RUMOR: Possible Details of United’s 2012 Mileage Plus Program

This information comes from a reliable source under the condition of anonymity, so take it for what it’s worth. According to my source, below are the terms that United is considering for the combined Mileage Plus program in 2012.

Let’s start with the good news (and trust me, there’s not a whole lot of it for most of us).

Class of service bonuses:

Class of service bonuses for full fare tickets and paid premium cabin tickets will go up substantially, ranging anywhere from 125% for Y, B, and M fares, to 250% for F and A fares.

And now the bad news (get some popcorn, folks):

Status level names and qualification criteria:

Premier Silver:
(a) 25,000 elite qualifying miles AND $2,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
OR
(b) 30 elite qualifying segments AND $2,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
OR
(c) $5,000 revenue AND 4 United segments

Premier Gold:
(a) 50,000 elite qualifying miles AND $4,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
OR
(b) 60 elite qualifying segments AND $4,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
OR
(c) $10,000 revenue AND 4 United segments

Premier Platinum:
(a) 75,000 elite qualifying miles AND $6,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
OR
(b) 90 elite qualifying segments AND $6,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
OR
(c) $15,000 revenue AND 4 United segments

Premier Diamond:
(a) 100,000 elite qualifying miles AND $8,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
OR
(b) 120 elite qualifying segments AND $8,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
OR
(c) $20,000 revenue AND 4 United segments

Change in status benefits:

Premier Silver:
— Economy Plus can only be selected at time of check-in
— Only one free checked bag weighing up to 50 pounds per passenger on reservation
— Upgrade window goes from 48 hours to 24 hours before departure

Premier Gold:
— Mileage bonus goes from 100% to 50%
— Upgrade window goes from 72 hours to 48 hours before departure

Premier Platinum:
— Mileage bonus goes from 100% to 75%
— Upgrade window remains 72 hours before departure
— M fares no longer offer instant upgrades for Platinum members

Premier Diamond:
— Upgrade window goes from 100 hours to 96 hours before departure

Change in upgrade priority:

I’ll leave the exact details for another time, though the idea is that with the exception of Global Services members, full fare tickets clear first (so a Silver on a full fare ticket outranks a Diamond on a lower fare) and mileage upgrades with co-pays outrank systemwide/confirmed regional upgrades, which outrank complimentary upgrades. With this, there’s a possibility that fare restrictions will be eliminated on systemwide upgrades.

If the above were to be implemented, suffice it to say this would be a truly radical change. I suppose this would be an attempt to “fire” their most unprofitable customers. I’m guessing 80%+ of elites at each status level already requalify using the criteria above, though for the rest of us, well, that would be the end.

What bothers me about this more than anything, though, is that they’re simultaneously making it much harder to qualify for status unless you usually travel on full fare tickets, while substantially reducing elite benefits. The Gold mileage bonus going from 100% to 50%? Ouch! Silvers not being able to select Economy Plus seats at the time of booking? Ouch! Prioritizing upgrades with miles and co-pays over systemwide upgrades? Ouch!

With these changes United would be making sure that those at each status level are actually not only United’s most loyal customers, but also United’s most profitable customers. For that reason it wouldn’t make sense to me to prioritize upgrades from someone with lower status that’s on a full fare ticket ahead of a higher status passenger on a lower fare. I guess it just follows the general trend of judging a customer’s value to the company based on each individual transaction as opposed to their overall profitability/business/loyalty over years.

It’ll be interesting to see how much of this, if any, comes true. Again, I’m not saying this will be United’s 2012 program, so don’t panic… yet.

Comments

  1. wow. The names, the benefits, the qualifiers, what a bunch of crap. I thought this merger was going to be a good thing for United, but nearly every time something is announced it makes United worse. I hope for United’s sake this doesn’t end up happening, because if it does, my travel on United is going to drop in a major way.

  2. The Gold mileage bonus is a killer for me. 100% bonus is actually the reason I strive for Gold. No E+ at time of booking for Silver? Well great now there’s basically no point!

