25 Responses

  1. AF
    AF at |

    I’m one of the loners who aren’t against this — in fact, it works in my favor. United is stupid expensive to most places out of Houston, but the timing/routing is impeccable. There have been many $400-500 flights to Denver, and $800 SFO runs. I’ll earn some more miles (even when Elite expires in 2015), and not have to sacrifice time/convenience to boot.

  2. Robert
    Robert at |

    Shouldn’t you be wasting your time attacking Gary or something? Nobody actually reads your blog to learn about earning miles… Only about finding award space…

    1. Sice
      Sice at |

      Good call, but Seth seems to actually be the rational voice in the travel-blogger world. And for most of us this isn’t going to matter much, so other blogs like Gary’s are just whining now about those who not only play the game but can leverage it with business travel. So good work, Seth, keep it up. I love rational thought and really, the damage was done to my award travel on United back in Feb.

  3. Deirdre Saoirse Moen
    Deirdre Saoirse Moen at |

    So, if I’m getting this right — say you’re a 1K at the beginning of 2015’s award year, and so you have to get $10k PQDs and 100K PQM for next year.

    You’ll now have 110k award miles (11x10k) at the end of that qualifying year (assuming you hit the goal on the nose) instead of 200k (100k + 100k bonus miles).

    1. myb821
      myb821 at |

      Incorrect because PQMs will still be earned based on distance not cost.

  4. Hank
    Hank at |

    I love your insight. It is always intelligent and well-constructed, if not sometimes irreverent. Your perspective always shines a different light, and I like that.

  5. Sean
    Sean at |

    Whether you think this is good business or not, it’s unlikely to be enough to save United. In fact, if all UA does is copy DL, I’d say it’s a recipe for getting the C-suite cleared out. Investors are specifically concerned that UA is following the same formula as DL and AA but has specific structural disadvantages. This change does nothing to allay those fears.

    This was not the right time to make this change.

  6. rkkwan
    rkkwan at |

    Problem is that there aren’t just 3 airlines in the world. The rest of the world may not see a need to switch. For my family flying US-Asia multiple times a year, this move eliminates the remaining reason to stay with a domestic, unless they are significantly cheaper than OZ, KE, QR, TK and the like. How are they going to fill the back of the widebodies other than reducing fare? How’s that going to help their bottom line?

  7. Ed C
    Ed C at |

    Not surprised at the fact that UA switched to spend based but a bit surprised at timing. It still seems like they are trying to figure out how to get through a ton of issues and decided to take on a huge project before even getting through those issues. Like you said, I would’ve liked to seen things work reliably internally (and externally) before they do something like this.

    1. Sice
      Sice at |

      In defense of this argument that things need to work before making the change, I work at a company who has had years to make things work yet we haven’t fixed anything. And by delaying rolling out new product, even on broken infrastructure, we’re now hobbled by broken AND outdated. Sometimes you have to make the change and then force your IT into fixing the problems. I know, it’s a terrible way to operate, but United needs to do something to right the ship. And this kind of move may just show their desperation to fix things; the ship might be sinking faster than any outsider knows…

  8. jim
    jim at |

    United is a mess now. Hard and soft products are far worse than AA and Delta, yet they copy Delta. I hate Delta but I still think Delta is smart because they offer excellent in-flight products. United? Still living the era of 8 seats in a row in their newest business class. People at United all seem to be unhappy, so the service is really bad. Now there is nothing left in their FFP, so what is United trying to do? Why do we choose United?? I think United is confused. I mean the management…

    1. Sice
      Sice at |

      I’m DL hub locked so usually only fly DL. I’ve been happy with the flights, service, and hard product. I recently flew United to Maui and had horrible service AND a sketchy hard product. I agree completely that my DL flights were much more enjoyable and something I’ll choose to buy more often than not. UA only pushes me further and further away.

  9. Mork
    Mork at |

    It’s always fun to watch rats in a perfect storm. Scurry about fellas. Get on with it.

  10. Joey
    Joey at |

    I’m not surprised at all that UA has gone through revenue-based mileage earning. I was just surprised they had the technology to support this new model so soon! I thought UA management would at least observe and see whether DL’s strategy is successful for 2015 and then make a decision whether to revamp its mileage-earning program.

  11. Nick
    Nick at |

    My thoughts are that they risk losing the middle class. Those who aren’t in the top 2% income bracket, don’t have a unlimited expense account and whose boss goes ballistic when you buy a $1100 fare to Chicago, but who have up to now been otherwise fairly “loyal” United fliers. They stand to lose a bunch of those fliers and they are a much bigger group than those who spend more than 20C per mile all the time. Anyway I guess they will get what they want. I’m just not sure how well they have thought it through.

  12. I don’t care if United goes Revenue Based « The Reward Boss

    […] Wandering Aramean: So, about United’s new spend-based earning rates… […]

  13. Richard Chen
    Richard Chen at |

    All my thoughts exactly. Thank you finally for a resonable reply after 24 hours of blind fury.

    Aside, a typo in the article is that “form status” should be “from status”.

  14. United's Changes Are Bad for Everyone, and That's Not News - Hack My Trip

    […] I’m not the first to break the news about the most recent devaluation (of many) for United Airlines’ MileagePlus, nor am I the first to remark that United is simply copying Delta’s changes to its own Sky Miles program. My feelings are on par with Wandering Aramean’s, who believes it was simply a matter of time. […]

  15. Better By Design
    Better By Design at |

    Really appreciate the level headed response on this – everyone else is having a mental meltdown because their magical <$300 transcon flying isn't going to be worth nearly as much in the future with UA.

    I hope they enjoy their next, brief, honeymoon with USAAirways until they get their IT folks around to following this model.

    Let's not forget that America's most successful airline (historically) was the first to adopt this, and America's most successful airline (currently) is who UA is following. Southwest and Delta are good examples to follow, if only UA could figure out how to actually operate an airline profitably and well.

    Also, since travel typically consists of both flying and sleeping, I'm a little surprised at the near zero coverage of those dastardly hotel companies, who all shifted to a spend based earning model last… century? Can't we just view this as the airline industry following the hotel industry, rather than freaking out?