Reader question: is United’s $500 Economy Plus subscription worth it?

United Airlines offers Economy Plus seating on all its mainline fleet, giving you a few extra inches (generally about two inches) of legroom compared to its standard economy class for. Generally speaking, those two inches can be great, especially on transcontinental and on international flights.

To get these extra inches, you generally have to pay a fee (depending on how long the flight is, $25-$129), have a ‘subscription’ (starting at $499 for U.S.-only flights, other regions have additional costs), or have elite status with United (starting at 25k miles flown in a year).

Now here’s the thing: while the Economy Plus seats are very worthwhile in terms of comfort, it’s important to do some calculations to see if $500+ a year is worth it.

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Maximizing hotel points on the Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas is home to scores of luxury hotels up and down the strip, but up until recently, there was little to no connection to any major outside-Vegas hotel chains. For many, this meant that the status earned from loyalty to hotel chains outside of Vegas didn’t matter – there was no way to take advantage of this. Luckily now, there are a now few ways to take advantage of – and earn points with – loyalty to some of the major brands. Some of the major chains have had hotels off the strip – but for many who visit Sin City, being on the strip is a requirement.

In particular, MGM’s loyalty program Mlife recently partnered with Hyatt, bringing the benefits associated with Hyatt to 12 resorts in Vegas, and a few other MGM hotels scattered across the country.

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United Airlines’ and Marriott’s loyalty reward programs now have reciprocal benefits

Today, United Airlines and Marriott announced a deal where frequent fliers or frequent hotel guests will have significant benefits with the other after registering with either one of the companies. United Gold and above automatically become Marriott Gold, and Marriott Platinum become United Silver – potentially bringing significant added benefits to hotel stays, like free Wi-Fi, lounge access, bonus miles, and more.

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