  3. SMI/J is really doing an amazing job of pissing off current elite members, many of which dedicate substantial spend to UA.

  4. I’d be surprised if they had the technology to track this. Are they requiring you ticket all your trips on UA stock in order to track spend? If I bought a ticket direct from LH, would that count? How would they know what was spent? There is a lot of work needed here to make this happen, it will be interesting to see the final product.

    I already knew I wouldn’t like what they offer

  5. Wow. American must be rubbing their hands together with glee. Get ready for a mass exodus United.

    Talk about going backwards

  6. I’m only 15, so forgive my youthful naiveté, but doesn’t this set of changes basically suck for everyone? So basically if I found some kind of spectacular mileage bonus and flew 2 segments (say, JFK-EZE-JFK) and paid $1500 for the ticket, I wouldn’t qualify for Silver? Granted, that entire situation is unlikely, but still …

    And say there’s a guy who books 4 international segments in full fare first, paying around $5k per segment … he attains Diamond status instantly while the people flying their heads off for miles are stuck at Silver/Gold? Not okay, United. They’re basically alienating their most loyal customers for customers who really don’t have to be loyal at all as long as they have deep pockets …

    -_-

  7. I know that mileage runners will be pissed about this, and people who get a heck of a lot of bump comp. At the same time, $0.08 cpm is way under what I’m having to spend this year.

    As a Premier Exec out of SF, I’m pretty locked in – the 4k won’t be a problem, but the 50% bonus makes me sad.

    Prioritizing mile+money kettles over SWUs and CR-1s is poor IMO. Although as a 1P I lack both and there’s no domestic co-pay for mileage upgrades – the only route I care about is P.S. Might mean I’m more likely to get that upgrade (though my P.S. clearance is 100% already).

  8. I guess it is bye-bye, United for me then. Should I pick Delta, AA or Virgin America instead? With my flying patterns they would all do fine for most of my trips.

  9. @ Josh — There were a few things I left out, though there was nothing there about the million miler program.

  10. If this happens, which I certainly hope it doesn’t, I’ll definitely be switching over to AA next year.

  11. I absolutely wouldn’t be surprised by this, but not next year. 2015 maybe? Ben, you HAVE sources and this sounds pretty damn legit. The revenue thing is the killer for so many of us. Knew it would come, but not this soon at such an incredible proposition. I figured the AA thing of EQPs would come first, but not this. Just amazing.

    I hope your source is wrong.

  12. Lucky, you’re lucky you completed your ExPlat challenge this year! Hopefully AA will bring it back for the rest of us former UA loyalists who need an exit!

  13. I have only two words…well a name, actually. Graham Atkinson.(Former President of Mileage Plus) He created an industry leading program for rewards.I’m sorry to say, upon his departure, it’s all gone downhill. Now it’s apparent that I’m not the only one who misses him.

  14. P.S.

    They have to open up the Global Services tool that allows us to see our spend.

    Any changes to the Million Miler program from your source?

    I understand the mileage bonus %s… they are returning to “fair” in my opinion.

    This would then be the requirement for 2013 status, obviously. Current qualification requirements will keep us at our assumed levels today for our 2012 status.

    (Ugh) I already have a headache planning my Z-class purchase(s) for next year to get Diamond.

  15. I have no problem with reasonable revenue restrictions, though I doubt UA’s capability to effectively track them.

    What concerns me greatly is Miles+Cash outranking SWUs/CR1s. If, as a 1K on an $1500 H-fare from IAD-LHR with an SWU, I lose out to a GM on a k-fare, that’s my personal breaking point.

  16. @ Dan — I suspect that’s why they’re considering getting rid of fare restrictions on systemwide upgrades. If there are no fare restrictions they can more easily justify prioritizing miles and co-pays, since top tier elites would no longer be paying a premium just to upgrade.

  17. @ GA — I think you’d be surprised by their ability to track spend. The idea is that revenue from United, Continental, and select joint ventures would qualify.

  18. Very, very interesting. I find it kind of surprising they would do the revenue thing this year (ie effective for 2012) and not give any warning or way to track. That seems very anti customer. Then again lots of the changes are too.

