United’s MileagePlus frequent flyer program is shaking up the way they track and award status in 2020 and it’s not all good news for loyalists.
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United Announces New Qualifications for 2020
On Youtube and their website last night, United launched an announcement of how they would change their Premier Qualifying structure for frequent flyers of MileagePlus.
In 2020, members will no longer have to fly a certain number of miles to achieve status, just segments and the segments have been slashed. Premier Qualifying Dollars increase to the highest levels in the country. “PQFs” or Premier Qualifying Flights replace segments and eliminates miles flown. Here are the tier requirements:
- Silver – $4,000 (PQPs) & 12 PQFs
- Gold – $8,000 (PQPs) & 24 PQFs
- Platinum – $12,000 (PQPs) & 36 PQFs
- 1K – $18,000 (PQPs) & 54 PQFs
What Else Changes?
United will now award PQDs spent on upgrades, economy plus and premium cabins including mileage co-pay upgrades, all areas that earned spenders nothing before. United will now also award PQDs on Star Alliance partner flights, though how they will do so was not clearly spelt out in the video.
On their website, they explain that Star Alliance flights will earn award miles divided by 5 or 6 depending on the preferred partner or standard. For example, if a journey would earn you 10,000 miles with Lufthansa, you would earn 2,000 PQPs qualifying toward your spend.
Basic Economy and Light fares on partner airlines will not count toward PQFs. You can learn more about Partner earnings here.
There is also an option for flyers who spend an inordinate amount of money on flights but only fly a few times per year. As long as a member completes at least (4) flights with United they will qualify and do not have to complete the additional PQF requirement if they outspend for their required category. For example, Silvers can qualify with $5,000 in spend, $10,000 for Gold, $15,000 for Platinum, and $24,000 for 1K.
Chase credit cardholders will not be happy. The previous spend waiver was granted for lower tiers if cardholders spent $25,000 on their United credit card. Now, they will be given a pittance for their spend with the credit card. Spending $24,000 on the card will give up to Platinum members just 1000 PQPs or $1,000 PQD equivalents.
That won’t make Chase happy either.
Those with internationally-registered addresses no longer receive a spend waiver as they have in the past, the amounts are calculated in relation to US dollars.
How Does This Compare to Delta, American?
Bloggers like myself whine at the lack of differentiation between the carriers. Now that we have some distance between the programs, I fear, the whining will actually amplify.
American and Delta, caught flat-footed at the time of writing, still have top-level published tiers requiring $15,000. American requires Executive Platinum members to fly 120 segments or 100,000 miles per year and can earn qualifying dollars based on fare classes and distance with alliance carriers. Delta is similar but has a requirement of 125,000 miles or 140 segments.
United wins the segment battle, and try as I might, I doubt the other carriers will waste any time moving up their requirements to match the dollars. The other carriers may also struggle with the IT integration required to apply EQD/MQD earning to ancillary purchases giving a true benefit to customers and a leg up to United over their peers.
I have long stated that if the airlines really want to focus on how much a client is spending with them over how far (distance) or how many times (segments) a client is on their aircraft, then they should just make it all about spending. United has done that and for that portion, I think they lead the industry.
However, for 1K flyers, this represents a 50% increase from 2018 in terms of qualifying spend. While United flyers can earn PQDs in more ways than they couldn’t before, 1K members that struggled to reach $12,000 and stretched to hit $15,000 will find $18,000 a substantial reach.
What do you think? Are these changes good or bad? Do you see yourself qualifying more easily or will this make it harder? Will this change push you to other airlines, or toward United from the others?
Read Matthew’s take on the program changes below.
Glad I have MM status.
What happens to those with lifetime 1K status – retired and don’t fly much anymore.
Glad I made the choice to not pursue 1k this year. The credit card spend change is annoying. Was going to keep the biz chard after make the 100k sign up bonus. Guess now it is a cancel.
Remember that it’s 54 PQF but without the PQS class bonuses that used to apply. So you have to take off and land 54 times. Most 1K’s I know don’t fly that much – just a handful of international trips a year that make up the big $.
I’m 1K and have more than 54 segments this year and it’s not close – spend is around $15,500 PQDs YTD. Despite that, I am still short on segments and miles. I’m not sure I would get to $18k this year, but the segments/miles is all I am chasing at this point.
