Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Given all the devaluations happening, are there literally any sweet spots/value left?

Given all the devaluations happening, are there literally any sweet spots/value left?

Old May 6, 2024, 1:16 pm
  #91  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP, Hyatt Glob, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Plat, Total Wine & More Reserve
Posts: 4,744
Originally Posted by Boraxo
I see people whip out airline cards all the time at restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Very few seem to have a clue that they could do better with transferable points, bonus categories or even 2% cash back cards.
They could be doing it to meet a SUB, but otherwise agree its a poor use for everyday spend.
SPN Lifer likes this.
econ is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 1:21 pm
  #92  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Programs: UA Gold 1MM, AS 75k, AA ExPlat, Bonvoyed Gold, Honors Dia, Hyatt Explorer, IHG Plat, ...
Posts: 17,301
Originally Posted by findark
It's all in the marketing spin though - using your airline branded CC was still a bad idea back in 2014. People did it despite it not being in their financial self-interest, and they keep doing it now.
I used my UA Visa Platinum (or Select - dont quite recall when I product-changed) quite a bit for everyday charges before I joined the UR system with the CSP and later CSR. Why? For one, I wanted the 5000 or 10000 EQM.

But also it had a (for those days) pretty decent earnings structure:

3X UA
2X grocery stores, dining, gas, and home improvement stores
2X Star Alliance purchases
1X everywhere else

Back in 2014, I would take 2X UA over 2% cashback all day long.
notquiteaff is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 1:25 pm
  #93  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Programs: UA 1K 1MM (finally!), IHG AMB-Spire, HH Diamond
Posts: 60,343
That is the Select card. I still have it and will still take 2 miles over 2% cashback. As 2% is the floor on redemption.The new wrinkle is BofA pays me 2.62% so it is a tougher decision.

The old Select card is $95 and they give 5k miles a year. Worst case $45 but they also offer 1.5x on annual fee redemption.so just $20. I will never cancel it with that structure in place
uastarflyer is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 1:40 pm
  #94  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Programs: UA Gold 1MM, AS 75k, AA ExPlat, Bonvoyed Gold, Honors Dia, Hyatt Explorer, IHG Plat, ...
Posts: 17,301
Originally Posted by uastarflyer
The old Select card is $95 and they give 5k miles a year. Worst case $45 but they also offer 1.5x on annual fee redemption….so just $20. I will never cancel it with that structure in place…
I reluctantly downgraded it to the Gateway card in 2020. I didn’t care about the EQM/PQP anymore and had other cards for better earnings for everyday spend (eg 3X CSR for dining, 3X TYP via Citi Premier or now 3-4X AA via Visa giftcards for groceries). So I was basically paying $95 for a sock drawer card. That fee was mostly compensated for by the 5000 RDM anniversary bonus, so it wasn’t an easy or straightforward decision. It is my oldest account, hence the preservation in the form of the Gateway card.
notquiteaff is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 1:55 pm
  #95  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: SAN
Programs: UA 1MM/1K, HH Diamond
Posts: 6,855
Originally Posted by Steve M
There's the problem. A "huge hit" on credit card spend has been predicted in these parts each time there's been a program devaluation over the past 20 years, but it never seems to materialize. Despite that, the award price increases can't go to infinity - at some point, the negative affect of award price increases on spend will be greater than the increases they can get from new members. I do wonder what will happen at that point, as just walking back the last change won't be enough.
Just to put it out there, for some of us, the point of directing spend to a UA card is getting PQP, not RDM. Sure, the value of the points would be greater if I concentrated my spend on a cash-back or universal point-based card, but then I wouldn't be 1K, which also has value (to me).
as219 is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 2:10 pm
  #96  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AS 75K, DL Silver, UA Platinum, Hilton Gold, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Platinum + LT Gold
Posts: 10,847
Originally Posted by uastarflyer
It depends on circumstances. For example, you have to park RDMs from flights somewhere right? If youre not spending a ton on CCs why not aggregate it with RDMs? A few thousand UR a month isnt very meaningful right?

My UA Visa actually gives 2/$1 at grocery stores. So I can do my 2.62% cash, UA miles, or 1 pt/$1 on CSR or Amex Platinum.

