fly UA but have US status -- smart idea?

Old Sep 21, 05, 10:48 pm
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fly UA but have US status -- smart idea?

Good day to everyone.

After I decided to switch to UA recently I have been reading up on UA/US "mini-alliance." And it got me wondering.

Do you think it would be a good idea to have US elite status but fly primarily on UA? From what I understand, with US status you can sit in E+. For the low-tier elite at US you get a 50% mileage bonus (compared to UA's 25%) and for every 10,000 Dividend Miles (is it US miles flown, or 10,000 miles flown on *A partners?) collected as an elite you get 6 500-milers (compared to UA's 4 500-milers). Given these facts do you think it would make sense to have US status but fly primarily UA, but collect US miles? Also, am I correct in thinking that if I were to get US status I can get US miles when flying UA (and likewise with UA miles on US flights)? Like I said, it just got me thinking. Thanks for the responses.
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Old Sep 22, 05, 12:28 am
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Some things to consider:
  • On UA you only earn upgrade certificates for every 10K BIS on United metal when accruing to MP, and I would imagine US is the same. In any case, you cannot use US upgrade instruments on UA or vice versa-- whether certificates or miles. You do get a discount purchasing the other airline's upgrade certs.
  • Most UA promotions, like those of most airlines, only apply when flying "native"-- both on the carrier's metal and accruing to their program. US does have occasional promotions for international travel on *A partners, but for instance the 6000 miles I'd accrue on each round trip on the US Shuttle in 2002 is an exceptional rarity.
  • Out of LRA you will (ahem) rarely be on US metal. The current US Airways has very sparse offerings in the West you will find it difficult to use those upgrade certs, especially as a "low tier elite." This of course may change dramatically with the merger... but so might the upgrade policy. No one knows for sure yet.
  • Even in close partnerships like UA-US, airlines "look after their own" first in the event of a cancellation or delay, although you'll be ahead of the general membership.
That said, FTers do join "foreign" programs for various specific benefits, for instance within Star Alliance
  • *A Gold members of any non-US program can access airport lounges on US domestic flights, while US 2 and UA 1P members can only enter on international itins or by purchasing membership or passes.
  • Air Canada's Aeroplan, another *A carrier, only requires 35K miles to reach *A Gold, which is 50K on most.
  • *A Gold level in Asiana Club lasts for 2 years instead of the usual 1
  • IIRC Thai allows family members to accrue into a single account
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Old Sep 22, 05, 8:11 am
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Originally Posted by AApokes08
From what I understand, with US status you can sit in E+. For the low-tier elite at US you get a 50% mileage bonus (compared to UA's 25%) and for every 10,000 Dividend Miles (is it US miles flown, or 10,000 miles flown on *A partners?) collected as an elite you get 6 500-milers (compared to UA's 4 500-milers).
I am in a similar position, that is, flying both US and UA, and weighing the pros and cons of status on each. Fortunately, my wife and I mostly fly together, so I put miles into MP, and she into DM. She keeps DM Silver and I maintain MP Premier.

I am not aware of US elites earning 6 500-milers per 10K flown. Elites have unlimited e-upgrades on US, but general members can redeem 10K miles for 6 e-upgrades. Could this be what you refer to, AApokes08?

So far we are happy with the split elite status, I can get my wife into E+ on UA and I get upgraded as her companion on US when there are FC seats available. I still earn 500-milers when we fly UA. We both enjoy priority lines and boarding on both airlines.

I am wondering, however, would I be better off as a US Silver? Would we have a better chance of upgrades on US with each having status, vice her with status and me as the companion? We will probably never be more than low level elites and the UA 500 mile upgrades pale next to unlimited US complimentary upgrades.

