Ben brings us the following changes under consideration for United Airlines’ Mileage Plus program from what he terms a “reliable” source:
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:
(a) 25,000 elite qualifying miles AND $2,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
(b) 30 elite qualifying segments AND $2,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
(c) $5,000 revenue AND 4 United segments
(a) 50,000 elite qualifying miles AND $4,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
(b) 60 elite qualifying segments AND $4,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
(c) $10,000 revenue AND 4 United segments
(a) 75,000 elite qualifying miles AND $6,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
(b) 90 elite qualifying segments AND $6,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
(c) $15,000 revenue AND 4 United segments
(a) 100,000 elite qualifying miles AND $8,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
(b) 120 elite qualifying segments AND $8,000 revenue AND 4 United segments,
(c) $20,000 revenue AND 4 United segments
Change in status benefits:
– 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
– Mileage bonus goes from 100% to 50%
– Upgrade window goes from 72 hours to 48 hours before departure
– Mileage bonus goes from 100% to 75%
– Upgrade window remains 72 hours before departure
– M fares no longer offer instant upgrades for Platinum members
– 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 true, these are remarkable changes that will certainly change the way legacy carriers have traditionally treated their most frequent flyers. In fact, frequent might be better replaced with a spendthrift if these changes occur…
As if the news above was not alarming enough, Shannon Kelly, an official representative of Untied Airlines, even chimed in on Ben’s blog:
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
Note she only says some inaccurate information…
I will have full analysis on these proposed changes tomorrow. I need a day to mull over this potential transformation of the Mileage Plus program and the concept of how an airline values business.
Looking forward to your thoughts! Quite a stunning leak and I’d put money on the validity of it for the 2013 program.
I bet it’s mostly true as well. I’ve long thought the airlines would go to a revenue-based system at some point. Mileage runs will become less interesting and profitable, seemingly.
@Marcus: I agree with both of your points.