I fly long haul international flights on UA to Asia through SFO. This really screws me on the segments since you can fly just about anywhere from SFO without making another connection. Each trip is just 4 segments. How disappointing. I will have to look for other options.
I am in the same position. I fly 150k miles annually, mostly international, and with the new program I wouldn’t even make Platinum. I have to consider walking away from lifetime miles and starting over elsewhere…
The jump to $18k is a bit harsh with the economy not growing and travel budgets ever tightening. There should have been more of an inflationary jump or they are trying to cull the number of 1k passengers
United screws it most loyal customers yet again – this change is a lose lose! Spent decades building to and maintaining 1K status thru both 1MM and now 2 MM but as an International traveler maintaining 1K now impossible. GUTTED at United constantly changing rules.
Couldn’t agree more Steve! All take and never giving anything back.
They could have rolled out the new plan without increasing the spend again this year! So much for gradual changes. I gues they are saying to us; it doesn’t matter if you fly 200K a year? What stinks is that I focused on changing from American to United this year and earned Premier 1K the hard way; but will probably switch back. American has already contacted me to match the status to move back.
We are grandparents living on retired income with family on east and west coast. The United Chase card has helped earn points towards are twice a year visits. This new program will hurt us. I will keep card to get our tickets for preferable service, but my change shopping practices to another card for point earning. We put everything on United Card then pay in full each billing cycle.Can’t see doing that anyone for so few points. Really not sure who they gear their program towards. Certainly not the average American.
Definitely toward business travellers and not the average American. The Chase stuff may change, however. United and Chase have been in talks because their deal with the bank lags behind competitors significantly. I suspect that a premium card will come out that will make it easier to hit some of those new qualifiers than the basic United cards out today. It puts the pressure on Chase to come up with something more compelling and sell more cards.
Bad move United. Once again you punish people who live in hub cities. International business class is your money maker. Bye bye. Virtually every other airline offers a better business(even your new one lacks) leg room). You even ruined million mike status by devaluing a few years ago.
True Polaris is one of the better products on the market, and Polaris lounges are the best of airlines in the US by far.
What will happen to my Frequent Flyer Mileage account? How can I use those miles?
No changes to your earned miles. Points no longer expire.
See here for more details:
Make it about $PQD that’s fine and fair. So be it.
Having said that, this year I’m at $24k PQD and 44 Segments. What this change means is that they would like me to be less profitable and fly more segments for less.
That’s quite stupid?
I prefer to spend as little time as possible on planes and when I do so in comfort rather than flying pointless segments.
I’ll probably switch to delta then. Pairs much better with my AMEX plat lounges anyways.
With 24K PQD you qualify for Premier 1K as long as you flew four segments on United. The article doesn’t mention the PQP only method of qualifying where you only need the minimum 4 segments on United.
But it does:
“ There is also an option for flyers who spend an inordinate amount of money on flights but only fly a few times per year. As long as a member completes at least (4) flights with United they will qualify and do not have to complete the additional PQF requirement if they outspend for their required category. For example, Silvers can qualify with $5,000 in spend, $10,000 for Gold, $15,000 for Platinum, and $24,000 for 1K.”
Judging by the comments here, very few people noticed or understood that option. You should put that info right in the chart like the United website does.
“Our most loyal and valued customers” essentially gets redefined every time they make a change. They make the change they want then define “loyal and valued” to fit the new system.
I am no less loyal to United than I have been for the past 10 years. But now I will be flying a lot more long haul and less domestic I will struggle to hit the Gold and Platinum I have hit for the past 7 years. Apparently my 600k. + lifetime miles don’t count as loyal any more.
Someone who is spending over $10000 on United (their own money, not corporate business money) – why do they even need status?
You can’t really get to that insane level of spending on basic economy flights, which means you already are paying out of pocket for a comfortable seat. So if you’re paying for a comfortable seat out of pocket, status is meaningless.
This only helps people in government or corporations where they are flying on someone else’s dime. Regular americans don’t earn enough to ever achieve the higher flight statuses any more.