    No E+ until booking would really suck for 2P. I can understand why though. It opens up the cabin for buy ups. You don’t just leave a smattering of middles left over by the day of departure. One bag is also pathetic. They are already some of your best customer and you are just milking it. WN still lets bags fly free and crap like this makes them look nicer and nicer all the time.

    I would totally be bummed about the loss in bonus miles for 1P and 1P+. With redemption rates always escalating the more miles the merrier. Not to mention that pretty much all the competition does it.

    As far a the revenue requirement, I don’t know. It would eliminate mileage runs that is for sure, at least in the most classic sense. However looking at my own habits as a 1P I probably do just about what would be required. With that said, there are still many questions I would have, what counts as revenue for one? All UA/CO tix? Codeshares? LH? Other *A? What if you buy-up (to E+ or to F/C) a ticket does that get added to your revenue requirement?

  19. As an AA EXP, this isn’t great for us either.

    1. There’s always the chance that AA will follow UAL on these changes. They tend to stay in lock step on a lot.

    2. If there’s a mass exodus from UAL (particularly if people are short-cutting to get status with challenges), that just makes upgrades harder to get on AA.

    Some of the changes to the tiers seem reasonable (the minimum rev requirement seems like it would be tough not to qualify).

    Not allowing Silver to take Economy Plus at booking makes total sense (Silver ppl hardly fly or are not loyal – I’d hold those seats for people with real status too).

    But getting status from one expensive flight per year seems crazy.

  20. If this comes to fruition, I will unequivocally switch to AA (and that is not an idle threat). AA just entered into the ASE market, and this would without a doubt give me the impetuous to status-match and switch. It would be a sad decision after over 20 years as a loyal UA flyer (and current 1.5K), but I wouldn’t look back.

  21. What is the situation in which someone gets 25k EQMs, $2k in revenue, and not 4 BIS UA/CO segments? Why doesn’t UA want that person as an elite?

    Even more so with the higher levels. Seems like an odd criterion to add.

  22. United may be just testing this to see reaction. Sad to see 1K name go away. I think AA is starting to look better and better.

  23. If true, none of this should come as a surprise. Jeff has pretty much already told his 1K customers to find a new home by reducing regional upgrades, diluting exit row seating, and beginning the process of eliminating UDUs to/from Hawaii. And it did not take him long to inflate the award and mileage upgrade charts.

    Continental already prioritizes upgrades by full fare passengers, so no surprise there. But rather than switch to AA, I would be more interested in AS or US, which have good mileage programs, especially AS.

  24. This will be great for high rev flyers like me, I would have been Diamond for the last 2 years instead of 2P. However I am not sure it would flush a lot of low rev customers out of the elite system given the current fares. In the old days you could fly 5 transcons @ $200 and make 2P. These days transcons run $400 or more, so you’ll still arrive at the same place. It makes perfect sense to take better care of your most profitable customers, which are those flying full fare international business class or full fare unrestricted coach. All the rest just help to offset the cost of aviation fuel and overhead.

    What I find really interesting is that there is no mention of any enhancements. It’s all takeaways: less bonus mileage, no E+ for 2P, etc. This detracts a bit from the credibility of the package, as even UA is smart enough to throw us a few bones whenever it announces bad news. There’s gotta be something missing…

    The E+ is a huge takeaway from 2P that may lose a lot of loyal customers to JetBlue and Virgin, which offer a better E- coach product. And yet it makes good sense – the current policy pisses off elites who find only E- or middle seats when they book or change flights on short notice. If you fly 100k profitable miles, you shouldn’t get stuck in a middle seat because some 2P booked his flight home from college months ago.

  25. When CO had the revenue tracker a year ago in our accounts we learned that the revenue tracker does not include YQ or any taxes/fees… It only counted the fare paid. So this could totally burn those who flies internationally quite often if they use the same algorithms. Nothing is official, but we shall find out in a month or two.

