United Award & Premier Accelerators

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United happily sells award accelerators for all itineraries that are booked on United ticket stock and associated with a Mileage Plus account. The price and amount of miles and PQM’s (Premier Qualifying Miles) is dependent of your Mileage Plus status and the ticket, although on the following three examples the award and premier accelerators were identical for a Premier 1K account.

united-premier-accelerator

You can access the accelerator when you are managing the reservation at United.com. There is a banner for “Get Extra Miles” and a dollar figure associated with it.

ua-buy-extra-miles-from-158

Note that you cannot only buy Premier Miles but you have to buy the award accelerator as well.

Singapore Airlines Sao Paulo to Sydney via SingaporeUA SQ GRU-SYD NO FF

Here’s what is displayed before you associate the reservation with any frequent flier number.

For Premier 1K, United is offering to sell 30K RDM’s for $630 or 45K for $945. You can ad PQM’s miles for both at 15 cents per PQM – 45K PQM’s for $6750 or 30K PQM’s for $4500.

For non-status member, United is displaying the first offer. You can buy award miles at 2.1 cents each and PQM’s at the same level of 15 cents per PQM as for Premier 1K.

Seattle to Miami entirely on United metal

Again, you need to include United Mileage Plus number to get accelerator rates.

For this 1K, the offer was exactly the same as on the previous example.

For non-elite member, the offer was different, however. United was selling award miles at 2.6 cents each and PQM’s at 15 cents each.

Seattle to Istanbul on Lufthansa, Turkish and United

The display before United FF number is associated with the PNR.

The Premier 1K offer is exactly the same.

For the non-elite member, the offer is 15 cents per PQM and 2.1 cents per award mile.

Conclusion

The purchase price of an award mile under this award accelerator offer is rather reasonable at 2.1 cents each. What you can do is to make a reservation at United.com and purchase the number of award miles you need and then cancel the reservation. You have 24 hours to cancel a reservation without fees that is done on United.com. Alternatively, you can always buy a fully refundable fare that you refund at some point in time. Just make sure that you read the fare rules carefully.

The PQM offer seems to vary depending on your Mileage Plus status. For this 1K that is not even close to qualifying, the offer was always the same regardless of the itinerary in question.  For non-status member, the offer varied.

 Here are the terms and conditions of the accelerators:

  • All award miles purchased are non-refundable. A federal excise tax of 7.5% is included in the displayed price.

  • These miles credit to your MileagePlus account within 24 hours of purchase.

  • The miles you purchase with Award Accelerator are redeemable miles and do not count toward premier qualification, unless Premier Accelerator is added to your purchase.

  • Purchased miles are subject to all MileagePlus terms and conditions.

Update on 1000 Free Miles for Singing up on BCKSTGR

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Two days ago, I wrote about a new service called BCKSTGR that was promising 1000 miles for signing up to their website and linking your Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare accounts. I had first some problems, but was able to sign up using an Internet Explorer. The service didn’t seem to work on Chrome or Firefox browsers on my laptop.

united-bckstgr-activity

The promised 1000 miles posted to my United account very fast. When I had a look at my account activity this morning, they were already there.

Conclusion

If you haven’t signed up for the BCKSTGR yet, you should. It is about the easiest 1000 free United miles that you can get and shouldn’t take more than five minutes.

1000 Free United Miles via BCKSTGR

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BCKSTGR is giving out up to 1000 United miles for registering to their site and linking various social media accounts.

united-bckstgr

  • Get 400 miles for registering.
  • Get 200 miles for syncing your Twitter account.
  • Get 200 miles for syncing your Facebook account.
  • Get 200 miles for syncing your Foursquare account.

You need to input your United frequent flier number and your account PIN.

united-bckstgr-problem

I have tried to sign up my UA account number and PIN several times, but I just keep getting an error message that my password is incorrect when, for sure, it is not. This have worked for some, however. Note that this problem likely exists if you are using Firefox or Chrome browser.

united-bckstgr-posting

When I tried to access the website using Internet Explorer, I got it to work after going back and worth few times. Then I just linked my Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare account for a total of 1000 miles including the sign up bonus.

If you can get this one to work for you, just claim the free miles and link the social media accounts. But remember to change your United account PIN afterwards.