This sounds like a hot mess. So glad I stopped flying UA when I hit 1 MM several years ago. Delta is kinda stuck with its qualification model for at least a year or two with their new credit card rollout, so they will just increase the MQD requirements as needed. No big deal as long as Delta doesn’t change its partner MQD multipliers on business class tickets.
On economy alone I’ve spent almost $15k but have not reached Gold. One can absolutely spend that much today IN CATTLE COACH and still not be near meaningful status. Remember UAL ain’t cheap if not hub-to-hub.
But the vast majority of business expensed flights don’t allow for any upgrades at all, lest one lose one’s job.
Then you should like the changes. 15K spend would get you Platinum status as long as you flew four segments on United.
I understand that rule. Even then, lets imagine I only had $23k spend. I’d still be more profitable for them than the member with less spend but more segments.
I think that the flight segment rule is BS. It punishes those with more expensive long haul flights. They should just drop the flight segment requirement.
Again, I’ve been eyeing delta because their staff is MUCH nicer on domestic flights and i get lounge access regardless. Plus, i still have good flight options from SFO to Australia and Europe with them as those are my primary routes. So now united has made the decision for me.
Thinking a bit more about it. As I fly mainly transoceanic on *A partners perhaps I would make 1k through mileage alone. They don’t seem to distinguish on price of partner tickets.
As I understand it, there is no mileage. It’s take off\landings plus spend. *A help with the spend, but being a 1K is no longer about flying 100,000 miles.
@Levy Flight and @Richard, you’re both right – If you look at the partner section, I provided an example there. So if you fly standard economy on Air Canada to Hong Kong the first of the year ticketed on Air Canada ticket stock in a normal economy booking you’d do very well in PQPs because of the distance and relatively low prices for the time being in HKG.
They can’t, if you are ticketing with a non UA carrier (JV routes aside) they don’t get the fare paid details, and I would suspect, that it would be illegal for competition reasons if the fare information was passed along. Not to mention an IT challenge
$18k spend doesn’t get you 1K. You need 54 segments, too, and without multipliers for premium cabin. That will DQ many international flyers. I’ll have over $18k PQD this year, on less than 30 “new math” segments.
Or 24,000 PQPs but earning on partners will be the key.
So basically … they want those who fly longer routes but less frequently to fly with *A members instead of them to hit the PQP requirement to waive the PQF one. That should help with the long haul revenue for sure, just not for UA (at least for me personally). I guess ANA and SQ it is for my transpacifics
They had to do something to come in line with American and Delta who have offered this for years. It’s imperfect, but likely works out for them in the long run.
Glad I have lifetime Gold because no way I will have even 24 segments. Basically this shafts the high rev international flyers (especially those who don’t connect) who fly a few long distance RTs a year and rewards short haul domestic flyers with connections.
This will simply result in high rev moving to SQ LH and other competitors as there will be no reason to fly UA for status anymore. Bone head move by UA
Will those with lifetime 1K status be protected – and what benefits will they receive? Will Lifetime status remain? Will lifetime 1K status still provide free upgrades on a space available basis?
There’s no change in benefits due to this change, it’s solely in qualification for status. If you have lifetime 1K status, you don’t have to worry about qualification so nothing changes for you.
Yeah, really strange. People who spend over $18k per year plus taxes are likely avoiding flying connecting segments. Having to fly 54 segments is just nasty. Does seem to screw the international UA flyers.
Not everyone spending $18k annually can avoid connections and live in United hub cities. I will be close to that number, mostly for work travel, and can sometimes get a non-stop because I am flying to a UA hub, but much of my work travel is outside of those few cities.
Totally defeats the term “1K” – maybe call the tier “18k” now!
Agreed, but it does finally get away from “miles” because it’s no longer based on that measure. You win one term, lose another.
You know… I don’t hate this… looks like you can rack up tons of PQPs with cheap, long distance partner flights… theoretically you could qualify for 1k with less spend then before if you can find the right mileage runs…
so let’s say … SQ EWR – SIN – round trip is about 19,000 miles … divided by 5 its about 3,800 PQP …. am I correct? if so 3 flights will get me enough PQP’s for Platinum
As long as the class of service booked on SQ earns 100% miles flown in the United Mileage Plus program.
