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United Silver vs United CC + Economy Plus Subscription

United Silver vs United CC + Economy Plus Subscription

Old Nov 25, 2023, 10:21 pm
  #1  
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United Silver vs United CC + Economy Plus Subscription

I have United Silver from Marriott Titanium, but getting 70 nights each year is leading to some decisions that leads to increase spending (think $500+ each year) because I think United Silver is "worth it". But then it occurred to me, can a United credit card and Economy Plus subscription provide the same/similar benefits as UA Silver?

United Silver
- Checked bag for everyone on same PNR
- Priority boarding for everyone on same PNR
- Economy Plus seats for +1 companion 24hrs before on same PNR
- Economy Plus seats up to international flights
- Better saver availability for economy award tickets
- I ignored complimentary upgrade because that never happens

United Credit Card (e.g. United Explorer) + Economy Plus Subscription
- Checked bag for +1 companion on same PNR
- Priority boarding for everyone(?) on same PNR
- Economy Plus seats for myself (but can pay extra for +1 companion) at the time of booking on same PNR
- Economy Plus seats is domestic only (but can pay extra to have international eligibility)
- Better saver availability for economy award tickets
- No complimentary upgrades (it doesn't matter).

It looks like the benefits of UA Silver can be effectively replicate using a United CC and Economy Plus subscription?

Last edited by Rommie2k6; Nov 25, 2023 at 10:27 pm
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 10:31 pm
  #2  
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Are you heavy domestic travel? If so, the CC and E+ subscription looks like the better option to me.

One advantage of the E+sub is that you can select E+ at time of booking. With Silver, you can only select E+ at check-in. By then, all aisle/window E+ may be gone.
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Old Nov 25, 2023, 10:37 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian
Are you heavy domestic travel? If so, the CC and E+ subscription looks like the better option to me.

One advantage of the E+sub is that you can select E+ at time of booking. With Silver, you can only select E+ at check-in. By then, all aisle/window E+ may be gone.
Yes, I'm a heavy domestic traveler.
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 12:50 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by Rommie2k6
I have United Silver from Marriott Titanium, but getting 70 nights each year is leading to some decisions that leads to increase spending (think $500+ each year) because I think United Silver is "worth it". But then it occurred to me, can a United credit card and Economy Plus subscription provide the same/similar benefits as UA Silver?

United Silver
- Checked bag for everyone on same PNR
- Priority boarding for everyone on same PNR
- Economy Plus seats for +1 companion 24hrs before on same PNR
- Economy Plus seats up to international flights
- Better saver availability for economy award tickets
- I ignored complimentary upgrade because that never happens

United Credit Card (e.g. United Explorer) + Economy Plus Subscription
- Checked bag for +1 companion on same PNR
- Priority boarding for everyone(?) on same PNR
- Economy Plus seats for myself (but can pay extra for +1 companion) at the time of booking on same PNR
- Economy Plus seats is domestic only (but can pay extra to have international eligibility)
- Better saver availability for economy award tickets
- No complimentary upgrades (it doesn't matter).

It looks like the benefits of UA Silver can be effectively replicate using a United CC and Economy Plus subscription?
The Economy Plus subscription comes in three levels: 1-Continental United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) 2-North and Central America (including Alaska and Hawaii) 3-Global
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 2:19 am
  #5  
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Silvers also get 70 lb bags and minimum 500 mile lifetime earnings.
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 2:29 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by aacharya
Silvers also get 70 lb bags and minimum 500 mile lifetime earnings.
Yes, I noted the latter in a similar thread started by the original poster (OP) in the Marriott Forum.

How much would you pay for an Elite Qualifying Night (to get status)?

While some think that those who have difficulty attaining UA Premier Silver may not care about lifetime status, to them the 500-mile minimum may be more important.

Lifetime status is a marathon, not a sprint.

For some of us, it takes decades.
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 8:21 am
  #7  
 
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The UA credit card baggage benefits only apply if you buy your ticket with a UA credit card, which doesn't work if you use a credit card that rewards air travel more (Amex personal plat) or use a corporate card.

Being silver does give you better irrops priority but UA IT is really good that it's rare that you need to call in.

Not chasing Marriott titanium seems like a smart path. The question I have is your travel patterns. You need to travel enough to make the annual economy plus subscription worth it but not often enough to qualify for silver.

If your travel patterns are frequent but short and low priced trips, consider the united club card for club access. You can use miles for the annual fee and at 30k points, that's not a bad rate if you use it frequently. You'll get a sign up bonus with the card that essentially funds 2-3 years of annual fees if you meet the spend requirement.

Another alternative to buying an E+ subscription is buying F when it makes sense. On short competitive routes, F buy ups can be as little as $49, and you earn pqp to get you to silver.