Conclusion

This is a nice promotion for some free miles IF you can get the signing up with your United account number and PIN work for you. This didn’t work for me first but did after I switched to Internet Explorer browser.

Up To 2500 Bonus United Miles for Online Purchases

It is time of the year when there are offers from most of the airline and hotel related online shopping malls for bonus miles.

united-online-shopping-mall-bonus-2013

Between now and December 31, you will earn 500 bonus miles for every $250 in purchases that you make through the Mileage Plus mall. These are in addition to the regular miles that you would earn from the purchases. The bonus miles are capped at 2500 that is basically $1250 in spending. You can access this offer here.

Conclusion

You are essentially getting 2 extra points per dollar spend. The way I usually work these mall promotions, is to put a dollar figure to the mile earned so that I can compare them to straight cashback malls. Sometimes these airline related malls are better and sometimes they are not.

I wrote an article about getting cashback for your travel purchases and it does apply for most of other online purchases as well. You can use sites like CashBackHolic and Evreward to check the cashback percentages among multiple online malls.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Now through 12/31/12 11:59 PM EST receive 500 bonus miles with every $250 spent online through MileagePlus Shopping; up to 2,500 bonus miles. Returns, shipping and taxes are not eligible for bonus. Please allow 8-10 weeks for bonus miles to post to your account. The maximum number of bonus miles that can be awarded to each qualifying member through this promotion is 2,500 bonus miles. Increased earning opportunities are for a limited time only and at the discretion of each individual merchant. Please check site daily for updates to increased earning opportunities.

Virgin America Status Match Campaign to Poach American and United Frequent Fliers

Both American and United have had a rather difficult year. American has had trouble with the pilots union and United has had trouble with their flight schedule as well. Lot’s of American and United frequent fliers have been less than pleased.

virgin-america-elevate-status-match

Now, Virgin America has a status match campaign that is targeted to United And American frequent fliers. Virgin America matches to their Elevate Silver and Gold levels depending what status you have with United or American. You can access this offer here.

Email us at statusmatch@virginamerica.com with your Elevate number and oneof the following:

  • A copy or screenshot of your most recent mileage summary showing your name and current elite level.
  • Or, a copy of your membership card that identifies your name and current elite level in the United Air Lines or American Airlines frequent flyer program.

virgin-america-match-levels

United 1K and Platinum members as well as American EXP’s are matched to Elevate Gold. United Gold and Silver members as well as American Platinum and Gold are matched to Elevate Silver. If you ask my personal opinion, the United Gold and AA Platinum should have both received Elevate Gold match instead of Silver.

virgin-america-elevate-status-match-requal-requirement

The initial match is valid until April 30, 2013, and Virgin has an offer extending the status until the end of 2013 by earning certain number of status points. You need to earn 12K status points ($2400 in base airfare spent) for extending the Gold status or 8000 status points ($1600 in base airfare spent).

Here are the benefits of the Silver and Gold Elevate statuses:

virgin-america-elevate-benefits-1

virgin-america-elevate-benefits-2

The main benefit for me would be the upgrades to Main Cabin Select that includes complimentary food and booze. You could check one complimentary bag at Silver level and 3 at the Gold one.

If you do any travel in Australia, the complimentary Virgin Australia lounge access could come handy at Gold level. I flew Melbourne to Sydney on Virgin Australia and the service and product was just fine. The complimentary lounge access would have made it even better.

The problem that I have with the program is on the redemption side. The “value” of the miles is capped around 2 cents when used for Virgin America flights. There is no fixed award chart. The number of the Evelate points required is entire dependent of the airfare. You can read more about this here.

virgin-america-elevate-partner-redemption

You can also use points with Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic. You are required to pay for very high fuel surcharges on these two airlines. You can read about more these two partners here.

Conclusion

I will most likely do a status match that I would purely use for complimentary lounge access with Virgin Australia.

The Virgin America’s product is good, but the Elevate program is not a very good one with partner awards.

Here are the full terms and conditions of this offer:

*The following restrictions will apply to Elevate Status Benefits available during the Status Match period through April 30, 2012: a) Matched members will not receive 25% off personal discount codes. b) Matched members will receive one complimentary day pass to the Virgin America airport lounge at LAX. c) Matched members may not have access to all reciprocal benefits on Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia that require the member to present their membership card.

Click here for the full terms and conditions of the Elevate Status Match offer.