Which it won’t. Ditto for say flying DFW-SIN via FRA on LH on a T fare on a LH ticket. That can net you say 15k PQMs in 2019, for a total of 30k PQMs. But since it’s in T fare on non-016 ticket stock it’s only 50%, so your theoretical 6k PQP will become 3k PQP in 2020. Cheap, long distance partner flights don’t seem like a great option. Sure, it beats flying UA on the same route for say 900 PQPs, but it’s nowhere near the 20k EQMs that you would have gotten in 2019.
That all depends on the route, the partner and the cost. Excellent deals on Turkish are still available, EgyptAir and Air China also have long haul premium cabin rates that are much better than the premium credit you would have received on 016 stock. Take a look at NYC-HKG rates. United continues to sell them for $4-6,000 on the Newark route which no longer receives Polaris 77W equipment. Take that same route with Air China for $2,000 and you end up much further ahead.
I’ll likely hit around $18k this year and just over 100k miles, but can’t see how I would ever get enough PQF. Seems they want people to increase domestic travel/connections via hubs or spend a lot more money when travelling abroad so it hurts anyone based out of a hub city and flying international. I fly mostly to the UK and it is typically direct (or with a non qualifying connection on fly(may)be), about 8 or so times per year. My company only pays for economy so won’t be able to get to $24k. I am based out of IAH, so would have to connect through ORD/EWR/IAD to get more segments … making upgrade chances even worse than they already are.
If I play the segment game, it might be worth going with American or Delta … but can’t see how adding more segments onto travel is worth it.
The only bright spot I see is that it will be easier to fly Lufthansa on a non 016 ticket. Also Singapore to Manchester might become a better option.
I guess I’ll be platinum in 2021
^^All of the above. I fly United about 60k miles a year, mostly international; I spend about 6500 a year. My segments this year will be, oh, 14. The majority of my spend and miles comes from the EWRBOM run. This effectively nukes my gold status without some creative partner PQP planning.
I’ve made gold for next year, but I (and probably a ton of other MP members who travel to India) will be looking to Delta for their new EWR to BOM flight, and Emirates for their slashed business pricing. Good job, United.
1K is not worth it since they sell off the upgrades as TOD’s anyway. Why spend so much extra to get way less benefit?
54 segements is such a random choice.
50 as a nice round number makes sense
52 would be one flight a week, also some reasoning there.
But 54 ??? strange choice
I was a little perplexed by that choice as well. Why not make it 17,400 PQPs then instead, right?
To be fair by not including taxes for ticket price towards dollar spendings makes it feel like that anyway
It’s obvious that for most the real goal for 1k is 24k spend + 4 flights. 4 J class international flights a year can get you this so business travelers who are allowed to fly up front will benefit the most. Which of course is exactly what United is banking on.
Yeah, I don’t understand why folks aren’t realizing this. This isn’t for the North American road warrior (or even the TATL/TPAC road warrior) in Y because, well, UA doesn’t necessarily care about them or want to cater to them; they simply don’t make enough money for UA. It’s the paid, maybe frequently last-minute J tickets once a month to factories or global HQs in Asia or Europe. To us pax, it’s silly because the lounge access should be for those people that are loyal day in, day out. But to UA, they want to capture the “whales”, to use a casino term. So everyone getting all bent out of shape about this isn’t thinking about the situation from a business perspective.
Except then what good are the GPUs, um, the 320 PlusPoints, if you only fly the 4 paid J segments per year? I already get Polaris club access there, plus true Polaris hard product, there’s no need for even UA club access on international travel, let alone the upgrade lottery with battlefield upgrades clearing at the gate on a V fare.
Seems like what they are gunning for are people with some paid J, trying to get them to redirect more personal spend to Premium Plus, and more spend period. Which is silly given their inconsistent product. To capture more spend, they need to make the domestic connections more attractive since it’s way below Polaris SLAs. I used to fly Premium Service a lot and now it feels a lot more like United First used to feel, while United First / United Business feel a lot more like Coach today.
Maybe that’s because the F/As got used to years of TODs, but if UA is serious here they need to shore up United First / United Business from what it is today. Eliminating half the liquor choices, failing to come up with a good response to Centurion (broccoli soup isn’t it) and so many other little bad changes don’t induce more spending. Better off buying a snack box and getting it 100% reimbursed via Amex Plat.
