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The way of the Dodo? - 1K upgrades, PP or CPU

Old Jan 27, 2024, 4:51 pm
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The way of the Dodo? - 1K upgrades, PP or CPU

Old Mar 19, 2023, 11:37 pm
  #796  
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Originally Posted by Polytonic
I imagine it's not an issue for GS qualifying on ludicrous spend. I'm willing to bet 1Ks flying international J are likely to hit the 24k spend mark assuming say, an international biz ticket every other month at $4000 a seat.
There are MANY MANY more 1Ks who can't buy international J, or their employees won't allow.

These 1Ks are screwed unless they take many international trips. Think about a flyer in NYC fly to Japan or SIN in coach class. To satisfy 54 segments, they need to fly 27 round trips to Japan or SIN unless they do significant domestic travel.

Originally Posted by uanj
This is very curious. It is hard to reconcile UA saying that business travel to Asia remains well below 2019 in volume, particularly in paid business, yet we hear of GS having problems getting upgrades on SFO-SIN and now SFO-TPE. I have been wondering if UA is overselling permium plus to such an extent that there are no or few upgrades left for day of departure.
Case in point.

I changed my SFO-TPE to SFO-SIN, booked to W class. Then I found out that if I move to PE, it only costs $39!!!

And I can't even select a seat since PE is full on the seat map.

Yet, UA is still selling OAR fares for this flight.

Originally Posted by DELee
UA has constrained TPAC capacity and sending it through SFO. Flights out of LAX, DEN, etc. aren't scheduled anymore. If other airlines can fly non-stop, they can have part of UA's lunch and force it to compete. Which, as we know, it doesn't do very well.

David
Also, UA has suspended all flights to China from the east coast since China and US can't reach a deal for new flights post COVID.

From EWR, ORD, IAD to PEK, PVG, that's a lot of capacity cut. As the result, all pax to China must fly via SFO, and it's only 4 days a week.

UA also charges a ransom for SFO-PVG flights. One way fares often are $3,000-$5,000 in Y, $5,000-$8,000 in PE, and $8,000-$15,000 in J.

This further makes upgrades difficult for TPE and HKG since it's fairly cheap to fly from TPE and HKG to mainland China.
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Old Mar 19, 2023, 11:40 pm
  #797  
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Originally Posted by zombietooth
What is the incremental value of 1K over Gold if you can't use your PPs?
Well, now that IN is sometimes greater than I, you can book long-haul business saver flights. (Of course, you can do that at plat). But, I agree with your greater point. If thereís no PZ availability, thereís little reason to be 1K, because I put very little actual monetary value on domestic F. I mean, sure, itís fun to get a CPU, but Iím not going to fly a bunch of extra UA flights to try to renew 1K just for domestic flights. Admittedly, itíll be quite a bit cheaper to get 1K under the new rules than it was in 2019, but only if I concentrate (e.g., put spending on my Explorer card to get PQPs). And Iím just not sure I see the point.

Originally Posted by kb1992
None of them can do 54 segments per year. Not even close.
Wonít, not canít. Take it from this non-hub flyer: connecting flights arenít some pit of horrors. Given that I like flying, and generally like airports, connecting means I get to do more of what I enjoy, often for less money. 54 flights is a little more than one trip per month if you connect in each direction.
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 12:37 am
  #798  
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Originally Posted by jsloan
Admittedly, it’ll be quite a bit cheaper to get 1K under the new rules than it was in 2019, but only if I concentrate (e.g., put spending on my Explorer card to get PQPs). And I’m just not sure I see the point.
When UA first rolled out PQP, it was much easier to earn on *A partners. With its per segment caps, UA is now by far the stingiest of the majors in allowing earn on partners.
Originally Posted by jsloan
And I’m just not sure I see the point.
I sure don't.
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 12:48 am
  #799  
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Originally Posted by Kacee
When UA first rolled out PQP, it was much easier to earn on *A partners. With its per segment caps, UA is now by far the stingiest of the majors in allowing earn on partners.
2019 was the last PQD year. We only got a few months of the unlimited partner earn, so I wasnít considering that. Even capped, you can still get some decent earnings as long as you donít mind connecting ó theyíre just not as good as they were originally.