1. Please allow between 7 to 14 days from application to update your Elevate status, and please note that incomplete applications may not be considered.

2. Reduced status points requirement to retain matched status through 2013 is applicable for members who apply for, and are approved for, the Low Annual Fee Virgin America Visa Signature Card. Click Here to see the specific details of the Virgin America Visa Signature Card offer.

3. Based on the standard Elevate earn of 5 Elevate points per $1 spent on the base fare. Example of a round-trip flight from San Francisco (SFO) to New York (JFK) in Main Cabin Select and round-trip flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Las Vegas (LAS) in First Class: for departure on flight VX12 on November 9, 2012 and return on VX25 on November 11, 2012, base fare is $1859+taxes, with 9,295 status points earned; for departure on flight VX908 on November 23, 2012 and return on VX901 on November 26, 2012, base fare is $722+ taxes, with 3,610 status points earned.

4. Based on the standard Elevate earn of 5 Elevate points per $1 spent on the base fare. Example of a round-trip flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Seattle (SEA) in Main Cabin and a round-trip flight from San Francisco (SFO) to New York (JFK) in Main Cabin: for departure on flight VX797 on November 7, 2012 and return on flight VX780 on November 10, 2012, base fare is $480+taxes, with 2,400 status points earned; for departure on flight VX26 on November 24, 2012 and return on flight VX27 on November 27, 2012, base fare is $586+taxes, with 2,930 status points earned.

5. Based on the standard Elevate earn of 5 Elevate points per $1 spent on the base fare. Example of a round-trip flight from New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO) in Main Cabin Select: for departure on flight VX30 on November 12, 2012 and return on flight VX11 on November 19, 2012, base fare is $1,859+taxes, with 9,295 status points earned.

6. Based on the standard Elevate earn of 5 Elevate points per $1 spent on the base fare. Example of a round-trip flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Boston (BOS) in Main Cabin: for departure on flight VX350 on November 12, 2012 and return on flight VX357 on November 17, 2012, base fare is $638+taxes, with 3,190 status points earned.

All example fares quoted correct as at November 7, 2012. Please refer to www.virginamerica.com for full, current fare rules.

All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

PointsHound 100 Free Miles Update: Seems to Be Posting Just Fine

On October 29, I wrote about a new hotel booking engine PointsHound that awards frequent flier miles for bookings. For getting new members to sign up, the site was (and still is) offering 100 free Delta, United, Hawaiian, or AeroMexico miles to sign up for their service (no purchase required).

pointshound-sign-up

I did the sign up on that date and the 100 free miles posted to my United account on September 4.

pointshound-united-credit

If you haven’t signed up for the service yet and would like to receive the free miles, it would probably be the right time.

This is an excellent way to extend the validity of the miles that is trickered by any account activity. Also, you never know when even a small amount like 100 miles can come handy.

Conclusion

Very easy way to collect 100 miles and doesn’t even require purchase. Just for registering to their website is enough. You may want to have a look at their hotel booking engine at the same time as well.

United Upgrade Instruments RPU’s & GPU’s to Be Valid Longer

United made an official announcement on Friday by posting on FlyerTalk that both Regional Premier Upgrades (RPU) and Global Premier Upgrades (GPU’s) would be valid longer.

United RPU GPU Update
United RPU GPU Update

RPU’s and GPU’s used to expire 12 months after they were earned. This change will make them valid until the end of the next premier year from when they were earned.  Upgrades earned in 2012 would expire on January, 2014, and so on.

Under the old United, the system the system wide upgrades (SWU’s) were issued and valid for 12 months from the beginning of the new membership year. If you made 1K in 2008, the system wide upgrades were issued at the beginning of 2009. You could always get an extension for expiry for couple of SWU’s by contacting Mileage Plus.

Conclusion

This is a welcomed development from United, although using these instruments to upgrade doesn’t guarantee the upgrade unless there is upgrade space available at the time of applying the upgrade. Unlike with American where eVips are valid at all fares, you need to buy a higher base fare in order to be part of the upgrade lottery internationally.