  26. I’ve got AA EXP to fall back on too. If this is implemented, it’s an easy choice for me.

    Of course there’s a chance that AA and DL and company would follow-well then, it’s been a fun ride, but the word “mileage run” can officially be removed from the Flyer dictionary. As can loyalty.

  27. Geez Lucky, when you told us to get the popcorn, you should have also mentioned having an airsick bag handy too! And maybe some lube to go along with it!

  28. Surprised such a system wasn’t implemented sooner. The old system made no economic sense, as witnessed by the large number of bottom feeders who did very well at maximizing miles and benefits but brought little revenue to United.

  29. Hopefully this stays a rumor; it seems like downgrade after downgrade and makes the UA or AA decision for ORD based fliers very easy (ie. go to AA, unless you’re dropping loads of cash, you mean nothing to UA).

  30. Very frustrating if true. I do 4-5 full fare domestic trips a year and then supliment the rest with mileage runs. Its already hard to justify spending $$$ jsut to keep status, and now its burning $$$ to keep miles and my spend rate up.

    I can see me continuing to fly the full fare on UA just to keep my points active and my leisure travel on airtran or jetblue unless UA is competitive. Won’t be a loss for UA since I’m only talking $3-$4k a year of personal leisure travel/mileage runs.

  31. I’ll be kissing United goodbye if these changes come to pass and I won’t be shedding tears. I’ve got plenty of other options (AA, Delta, Virgin are the top contenders) for my travel. The hit to United’s bottom line from travelers like me may be bigger than they anticipate.

  32. what is all thia bs about “loyal customers”? this is a business folks!!! business should award their most profitable customers. while i may not like it this is a sound and shrewd business move. “loyal customers” on cheap unprofitable fares are no use to an airline despite all of your self important airs

  33. I am OK with the revenue requirement, since this may reduce my time-wasting mileage running. The scary part will be when they start increasing the revenue requirement every year.

    The DL-like upgrade system is a program killer for me. For me and my partner, it’s all about the upgrades. Thank God we’re diversified in our top-tier statuses, but soon, their may be no where left to run!

  34. They have to open up the Global Services tool that allows us to see our spend.

    And if not, there will be an awful lot of edge cases where pax think they spent $2000, only to be told that taxes/fees don’t count. Complexity = confusion = unhappy customers.

    Also, what counts as “revenue”? My type B VDB cert? If not, then forget about bumping your way to Premier Exec (sorry, Gold).

    More and more, one gets the feeling that Jeff Smisek is determined to turn MileagePlus from a loyalty program into a grudge program.

  35. I know you couldn’t put in all the details, but was there any mention of at what tier award changes/redeposits would be free? That has been a HUGE deal for me as I book a lot of awards for family members (as well as sometimes-complex trips for myself!) and I know that at least this past year, paying a change fee every time we had to update something would have been brutal.

    I don’t know whether it’s my flying patterns or what, but for the past two years as a CO Plat/1K my upgrade percentages have been pretty laughably small, so I guess I won’t be losing much in that area…

  36. Fascinating rumor. With many of my miles coming from *A, I doubt I give $4000 total to UA for my 50,000 EQM, even if I probably spend more than that annually. My premier status is the major differentiator that makes United the obvious flight choice for me in a sea of similarly priced offerings. Seems dumb to take that away.

  37. I think this is awesome. It’s about time United (and other airlines) recognize those of us who spend a lot. Spending 20k a year, but only attaining 1P is a joke. Now they’re being smart, in my opinion.

  38. @Roland – I was thinking about maybe considering moving from US to UA since I fly UA about 40% of the time anyway (but credit to US). Now, I won’t even consider it. I will keep doing what I am doing.

    Cheers.

  39. 1) Anyone who doesn’t believe that they have the ability to track the spend numbers (or that they have been doing so for YEARS) is delusional.

    2) Anyone who doesn’t understand why not treating customers who are paying only 50 cents on the dollar for the cost of the transportation provided less well than those paying full price is delusional.

    Does it suck for the edge case customers? Sure. Does that make it a bad policy? Absolutely not. UA isn’t the first to go down this path and they won’t be the last. The game is changing. The question is whether the delusionals can adapt or not.