Since 2019, in addition to allowing PQPs at > 100% efficiency via partner tickets, weíve also (a) allowed credit card PQPs to count toward 1K if you hit the PQFs; (b) added PQPs on award redemptions; and (c) added the Ďhead start.í My current out-of-pocket projection for 1K is $14,500 all-in, and thatís without any credit card PQPs and with only one award flight ó so I can do better if I try. ButÖ the partner ticket trip where Iím racking up the PQP on discount J is a trip that I might otherwise have used PlusPoints on, and given that Iím not seeing any PZ space except HNL-GUM for the other trips Iím takingÖ unless PZ space suddenly starts to open, if I reach 1K itíll only be because UA remains the cheapest carrier for me. (And thatís entirely possible domestically, because I compare UAís regular economy prices to AA/DLís prices with extra legroom seating. Itís rare that another carrier does make sense, although I do have several non-UA domestic tickets this yearÖ)
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 4:44 am
  #800  
 
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Originally Posted by kb1992
Well said.

By the way, you need to spend $24,000 to enjoy these 1K "benefits".

Unless you fly 54 segments (I know lot of people can't do that many segments!)
Some of us who fly UA by choice hit the 54 segment mark without trying and the 24K and as one of those I look forward to a week (or two) with my feet on the ground.

Last edited by Dublin_rfk; Mar 20, 2023 at 4:54 am
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 8:23 am
  #801  
 
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Originally Posted by kb1992
There are MANY MANY more 1Ks who can't buy international J, or their employees won't allow.

These 1Ks are screwed unless they take many international trips. Think about a flyer in NYC fly to Japan or SIN in coach class. To satisfy 54 segments, they need to fly 27 round trips to Japan or SIN unless they do significant domestic travel.
I'm not disputing the poor economics (of earning status). I agree with you that it's (too) difficult. That being said, United clearly does not think your monthly long haul economy flyer should be 1K on the basis of the qualification criteria, and maybe that's okay? Taking an optimistic view, it'd maybe thin the herd of (primarily international) 1Ks throwing PlusPoints at every international flight.

The current program rewards domestic regional flyers who have to connect through a hub. Does that work for me, living in a big city? No, probably not, and maybe that's a good enough reason for me to dial back from choosing UA moving forward.

Originally Posted by jsloan
Well, now that IN is sometimes greater than I, you can book long-haul business saver flights. (Of course, you can do that at plat). But, I agree with your greater point. If there’s no PZ availability, there’s little reason to be 1K, because I put very little actual monetary value on domestic F. I mean, sure, it’s fun to get a CPU, but I’m not going to fly a bunch of extra UA flights to try to renew 1K just for domestic flights. Admittedly, it’ll be quite a bit cheaper to get 1K under the new rules than it was in 2019, but only if I concentrate (e.g., put spending on my Explorer card to get PQPs). And I’m just not sure I see the point.

Won’t, not can’t. Take it from this non-hub flyer: connecting flights aren’t some pit of horrors. Given that I like flying, and generally like airports, connecting means I get to do more of what I enjoy, often for less money. 54 flights is a little more than one trip per month if you connect in each direction.
If IN inventory is improving as I've been reading on FT, I'm wondering if Platinum is maybe the new(er) sweet spot. Seems the general consensus is PlusPoints are useless, but at least with IN it's possible to extract some meaningful value out of miles, and I'm sitting on a lot of miles I need to burn off.

I think the opportunity cost of putting spend on MP cards is too great. Assuming unbonused spend, $12k on a Chase Freedom Unlimited earns you 18k URs (conservatively valued at 1.8cpp or $324) or 12k UA miles (optimistically valued at 1.2cpp or $144) and 500 PQP. So effectively you're buying 500 PQP for ~$180. The math gets worse if you value the transferrable currencies higher, or have a better unbonused earning card. Given the choice between putting $48k on a Quest/Infinite card to earn 2000 PQP (at opportunity cost of ~$576), I think I'd rather just buy a $2400 TATL J ticket to somewhere. At least you get to go on a vacation while you're at it.

