Reader Sandy asks:
Matthew, I received the following offer from United in my e-mail box. I was about 10K miles short of 1P [Premier Executive] status last year, so I am tempted to take advantage, though it looks expensive. What do you think?
Sandy, that’s a tough question and the answer will depend on your flying plans for 2012. $ 1691 for 10,000 EQMs is a hefty fee and holding Premier Executive status only for the sake of holding status will do you no good. Having said that, the differences between Premier and Premier Executive are quite substantial on United. You’ll enjoy a 50% bonus on RDMs, occasional upgrades, the ability to reserve Economy Plus seats at time of booking, reduced fees, and a dedicated call line that generally will connect you to a U.S. call center. Furthermore, you’ll enjoy Star Alliance Gold status which will give you lounge access when traveling on international itineraries as well as increased baggage allowances and priority check-in.
With that in mind and subject to my mileage run caveat below, if you plan to travel to more than 25,000 miles this year on United, I would pay for the extra elite miles and enjoy Premier Executive status.
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I have to admit I was surprised to see United/Continental hawking elite status, but nothing should surprise me anymore. At $ 2436 for 15K miles, thankfully they have priced it high enough that the number of takers will likely be limited.
If you are a few thousand miles away from the next status tier, this is a much easier choice, but if you are between 5-10K EQMs away, I really would think twice about shelling out the money unless you are so pressed for time you cannot take a few weekends to mileage run and build up your elite status not just for 2012, but for 2013. But if I had no time to mileage run and frequent travel coming up on United and Continental, the $ 1691 would be worth less to me than the Premeir Executive status.
This is a targeted offer, but if you did not receive the e-mail and are interested, it will not hurt to give MileagePlus a call.