Thanks to an interesting set of circumstances I find myself on the cusp of buying PQMs from United Airlines this weekend. And I’m not particularly happy about it. I could say that it is bad math or poor planning on my part but the reality is that I should’ve flown well past the 150k PQM line much earlier this year. I actually canceled a few trips in October and November and that left me resting comfortably at ~141K for the year, sufficiently far from the next threshold that I was willing to walk away. And then the Wideroe deal happened. I wanted to see the Christmas Markets in Germany so I bought the ticket. It wasn’t for the miles, really, though it did also happen to be the flight which put me over 1mm lifetime. But it also brought me precariously close to the 150k mark. I’m now only 631 miles away.
I tried to get those miles on the Germany trip but failed thanks to a unpublished rule from United (yes, another one) which says SDC must not only be on UA metal but also on UA ticket stock. My ticket wasn’t so no possibility of making that change, despite the website and check-in kiosks repeatedly offering such an option to me. So I’m short. I don’t really have time to fly in the next 3 weeks and I was not seeing many good deals anyways so my main option for acquiring those last few points is to buy the PQMs. I’m looking at it as a straight cash transaction for the upgrade instruments (Yeah, I know I get a few RDMs, too) so the question is what’s a fair price?
The smallest number United will sell me right now is 1,500 PQMs at a price of $260. That’s up over 17cpm (15cpm for the PQMs & 2.3 for the RDMs, if you want to look at it that way) and the rational me say that there’s no way I should pay that. At the same time, however, I’m looking at four upgrade instruments for “only” $260. Then again, I am still sitting on a few GPUs from this year I’ve been mostly giving away and I have a bunch for next year, too with no plans so it is entirely likely that I’ll end up giving some of these away, too. That’s mostly good for you as readers and potential recipients but not as easy to justify to me the expense (sorry).
So, back to the original question at hand: Would you pay the $260 to United for the instruments? I honestly don’t know if I should or not. Partly because I’m bitter about getting screwed by the SDC “rules” and partly because I don’t know that I’ll get value from them. But it is also a small price to pay, I think, for some upgrade instruments.
What would you do??
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