  40. this would totally suck! in the end, money talks and BS walks. I just wish there was a realistic alternative for us out of SFO (might really consider AA) Sad that i’m “only” 90K away from 1MM on UA at the moment, but they probably will just ax that as well anyway

  41. Looks like they are following the lead of both Jetblue and Southwest and giving higher fares more love. This is good news for corporate travelers or high spenders, I know quite a few people who would become at least premiers under this plan without the need to fly 25k miles. Now the actual benefit of premier has been degraded so not sure how much of a benefit it is (especially since E+ can be bough ahead of time by most). Time to go independent and use whoever has the most convenient flights with good prices.

  42. It would be a terrible development for loyalty towards United for low or no status passengers on Y fares or using miles plus co-pay to rank ahead of loyal elites on any upgrades. The low or no status passenger should buy an F or C fare if they want to sit in the premium cabin; otherwise the reward should be available to the loyal traveler, not one who paid a high fare once.

    I can live with a spend requirement at each elite level IF:
    (1) they are announcing this now and it will apply for 2013 elite level based on 2012 travel and spend;
    (2) they clearly explain which partner/JV flights qualify for spend, where tickets have to be bought, whether taxes/fees are part of it, etc.; and
    (3) there is an accurate tracking tool

  43. So far the only real positive I’ve seen is they are finally blowing up .bomb and going with the CO website. As a 1k for many years I may have to take a serious look at AA

  44. So, lucky famously hated the former CEO of United, wearing t-shirts that said so. I’m wondering if he likes the upgrade in CEO now? Who wouldn’t go back two years ago with good ‘ol Tilton?

    Be careful what you wish for Ben, sometimes you get it.

  45. This post, and the comments, brought to mind a conversation I had with a UA manager at a “State of DIA” lunch I went to. I thanked him for the turnaround in on-time performance I had seen on my DEN-YYZ/YUL flights and his response was to ask me if I was one of the low fare people. The way he said it made it obvious if I answered in the affirmative he wouldn’t be bothered to continue talking to me. Of course even though I said I wasn’t he still just grunted and walked away. That was the start of my moving toward mileage agnosticism.

  46. If this is indeed true, US is too cheap and not nimble/savvy enough to chase UA customers. US still sucks and always will. AA, on the other hand, will eat this up.

  47. as of right, i’m qualified to be a Silver next year.
    if these proposed rules were already in effect, i’d be a Platinum.
    i feel your pain but the news isn’t bad for everyone.

  48. @Seth

    So anyone who disagrees with your position is delusional?

    Being a 1K (as I am) and flying on a discounted Y ticket (as I usually do) is not an “edge case”; it’s quite common, I’m sure. If UA wants to prioritize a 25K/year flyer ahead of a 100K/year flyer in the upgrade queue because they paid more for their ticket, then what that tells me is that at any given point, my business is nothing more than a transaction to be maximized for revenue to them. And as Gary Leff says, “I am not my rate!”

    I’m okay with most of their other changes. But if they seriously think they can prioritize someone who flies 1/4 as much as me (or less, depending on how much I fly in a year) ahead of me in the upgrade queue just because they paid a little more for their ticket, and if this results in my upgrade ratio going down dramatically, I will take my business elsewhere.

  49. This makes an easy choice of where I should focus my mile accumulation on. If the others follow, then accumulating and keeping points on CCs will become more important. Too bad Chase won’t allow you to transfer in points, but just out.

  50. Why the hell is the “new United” downgrading and destroing its loyalty program? My issue with these changes is that the people whom do the BIS miles should earn their status this way, regardless of fare paid. Requiring miles flown and a minimum spend is rubbish. Make the choice either or, not both.

    I do not have any issue with rewarding high fare tickets with more EQMs, but this floated plan is an insult to loyal UA flyers. Do they wish to see a mass exodus of elites? I guarantee you AA will see a huge influx of customers and elites if this plan is fully implemented. And finally, Y & B fares should continue to earn the 150 percent EQM bonus.