I'm sure there will be some adjustments to DM as the merger coalesces, and when things have firmed up, I will think more about jumping all the way over from UA to US. This year, we will actually fly slightly more on US than UA for the first time.
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Old Sep 22, 05, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by hiyosilverwings
I am not aware of US elites earning 6 500-milers per 10K flown. Elites have unlimited e-upgrades on US, but general members can redeem 10K miles for 6 e-upgrades. Could this be what you refer to, AApokes08?
I didn't realize until just now that Base DM members can redeem 10,000 miles for 6 e-upgrades. So, yes that is what I am refering to.
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Old Sep 22, 05, 11:50 am
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I fly from SEA-PHL quite often (10-15 times/yr), so I have been flying US for several years. The alliance with UA was a boon to me, since US can only take me East and E+ is a great product. (I am consistently US2 - Gold Preferred)

However, I switched accumulating miles/Elite status from US to UA at the beginning of 2005. This was primarily due to (a) I was worried US Air would liquidate (I was wrong) and (b) the "benefit" of status on US was primarily the first class upgrades. If you haven't noticed, 1st class on US Airways is a joke compared to any other domestic, in my opinion. It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't experienced the excellent product it once was (c. 1999). When they started serving cold food in a box, that was the final straw.

Admitedly I don't fly in United FC very often, but when I do, it's a treat, and when I don't, I'm at least in E+. I still am Gold Pref (US2) on US thru the end of this year, but I haven't used it (yet). I might use it thru the end of this year since I've already reached Premier Exec on UA. Supposedly they're serving real food again.

Hope that gives you some insight.
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Old Sep 22, 05, 1:02 pm
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Here's the upgrade explanation on the US website


http://usairways.com/dividendmiles/p.../eupgrades.htm
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Old Sep 22, 05, 7:26 pm
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I am Chairman's Preferred on US but fly only on UA (I refuse to fly US after being treated so badly on US). The main benefits I see that I get are (1) access to E+, which isn't much worse than FC on US, (2) priority boarding/ticket lines and (3) lounge access in Canada and overseas. The UA reservations line doesn't make me hold for very long, so it's about the same as a Preferred reservations line on US.

The only problem is that I've never gotten upgraded, although friends of mine who have status on US but not UA have gotten upgraded reguarly on UA, especially on IAD-LHR flights, and when it comes time to fly internationally that will be a problem.

Also, for domestic lounge access, if you have a club membership with one airline and have paid a supplement to access the other airline's lounges, you can access the other airline's lounges only if you have a same-day boarding pass on that airline. Thus I have to buy a US Airways Club membership and get the UA RCC add-on for access, since I fly out of an airport that has just a US Airways Club, and I can thus fly UA and still get in; if I had a UA RCC membership with the US Club add-on, I couldn't get in if I were flying UA.
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Old Sep 23, 05, 11:24 am
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For the last few years, I've flown more times on US but more miles on UA -- I choose to accrue US status. Unless you fly all RJ's on one airline, try to accrue in the airline that you fly most. The main benefits are upgrades, but it helps with waiting lists, missed connections, Elite phone numbers, and others. The airline you will need to contact/deal with the most is the one to choose elite status.

If the 2 are equal, what I've found is: for silvers, choose US (50% bonus miles, unlimited upgrades - I upgraded 66% of the time as a silver last year). For CP/1K, choose United -- many more upgrade possibilities, other perks, plus its likely you fly international where it really matters. For Gold/Premier Exec, its a tossup. US can use Quantas awards to Australia, while UA seems to have better access to rewards on itself as well as Lufthansa. The other perks tend to be similar.
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Old Sep 23, 05, 12:58 pm
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There are still a lot of open questions on the future of the program after the merger. I'd probably wait out the end of the year and see what's announced if you've already requalified for 2P.

If you have already requalified for 2P and are thinking of trying for US Silver by the end of the year, I'd put the miles in on UA and shoot for 1P and then reassess everything after the merger. There are pros and cons to each choice that have already been well covered here.
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Old Sep 25, 05, 6:43 pm
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As an SP on US, you get to board UA with Zone 1. On US, you're Zone 2.

Your US status means more to UA than it does for US if you're an SP.
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