Saturday, January 19, 2013

An Interesting Proposition...

As I was busy flying Alaska Airlines home from Hawaii yesterday, this showed up in my email...


I originally set out to make 1K last year, but because life happens, I ended up just a little short. Intrigued by the email, and of course wanting to know how to get that coveted status that eluded me last year, I clicked the link to find out more...


I choked. I might have also thrown up in my mouth a little and maybe dropped the f-bomb in front of my kid. It appears as though United is soliciting money in exchange for status...a lot of money. $4149 to be exact. I ended the year at 85,005 miles, so 15k is what I'd need.

Just then another email showed up, but this one was for the baby (we share an email address)....


I guess I wasn't the only one to notice the slight price discrepancy and there is even a Flyertalk thread about it. It appears that 1K is a lot more valuable than Silver- ha, no surprises there. Special thanks to WineCountryUA for doing the math.

So I don't think we are going to be taking United up on this offer, unless of course my kiddo wants to pay for it using the United MileagePlus Explorer VISA that they keep trying to sign him up for. He's not flying United anymore anyway, so thanks, but no thanks. I'm not saying it's a bad deal (not explicitly, at least), and who knows, someone out there might value this offer and want to pay that much for their status. I am not one of those people. I want to make one thing very clear- there are no other benefits to buying those PQM miles other for status (they aren't redeemable). That said, I can think of a lot of better ways to spend $4149...

It appears the going rate of a decent mileage run nowadays is $.04 per mile, so if we're talking about making 1K which requires 100,000 miles, that's $4,000. For the sake of argument let's round up and assume it is going to cost $4149. For that same amount, as a Premier Platinum earning a 75% redeemable miles bonus each time I fly, I can get 175,000 redeemable miles by flying instead of buying. (You can check out the interactive award chart to see all the fun can be had with those).

I still want to make Million Miler with United and secure lifetime Gold status for myself and my husband before it's too late. With this week's news that Delta is moving towards a revenue based frequent flier program (and with these emails being any indication), I fear that it's only a matter of time before United might be headed in the same direction. In a world where cash means more than loyalty, I'd like to wrap up that lifetime status before I can't afford to anymore. It's time to start doing some serious mileage running.

Once again my goal for 2013 is to make 1K and I'd like to do it for less than $4149. With the overall theme of this post being "I can think of a lot of better ways to spend $4149" of course I'd like as little of that money as possible to actually come out of my own pocket. With all the flying I do for my Hawaii business being shifted to Alaska Airlines this year, any flying on United is purely for fun miles. I can't really justify spending that amount on a "hobby". So how am I going to pay for it? Well, I'm still sitting on quite a few customer relations/customer care certificates (e-certs) and voluntary denied boarding vouchers (VDBs) from last year that can help finance the cause. If 2013 is anything like 2012, then I'm sure I'll pick some more up along the way. Beyond that? Citi ThankYou points (thanks Frequent Miler for the idea), Chase Ultimate Rewards, whatever other credit card point currencies I can think of...and finally, as a last resort...cash out of my own pocket. Between now and then, I'm just fine with being a Platinum. So how's that for a proposition?

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