  51. As a 1p who normally qualifies at 2p, if E+ goes, so do I. I already pay a premium to fly united exclusively and I’m not going to pay again to guarantee a good seat. I don’t care that I don’t get upgrades that often, since I at least get a decent seat at the front of the bus.

    I understand them prioritizing spend over miles, as it clearly makes better business sense for united, but it comes off as cheap and soulless. What happened to all those questions on the surveys about treating flying as something special?

  52. Out of fairness to United I think this should be posted here:

    Hi Everyone, we understand that you’re anxious to hear about the MileagePlus program changes for 2012. As we’ve said, the details are coming in the fall – specifically, we’re aiming for the end of next month. In the meantime, there will be rumors — like what’s been posted here — that unfortunately contain some inaccurate information. As much as we’d like to, until we announce the program fully, we’re not in a position to talk about specific elements or the general direction of the program.

    To the extent that we can, we’ll make sure you have an early preview of the full rollout. It goes without saying that we do value your feedback. Keep it coming.

    Shannon Kelly
    Director, Customer Insights and Metrics
    United Airlines

  53. Hi Everyone, we understand that you’re anxious to hear about the MileagePlus program changes for 2012. As we’ve said, the details are coming in the fall – specifically, we’re aiming for the end of next month. In the meantime, there will be rumors — like what’s been posted here — that unfortunately contain some inaccurate information. As much as we’d like to, until we announce the program fully, we’re not in a position to talk about specific elements or the general direction of the program.

    Shannon Kelly (UA Insider)
    Director, Customer Insights and Metrics
    United Airlines

  54. The word “some” is the most disturbing thing about UA Insider’s response. She’s not claiming this post to be false, just that “some” details will likely be different when it’s released.

  55. “She’s not claiming this post to be false, just that “some” details will likely be different when it’s released.”

    And if Lucky got the names of the program levels right but blew it on the qualifications and upgrade priority, that would count as “some”.

    I suggest excessively parsing company statements that are typically made in a manner to not encourage lawsuits (read: a bit conservative, try reading the disclaimers on an 8-K, 10-Q or 10-K filing with the SEC for additional examples) isn’t helping. The company’s responded and said “that isn’t right”, so wait until we get an announcement.

    Or we could run around with our hair on fire afraid of the future, yelling that the sky is falling. That’s always fun.

  56. Hey Lucky,

    Regardless of how the program actually turns out, congrats to you for breaking this story! It certainly has the specificity required to give it a feel of authenticity, at least as of when you published it.

    You definitely have a future in the travel news biz (if the news biz isn’t entirely replaced by Twitter! LOL)

    Dick

  57. From a marketing agency perspective (and talking to some folks who have airline account experience), United probably did a ROI (return on investment) calculation across the board for elite levels, and found they were giving away too many benefits.

    Consider also that UA might have a lot of fliers that take advantage of their more generous and accessible elite levels (compare to Miles and More where Economy fares earn 50-100% *regardless of elite level, and Gold status starts at 100k miles).

    Though straight up just looking through this they are seriously eroding their value proposition to their loyal fliers, especially on International. I think UA fliers put up with a generally sub-average service and quality in return for more generous benefits. UA has limited in fleet wifi as well.
    It won’t deter the business traveler segment that much, but more leisure travelers.

  58. Assuming some % of this turns out to be true, my biggest question is what counts toward that revenue. I am guessing certificates & vouchers won’t (and honestly, that mostly makes sense, though it does devalue compensation yet again), but things like YQ and taxes are a huge question mark and could make a big difference.

    It seems like there ought to be a better balance point between rewarding spending (which the alternate “option c” choices do) and punishing road warriors who don’t book all their fares at the absolute last minute. The way this comes across is that Jeff fears the airline is being run into the ground by hordes of MRers gaming the system, when surely such folks are the smallest minority of travelers.