Up to now I have bet on the UA miles and have gotten the wins for it. But now I am earning and burning, not savingthat ended after I cashed in a free trip to Europe x 4 in 23
Flexibility. Parking at UA you limit yourself to UA miles, controlled and set by UA at UA's discretion.

With the plethora of credit card options, most popular expense items, such as groceries, you can easily get 5% or more year around without doing much. Some are straight cash back; while others provide you the options of cash back, or transferrable to other platforms.
Repooc17 is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 2:26 pm
  #97  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: DL PM, UA Gold, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 14,715
Originally Posted by notquiteaff
3X UA
2X grocery stores, dining, gas, and home improvement stores
2X Star Alliance purchases
1X everywhere else

Back in 2014, I would take 2X UA over 2% cashback all day long.
Yeah, but you could get 5% on dining (Citi Forward, RIP), 6% on groceries ($95 AF category arbitragable, or 3% for no fee), and so-on for most meaningful categories. If there were a card offering 2x UA on non-categorizing spend that would be one thing.

Also 2014 was the era of unlimited 3% back on the Marukai card.. also RIP


My broader point is not to denigrate such spending behavior per se, but point out that it was (and is) almost never the result of a rationally calculating maximizer. There are intangibles at play for anyone to make a co-brand card top-of-wallet and so analyzing the impact of UA devaluations on that trend is much more complicated than noting you can no longer get some superlative number of cents per mile via a spectacular *A partner award.
findark is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 3:05 pm
  #98  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Programs: United Platinum, Marriott Platinum, IHG Plat, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 234
Originally Posted by jsloan
Youre blaming United for something LH is doing. Its LH that hates to sell nonstop award tickets; they want to extract the extra premium they can get selling those routes for cash.
Nope. Exact same flight was available via Aeroplan or Lifemiles. Ive come across similar situations with ET, AI and LO. United is actively blocking partner availability to force users towards redemption on higher cost UA metal. In some situations I was able to persuade phone agents to ticket these partner flights not displayed on United.com, but it varies based on experience of the agent
frmnj is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 3:43 pm
  #99  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 701
Originally Posted by uastarflyer
you have to park RDMs from flights somewhere right? If you’re not spending a ton on CCs why not aggregate it with RDMs? A few thousand UR a month isn’t very meaningful right?
Why not to a more compelling program like AC? Aggregation shouldn't be an issue because you can transfer them to AC, or UA, or some other program when you need them. The optionality to transfer to any number of programs at a time of your choosing is valuable.

Originally Posted by uastarflyer
My UA Visa actually gives 2/$1 at grocery stores. So I can do my 2.62% cash, UA miles, or 1 pt/$1 on CSR or Amex Platinum.
I don't remember the last time I'm not getting 5x on grocery in a transferrable currency. I also had an AmEx card with 6% cashback on groceries that I downgraded to a no-fee version (which earns 3% cashback on groceries) years ago because I'd never use it (and I still don't use the no-fee version that I kept).
Repooc17 likes this.
tth6133 is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 6:02 pm
  #100  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX
Programs: AS 75K; UA 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott LTP; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 57,152
Originally Posted by tth6133
Why not to a more compelling program like AC?
AC has better redemption rates than UA, but the change/cancel fees on awards are absolutely brutal. $100 to change a flight, $150 to cancel. All that is free on a MileagePlus ticket.
SPN Lifer and Boraxo like this.
Kacee is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 6:12 pm
  #101  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 701
Originally Posted by Kacee
AC has better redemption rates than UA, but the change/cancel fees on awards are absolutely brutal. $100 to change a flight, $150 to cancel. All that is free on a MileagePlus ticket.
With AC, you have the option to pay some extra miles upfront for an award that you can then cancel at any time, just like UA. Those extra miles you paid upfront are also refunded when you cancel. If you don't cancel, you'd still be paying fewer miles than you would with UA, even with those extra miles.
tth6133 is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 6:22 pm
  #102  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Danville, CA, USA;
Programs: UA 1MM, AS MVP, WN CP, Marriott LT Plat, Hilton Gold, IC Plat
Posts: 15,931
Originally Posted by econ
They could be doing it to meet a SUB, but otherwise agree it’s a poor use for everyday spend.
These are often people I know and they've had the cards for many years. I can count on one hand people who I know outside FT that play the SUB game.

