Thursday, September 22, 2011

United: The worst is not yet to come...

Finally, United announced the most controversial changes for its Mileage Plus (or MileagePlus) program:

The 2012 MileagePlus program

The detail is there. So I won't need to repeat that.

As other frequent flyers, my concern is, "is it over?"

I don't think so (Declaimer: I have no insider information from United. So everything is my straight speculation. But - I do own some shares of the new United.)


United is the first in Star Alliance having a 4-tiered elite program (I have only considered those you can earn within certain time frame. Revenue-based and lifetime status are excluded). When its current competitor, Delta SkyMiles, also has a 4-tiered elite program. It will be obvious to make a comparison.

Based on this, United will definitely re-shape the elite benefits again to increase revenues and increase the "competitiveness" of the program, even it was named best elite program in the Americas.

For Global Service, as they are revenue-based. It will be a doubt if United will ever touch them.

For 1K, don't be happy - Remember that United raised PQS to 120 before. With a 4-tiered system, raising PQM will eventually happen. It is a matter of sooner or later.

For Platinum Elite, Premier Executive and Gold Elite (which includes myself) - there are some trade-off. Disappointed but still a member of Star Alliance Gold. But I am extremely surprised that United cut Elite bonus miles (as they are the first American airlines to do so, while others are still giving out 100% bonus to their mid-tier elites.

For Premier and Silver Elite, they are the biggest loser for this change. Basically, having a credit card is way much better flying more. With the loss of comfirmed seating at Economy Plus at the time of booking, this status carry no meaning at all (Remember, to them, complimentary upgrade do not necessary exist).

For the rest - Good news - more Economy Plus, if you are willing to pay; and higher upgrade priority (Yes - Remember paid instruction whoever do Miles+Copay will do earlier than CPU)."

Good luck everyone - it is going to be a bumpy ride in the unfriendly sky...

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