United Award Sale to Europe – Awards at 20% Off

United has a similar award sale to Europe last year. You get 20% discount on return awards that are entirely on United metal. You need to ticket the award between November 8 and November 15, 20120, for travel between January 15 to March 13, 2013. There is no need to register for this award sale.

united-20-off-award-sale-europe

Here’s a pricing experiment that I made; one way from Los Angeles to Istanbul and return from Frankfurt to Anchorage with a stopover in Washington.

United LAX-IST FRA-IAD IAD-ANC
United LAX-IST FRA-IAD IAD-ANC

The website was able to price it correctly at 48K miles and displayed the taxes/fees (I love the breakdown so that you know where the money is going to) and the price of a paid itinerary for the same flights.

united-award-mileage-requirement-and-fee

When you are trying to book something like this, make sure that all the flights are on United metal. If you have even one segment on partner airline, this won’t price at the 48K level. It also helps to have a look at the United’s route map for Europe.

Conclusion

United’s economy awards are overpriced at 60K level to Europe and are not even a good deal at 20% off.

American has Europe on 40K level for 7 months of the year AND you can use all their partner airlines as well. American also allows travel between Hawaii and Europe at the same 40K level.

My advice is that if you are going to Europe during the low season and you are considering to fly in on economy, just pay for the trip. You can always find good deal for Europe travel during the low/shoulder seasons. Business class tickets are often on sale as well for relatively reasonable amount.

The Economist Magazine 1 Year Subscription for 1700 American, Delta, United or US Miles

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The Economist weekly magazine is by far my favorite news magazine. It is THE magazine for world politics, business & finance, economics etc. Now, you can get it for only 1700 miles for a year through MagsForMiles.  You can access this offer here.

magazines-for-miles

The 1700 miles offer is valid for American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and US Airways frequent flier members. They have higher rate available for Alaska, Frontier & Hawaiian miles, although still a stellar deal compared to the cash price of the subscription. The regular subscription to The Economist usually costs from $70 to $100 year depending of the deal that you can find.

magsformiles-economist

Reading the Economist is my favorite activity on the plane. There is no need to store it or turned it off during take-off and landing as is the case with all electronic devices. The print subscription also gives you the access to the electronic versions of the magazine. Once you subscribe through MagsForMiles, you can expect to receive the first issue in 3 to 4 weeks.

Please note that this offer is valid for new subscriptions (they cannot just extend your existing one) for addresses in the United States. You may be able to switch it to an international address once you have subscribed it with the US address first and the delivery has started.

You can also use it to extend your existing subscription but you need to call The Economist subscription department once the new subscription has been processed/started and request them to merge your subscriptions.

Conclusion

I have used miles for magazines and especially subscribing for the Economist several times. If you have orphaned miles in any of these programs, it is great way to both use them and to have activity in your account so that the miles don’t expire.

The Economist really is a world class magazine. You can easily spend couple of hours per week reading through the articles that you are interested in.

Hilton HHonors: Third Look at Airline Related Promotions for the Fourth Quarter

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Hilton HHonors is running number of airline related offers for double and triple miles during the months of November & December. None of these promotions are listed on Hilton’s own website, but rather were targeted for frequent flier members of participating airlines.

If I have missed any Hilton (or any other hotel or airline related promo), you can always just send me an email to john@loyaltylobby.com. Just forward the promo email that you received from the program.

These are normally called airline acquisition promotions. Frequent fliers tend to stay quite a few nights hotels as well and they are thus very important group for hotel programs to attract.

Note that you need to change your Hilton earnings preference to Points + Fixed Miles or Points + Variable Miles. The preferable option is dependent of the airlines program, hotel brand you are staying at, and the folio amount.

My personal favorite that I have already maxed out is the  Hilton’s promotion with Virgin Atlantic. I won’t have that many stays with Hilton this quarter. Five stays earns 15K bonus + 5K base Virgin miles. I will transfer these back to Hilton for 40K Hilton HHonors points.

hilton-hhonors-virgin-atlantic-4th-quarter-offer

Hilton HHonors Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Bonus Offer – 15K Bonus Miles for 5 Stays

You can get bonus miles or points for American Airlines, JetBlue, United, US Airways or Virgin America for stays at Waldorf Astoria hotels. The bonus is based on nights and expire on December 31, 2012.

Waldorf Astoria: Nightly Bonus Miles & Points for American, JetBlue, United, US Airways and Virgin America

Conrad hotels are offering 1000 bonus miles per night for American Airways, United Airlines, and US Airways frequent fliers. Offer is valid until December 31, 2012.

