Is it worth buying up to Chairman? (Merged Threads)

 
Old Nov 17, 12, 5:55 pm
  #1  
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Is it worth buying up to Chairman? (Merged Threads)

This is my first year traveling with my new job. I started as a low level flier and have since reached Platinum. I've enjoyed getting the different opinions and viewpoints on different travel topics from the flyer talk board. I'd like everyone's opinion:

I'm currently at 84,998 PQMs. I have a flight from PHX to DFW that will put me at 86,728 PQMs. After that I don't have anything planned. I may take one or two more trips that are approx 3880 PQMs and 4050 PQMs (or 2282 depending on how I connect. I'd try to take the longer route). Those are about 50/50 to happen. If they do I'd be at 94,658 PQMs.

My question is whether to gamble that I will need to take the flights and buy the club pass. My work pays for food and drink when I travel so the pass would be on my personal card and I would not be reimbursed. Personally, I enjoy the clubs but would really only do it for the PQMs.

My problem here is I don't know how everything will work out. I can always buy up to CP if I decide to. Are there ever any discounted buy up options towards the end of the year?

I also need to decide whether CP is worth the money. I'm not sure I'd I'd use the envoy upgrades. When do they expire? Does the upgrade rates increase a lot?

I guess I'm looking for any feedback any of you can provide. I appreciate it!
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Old Nov 17, 12, 7:55 pm
  #2  
 
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There are a lot of things to consider, but your comment about not needing the CP certs makes me think you would be fine as platinum.
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Old Nov 17, 12, 8:48 pm
  #3  
 
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If you're happy with Platinum (i.e. upgrades and all) and can't really use the Chairman's certs, then I'm not sure how much of an added benefit Chairman's Preferred would be for you.

The Club 5k PQMs offer ends tomorrow (Nov 18). Have the Club agents been helpful during IRROPS when flying US? I've long believed that Preferred status +Club membership are "best friends" for a US FF ...

As you say, you can always buy up to CP later. I'm not aware of any past discounts at end of year.

A new CP in 2012 gets immediate use of newly-issued electronic 2+2 certs which expire Feb 2013. Use 'em or lose 'em. On Mar 1 (start of 2013-14 program year) a new set of 2+2 certs is issued, and these are valid through Feb 2014.

Some domestic routes are not easy for upgrades, even as a CP. Generally, however, the upgrades come through most of the time.

Whatever you decide, safe travels.
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Old Nov 17, 12, 8:57 pm
  #4  
 
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Do you think that you will be doing the same amount of flying next year? Flying 100k miles as a CP would mean an extra 25K in bonus miles. That's a return coach ticket so the value of that to you might offset the club membership fee....

How often are you getting upgraded at the moment? Are you one of those people (like me!!!) that check a few days before your upgrade window to see how many first class seats there are pre and post chairmans upgrades? That should give you and indication of how the upgrade rates will increase for your routes.

I understand that you will receive 2 lots of upgrade certificates. One for the current year that must be used for a booking by Feb 2013. The other lot, will be for next program year to be used by Feb 2014.

From the US website "These certificates are issued each year on March 1 and expire at the end of February of the following year".

I don't consider the club food/drink offerings to be that beneficial - but I certainly do appreciate that club environment - and the "angels' assistance are worth their weight in gold IMO.

The 50% chance of being out 8K miles does complicate things - but if I were going to be flying the same amount of miles next year I would probably go for the club membership - since the cost for me would be pretty much offset by the bonus miles (award flight), and averaged over the year - the club membership + extra chance of upgrades would make flying those 100K miles more comfortable.
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Old Nov 17, 12, 10:39 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by kudzu View Post

The Club 5k PQMs offer ends tomorrow (Nov 18). Have the Club agents been helpful during IRROPS when flying US? I've long believed that Preferred status +Club membership are "best friends" for a ...

What is IRROPS?
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Old Nov 17, 12, 10:43 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Cloudwanderer View Post
Do you think that you will be doing the same amount of flying next year? Flying 100k miles as a CP would mean an extra 25K in bonus miles. That's a return coach ticket so the value of that to you might offset the club membership fee....

How often are you getting upgraded at the moment? Are you one of those people (like me!!!) that check a few days before your upgrade window to see how many first class seats there are pre and post chairmans upgrades? That should give you and indication of how the upgrade rates will increase for your routes.

I understand that you will receive 2 lots of upgrade certificates. One for the current year that must be used for a booking by Feb 2013. The other lot, will be for next program year to be used by Feb 2014.

From the US website "These certificates are issued each year on March 1 and expire at the end of February of the following year".

I don't consider the club food/drink offerings to be that beneficial - but I certainly do appreciate that club environment - and the "angels' assistance are worth their weight in gold IMO.

