Triangle Trip

Tag: airlines selling miles

Depreciation of airline miles - everyone is selling them

by Captain G on Mar.05, 2009, under Airlines

I have been getting tons of emails from all airlines about mileage promotions. Most recently I received an email from American telling me a 33% discount if I bought 1,000+ miles. Here’s the link in case some are interested.

Buying AA Miles

Buying AA Miles

If you look at the offer, it’s really not worth it. The asking price for 1,000 is $27.50 — that is $0.275 per mile when the airline industry standard is $0.01 per mile. Furthermore, airlines are applying more fees when you use your miles to redeem for flights.

If you are serious about purchasing miles, ghetto Delta has a better deal. Here’s the link if you’re interested. To create confusion and masking the actual cost, Delta is asking for $59.13 for 2,000 + 2,000 free bonus miles. If you do the math, it’s $0.147 per mile - as 50% savings compared to AA.

Buy Skymiles

Buy Skymiles

United is the most expensive out of the big three airlines. UAL wants $67.25 for 1,000 miles. In addition, UAL also wants to charge you a $35 service fee. I could understand that Delta & American may be higher because points.com is processing the mileage purchase for you but UAL seem to be doing the mileage fulfillment themselves.

Buy UAL miles

Buy UAL miles

Are these airlines serious? Do they think people would actually pay for airline miles when they are depreciating them? I will have a follow up post on what you should do with your miles in a few days.

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Is United desperate or entrepreneurial?

by Captain G on Feb.21, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel

Most United Premier members from 2008 who didn’t qualified for 2009 Premier levels probably received an email from United asking for the following:

  • $350 to be a Premier Associate (a sellout scheme created by United)
  • If you fly 7,000 actual miles within 90 days, UAL will promote you to Premier
  • If you fly 15,000 actual miles within 90 days, UAL will promote you to Premier Exec

As a frequent flyer, I believe you can achieve status if you just go about your business. Paying for status is not a best practice. If you read enough of our posts, you will see tons of ways to get status quick and tips to improve your travel experience.

I have the following gripes with UAL’s most recent pitch to pimp out status:

  1. Premier Associate is purely a desparation to get more money from passengers. $350 for 90 days is not a good deal. I believe you can get a Premier Associate membership for $400 that can last a calendar year.
  2. The latest pitch to extract $350 from 2008 Premier members devalues the Premier status. It is a kick in the face to the 2009 Premier members who have truly earned their status by flying on UAL in 2008. Essentially what UAL is saying is:  15,000 miles + $350 in present terms = flying 50,000 in 2008 which could have been worth $10,000 as you were on the plane at least 25 times at around $400 a ticket.
  3. United also tries to sell you seats in the Premier zone when you check-in which is a “sell out” move. Now they are trying to make you pay for “bonus” miles when you check-in to speed up your qualification.

I have over 700,000 actual flight miles on UAL. The recent tactics  implemented by UAL not only devalues everyone’s status, it also makes me ashamed to be affiliated with them.

What’s next for UAL?  … charging me for the floatation cushion on a 1970s aircraft?

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