Conrad Hotels: 1000 American, United, or US Airways Bonus Miles per Night

You can earn 250 Delta MQM’s and double SkyMiles for stays of 2 nights or longer between October 1 and December 15, 2012. This offer is available at select hotels.

250 Delta MQM’s and Double Miles for Stays of 2 Nights or Longer at Select Hilton Family of Hotels

Hilton is offering double airline miles for American, Aeromexico, AviancaTaca, MultiPlus(TAM) and United on select hotels in Latin America until December 31, 2012.

Double American Airlines, AviancaTaca, AeroMexico, TAM/Multiplus & United Airlines Miles in the Americas on Hilton Family of Hotels

Hilton is offering maximum of 15K bonus Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for 5 stays. You can always transfer the bonus + base miles back to Hilton HHonors for total of 40K HH points. This promotion is valid until December 31, 2012

Hilton HHonors Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Bonus Offer – 15K Bonus Miles for 5 Stays

Hilton has a promotion with Miles & More (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian etc) for up to quadruple miles until December 31, 2012.

Hilton HHonors Miles & More Promotion for Up To Quadruple Miles

You can earn 4000 bonus Emirates Skywards miles on your second stay. This offer is valid until December 31, 2012.

Hilton HHonors Emirates Skywards Promotion – 4000 Bonus Miles on Your Second Stay

Hilton is offering double points for Air Canada Aeroplan members until the end of December, 2012.

Hilton HHonors Aeroplan Offer: Double Miles Until December 31

Double Qantas points (2000) for Hilton stays between November 1 and December 31, 2012.

Double Qantas Points (2000) at Hilton Properties Worldwide

Hilton is offering triple miles for number of Asian airlines frequent flier members. They have variation of the offer for Thai, Singapore, Korean, Asiana, Malaysia, and Cathay Pacific.

Triple Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Miles at Hilton Hotels Worldwide

Triple Asiana Miles at Hilton Family of Hotels Worldwide

Triple Malaysia Airlines Enrich Miles for Hilton Stays Worldwide

Triple Korean Air Skypass Miles at Hilton Family of Hotels Worldwide

Triple Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles at Hilton Family of Hotels Worldwide

Triple Cathay Pacific Asia Miles with Hilton HHonors

You can earn up to 3000 bonus Avios (for BA Gold member) for a Hilton stay by December 31, 2013.

Up To 3000 Bonus Avios (British Airways) for a Hilton Family Hotel Stay

Conclusion

Make sure that you have chosen the correct double dip option (fixed vs variable) and have the airline as your preferred double dip airline partner.

Some airlines don’t participate to both fixed and variable miles. Also, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites don’t always earn fixed miles at the full level. Home2 Suites brand earns even less. You have to check these by the airline.

I have already done the Virgin Atlantic and British Airways versions of these airline promotions. I am not planning to have more Hilton stays this quarter.

Hyatt’s & United’s Gift for Some Gold Passport Diamond Members – 50K Miles!

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Some Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members woke up to a “Thank You From Hyatt – Enjoy 50,000 MileagePlus Award Miles” email from Hyatt. The email was sent at 8:01AM (Eastern or Mountain time).

hyatt-united-50k-email

Hyatt Gold Passport and United will deposit 50,000 Mileage Plus miles to those Diamond members that received the email.

At Hyatt, we are excited to have the opportunity to show our appreciation for our most valued guests. In recognition and appreciation of your loyalty, we enthusiastically extend to you 50,000 United MileagePlus® award miles, to be deposited into your MileagePlus account within the next 2-3 weeks. We hope you enjoy this gift on behalf of Hyatt and MileagePlus. As always, we are truly grateful for your loyalty and look forward to welcoming you back very soon.

According to HyattPR on Twitter, this offer was sent to very few most loyal Diamond members that were selected with the help of United. There are United 1K’s that have had more than 100 Hyatt nights this year that didn’t receive this offer.

hyatt-pr-united

There is a lively discussion on FlyerTalk about who had received this offer and who had not. Seems that having a Hyatt credit card was not a requirement, being Hyatt Diamond was, and you must had credited some Hyatt stays to United miles at some point. They wouldn’t otherwise have your Mileage Plus number on file.

