• Welcome to AlpineZone, the largest online community of skiers and snowboarders in the Northeast!

    You may have to REGISTER before you can post. Registering is FREE, gets rid of the majority of advertisements, and lets you participate in giveaways and other AlpineZone events!

Go west, (not so) young man!

drewfidelic

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2005
Messages
111
Points
16
Location
Brooklyn, NY
Despite not flying much at all, I have enough miles stored up in my Continental/United SkyMileagePlus (or whatever they call it these days) to take a round-trip domestic flight.*

So, where should I go, if my top priority is having a direct flight from NYC (EWR, LGA or JFK) on United?

Parameters: I've only been out West a couple of times, to CO (Vail, Breckenridge and Copper) and Lake Tahoe (Squaw, Heavenly and Kirkwood). If Continited flew directly to SLC, that would be my first choice. But they don't. And I dread dealing with United transferring ski baggage through a connection in IAH or Chicago.

So flightwise, this seems to have options:

BZN (Bozeman for Big Sky)
EGE (Vail/Eagle)
JAC (Jackson Hole)
DEN (Denver, then driving or transferring to.. somewhere.)
MTJ (Montrose/Telluride) (Not preferred, because direct flights are Sat. only)
HDN (Steamboat) (Sat. Only)

Not committed to any particular time yet, but looking at early February. (I need a vacation!)

Is there anything that I should also be considering given these constraints? Where would you recommend?

*It is on an airline that resulted from the merger of my 3rd or 4th choice airline (behind Virgin America, JetBlue and depending on the day, Delta) and my least favorite (I've never had a good experience flying United), so I'd like to use up these miles and go back to flying on any other carrier whenever possible.
 
Last edited:

Cheese

New member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
999
Points
0
Location
Hollis, NH
Since Puck it went top 3 I'll do the same.

1. BZN
2. JAC
3. EGE

I only ranked Vail below Jackson Hole because you've already been to Vail.
 

BenedictGomez

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
10,765
Points
48
Location
PRNJ
Don't forget Calgary (should be the same or similar miles). That adds Lake Louise + Banff into the mix as well.
 

BenedictGomez

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
10,765
Points
48
Location
PRNJ
As far as I can tell, United doesn't fly direct to from EWR or JFK to Calgary.

I forgot that requirement. Yes, you're correct, when I went from EWR to Calgary on CA (now United) we stopped in Minny.

Do you have to bring your skis though? From now on I think I'll rent skis rather than give the airlines more $$$$$.
 

skiNEwhere

New member
Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Messages
4,139
Points
0
There's only a couple of cities that Vail (Eagle) has direct flights from, and thankfully, in your case, NY is one of the. Lift ticket for Vail is $115/day during prime skiing season (before and after Christmas) unfortunately you missed getting the Epic pass by a few days, it is no longer for sale this year. If you fly in early to Vail though and show your airline ticket the same day, you'll ski free. From that area you can buy a pretty cheap pass that includes Copper, Winter Park, and Steamboat (I paid $250, but that was for a military pass, but I think the regular pass is $350)
 

kingslug

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2005
Messages
5,569
Points
63
Location
Stamford Ct and Stowe
I had a great time at Big Sky..huge place, big vertical over 4K, moguls everywhere...real wild west place..but you are kind of stuck on the mountain as its a looooong drive down to town and not much going on there..most people stay on the mountain.
 

Blizzard of Wahhs

New member
Joined
Sep 15, 2012
Messages
114
Points
0
go to Jackson Hole and stand before the Grand Teton. It will aid you on your path.

 

bigbog

New member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
4,872
Points
0
Location
Bangor and the state's woodlands
Can't disagree with any of previous...but might wanna keep a watch of what's happenning in the mtns of the PNW..... Might not be the calmest commutes to & from though.....
 

jaytrem

Active member
Joined
Oct 22, 2007
Messages
1,235
Points
38
As far as I can tell, United doesn't fly direct to from EWR or JFK to Calgary.

Correct, but you can use United miles on Air Canada.

Question for the original poster. Do you have 25,000 or 50,000 miles? Your odds of finding a 25,000 direct RT flight to a ski town are probably not so good. Better odds (from Newark) are Denver, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and Calgary (add in San Francisco if you don't mind a bit of a drive).
 

jaytrem

Active member
Joined
Oct 22, 2007
Messages
1,235
Points
38
From now on I think I'll rent skis rather than give the airlines more $$$$$.

Get yourself a United credit card, it gives you free baggage. You should also be able to get about 55,000 miles with no fee for a year. If you actually use the card give them a call after they charge you a fee a year later and odds are they'll either waive the fee or give you a bunch of additional miles. Other option is to cancel it and reapply after about a year. If you have a significant other you can also rotate who has an active card. Unfortunatly they now only give free luggage to the priomary card holder and one guest, previosly Continental gave free luggage to the secondary card holder also. This stuff has worked quite well for me, right now we have a surplus of about 175,000 miles, none from actual flights or even from using it as a main card. It's all just sign up bonuses from credit cards, trading account, electric company, etc.

Side note: if you apply for credit cards more than once every 6 months it can have a negative effect on you credit score. So every 6 months my wife and I each get a new card that typlically gets us between $500 and $1,500 worth of free stuff. One friend managed to snag 100,000 from British Airways, that's the best I've heard. I was tempted, but had just gotten another about a month before.
 

jaytrem

Active member
Joined
Oct 22, 2007
Messages
1,235
Points
38
Calgary would also no longer be a domestic flight and you'd need more miles.

Out of the choices you gave...personally I'd goto Jackson.

Calgary/Vacouver are typically only 25,000 if the flights are still available. I did Cal/Van/Cal/Van the last 4 years, 25,000 each RT, so I'm 100% sure of it.

For Jackson Hole there was only 1 direct flight that was 12,500 available this year. It was from JH to Newark. It was probably put up by mistake, I grabbed it back in July. When I checked a couple days ago it was no longer available (sucks for my sister). I was going to use 25,000 to get out there, (37,500 total RT) , but I decided to take a connecter out there a day earlier for the 12,500.
 

BenedictGomez

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
10,765
Points
48
Location
PRNJ
Get yourself a United credit card, it gives you free baggage.

I haven't flown since the recent merger, but I've had a Continental card since circa 1998 so I imagine that perk might exist for me too now. Thanks for the 411.

Calgary would also no longer be a domestic flight and you'd need more miles.

The FF issue isnt domestic, it's North America.
 

BenedictGomez

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
10,765
Points
48
Location
PRNJ
Just checked my FF account (which I havent done in probably 2 years) and I have 184,000 miles. I REALLY should use a chunk of those as one of my fears is that someday the airlines will eliminate these programs or make them even harder to use.

Hell, I flew roundtrip to Europe for 50,000 miles just 8 years ago, that same trip now is 60,000 miles with an unrealistic best case scenario, but more realistically 85,000 to 110,000 miles. If you assume a ticket to be worth $700, and 85k miles instead of 50k miles, that's an erosion of $490 in your purchasing value.


EDIT: Apparently I can fly to SLC in March for 25,000 miles and $10. That sounds pretty decent.
 
Last edited:

jaytrem

Active member
Joined
Oct 22, 2007
Messages
1,235
Points
38
Just checked my FF account (which I havent done in probably 2 years) and I have 184,000 miles.

Well that's a nice find. It's against the rules but it is possible to sell miles. I have one friend who has bought form another friend a couple times. I think he paid her $400 for 25,000 last time, which he used for a $700+ flight. She just books his flight on her account, didn't have a problem either time. At that exchange rate you just found about $3000, not bad.
 
Top