In episode 7 of the PointsHoarder podcast we are discussing the ins and outs of US Airways’ Dividend Miles and United’s MileagePlus programs. We talk about the benefits and difficulties of redemptions within each program.
A few news items are also discussed, after Stephan accidentally closes his notes file, including Asiana’s announcement regarding their new first class product.
Another big thank you to CC Heim for our new intro and outro!
Length: 33 minutes
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- US Airways Dividend Miles
- United MileagePlus
- Asiana Introduces Premium First Class (Korean Herald)
- United, Continental Pilots Vote to Strike (Houston Business Journal)
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US miles are a little easier to accumulate without actually flying…Grand Slam promo for 100K in the fall, a churnable credit card (40K at a time, could probably do 2X a year if timed properly), and bonuses for hotel transfers (although this hasn’t been since 2010 or so, I think). I remember turning 60K SPG pts into 112.5K US miles.
Combined with better rates for certain regions (North Asia First 120K vs 135K UA), I’d use US all the time, but being a UA 1K, I prefer booking online, earning pts via Chase Ultimate Rewards, and not having to pay the $50 booking fee and possible $150 change fees that US charges.
Hoping the Grand Slam comes back again this Fall…. Racked up 148K between bonuses and earned miles via partners. LOVE!
One downside of US that y’all missed is that you must book roundtrip and can’t change anything once you fly the first flight. So it’s not meant for anyone who needs flexibility on the return.
US allow has some pricing quirks. They allow USA to North Asia via Europe for cheaper than USA to Europe. USA to Australia via South Asia for cheaper than USA to South Asia.
A few great points AK! Thanks for sharing. We’ll update the post with that info.
As a Phoenix resident (US’s HQ), it makes no sense to affiliate with any other program. Good things about the program (a higher elite levels) include: Free upgrades on most flights, up to 100% bonus non-EQ miles for all *Alliance flights (I have never needed to buy miles) and one free Business Class upgrade for two to Europe or South America each year (highest elite level only).
Availability of overseas Business Class upgrades are difficult to some cities though. Also, the special elite members phone-in lines generally give better service that those that non-elites must use.
I agree, though, with the comments of others regarding the difficulty up using *Alliance miles on US if you are not a US Elite. And, although I agree the US Business seats are good, this only applies to 330s and many flights to smaller European cities are on 767s and 757s, which don’t have the new seats. Also the lack of one-way awards is certainly a drawback (but I seldom use miles for free flights . . . usually just for upgrades or free flights for my adult children and their spouses).