aa777jr
Posts: 2269
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:03 pm

United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Sun Feb 27, 2005 4:54 pm

This seems like a brilliant idea, I read the article and I hope UA does very well on it. Any first time UA flyers purchase one? Comments.

http://www.united.com/press/detail/0,6862,52653,00.html
A liberal is a man who is right most of the time, but he's right too soon.
 
Sean-SAN-
Posts: 690
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2002 4:02 pm

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Sun Feb 27, 2005 5:14 pm

Great idea... but I wonder how long the elite status last? Does it run out when the card balance does? Is it only effective when used with the card?
 
aviatortj
Posts: 1694
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 9:15 am

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Sun Feb 27, 2005 5:45 pm

Quoting Link:
$5,000 USD; Premier Executive® level for $10,000 USD; and 1K® level for $20,000 USD.  Card sales are scheduled to begin Feb. 1, 2005 and cards expire on Feb. 28, 2006. 


Maybe for use in another lifetime or later in this one. By the time I am flying $5000 a year on UA, I had better be elite status. Sounds like fun anyways.
 
lincoln
Posts: 3133
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:22 pm

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:07 am

Quoting Sean-SAN- (reply 1):
Great idea... but I wonder how long the elite status last? Does it run out when the card balance does? Is it only effective when used with the card?


From the fine print: 3. Purchase of an Elite Prepaid Travel Card entitles cardholder to a predetermined level of United Mileage Plus elite status. Elite benefits will commence with your Card activation. Cardholder elite status will expire on February 28, 2006.

[Also, note that any balance remaining on the card expires 28-Feb-06... If they were a normal company this provision would be invalid for cards sold in California, but I have a feeling that the Airline Deregulation Act gets them around this]

I agree, though, that by the time I or my employer is spending $5K a year on travel, I better be elite based on mileage/segments flown... Plus with the card all travel must be booked through United. Not a major deal, but there are times when booking via another carrier -- even in the same alliance -- can be advantageous.

Excellent idea, but no one that I'll be taking them up on.

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
hoya
Posts: 452
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 2:25 pm

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:51 am

While these may be pointless or unnecessary for current UA flyers, it seems like a good way to attract frequent flyers from other airlines. They can get elite status right away, which gives an incentive for them to start flying UA. They don't have to worry about accumulating miles to get status, they just get it right away. And frequent flyers will spend more than those prepaid cards.
Hoya Saxa!!
 
CMK10
Posts: 1826
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 10:56 am

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Mon Feb 28, 2005 7:47 am

I don't think it's that worthwhile. I requalify for AA Platinum each year by spending about $3,000 on AA and that's for 50,000 miles. If I had $5,000, I'd be close to Executive Platinum.
"Traveling light is the only way to fly" - Eric Clapton
 
UnitedStarGold
Posts: 100
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 9:51 am

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:29 pm

This offer has been out since the beginning of the year. It basically is an effort to bolster United's cash flow by securing funds in advance of even booking the travel. In return, the cardholder gets immediate elite status and also a 5% discount off all domestic travel paid for using the card.

This is not a product aimed at those folks who manage to secure the best deals and get elite status for dirt cheap. It's aimed at those who actually spend $5k, $10k, or $20k a year (which I believe are the 'prices' for the cards that earn Premier, Premier Executive, and Premier Executive 1K, respectively). I say 'prices' because remember, you are just pre-paying your travel. There is no actual cost involved with the card, and in fact, you get a 5% discount on your travel. So if you plan on spending that much on United, it's a nice way to enjoy elite status sooner and save a bit of money in the process.
"The education of a man is never completed until he dies." - Gen. R.E. Lee
 
ual777contrail
Posts: 2914
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2002 11:33 am

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:30 pm

Quoting Cmk10 (reply 5):
I don't think it's that worthwhile. I requalify for AA Platinum each year by spending about $3,000 on AA and that's for 50,000 miles. If I had $5,000, I'd be close to Executive Platinum.


It may not work for you, but it will work for others. I think it is a good idea, and if sucessful, watch the others(majors) follow suit.

UAL 777 CONTRAIL
 
UnitedStarGold
Posts: 100
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 9:51 am

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:43 pm

I should also mention that this is not a new idea. American Airlines has for years offered a pre-paid travel card called the AAirpass; I am not sure, however, whether or not it granted elite status. Last Christmas, they also offered a lifetime of unlimited first class travel anywhere they fly for $3 million, exclusively for Neiman Marcus customers. That makes $20k for 1K status seem like a bargain!  Big grin
"The education of a man is never completed until he dies." - Gen. R.E. Lee
 
ual777contrail
Posts: 2914
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2002 11:33 am

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:51 pm

If I had 3million I wouldn't be caught dead on AA.

AA may have had the idea first, but there idea didn't reach, or could reach most anybody on this site or 90% of the country.

UA isn't paving the path, they are just making the path easier to navigate.
UAL 777 CONTRAIL
 
n757kw
Posts: 387
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 3:08 am

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Tue Mar 01, 2005 2:08 am

This is just a way to get money up front for the carrier. For the frequent flier, you get the instant status, but the carrier holds your money, that you can make money from.

On the surface, the carrier gets to use your money before you use it. If you do not use all of it before 26FEB you lose.

Maybe it is just me, but I would rather hold onto to my money rather than give it to an airline.

N757KW
"What we've got here, is failure to communicate." from Cool Hand Luke
 
PDXFlyer
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 5:12 am

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Tue Mar 01, 2005 2:52 am

I like the idea and I think it will take off with some business travelers.

The cynical side of me wonders what happens if you buy one of these cards and prior to using all the balance, UA goes into Chapter 7. Would you be a secured creditor or not? Probably not.
 
hawaiian717
Posts: 3139
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:46 am

RE: United PrePaid Travel Cards, Wow!

Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:04 pm

Or, you could buy a prepaid travel card from a solvent airline, and not spend a small fortune to get it:

http://www.americawest.com/travelplanning/gift/default.htm

David / ABQ

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