This is a very generous offer from Hyatt & United. But, at the same time, you can ask a question if it is going to drive move business? There is no requirement for the receiver to do anything to get the miles.

Conclusion

Congratulations for all of those that woke up to an email for 50K United miles. It is a very nice gesture and I wish that they would have had something similar when I was staying in excess of 100 nights per year at Hyatt’s.

In all fairness, my Hyatt stays are way down this year. There just haven’t been as exciting promotions compared to previous years to get me to pay for stays at their chain compared to Hilton. InterContinental & Starwood.

Get 100 FREE United, Delta, Hawaiian or AeroMexico Miles for PointsHound Sign Up

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PointsHound has a very good signup offer for 100 free United, Delta, Hawaiian or Aeromexico miles.

pointshound-sign-up-bonus

All you need to do is to sign up and add one of these airlines as your program. You then need to choose the account where you would like PointsHound to send your sign up bonus.

pointshound-sign-up

PointsHound is a new hotel booking engine that awards miles instead of cashback for hotels booked through their service.

pointshound-grid

You just choose the city and the date. You will be then presented the price and number of miles you would earn by making the reservation through PointsHound. Seems to be rather easy.

Note that you won’t usually earn stay credit or hotel points for bookings made via third party. Some chains like Hyatt and Hilton do honor the status level benefits even on third party bookings. Starwood is very strict on this matter. No status benefits are honored on non-direct bookings.

Conclusion

This is an easy way to get 100 miles in any of the four programs mentioned above. It is also a good way to keep your airline frequent flier account active. I already signed up and waiting for my 100 United Airlines Mileage Plus miles to show up.

Personally, I would only use this service for cities that doesn’t have any of the hotels from the chains that I participate to and I couldn’t get cashback (in cash) from any of the cashback sites that I use. I believe that I may end up using this service couple of times a year. Please note that if you sign up using the link above, I will get 100 miles for referring you.

United’s Mileage Plus Retro Claim Turnaround Time

Back in May and July, I had number of flights on Qatar’s business class. At the time of taking the flights, I wasn’t sure where I would credit the flights. I made a claim with United for these flights in September, but they only credited one of the tickets because they no longer had access to the other eticket for verifying the business class booking class.

united-retroclaim-page

It is easy to do a claim for flights taken with Star Alliance carriers. All you need is the eticket number, flights number and they might ask for your seat number as well. These all can be submitted electronically on United.com and there is no need to attach files or mail boarding passes.

The situation with non-Star Alliance carriers is bit different. The website still suggests that you would need to mail the documents to United and there are number of addresses all over the world for Mileage Plus. You can, however, do these requests online as well. You just need to use the Contact Mileage Plus web form that allows you to attach up to 3 documents.

united-airlines-retroclaim-qr

To get the other ticket credited to Mileage Plus, I used ExpertFlyer to pull up historical fares for the date when the ticket was issued and found the fare and the business class booking class. The base fare matched what was on Expedia’s eticket receipt.

So, on Saturday morning (in Kuala Lumpur) I attached the PDF of boarding passes, the Expedia eticket receipt and the screenshot of historical fares of the ticketing date and submitted it to Mileage Plus.

united-retro-credit-response

To my surprise, I received a reply from United 15 hours later that they had processed the claim and the miles should show up on my account within 3 to 5 days.

Conclusion

Sometimes, I don’t credit the flights at a time of taking them to any frequent flier program. This allows me to later decide the program where it makes sense for me to credit them.

When you are flying in on paid business or first class, there are hardly any status related benefits that a frequent flier plan would provide. To get certain benefits i.e. first class check in and lounge access when flying in on business class on oneworld, you can always show your card and request that they don’t record the number.

I still have three business class LAN flights that I took in September that I haven’t decided if I should credit them to American Airlines or Alaska.

30% Hotel Points Conversion Bonus from United Mileage Plus

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United’s Mileage Plus just announced a conversion bonus of up to 30% for hotel points transferred to miles. This offer is valid between October 26 and November 30, 2012, and requires registration.

united-airlines-mileage-plus-hotel-conversion-bonus

The bonus is dependent on number of miles transferred in and is capped at 50K miles that will yield 15K bonus miles.

united-airlines-mileage-plus-hotel-conversion-bonus-chart

You can transfer hotel points on number of programs. United will tally the total number of points transferred in and will then calculate the bonus. The maximum number of bonus miles you can earn is capped at 15K.