Originally Posted by uastarflyer
It depends on circumstances. For example, you have to park RDMs from flights somewhere right? If you’re not spending a ton on CCs why not aggregate it with RDMs? A few thousand UR a month isn’t very meaningful right?

My UA Visa actually gives 2/$1 at grocery stores. So I can do my 2.62% cash, UA miles, or 1 pt/$1 on CSR or Amex Platinum.

Up to now I have bet on the UA miles and have gotten the wins for it. But now I am earning and burning, not saving…that ended after I cashed in a free trip to Europe x 4 in ‘23
And my AA MileUp card also gives 2/$1 for groceries. But I'd rather have 3 Citi points (transferable) or 2 Cap1 points (transferable) which I can aggregate in my far more useful balances in those programs. I don't need more devalued UA RDM that I am already forced to accept when I fly UA, right?

A few thousand a month = 50k per year. As recently as 2022 that used to get you close to a one-way TATL or TPAC (60k) when transferred to UA. Now I get a OW back from Mexico in a stiff F seat. (Though I can still find 57k biz class TATL on AA). Of course 50k per year = $1000 on a 2% card, which may get you half a RT biz ticket to Europe if you snag a fare sale. Plus EQ$ and RDM

I'm with you on the burn. Used 2x4x70k to fly family to Japan in 2023. But still have a 6-figure UA balance due to pandemic cancellations.

Originally Posted by tth6133
With AC, you have the option to pay some extra miles upfront for an award that you can then cancel at any time, just like UA. Those extra miles you paid upfront are also refunded when you cancel. If you don't cancel, you'd still be paying fewer miles than you would with UA, even with those extra miles.
I could never trust AC again after they sold their old program, then started another one. Also they used to have hard expiration dates = lose all miles, and would not trust them on that either. Not to mention all the UA perks I get from lifetime status. It's one thing to use UA miles to fly AC and another to transfer points to AC, but as a primary program, nyet.
SPN Lifer likes this.

Last edited by Boraxo; May 6, 2024 at 6:28 pm
Boraxo is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 6:30 pm
  #103  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Programs: UA 1K 1MM (finally!), IHG AMB-Spire, HH Diamond
Posts: 60,343
Originally Posted by Repooc17
Flexibility. Parking at UA you limit yourself to UA miles, controlled and set by UA at UA's discretion.
If I could park all the RDMs as UR or MR then this argument would be compelling.

With the plethora of credit card options, most popular expense items, such as groceries, you can easily get 5% or more year around without doing much. Some are straight cash back; while others provide you the options of cash back, or transferrable to other platforms.
Groceries is mice nuts $$.

This UR v airline mileage only really matters if youre running massive OPM or business expense via a CC. Or have some years with big ticket spend. The last $12k airfare I put on CSR. All on UA metal too
uastarflyer is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 6:41 pm
  #104  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 701
Originally Posted by Boraxo
I could never trust AC again after they sold their old program, then started another one. Also they used to have hard expiration dates = lose all miles, and would not trust them on that either. Not to mention all the UA perks I get from lifetime status. It's one thing to use UA miles to fly AC and another to transfer points to AC, but as a primary program, nyet.
I'm not a fan of the old Aeroplan program either, but its current program is arguably the best in *A. It obviously isn't better than UA's program in every possible aspect, but in aggregate, it's far better. Mileage expiration, for example, is still an issue with AC (UA only did away with expiration during the pandemic), but it's very easy to extend by redeeming and then cancelling a cancellable award or by linking it with your Starbucks account.
tth6133 is offline  
Old May 6, 2024, 7:02 pm
  #105  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Canada
Programs: UA*1K MM SK EBG LATAM BL
Posts: 23,437
Originally Posted by tth6133
I'm not a fan of the old Aeroplan program either, but its current program is arguably the best in *A.
For now?
You cant expect their rates to continue.
And they block numerous partners

Dont get me wrong, its a great option when transferring points for immediate redemption. But to committ to AC is leaving a sinking ship for a sinking ship.
Boraxo and zombietooth like this.
rankourabu is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.