    I take what United.com offers me–typically Q, W, V, and S fares–and occasionally score a happy T, L, or G rock-bottom sale. I don’t think I’ll have a problem meeting the hypothetical $8k spend for 1K excepting a systemwide DEQM year (if we ever see one again)–but I still see this as a bad idea overall. Certainly with the amount of devaluation we’ve seen–particularly at the top tiers–I question why UA would want to make it harder to earn elite status. Make the rewards BETTER instead of slashing them, and maybe it won’t tick people off so much, eh, when you make it harder to achieve?

    Oh, and as an aesthetic point: those are horrid names for the tiers. Premier/Premier Exec/1K were distinctive names in the airline business; going to generic precious metals & gems like everyone else rubs me the wrong way.

  59. Gotta say, AA is looking a lot better every day from here…I just booked 3 trips on UA but as of Jan 31st of next year will be booking almost everything on American.

  60. One other thought, on the hypothetical prioritization for upgrades: it seems like UA management is having a hard time quantifying the (admittedly-difficult) value of “loyalty.” Unfortunately, they seem to thus be just shrugging their shoulders and giving up on the problem!

    Take the full-fare premium pax out of the equation for obvious reasons and consider an infrequent flyer who happened to have a B fare that day, competing for an upgrade with a 1K who often flies Y/B but that day is on a T fare. Obviously, the fact that the 1K represents more value to UA should be apparent when looking at the sum picture of that 1K’s “transactions” with the airline, whereas here, UA would base the prioritization on a single “transaction.”

  61. “With these changes United would be making sure that those at each status level are actually not only United’s most loyal customers, but also United’s most profitable customers.”

    WRONG.

    High spend does NOT = high profit.

    High MARGINS = high profit.

  62. Say it aint so UA. Out of SFO, AA has always been in the back of my mind, if this is true, AA will be in the front of my mind.

  63. If this (or anything with the same essence, really) becomes reality, I’m done.

    Being BOS-based is a curse and a blessing. It’s hard to get and maintain elite status (we’re the only major US city lacking an airline hub), but when you want/need to, it’s no problem at all to change allegiances.

    Will be sad if it comes to this; I’ve never really known anything outside of UA.
    It was bad, but potentially manageable when it was COdbaUA, but this is well into uncharted territory, and you aren’t going to find me steeling myself for the journey.

  64. @Lurker, true, but I’d give the elite ranks a higher ratio of the highest margins vs. non-elites. Again, I agree with you, but on a general basis, elites in this new scheme contribute more to the bottom line than non-elites.

  65. Wow…shouldn’t have read this right before bed…now I will have nightmares for sure.

    I love United and the way they’ve generally treated their elites, especially 1Ks and GS, but I don’t see one positive thing about the new program.

    I was fairly certain that United would create 4 levels and that they might bump the highest level EQM up to 120,000 EQMs to match the 120 segment requirement, but I never imagined a revenue stipulation.

    I hate to say this because I’ve gotten to know quite a few United gate agents and flight attendants and think there are some great United employees, but if these “benefits” are true I’m taking my business to AA and Southwest.

  66. time to march my butt to DL/AS and/or over to OZ/Singapore Air for int’l if UA/CO ever get this off the ground….

  67. Very sad to seee the 1k name go.

    Mileage bonuses are in line with US – so no change there.

    I like having a rev qualifier (e.g. spend 5k get silver). Gives more reason to fly UA on biz trips. The min rev will hit mileage runners hard.

    No e+ until check-in is a minor thing. Good for higher elites as there will be more availability on last min trips. Upgrades will open up e+ seats so the only downside is if you have a family trying to sit together in e+. The annual membership is still an option for the silvers that fly a lot. No other airline does e+ like ua (dl does intl only) so there really isn’t a good place to deflect to for this benefit.

  68. If true, the new UA “MoneyPlus” Program is no longer based on FF but on how much you or your company spends. The reward for finding & scoring a cheap ticket is just that; nothing more. Program rewards will be allocated to the big spenders. Wonder how this will affect Star Alliance partner programs.

  69. a option (yes, I own the USD Mint and USD trademarks, key domains and processes etc)

    United can rename Miles to USD (like Choices).
    USD United Service Dollars.
    USD United Status Dollars.
    USD buy any seat or upgrade the same as Cash.