Let's say you fly 12 flights a year at $100 pqp each. That's 1200 pqp. At $600/year for a economy plus subscription that's probably the breakeven point of buying it individually. You could buy the subscription or buy E+ individually or F buy ups individually, but let's say that takes you to 1800 pqp. You'll get some starter pqp for being silver this year. That's probably half way to being silver with a conservative travel estimate and you could get another $2000 pqp by spending $40,000 on your new UA card (quest or personal club, the Explorer has a 1000 pqp limit) . If you fly more often or your segment cost is higher that gets you even closer to silver. The e+ subscription might be a stop gap for a year but you can probably make your way to silver for next year and not need the subscription.
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 8:33 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by ericcheung
The UA credit card baggage benefits only apply if you buy your ticket with a UA credit card, which doesn't work if you use a credit card that rewards air travel more (Amex personal plat) or use a corporate card.

Being silver does give you better irrops priority but UA IT is really good that it's rare that you need to call in.

Not chasing Marriott titanium seems like a smart path. The question I have is your travel patterns. You need to travel enough to make the annual economy plus subscription worth it but not often enough to qualify for silver.

If your travel patterns are frequent but short and low priced trips, consider the united club card for club access. You can use miles for the annual fee and at 30k points, that's not a bad rate if you use it frequently. You'll get a sign up bonus with the card that essentially funds 2-3 years of annual fees if you meet the spend requirement.

Another alternative to buying an E+ subscription is buying F when it makes sense. On short competitive routes, F buy ups can be as little as $49, and you earn pqp to get you to silver.

Let's say you fly 12 flights a year at $100 pqp each. That's 1200 pqp. At $600/year for a economy plus subscription that's probably the breakeven point of buying it individually. You could buy the subscription or buy E+ individually or F buy ups individually, but let's say that takes you to 1800 pqp. You'll get some starter pqp for being silver this year. That's probably half way to being silver with a conservative travel estimate and you could get another $2000 pqp by spending $40,000 on your new UA card (quest or personal club, the Explorer has a 1000 pqp limit) . If you fly more often or your segment cost is higher that gets you even closer to silver. The e+ subscription might be a stop gap for a year but you can probably make your way to silver for next year and not need the subscription.
Fair points, I'm mostly domestic travel and I only use miles for travel. I don't do paid personal travel, and corporate travel will not be on United (because no status). Mostly solo traveler perhaps 2-3 UA RT trips per year, at most another 1-2 group trips per year. So I can charge the award travel fees to my Chase United Explorer. Not going through the PQP route since I have no spend on UA, and my intention is to have minimal spend. The only way I can get UA Silver is through Marriott Titanium.
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 10:34 am
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by Rommie2k6
Fair points, I'm mostly domestic travel and I only use miles for travel. I don't do paid personal travel, and corporate travel will not be on United (because no status). Mostly solo traveler perhaps 2-3 UA RT trips per year, at most another 1-2 group trips per year. So I can charge the award travel fees to my Chase United Explorer. Not going through the PQP route since I have no spend on UA, and my intention is to have minimal spend. The only way I can get UA Silver is through Marriott Titanium.
At just 5 trips max per year, does it make sense to buy a subscription vs just paying to upgrade to E+ a la carte? Regarding status, when I first obtained lowly 2P (Silver) status, I immediately noticed much better service when weather would shut down the midwest, or even IAD. I got out of dodge (via creative routing sometimes) while others without status were left behind. My travel no longer includes frequent midwest of east coast trips in the winter, so it wouldn't be such a big deal now.

In a non-status world, I'd doubt that I'd retain my allegiance to United. Buying by price and seat selection alone, United is often not the best buy. But for me, United flies where I need to (and want to) go, and my local airport is SFO, a huge United hub. Plus my business CC spend allows me to maintain status even years I don't fly much (like this past year).
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 11:27 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian
Are you heavy domestic travel? If so, the CC and E+ subscription looks like the better option to me.

One advantage of the E+sub is that you can select E+ at time of booking. With Silver, you can only select E+ at check-in. By then, all aisle/window E+ may be gone.
Originally Posted by abacaxi
The Economy Plus subscription comes in three levels: 1-Continental United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) 2-North and Central America (including Alaska and Hawaii) 3-Global
What about mainly to Asia and Europe?
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 2:54 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by lsquare
What about mainly to Asia and Europe?
Part of the Global subscription coverage, there are no packages just for either Europe or Pacific.
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Old Nov 26, 2023, 7:18 pm
  #12  
 
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One huge perk I've found for E+ subscription is with a companion. It's very easy for one RT longer distance flight to be $600 for E+ seats for two, but a few trips won't even get you to silver.
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Old Nov 27, 2023, 12:26 pm
  #13  
 
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Before my business travel increased a bit to make status an easy grab, this is exactly what I did to ensure I got a decent seat and some other benefits.
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Old Nov 30, 2023, 8:18 am
  #14  
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If one is a UA Silver, is it still worth getting an economy plus subscription?
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Old Nov 30, 2023, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by lsquare
If one is a UA Silver, is it still worth getting an economy plus subscription?
Yes. With the subscription you get to pick your seat at booking. With Silver you get access to E+ 24 hours out. That means lots of E+ middle seats.

I think the subscription is worth it until you hit Gold and get E+ at booking.
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