One piece of this information is partially incorrect. The 320 Plus Points you’d receive as a 1K would be good for a minimum of (4) upgrades to J but that has a huge asterisk. Those are to guarantee upgrades from the cheapest fare classes and both the guarantee (30 days out) and the lower fare classes were never available with GPUs before. However, if you value GPUs over RPUs as I do, you now have the equivalent of (8) to use at 40 plus points from W fares or above under normal approval odds (not guaranteed but clear the same as they always have) or even more if you were buying Premium Plus and moving up from there to business class (10 plus a remaining 20 PLus points good for one regional).
So your characterization of those four GPUs is a bit flawed in that using that math you would have never been able to use them before (lower fare classes) would never have them confirmed 30 days out (as you would with the 80 point upgrades) so you could only apply the rest of the logic to 40 point upgrades for which you now have eight instead of six. That is an objectively better result.
I was initially pretty excited to see the 1K PQF of 54. I’m at 53.5 for the year, currently a Plat (non-stops are basically non-existent for 90% of my destinations). Then I saw the spend and my jaw dropped. $18K? I’m sitting just under $8k for the year. If this were 2020, I’d have 1K PQF and Gold PQD. Awesome.
I am a million miler on United. Is Gold for Life still secure? I have about 200K to go for 2 mil. Will they still count miles the same way as they do now for 2 mil? I feel screwed by all this (once again).
Better hurry to reach the 2M mark in 2019 or asap in 2020 if you can and then call off the chase for 3MM. Butt-in-seat requirement for MM hasn’t changed a bit.
As usual under Mr. Muñoz United continues to upset its best customers. Squeezing more and more PQDs and debasing the value of 1K. After many years of Continental and United platinum plus, GS and 1K status I give up.
Fare well United without my support. My 2MM status will keep me covered for a while.
Wow. What does United have against long haul flyers? This is worse than Flying Blue! A 12h international flight now is equivalent of a 45m hop!
I have 2M Platinum for life (hopefully they won’t change that). I will still fly United where it is useful and price competitive, but given the now even higher requirements for 1K, I won’t think twice about flying another airline if it’s a better connection or lower price.
United should think more about their million mile flyers if they want to keep their loyalty.
I’m a bit confused on 1mm and up? If you are about to become a Million Miler in 2020 – are they still counting miles in the same way… with the same reward?
I am also curious as to how this will affect the calculation towards Lifetime Gold Status, I’m at 700k and have been counting down to hitting that mark. It’s really the main reason I’ve stayed with United for so may years. If they kill it I’d totally consider flying other airlines.
Any mention of ‘frequent’ flyer should be removed from this program… imagine not getting top tier if you spend an average of $150 (without taxes) per segment at 100 segments a year… but someone who flies 8 segments at $3000 per segment does achieve it.
How is this a Frequent Flyer program?
Very fair point.
Yup, time to cancel that United credit card, its worthless at this point. Amex lounges are nicer, baggage fees are irrelevant with status. I suppose the miles are useful but other cards come with vastly better rates.
Yeah – totally messed up. I’m 1k and million miler and hit my 1k status this year by June due to Business flights to/from Europe and Middle East and east coast. I won’t come CLOSE to the segments, especially with losing the segment bonus for first/business. I may make it on spend but that won’t be until the end of the year instead of JUNE. Also doesn’t say how additional GPUs/upgrade points will be granted. I’ll hit close to 175 pqm this year but I’ll be hard pressed to even make 1k status next year. Agreed that it hurts people that live in hubs and that book first class domestic without stops. BAD MOVE UNITED to hurt your most loyal. I’ll be looking closer at American who via promotion granted me Platinum status this year.
Yeah, this screws me – I fly a lot of business class international segments (sometimes on Star Alliance partners), so I always have more than 100k miles but don’t generally spend $18k. Probably won’t fork over the $$$ to renew 1K this year, even though I will have over 150k miles. Guess I won’t worry so much in the future about Star Alliance vs SkyTeam vs oneworld.
I’m a 1M business flyer and earn my 1K status on international flights out of SFO to EMEAR and APJC. My company searches for the least expensive seats possible. I haven’t done a deep analysis, but my gut reaction is that this is not good news for me and will impact my loyalty to United.