Connections aren't terrible, but it does waste a lot of time, particularly westbound. I'm flying roughly once a month, and EWR-SFO-SEA is something like 9-10 hours in total (or 6 hours for the nonstop). I'll happily take them eastbound (particularly SEA-IAD-EWR with forced misconnect so I can eat lunch at home), but realistically that's only getting me to 36 segments this year.
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Last edited by Polytonic; Mar 20, 2023 at 7:18 pm Reason: Fixing Bad Math
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 9:13 am
  #802  
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Originally Posted by Polytonic
I think the opportunity cost of putting spend on MP cards is too great. Assuming unbonused spend, $12k on a Chase Freedom Unlimited earns you 18k URs (conservatively valued at 1.8cpp or $324) or 12k UA miles (optimistically valued at 1.2cpp or $144) and 500 PQP. So effectively you're buying 500 PQP for ~$144. The math gets worse if you value the transferrable currencies higher, or have a better unbonused earning card. Given the choice between putting $48k on a Quest/Infinite card to earn 2000 PQP (at opportunity cost of ~$576), I think I'd rather just buy a $2400 TATL J ticket to somewhere. At least you get to go on a vacation while you're at it.
Yes, in general I agree, although I would be willing to do it if 1K regains some of its luster. I rarely have time in my schedule for an extra $2400 ticket, even assuming that I can find one easily. (That is, Iím usually near the 1K threshold even after accounting for all of my planned / desired / realistic flying).

Originally Posted by Polytonic
Connections aren't terrible, but it does waste a lot of time, particularly westbound. I'm flying roughly once a month, and EWR-SFO-SEA is something like 9-10 hours in total (or 6 hours for the nonstop). I'll happily take them eastbound (particularly SEA-IAD-EWR with forced misconnect so I can eat lunch at home), but realistically that's only getting me to 36 segments this year.
Right, but if you were getting value from 1K, then that would be the price UA was asking you to pay, and you could decide whether or not it made sense. Under the PQM regime, you werenít reaching 1K with 12x EWR-SEA roundtrip nonstops either ó even if you were buying F outright, youíd still have come up about 13K PQM short. So, UA is just asking you to jump through different hoops.
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 9:54 am
  #803  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan
Yes, in general I agree, although I would be willing to do it if 1K regains some of its luster. I rarely have time in my schedule for an extra $2400 ticket, even assuming that I can find one easily. (That is, Iím usually near the 1K threshold even after accounting for all of my planned / desired / realistic flying).
Ah, yeah schedule flexibility is a huge advantage I have. I can pretty much choose to fly whenever, wherever. So, usually Friday redeyes and Saturday evenings westbound. In my experience this year, I either clear at T-24 or I end up around #4 on the list ex-EWR so I imagine jumping to 1K offers a shot at a meaningful upgrade westbound. Eastbound ex-SEA I'm still around #12 or so, but maybe if I chose a Tuesday redeye the situation might improve as a 1K.

Barring some last minute business travel, I'm banking on a cheap P fare to somewhere in the November timeframe. I think that's the difference between making Platinum organically or shooting for 1K at this point.

Right, but if you were getting value from 1K, then that would be the price UA was asking you to pay, and you could decide whether or not it made sense. Under the PQM regime, you werenít reaching 1K with 12x EWR-SEA roundtrip nonstops either ó even if you were buying F outright, youíd still have come up about 13K PQM short. So, UA is just asking you to jump through different hoops.
Under the PQM regime I was easily clearing 60k PQM with cheap SFO-HKG K fares (~$350 RT if I remember correctly) using the PQD waiver. I'm pretty sure I was (at one point) one of UA's least profitable customers, averaging something like 2.5cpm out of pocket. In hindsight, I probably should have MR'ed for Platinum circa 2019 given all the status extensions. If anything, the new program gives me a meaningful shot at 1K if I were so inclined to chase it.
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 10:08 am
  #804  
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Originally Posted by Polytonic
I'm not disputing the poor economics (of earning status). I agree with you that it's (too) difficult. That being said, United clearly does not think your monthly long haul economy flyer should be 1K on the basis of the qualification criteria, and maybe that's okay? Taking an optimistic view, it'd maybe thin the herd of (primarily international) 1Ks throwing PlusPoints at every international flight.
It's more than that - with these thresholds, they really don't want the more frequent hub-based flyers who fly discounted premium cabin (Z or P), either domestic or long-haul, either. The new thresholds are readily achievable only by those who are regularly booking either very high fare economy (>Q) and/or higher fare class premium cabin (J, C, or D).
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 10:28 am
  #805  
 