    Choices and miles buy any seat, room, or car rental now.
    USD deliver a clear 1:1 value, with 2:1 and higher options.

    USD offer you personalized deals for seats, upgrades, packages,
    ie: free or half price upgrades, 2 for 1, special prices, deals for you.

    USD Free Pass Card for Personal Access to Sales, Services, Status.

    Status is from all Spending and Segments … your combined activity.

    Miles convert to USD at 1 to __ cents based on elite status, spending.

    Earn USD at 10% of spending +bonuses for service class, elite status …

    a option to consider … rename miles to USD to reward the customers.

  70. They should have a (d) choice which is just elite miles to qualify. Of course this would be higher than before (e.g. 75K for Premier Gold). I would like them to also consider MM designations on upgrade priority. For example, all other criteria being equal a Premier Gold 2MM would have upgrade priority over Premier Gold 1MM which would have upgrade priority over Premier Gold.

  71. I am a 2 Million Miler. I did this for the promise of double miles on all my future flights and Premex or equivalent elite status . If tis leak is true, I have been duped big tme.

  72. This proposal is in line with all the new credit cards offering economy plus access…I expect a flood of people filling up E+ crowding out other passengers. As a loyal 2P for 5-6 years, I would cease doing business with United if I lost a guaranteed E+ seat.

  73. It’s called a “Frequent FLIER” program not a “Frequent SPEND” program, so they better rename it! Dumb.

  74. As long as UA tracks UA segments based on fare code and fares loaded in their system I’m happy. I have ALOT of Asiana and ANA issued tickets that are THEIR tickets with UA segments. As long as UA tracks those properly I have no issue with the changes and will make 100K miles a year + the revenue component. If for some reason they can’t track it and I lose on flights that are ticketed by another carrier I will be pissed…

  75. Upgrades is the biggest reason by far I make 1K every year for the last 12 years. Without a reasonable chance scoring an upgrade on SWU – the new upgrade policy might be a killer for me.

  76. Im sick of everyone complaining about 2P. The way the system is currently set up its pretty fair. I mean with global service (highest spenders) being boarded first and pretty much in first almost 100% of the time, 1K and Premier Execs get to go into the lounges when flying internationally and a lot more benefits in Star Gold than Star Silver in which silver is only for Upgrades that are mostly taken by GS, 1K and PE. and if the rumors are true then Silver will be just like a General Member that has Premier Access.

  77. Plus. If this happens I should just buy up to Chairmans Preferred in US Airways (which according to this post is Premier Diamond at United) for $4000.00 dollars and get benefits like Unlimited Upgrades to North America and Latin America which is where I fly to a lot.

  78. I do not like these changes at all and feel removing 2Ps from the ability to select E+ seats is unfair. I started out as a 2P and stuck with United because I could select E+ seating. I am now on my way to be 1K by the end of the year. If these changes happen I may be looking to AA for my travel needs.

  79. United is going to lose me as a frequent flier. I typically qualify for Silver and the major motivation is guaranteed Economy Plus when I make reservations. Now I might as well go for the cheapest flight.

  80. If the rumors are true in regard to the elite status changes then I cannot see why I would try to qualify for elite status on United as there are no real benefits left. I am somewhere between Premiere and Premiere Elite depending on the year. Since I can get advance boarding via my credit card, miles for free flight also via my credit care spending and I never get upgraded anyway (I am lucky if I am ever in the top 15 on the waiting list), the priority lane at security, in airports where they have it, merges with the regular line in most security areas fairly quickly. So I am left with one real perk, the economy plus seating. If I cannot get that until check in, and based on my upgrade experience I expect that I will never get a plus seat so I have absolutely no reason to make United my preferred airline. I will just go by time and rate in the future.

  81. I just got my Premier Gold card with all the bad news. The 100% to 50% bonus miles is true. I pretty much do the same trips every year and just make the 50k needed for the Gold. My company allows me to fly UA exclusive because the status gets me the baggage allowance for my gear. If I lose that, I’ll be back to shopping for the better fare rather than being loyal to one brand.

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