12 Responses

  1. Scottrick
    Scottrick at |

    Good post. I was not particularly happy with how McCartney portrayed mileage running, and Elliott’s extremism got the better of him (again).

  2. Jon
    Jon at |

    Great points, and I think it all depends on the user, for me I travel mostly on international itineraries so star gold adds most value to me at a 50k level. I attained 1k this year and will most definitely enjoy (hopefu) using those GPUs, but I wouldn’t value them at 10s of thousands of dollars, expecially when I can buy up to business class for $400-600 dollars on a TOD

  3. RomsdeAls
    RomsdeAls at |

    Top tier status not worth it with all the 5X tricks out there now.

  4. Boing
    Boing at |

    I earned diamond on Delta this year, but i fly for work and dont pay for my tickets. I dont understand how courting flyers who have to fly over a hundred thousand miles a year is a pyramid scam. If i am going to fly at least twice a month i want the airline to give me something in return. Lounge access is great, upgrades are great, saying thank you for paying over 30K in tickets this yearand earning top tier status. But i wouldnt pay for it out of my pocket. I couldnt fly as much as i do and be treated like cattle, which most leisure travelers are.

  5. Brian L.
    Brian L. at |

    Chris Elliott is like the Goodyear blimp – full of hot gas. If you do the opposite of whatever he says, you’ll be right more often than not.

  6. Ryan E
    Ryan E at |

    Good thoughts, Seth. Chris Elliott’s over-emotional sensationalism are ridiculous – I think he belongs in National Enquirer. But as you said, it’s true that top tier (or any tier) isn’t worth what *some* folks – including some BoardingArea bloggers and folks on FT – make it out to be…and that people ought to rationally consider what makes sense for them. Which can change from year to year, depending on your travel patterns. I’ll lose UA elite status after this year, but that’s OK as my one planned flight on UA next year won’t be worth paying more to keep it.

  7. Ryan E
    Ryan E at |

    Meant to add…but I chose DL over other options for our trip to Turkey last month – at a cost delta of about $50 total, as I will be flying DL a lot for work and pleasure next year, and GM will be worthwhile. Would I have paid $150 more? Probably. $1,500 more? Nope.

  8. Tom // Sit in first
    Tom // Sit in first at |

    The biggest cost of MRs is time. Time is the one resource you can’t get more of.

    Compare the alternative uses of your time when evaluating an MR.

  9. Cook
    Cook at |

    If a bit wordy, well-said… Please let us never forget that airline status is a game, once created my the airline marketing folks in the hope that it will sell a few more high revenue tickets. A few folks are forced to fly enough each year that they achieve ‘status’ +/- automatically. For the rest, it is a game; more often an expensive hobby. If one wants to spend those bucks on this expensive hobby, be my guest. As a ‘good investment’ for the next year, those hobby participants must be kidding. Status (and the associated points hobby) are horribly poor investments. And lastly, as other bloggers have pointed out, on most airlines, the *truly significant* perks don’t kick-in until reaching the highest, mileage-based level; the lower levels are little more than teasers. For those who choose this as a hobby, I sincerely wish you some great fun. For those who believe that they are ‘investing’ in something of value, please consult your accountant or therapist. Of course, take advantage of whatever points or status you naturally acquire, but don’t spend a dime trying to achieve more as the pay-off is just not there. If the need to an occasional upgrade to BC bites you, pay the gate upgrade fee, enjoy a more comfortable flight and the few extra points and move on. I’m not one to begrudge any hobby, but this one is NOT going to return the rewards that you dream about. Unless you have the dollars to invest in a massive way, you just won’t get to those significant levels without a business supporting most of the fares. And yes, those year-end Mileage Runs are not worth the time and expense – unless you hate being at home and/or dislike spending time with your spouse. And that’s well beyond the scope of this reply. In short, hobby: maybe, if you can afford it. Otherwise, find a new interest.

  10. RakSiam
    RakSiam at |

    I think elliott is just trying to get other people to drop out so he can fly up front.

  11. Michael D
    Michael D at |

    When I started to fly more about a decade ago I shopped for the cheapest flight via date and airline. I probably saved $5,000 a year flying around 100k miles in coach and using my awards in coach Then business picked up and I moved up to business. I’m not making TPACs in coach anymore so when I can lock in just two RTs using my GPUs for TPACs I save more than the amount it would have cost me to buy up from United silver given the offers I saw this year. Tag on the CPUs and I would be more than breaking even. GPUs for me are worth a considerable amount to me because I either buy coach are book a ticket with availability on my long flight.

    But I am spending a bunch more than I used to. United’s program has gotten them more money from me. But as business continues to pick up and my travel budget expands it is not for certain that United 1K status will keep me with United. If I can’t use my GPUs because my time constraints become more stringent then I will start shopping again given the hard product I am most concerned with, flat bed seats, are become universal for the flights I need to fly and United’s soft product is lacking/lagging compared to its competitors. I shop now with a what if strategy and United is not always the most competitive.

    For now United 1K is very good for me. But in the future if I become a more profitable customer for United, I don’ think it would be. For this reason I don’t believe the top-tier elite status work. As to scam or shortcut. The answer is it depends. For me today it wouldn’t be. Six years ago it would be. A few years in the future it won’t matter (fingers crossed).

  12. Michael D
    Michael D at |

    No edit function in this blog. Hard product sadly lacking:)

    Last line of first paragraph of my previous comment should say I buy business (not coach) or buy a ticket with availability.