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hunter399
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎01-03-2011
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Re: Another "best airline miles" CC thread

[ Edited ]

 Can you elaborate on that? Is united tougher to get upgrades on, even when buying a economy ticket and using miles to upgrade? 

 

Looking at these grids from the airline websites, it looks like AA has a simpler system, but they dont disclose booking codes like UA, so its hard to tell. I don’t like how they say "most discount economy". Leads me to believe the lowest fares (even on their own website) may not be eligible for mileage upgrades. UA has an advantage if you're upgrading from a full fare ticket, but a full fare economy ticket is $1500-2000, wheras a "L" fare ticket (appears to be the most used discount code) is in the $350-400 range (i used LAX-EWR as a test flight, picked a random date, off season, mid week). Buying full fare and upgrading with 7500 miles on way, may as well just buy a a discount biz class ticket. 

 

 

 

 

 

New Contributor
hunter399
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎01-03-2011
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Re: Another "best airline miles" CC thread

[ Edited ]

trumpet-205 wrote:

hunter399 wrote:

It varies, but lets assume I don't fly much, half a dozen times a year, all domestic, maybe one international trip every 2 years. I use my Citi Hilton Honors Card all the time and really like those perks/points, even though I use the hotels with the same frequency. 


So you stay at Hilton everytime you travel? In that case just stick with your Citi Hilton CC.


I would still keep my HHonors card for the lifetime silver status, and points accrued when spending at hilton resorts. I don't mind paying out of pocket for hotel stays, as I don't normally stay for more than a night or two, so its not very expensive. I have an enormous amount of HH points. Every time i look to see how much it would be to book a rewards stay, i end up paying cash because the stays are just not all that expensive. 

Senior Contributor
Open123
Posts: 4,220
Registered: ‎02-23-2011
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Re: Another "best airline miles" CC thread

Isn't more difficult per se to get upgrades (assuming you have the required points), but that UA runs less "special" promos.  They do have some, but are pretty seasonal during off peak times.

 

Other Star Alliance members seem to have more specials.  The issue with Star Alliance is the difficulty in tracking the specials, since most airline sites don't have an easy way for you do find the special deals.  What I do is use ANA tool, which searches all the special promos across Star Alliance members, such as 60k for a business class to Paris, or 90K for business class to SE Asia, etc...  This will make it a little easier to spot Star Alliance deals.  The only catch is to use the tool, you must have some ANA miles.

 

UA is great when using miles for a business class flight during off peak times.  In this case, if there is an open first class seat, you can redeem the first class seat for an extra 15,000 miles. 

Frequent Contributor
Dadaluma83
Posts: 364
Registered: ‎08-23-2011
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Re: Another "best airline miles" CC thread

You can upgrade almost all tickets on United and American. Only ones you can't upgrade are award tickets and opaque bookings like a name your own price on priceline.

 

So if you buy the cheapest fare ticket on either of those airlines websites, you can upgrade it with miles.

 

Delta only lets you upgrade from higher fare buckets so their miles are a bad choice all around really.

 

You can't go wrong with either AA or UA out of LAX they are roughly equal. However the only way to earn AA miles is with their credit card or the AMEX starwood card. If you wanted to move your hotel stays to Starwood whenever possible it might be a good choice. Starpoints also have loads of other airline transfer partners too so it has some flexibility. To earn miles with United you can either have their card or the chase sapphire preferred which has a great earning potential.

 

However if you want to use your miles for upgrades AA charges 15,000 miles for the cheapest economy ticket while United charges 20,000 so if you are looking at the sapphire preferred to earn miles faster, it is a wash if you want to use them for upgrades as you would have to use more.

FICO Scores: TU: 768 (Jan 2012), EQ: 755 (Jan 2012 Lender pull)
New Contributor
hunter399
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎01-03-2011
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Re: Another "best airline miles" CC thread

Thanks for all the input, folks. I'm really leaning towards the UA card. I read a ton of stuff online this weekend about miles, upgrading, etc. Who know it was such a science! 

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Voodard
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎06-13-2012
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Re: Another "best airline miles" CC thread

The United Airlines MileagePlus Explorer card is a great card, especially if you can catch their sign-up promo of 65,000 total possible miles.  I just recently opened this card, my wife also has the card and we also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  If you can, get both cards and you'll get to enjoy some crazy point-earning opportunities. 

 

I would never use my miles with United to upgrade a domestic flight, there's little value in doing so and it's more efficient just to pay for the upgrade with cash.  I have found upgrades on a frequent route of mine from AUS to LAX where the FC upgrade was 20,000 points + $75.00 or $189.00 cash.  I usually pay the $189 or I'll buy an Economy Plus seat ranging from $59-$79.  My wife and I are collecting our miles saving them for a FC trip to Hawaii or back to Europe in a few years.

TU 743 as of 5/12
EQ 715 as of 10/13
EX Plus 780 as of 7/12

Cards in wallet: Chase Sapphire Preferred ($25k) Chase Freedom (8k) NFCU Platinum ($24k) HHonors Reserve ($11k)
United MileagePlus Club ($17k)
New Contributor
hunter399
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎01-03-2011
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Re: Another "best airline miles" CC thread


Voodard wrote:

The United Airlines MileagePlus Explorer card is a great card, especially if you can catch their sign-up promo of 65,000 total possible miles.  I just recently opened this card, my wife also has the card and we also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  If you can, get both cards and you'll get to enjoy some crazy point-earning opportunities. 

 

I would never use my miles with United to upgrade a domestic flight, there's little value in doing so and it's more efficient just to pay for the upgrade with cash.  I have found upgrades on a frequent route of mine from AUS to LAX where the FC upgrade was 20,000 points + $75.00 or $189.00 cash.  I usually pay the $189 or I'll buy an Economy Plus seat ranging from $59-$79.  My wife and I are collecting our miles saving them for a FC trip to Hawaii or back to Europe in a few years.


Thanks for the info! Where do you find info on how much it costs to pay for such upgrades with cash? 

Contributor
Voodard
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎06-13-2012
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Re: Another "best airline miles" CC thread

Another perk of the UA MP Explorer and Club card is that if you book a Standard Award ticket, you get the seat you choose at time of booking.  Unlike the general public that has to hope for space availability.

TU 743 as of 5/12
EQ 715 as of 10/13
EX Plus 780 as of 7/12

Cards in wallet: Chase Sapphire Preferred ($25k) Chase Freedom (8k) NFCU Platinum ($24k) HHonors Reserve ($11k)
United MileagePlus Club ($17k)
Contributor
Voodard
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎06-13-2012
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Re: Another "best airline miles" CC thread

[ Edited ]

You'll find the upgrade options when searching. Under "Make a Flight Reservation" towards the bottom of the page select Mileage Plus Upgrade Award and it will show you which flights offer cash plus miles. You'll have more opportunities to upgrade after you purchase your tickets, including the cheapest option whcih is 24 hours before your flight is scheduled to depart (you'll get an email to check-in, this message also asks you if you want to upgrade your seat (if available)).

TU 743 as of 5/12
EQ 715 as of 10/13
EX Plus 780 as of 7/12

Cards in wallet: Chase Sapphire Preferred ($25k) Chase Freedom (8k) NFCU Platinum ($24k) HHonors Reserve ($11k)
United MileagePlus Club ($17k)

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