Friday, October 12, 2012

Economy, Business or FirstClass?

I’ve always been asked by my friends what class when we travel. They have a perception that I always travel business or firstclass. The truth is I am NOT and it depends. Here are some of my thoughts.

1.      Domestic USA

Our family use Southwest most of the time, not because it’s cheaper, also the Companion pass I posted a few times, this is the BEST perk fly domestically. Since SW doesn’t have business class, there is no different of the fare class, you just need to go for the cheapest fare. No brainer.

The drawback of SW is sometimes it’s a full flight and you better web check-in as early as you could to 1) secure a row with 3 people 2) to load your carry on. The boarding group is based on the fare and how early you check in.

SW is planning on expanding its routes to Hawaii next year, keep eyes on it and get the two SW cards to achieve companion pass.

If you book award ticket, such as United, sometimes, the business or first class has much availability than economy, go for the higher level, although you don't save any mile. say, both economy standard and business saver is 50k around trip, but its silly yo book economy at this point.

2.      International

I fly economy most of the time, and if it’s United, I am in the process to get Gold Elite, so complimentary upgrade is possible, but it depends on the capacity and your luck.

You can match the elite by providing another airline’s elite status, here is what United asked me to do.

We’re always glad to hear from MileagePlus® members like you. Thanks for writing.

We would be happy to consider you for Premier Silver®, Premier Gold® or Premier Platinum® status through our Premier Status Match promotion. To get started, email, fax or mail a copy of your most recent other airline summary to the address below. The other airline summary should indicate your current premier status level. If you fax or mail your summary, be sure to include your email address.

Fax: 605-343-4104, Attn: Premier Status Match 
 Mail: MileagePlus Service Center

Attn: Premier Status Match

P.O. Box 6121

Rapid City SD 57709-6121

We’ll respond to your request within 5-7 business days. If your status match is approved, we’ll upgrade you to either Premier Silver, Premier Gold or Premier Platinum status for 90 days from the date of approval. Here’s what you’ll need to do to keep that status:

                 For Premier Silver, fly 10,000 paid, qualifying miles or 15 segments within the 90-day conditional period.

                 For Premier Gold, fly 17,500 paid, qualifying miles or 22 segments within the 90-day conditional period.

                 For Premier Platinum, fly 25,000 paid, qualifying miles or 30 segments within the 90-day conditional period. 

                 Qualifying flights must be operated by United, United Express or Copa, with a United flight number and credited to the member's MileagePlus account. Flights operated by United, United Express or Copa that have a partner’s codeshare flight number do not qualify. Flights operated by any other airline do not qualify.

                 Once you meet the appropriate threshold, you’ll remain a Premier Silver, Premier Gold or Premier Platinum member through January 31, 2014. If you don’t meet the threshold, you’ll return to your previous level of membership.

                 You may earn premier status through the Premier Status Match promotion a maximum of one time in a five year period.

Basically, if I fly 25k miles in 90 days, they will extend Platinum to me until Jan 2014. I consider the justified Mileage Run to achieve this goal.
If you don't have a lot of travel plan next year, save the money and time, Mileage Run doesn't justify for you.

3.      I’d rather fly some Asia airlines' economy vs America airlines' Business. Why?

If you haven’t tried Business and first class, grab a piece of paper and write it down “I will fly my family business/first class by 201x to YYY” and post on your wall. I understand most of America families fly economy for the whole life time, I’d like you to experience the different classes for your family. Life is SHORT and life is all about experience.

1)      To achieve the goal, our hobby of miles/points is the helper

2)      Research: google the aircraft that you plan to fly business or firstclass, is the business full lie-flat or incline old seat? Does it worth I spend more miles.

3)      If it’s red eyes international flight, go business, it’s much comfort. If it’s daytime, maybe save the mileage.

4)      Use to see which partner has less miles, you will be surprised that the different of business class, for example, US airway 50k around trip from US to Europe in off-peak reason while United will cost you 80k and it’s the same Star alliance members.

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