Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why do I never want to become a 1K?

To a lot of people, top-tier elite status is a dream or must have for traveling.

I remembered once in a FlyerTalk event couple months ago, Lucky asked me why don't I aim for 1K this year.

At that moment, I have never thought about that idea (and as always keep my opinion open).

Now I can definitely provide an answer to this question - I don't want to become a 1K. I can - but I simply choose not to.


It all relates to how I travel.

1. SWUs (or GPUs) are worthless to me.

When I travel, money is #1 motivation. Unless it is necessary (which as a good news, it never happens), I never bought a ticket that are expensive (or in Frequent Flyer terms, a higher fare class).

Let me use my last year experience as an example. I have successfully traveled from San Francisco to Hong Kong via Vancouver (the one in Canada, not the State of Washington in the U.S.) on Air Canada for $562.50 exact.

The same ticket (but direct non-stop) by United usually costs $1600 with Systemwide Upgrade Eligibility, which is about 3 times more than Air Canada.

For that money, I could in fact go to Hong Kong 3 times, earn 43020 PQM and 86040 RDM (Redeemable Miles), which I can spend those RDM for an upgrade or a free round-trip ticket to Hong Kong again (and still have something left).

If I choose the upgraded path, I can only earn 13826 PQM and 27652 RDM.

2. I don't need to go to New York.

Under the current Unlimited Domestic Upgrade (UDU) rules, the only domestic route that does not eligible for upgrade is San Francisco/Los Angeles to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (this route is officially known as United p.s.). In order to upgrade, you will need to use miles or CR-1 (Confirmed Region 1 Upgrade).

Simply put - I don't go there. What will I do with those CR-1 anyway?

3. In Premium Classes, you lose touch with the rest of the world.

Trust me or not, I was not never able to start a conversation in First or Business Classes when I got upgraded.

But in Economy Class, it was not difficult for me to have a decent conversation (even with flight crews).

I remembered about a month ago, I was doing a Mileage Run from San Francisco to Chicago same-day return. In Economy Plus, couple of others were doing the same thing (except they were coming from Chicago). We have a decent conversation how we can earn more miles and that. At this least, I was not bored.

But when I compared my travel to Honolulu on First Class, which was also taken place about a month ago, basically, except for food ordering and that, I kept my mouth shut for my entire flight, especially my seatmate is me (I got the whole row by myself, even in First Class).

4. Last but not the least - my Premier Executive status do the job well.

As a Star Alliance Gold member, I was treated very well. Even though 1K will be treated way better by United, I don't need that kind of treatment.

Beside, for the same miles, I can become 2 years of Premier Executive instead of 1 year of 1K.

Even United changed the program but still, Premier Executive is still good enough for me.

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