As I mentioned yesterday, Iâ€™ll be about 11,000 Premier Qualifying Miles (PQMs) short of Platinum status for 2014 after flying what I have booked for the rest of the year. And Iâ€™m currently debating whether to go for Platinum, or settle with lifetime Gold.
At this point, my travel plans on United Airlines and Star Alliance partners for 2014 will likely consist mostly of award redemptions, so Iâ€™m not sure if gunning for Plat is worth it. From yesterdayâ€™s post:
Whether or not to strive for a higher (or any) elite status really comes down to two considerations:
- Your planned flying in the following calendar year; and
- Would the value of benefits earned with higher status exceed the cost to get them.
So, Iâ€™m currently determining the value of Plat over Gold for my situation, and the cheapest methods to rack up the 11,000 PQMs I need to answer my question.
Mileage runs have been my traditional method to accrue â€œextraâ€ PQMs, but recent life events find my time at home a bit more valuable these days. And the fastest way to earn PQMs without leaving home is through Unitedâ€™s Award Accelerator program.
I posted about Award Accelerator previously, but in summary, it allows you to purchase redeemable MileagePlus miles, with a separate Premier Accelerator option to add an equivalent amount of PQMs.
The offer appears about mid-way down the â€œview current reservationâ€ screen on each of your ticketed trips, and itâ€™s also frequently displayed during the check-in process.
When clicking through an upcoming reservation, I am offered the following:
For $312, I can purchase 12,000 redeemable miles, which calculates out to 2.6 cents-per-mile (CPM). Laying out an additional $1,560 for Premier Accelerator would boost my PQM balance by 12k miles, at a rate of 13 cents-per-PQM.
But you canâ€™t purchase PQMs without the redeemable miles, so the overall cost if I went through with this would be $1,872, or 15.6 CPM.
The Award and Premier Accelerator rates fluctuate periodically, and many people receive varying offers for the same amount of miles. A rather active thread discussing this appears on Flyertalk.
Getting back to my â€œdo I or donâ€™t I go for Platâ€ situation, I know that I could earn the needed 11,000 PQMs for less than 15.6 CPM by flying a mileage run or two, so the Premier Accelerator option isnâ€™t attractive from a cost standpoint. Plus, I doubt any fees that Iâ€™d be charged in 2014 as a Gold would come close to its cost of $1,872, so the benefit of being able to stay home without flying doesnâ€™t outweigh the price here, either.
While Premier Accelerator isnâ€™t a viable option for my situation at this point (Iâ€™ll monitor my reservations to see if the rates go down), itâ€™s definitely a great program for others as a fast track to elite status given their own unique cost-benefit analysis.
â€“ Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.