been 1K a few times but also that you only have 600K miles, so I'm guessing a lot of your travel is *A partners?

In general, my rule of thumb is not to even consider lifetime status until you're less than two years away at your current run rate. In this particular case, I might lean toward "go for it," as long as -- as IAH-OIL-TRASH mentioned -- you're not throwing your actual money into it.

There's no way to know what UA Gold will look like five years from now.
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Old May 9, 21, 10:09 am
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An additional 400k miles seems like a long way to go, and many things could change over the next five years. The MM program itself could change, although I would be moderately surprised if it did.

But if you expect in retirement to continue flying, and continue flying UA, and if you're confident you'll continue to fly about 80k BIS per year, it's not totally unreasonable.
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Old May 9, 21, 10:51 am
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In Jan 20, I had 1.7 million miles, had been a 1k for 10 straight years and had 3 years to retirement. A shoe in for lifetime Platinum (FWIW, but perhaps useful if Gold is downgraded). Then COVID hit so still have 1.7 million miles but only 18 months to retirement so unlikely to achieve 2 million miles now for many years.

Things change in this game and usually for the worse.
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Old May 9, 21, 11:29 am
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I would go for it. I like having a goal to work toward and aiming for 1MM is a nice goal with tangible benefits at the end of lounge access and *G priority access when traveling international. There is no real benefit to fly on other airlines while you're traveling on business. Maximize OPM towards the 400K miles you need and make sure you book UA on all long hauls.

I have 1MM on USAir then became AA, which gives me free checked bag only, no lounge access, far inferior to UA 1MM. That was the main reason I moved over to UA 14 years ago an made 1MM 4 years ago. I look forward to my *G status when I am no longer 1K after this year.
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Old May 9, 21, 11:32 am
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IAH-OIL-TRASH nailed it

Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
The main benefit (and assuming they're available thought your retirement years) would be free E+ at booking and lounge access travelling economy internationally. If you intend to travel a lot post-retirement, it might be worthwhile
If you don't fly much internationally (my main flying), then the lounge access is not there, and E+ at booking is the only benefit, but IMHO, a pretty BIG one

Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
If you're travelling on other people's money (usually employer's) to get to 1MM from 600K, it might be worth it to strive for. If you're spending additional $ out of your own pocket to get there, I'm not sure it is
About 300K of my 1MM came from OPM (a reason I took the road warrior job and something that was discussed at job interview), so if it's available, TAKE IT

Of course this whole coronavirus fiasco has inserted a huge unknown into what will happen next and what travel (and travel programs) will look like in the future. And as jsloan pointed out, changes tend to bring bad consequences to us flyers
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Old May 9, 21, 11:37 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
There's no way to know what UA Gold will look like five years from now.
Precisely! Some of us speak from experience.
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Old May 9, 21, 12:11 pm
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I am 230k away from 1MM - and, especially with the pandemic - it might as well be a zillion miles.... I am traveling domestically at in UA metal and will make 1K this year (6th year in a row) and I think I barely picked up 50k BIS.... 100K BIS miles if you are not traveling international, is a lot (for example - many of my flights are DEN-ORD are that is barely 1,000 miles) of trips.... even if the minimum that you get is 500 BIS for a leg, we are talking about taking 200 segments x 500 miles/trip to get 100k BIS miles......even transcond requires a lot of traveling...... the reality is discouraging.

I am sticking with UA for many reason (and not worth getting into on this post) but it will be years and years before I get to 1MM - if ever given how my flying patterns have changed.... and even if/when I do, it is unclear what those benefits will be and whether I will actually find them useful...but as someone else posted, in this day and age, it is nice to have a goal.....
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Old May 9, 21, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by mfirst View Post
I am 230k away from 1MM - and, especially with the pandemic - it might as well be a zillion miles.... I am traveling domestically at in UA metal and will make 1K this year (6th year in a row) and I think I barely picked up 50k BIS.... 100K BIS miles if you are not traveling international, is a lot (for example - many of my flights are DEN-ORD are that is barely 1,000 miles) of trips.... even if the minimum that you get is 500 BIS for a leg, we are talking about taking 200 segments x 500 miles/trip to get 100k BIS miles......even transcond requires a lot of traveling...... the reality is discouraging.

I am sticking with UA for many reason (and not worth getting into on this post) but it will be years and years before I get to 1MM - if ever given how my flying patterns have changed.... and even if/when I do, it is unclear what those benefits will be and whether I will actually find them useful...but as someone else posted, in this day and age, it is nice to have a goal.....
Tell me about it. I have flown about 40 paid UA flights (all lower 48 domestic) to-date through early May, and only around 65K BIS to show for. Approaching 100K BIS in total soon, with a combination of airlines flown not just on UA.

I am nowhere close to 1MM. It is a goal only, as I have always booked based on schedule and price, and not the carrier.
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Old May 9, 21, 2:01 pm
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Ask yourself this question: Which option would you regret more in 5 years’ time if the MM program changes for the worse? Trying and failing, or not trying at all? Go with the opposite of your answer.
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Old May 9, 21, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by MrCheapo View Post
So I've flown UA over the years and unto 600M. About 5 years before retiring so can get to 1M miles if I book all business travel through them.
The first question here seems to be what is the opportunity cost? Is it going to cost you more money to fly United or are you going to have to take more inconvenient routings?
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Old May 9, 21, 4:25 pm
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IMO, you have many other questions to answer besides UA and basically 400k miles short.
Do you plan to live/near a UA hub airport in retirement? Are you near a hub airport for any other airlines?
Factors - As you get older - do you want to take connections to fly UAL if not near IAH, EWR, SFO,ORD?
Factors - As you get older - is it possible you move to a lower cost living which eliminates UAL as preferred carrier?
Consider - you will travel a lot but likely have funds to balance your travel so as a GOLD you get lounge and/or seat selection for your party. Compared to paying $50-75 extra per flight for the seat selection maybe 5 times a year? ($250)?
What are you current destinations? International, domestic and if International do you get perks via *A?
Flying leisure is significantly different from traveling business (as you know) and some perks you want/demand for business you can do without during the casual leisure trip as you are flying on days/times you choose without time schedule. Goes back to my statement of loyalty to UAL vs. other carrier.
In my view - in business I need the best seat and get off plane quickly. If not upgrade - at least I want bulk head. In leisure I purposely will book the empty flight or off-season travel which not only offers cheaper fare but less travelers. As you are discussing business - it likely would cause some challenges for you to repeatedly book UAL to get the miles but what are your alternatives?
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