27 Responses

  1. David
    David at |

    I thought you were a Global Services?6

  2. Adam P
    Adam P at |

    I wonder what in the end has motivated this change in reward plans. Are the gamers/hobbyists such a large portion of the elite ranks now that the airlines felt they had to act? Was it a sense the best customers (revenue) were not being adequately rewarded? Was it a sense there were too many elites?

    I’m sure DL/UA know what each elite customer is worth to them in revenue. As someone who flies largely on discount fares, but rarely for less than 10c/mile, it does frustrate me to compete for upgrades with someone who barely spends anything via mistake fares and six connection mileage runs. Someone for whom all travel is discretionary and fun.

    I assume the full fare traveler doesn’t resent me, because he is rewarded for fare paid in the upgrade queue, etc.

    Everyone is wondering, though, when these plans are going to get around to tightening the screws on premium class award travel.

  3. Jon
    Jon at |

    How did you ever qualify for GS woth a buget like this? None of my business I suppose, just interesting.

  4. ffi
    ffi at |

    I was wondering about your response, when I saw the proposed changes on FT. I was pretty sure most of the bloggers were not going to be in the GS territory. The issue was if it is still worth even trying for Plat to get free changes, and what lifetime status will soon mean.

    Luckily we got AA 2MM so we are OK for a while, but soon there will be a lot less “elites” than before. Lucky had a post 2 years ago about proposed changes and they had a pure PQD 5k/10k/15k/20k requirement, which I felt would have been fair to keep as well.

    Also if you are going the PQM way, the best is DL with its MQMs from cards that ADD to the flown MQMs

  5. Jeff
    Jeff at |

    If your flying that much, is it worth manufacturing 25k spend to keep premier plat?

  6. greek2me
    greek2me at |

    why noit future Plat with move to Canada or $25k on United cards for min 35k RDM via manu spend?

  7. Jon
    Jon at |

    I might calculate my own as well… In your numbers did you just include base fare + fuel surcharges, or the ai price?

  8. Joey
    Joey at |

    Does this mean you plan to focus on mileage running solely on AA next year?

  9. Aptraveler
    Aptraveler at |

    Seth, thanks for sharing and for putting all your info in perspective. I agree w/you that if anything I may also make gold next time around, especially since my travel pattern focuses on overseas trips. And in some routes other airlines offer a better product for the money. So, congrats on becoming a MM soon!

  10. Ken Y.
    Ken Y. at |

    I spent under $2,500 and will be DL Diamond in a month!

  11. PittDoc
    PittDoc at |

    And then there are some of us who have marveled at how others have the time and flexibility to game the system. Hats off to you all, but as I look at $15K spend this year but only 75K in PQMs, the “game” feels a bit more fair now.

  12. warreng24
    warreng24 at |

    Thanks for sharing this information Seth. Very interesting!

  13. charles
    charles at |

    … and some of us fly on significantly reduced negotiated rates, so no 1K for me either…

    looks like general members got hosed yesterday as well… changing an award ticket more than 21 days out isn’t free anymore!
    http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/mileageplus/awards/travel/ticketing.aspx

  14. Wandering Aramean
    Wandering Aramean at |

    @PittDoc: I agree that this is probably more fair on average, though fair is often in the eye of the beholder.

    @Joey: AA is almost certainly going to follow suit soon enough. Making that change is unlikely to do me much good.

    I don’t have much of a plan for 2014 yet. Lots of time before I have to make decisions like that.

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  16. Nick
    Nick at |

    I suspect they are going to jettison some otherwise loyal customers. The Premier Silvers who travel lightly domestically for work and then choose United to take to Hawaii for their annual vacation or occasionally Europe. Definitely going to be less of that sort of loyalty. Yeah you can get a credit card etc, but there will still be less inclination towards loyalty. I think very few leisure travelers will reach these spend goals. Which is obviously what they want…

  17. Steve
    Steve at |

    My issue is this:

    I may spend 7,500 for 100,000 miles flown and I travel with lots of people, so w/o 1K I leave for AA. UA loses my $7500+ my friends $45,000 they are net minus $52,000

    Now, for all the people saying when they thin out the ranks I will get an upgrade. A former 1K on FT said he was flying LAX-IAH at $0.14/mile and was number 4 on the upgrade list and if they thinned the heard he’d have a better chance of getting an upgrade.

    What he fails to see is that the people above him on the upgrade list probably will still be flying UA as they were averaging more than $0.14/m most likely, it would be some Plats that would see more upgrades, but 1Ks probably would not see much of a difference.

  18. Steve
    Steve at |

    Also as a 1K if I was at $9,000 spend to hit 1K, I wouldn’t spend a $1,000 more, I’d look at ways of dropping my flying and spend to hit Plat at $7,500 spend so UA would be out net $1,500 now with this change and since I can never use any of the instruments anyway they lose my money and sooner or later I just realize that with on-line check-in and elite security lines that are as long as regular lines I should stop being loyal to 1 airline and just Kayak.

    I mean I have paid $300 more to fly UA on a ticket to get lounge access etc., and I realize for $300 I can eat really well at the airport each way and still have $200 in my pocket.

  19. Joseph M
    Joseph M at |

    I curious as to why taxes have to be backed out. Isn’t United counting as spend on the total amount paid and not the net ticket cost?

  20. Joseph M
    Joseph M at |

    nevermind just read the rules….. Yuck.

  21. Levy Flight
    Levy Flight at |

    thanks for this post Seth. I will watch what you do. I expect to make 1k next year as I fly for work and easily meet the spend. Thst may change though in the future and so am stsrting to plan alternatives. If I make 1MM in the next short while then I will be happy with that and drop out of UA if not 1K. If not paying more for the chance of an upgrade on TALT or TPAC then why not fly better airlines? A free drink makes me happy. For the TCON and west coast there is VX, AS and WN, all better airlines. Thanks for leading the way – look forward to tracking your next steps.

  22. ffi
    ffi at |

    I was reading somewhere about Ron Paul flying in Biz on CO Y fares.
    I initially thought that this would at least get rid of the govt Y fare guys ahead of me. After some reflection, I realize that yes they may not make 1k (except the air marshals perhaps).

    BUT, even if they just make Silver, due to the CO (sorry new UA) rules, even a Silver with a Y fare will still get auto upgraded at once. Although I guess some of the current Govt Silvers will not make anything perhaps after 2014.

    I am not sure AA will follow just yet if they are smart, perhaps they will do better to wait a year or two to drive more flyers their way.

  23. Paul
    Paul at |

    What is so hard about a paltry $25K spend on MP cards? You should be able to that in your sleep.

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