Here are the hotel partners that you can use to transfer points in:

Marriott Rewards

united-marriott-rewards-transfer

Doesn’t make too much sense to convert Marriott points to United Miles. You are better off by going the Marriott Travel Package route. For 270K Marriott Rewards points you would not only get 120K United Miles but also 7 days at category 1 to 5 Marriott property.

Hilton HHonors

united-hilton-transfer

You would only get 1 per 10 Hilton HHonors points. You would need to transfer 500000 Hilton Points that would be enough for two weeks at the Hilton Bora Bora to get 65K United miles after the bonus.

Priority Club

united-priority-club-transfer

It is relatively easy to earn Priority Club points. 250K Priority Club points would transfer to 65K United Miles after the bonus that is fair.

Club Carlson

united-club-carlson-transfer

You can get 18K United miles for every 100K Club Carlson. This is a fair transfer again. For 300K Club Carlson you would get 54K United that would be 69K United after the bonus

Hyatt Gold Passport

united-hyatt-transfer

50K Hyatt would be 25K United. You would need to transfer 100K Hyatt to get 65K United after the transfer bonus. 100K Hyatt is about five days at top tier Hyatt property. (Please note that I have corrected this after the first publications)

Starwood Preferred Guest

united-spg-transfer

Most of the other airlines would give you 25K miles for every 20K transferred, but United is 2 Starpoints per 1 miles. Transferring Starpoints to United miles make no sense at all.

Choice Privileges

united-choice-transfer

This is the only program that I don’t have an opinion of whether it makes sense or not to transfer to United.

Wyndham Rewards

united-wyndham-transfer

Earlier in the year, I transferred all my Wyndham points to AA. 128K Wyndham points would convert to 66200 United miles after 15K bonus that is ok.

Conclusion

The best time to convert hotel points to miles is when the airlines are offering transfer bonuses. But even then you should always figure out if it makes sense. I have tried to lay out above what makes sense and what doesn’t.

Here are the terms and conditions of this promotion:

MileagePlus Hotel Points-to-Miles Promotion Official Rules

  1. Eligibility: Offer valid only for MileagePlus® members residing in the United States.
  2. Registration: To qualify for this offer, members must register for the promotion between October 26, 2012 and November 30, 2012 (“Promotional Period”).
  3. Qualifying Activity: A member must earn a combined minimum of 5,000 award miles as a result of one or more points to miles conversion transactions from any combination of MileagePlus hotel partner programs that are conducted during the Promotional Period (“Qualifying Activity”) in order to qualify for MileagePlus Hotel Points-to-Miles bonus miles.
  4. Posting of Promotional Miles:At the conclusion of the promotion, all miles earned by each member from Qualifying Activity will be combined, and bonus miles will be credited into the member’s account on or before January 31, 2013, according to the following schedule:1,000 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is between 5,000 and 9,999;or 2,500 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is between 10,000 and 19,999;

    or 5,000 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is between 20,000 and 49,999;

    or 15,000 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is 50,000 or greater.

    No bonus miles will be awarded if total Award Miles earned by such member from hotel points converted during the Promotional Period is less than 5,000. The maximum bonus miles that can be earned by a member under this promotion is 15,000. MileagePlus will not be responsible for technical problems with partner miles postings, or failures or delays in miles postings by hotel partners, that would render any points to miles converted as ineligible under this promotion.

  5. General: This offer is not combinable with other MileagePlus offers. Offer subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply. Miles accrued, awards, and benefits issued are subject to change and are subject to the rules of the United MileagePlus program. Please allow 6-8 weeks for miles to post to your account. United may change the MileagePlus program including, but not limited to, rules, regulations, travel awards and special offers or terminate the MileagePlus program at any time and without notice. Bonus award miles, award miles and any other miles earned through non-flight activity do not count or qualify for Premier® status unless expressly stated otherwise. United and its subsidiaries, affiliates and agents are not responsible for any products and services of other participating companies and partners. Taxes and fees related to award travel are the responsibility of the member. The accumulation of mileage or Premier status does not entitle members to any vested rights with respect to the program. United and MileagePlus are registered service marks. For complete details about the MileagePlus program, go to www.united.com.

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