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Originally Posted by Polytonic
If IN inventory is improving as I've been reading on FT, I'm wondering if Platinum is maybe the new(er) sweet spot. Seems the general consensus is PlusPoints are useless, but at least with IN it's possible to extract some meaningful value out of miles, and I'm sitting on a lot of miles I need to burn off.
I have been seeing a lot of IN on some routes that I've been keeping an eye on. I can't comment on availability compared to pre-pandemic but I am very happy with how much there is.
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 10:31 am
  #806  
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Originally Posted by Kacee
It's more than that - with these thresholds, they really don't want the more frequent hub-based flyers who fly discounted premium cabin (Z or P), either domestic or long-haul, either. The new thresholds are readily achievable only by those who are regularly booking either very high fare economy (>Q) and/or higher fare class premium cabin (J, C, or D).
I feel most straightforward way to look at it is compare 24kPQP or 18kPQP to the old 100kPQM threshold. Simplifying a bit by ignoring the old PQM bonuses, that indicates they're seeking to have 1K status correspond to someone flying 24cpm (fewer segments) or 18cpm (more segments). Those are quite high rates — 24cpm is well within the range some had to qualify for GS in 2018.
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 10:36 am
  #807  
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Originally Posted by fumje
I feel most straightforward way to look at it is compare 24kPQP or 18kPQP to the old 100kPQM threshold. Simplifying a bit by ignoring the old PQM bonuses, that indicates they're seeking to have 1K status correspond to someone flying 24cpm (fewer segments) or 18cpm (more segments). Those are quite high rates — 24cpm is well within the range some had to qualify for GS in 2018.
Agreed.

I know a GS friend re-qualified in 2017, 2018 with $23K and $33K spend.
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 10:51 am
  #808  
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Originally Posted by fumje
I feel most straightforward way to look at it is compare 24kPQP or 18kPQP to the old 100kPQM threshold. Simplifying a bit by ignoring the old PQM bonuses, that indicates they're seeking to have 1K status correspond to someone flying 24cpm (fewer segments) or 18cpm (more segments). Those are quite high rates ó 24cpm is well within the range some had to qualify for GS in 2018.
Yep. In the 100k PQM days, it was possible to qualify under 5 cpm (and some did for quite a bit less). When PQDs were first introduced, there was a lot of complaining about having to hit 10 cpm for 1K. 24 cpm is a really high figure. Most discount fares don't qualify, and someone flying deep discount fares would have to fly an insane number of segments.
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 1:35 pm
  #809  
 
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RobOnLi says:
"It's just like the expiring PPs in July...I fully expect United to extend them again because they have absolutely no reason not to unless you want to piss off customers."

Really? That would be great, I'm struggling to use my remaining PlusPoints.
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Old Mar 20, 2023, 2:45 pm
  #810  
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Originally Posted by fumje
I feel most straightforward way to look at it is compare 24kPQP or 18kPQP to the old 100kPQM threshold. Simplifying a bit by ignoring the old PQM bonuses, that indicates they're seeking to have 1K status correspond to someone flying 24cpm (fewer segments) or 18cpm (more segments). Those are quite high rates ó 24cpm is well within the range some had to qualify for GS in 2018.
And yet the 1K ranks are completely inflated and not being thinned? Hard to tell what's Covid effect and rollover status vs actually attained.

-RM
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