The 50% chance of being out 8K miles does complicate things - but if I were going to be flying the same amount of miles next year I would probably go for the club membership - since the cost for me would be pretty much offset by the bonus miles (award flight), and averaged over the year - the club membership + extra chance of upgrades would make flying those 100K miles more comfortable.
I will likely fly as much next year. Good point about the potential 25% bonus. My concern is that if I'm out the 8000 miles then buying up will cost me another significant amount if cash that I don't know if I would want to pay. The club would be nice for the environment but the food and drink doesn't do much for me.

Unfortunately, I don't know how different my upgrades would be from platinum to CP. I fly out of Phoenix and seem to get upgraded more often coming back
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Old Nov 17, 12, 10:52 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by WiscAZ View Post
What is IRROPS?
IRROPS = Irregular Operations (delays, cancellations, equipment change etc)

FT Glossary for other shorthand terms may be helpful too.
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Old Nov 18, 12, 12:20 am
  #8  
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Thank you for the glossary link. That is very helpful.

As for the club agents, I haven't been in any club that is not international.
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Old Nov 18, 12, 5:08 am
  #9  
 
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I have a similar dilemma. I have 92K miles including the 5K Club bonus, which I already purchased. There is a possibility of reaching 95K by the end of the year with Last year, I was a 95K and bought up to CP. Was it worth it? I was able to use only one of the CP International upgrades and unable to upgrade both me and my wife on that trip, so that was a bummer. My domestic upgrades on US were almost 100% (I didn't get one red-eye). Another benefit was that I was able to cancel 2 award ticks without penalty. That's worth $300.
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Old Nov 18, 12, 5:51 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by WiscAZ View Post
I will likely fly as much next year. Good point about the potential 25% bonus. My concern is that if I'm out the 8000 miles then buying up will cost me another significant amount if cash that I don't know if I would want to pay. The club would be nice for the environment but the food and drink doesn't do much for me.

Unfortunately, I don't know how different my upgrades would be from platinum to CP. I fly out of Phoenix and seem to get upgraded more often coming back
As a CP this year I was 100% on upgrades - 1. I do tend to fly mid-week; this is for business reasons, not for upgrades. I suspect on these flights I would have been upgraded for most of them as a PP. I missed SFO-CLT last Wednesday redeye; GA told me that there were 6 CP's in the back. Tough time of year in the overlap period between when last years perferred's roll off and as the new perferred's roll on; March always gets better. In this case CP didn't help at all.

I did use my certs this year but it was a total fluke. I fly to Europe for business, my dates and locations are set; I've never been able to use them in the past

So, other than the extra 25% miles, I don't see a lot of upside for the extra cost.
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Old Nov 18, 12, 9:21 am
  #11  
 
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I have been Preferred for almost 15 years-- Silver, Gold, Chairman's, Platinum and now Gold. I don't think that my upgrade rate was much better as a CP compared to PP (or even Gold).

The Clubs are one of the best parts of flying- I cannot fathom traveling without them, whether or not paying for them results in Preferred miles.
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Old Nov 18, 12, 9:31 am
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by NYCommuter View Post
I have been Preferred for almost 15 years-- Silver, Gold, Chairman's, Platinum and now Gold. I don't think that my upgrade rate was much better as a CP compared to PP (or even Gold).

The Clubs are one of the best parts of flying- I cannot fathom traveling without them, whether or not paying for them results in Preferred miles.
This seems most relevant for OP ...

If OP were thinking of doing some TATLs, then in the first year in particular -- basically getting 4 CP certs -- then CP would definitely be worth any additional risk or expense.
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Old Nov 18, 12, 9:40 am
  #13  
Formerly known as I_Hate_US_Airways
 
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Thumbs up Yes, Go For It!!!

I switch back to US there in early March of this year. At that time I decided to do the platinum challenge. Although I was not crazy about paying $640, there was no way I was given started zero and worked my way back up (specially after having been 1K with United and former chairman's with USAir).

I ended up exceeding the platinum requirements within the ninety-day period and made Chairman's for the rest the year. For me, the most important thing is the upgrade. As a platinum, I was getting upgraded about 90% of the time. Once I made Chairman's, my upgrade rate went to 100%. At my current earn rate, I will end up with about 114 segments when I stop flying on December 21 of this year. I already made the decision to buy up to chairman. To me, it's worth it!!! (-:
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Old Nov 18, 12, 10:08 am
  #14  
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Thank you everyone. This is some really good feedback on the differences of PP and CP. I think I will buy the club pass. Might as well see of I like it. If I am able to swing CP that is an added bonus. It would be nice to be upgraded on most flights.
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Old Nov 18, 12, 11:24 am
  #15  
 
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Another benefit of Chairman status is the ability to change/cancel award tickets without a fee. This has saved me hundreds of dollars this year.

Last edited by jfinsocal; Nov 18, 12 at 11:31 am
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