I think the point @Levy is making is that long haul cheap J on star alliance partners gives you the quickest and cheapest path to status. Unless I’m missing something, the award miles / 5 =PSP. If I have 24k it doesn’t matter how many segments, I qualify for 1K right?
At the end of this year I will have flown over 68,000 miles on 62 segments, but only spent about $5,300. I work for a non-profit organization, so while I’m on a plane on average 1-3 times per month, keeping costs down is very important for me. Having gold status has made flying this frequently so much nicer, especially since purchasing an upgrade or booking a more expensive seat/ticket is usually out of the question. With this new structure, I’ll reach silver, but pretty much be guaranteed to never go any higher than that.
I have pretty much exclusively flown United for about 10 years now because I liked their MileagePlus program better than their competitors, but this, coupled with the dynamic reward flight pricing they’re rolling out next month makes me feel like it would be better to take my business somewhere else.
This new system seems designed for business class flyers who go international, not domestic like I do, or less frequent travelers, but those who spend more on a couple of flights per year.
I understand this is a business move to reward those who spend a lot with United, but it makes loyal customers like me feel devalued. I’m looking at switching to Delta.
I have been watching with some dismay as the PQM and spend kept rising. I will be hard pressed to make 1K again for many of the same reasons outlined above. I did determine that being 1K isn’t really much of a benefit at this point, as I have the Chase Club card which gets lounge access and baggage, and 1MM gets Economy Plus.
What benefit are others getting from being a 1K (other than boarding before Group One)? I have been a 1K for the last three years, and like others will likely not qualify next year due to PQD.
I clear upgrades on domestic routes from a non-hub station with significant regularity. The Plus Points will also make it easier for me to apply upgrades I want (long haul international) at better rates (upgrading from Premium economy to business) more often by not having to use Regional Upgrades only on regional flights and GPUs only on long haul flights.
It seems like I’ll still be OK, even though I don’t qualify by the segments (SFO-HKG many times per year). I should qualify on the spend (around $40k/yr).
Sadly, because I only fly about 150k miles/year I don’t think that I’ll make GS status.
For the Million Milers among us: Just a quick note that although mileage will no longer factor into qualification for Premier status, the Million Miler program will continue to be based on lifetime miles flown.
I’ve flown UA from Australia to USA soley for the last 8 years. I flew UA due to the ability to reach 1K. I also have the Chase Club card. Doing the numbers, the new program UA will make me switch to Qantas and dump the Chase card.
Absolutely hate it!
I think this is awesome news. Currently I’ve flown 27 segments with United this year, but have NO status. However someone that flies 1 RT on business class will earn more status than me. So that doesn’t make any sense.
Looks like United will be rewarding true frequent fliers, which is a welcome change for those of us that have to fly frequently for work.
No a great move by United to go from a Loyalty program format to a Value based program format. As the qualifications requirements are higher now, the services, quality, and perks remain the same for each tier.
As a loyal frequent flyer, I have forgiven United in many occasions for their delays, lack of response, and in some cases professional behavior of some representatives at the counter and in flight.
As a Value customer I may not be so forgiven.
United needs to step up its service, improve the customer experience, and professional development of its personnel at the same rate that it requires more Value spend from their customers tier qualifications.
I fly to Asia 4 times a year, Europe once, and quite a bit domestically. I am in academia so I can only buy economy class tickets. I have been 1k for the last 14 or 15 years, but it will be unattainable for me after next year. For me, the only benefit to 1k was the GPUs. I am 6’5, and the economy seats on those long haul flights to Asia are terrible for someone my size. I will hit 2 million miles next year, and after that I have no incentive to even try for status on United as I will be lifetime platinum anyway. (I was planning to push for 3 million lifetime over the next few years, but given their recent action I have zero confidence that the 1k benefits will be there after I reach that level.) I will probably still use them for most of my domestic flights, but they can forget about my business on any international flights. I will sign up with one of the Asian airlines, they have more comfortable seats, much better food, and more non-stop flights from the east coast. I’ll be glad to avoid SFO, and if I have to fly economy then a 16 hour direct flight is much better that a 28 hour 1-stop flight.
The most annoying thing, after losing my chance for international upgrades, is their justification for the change, that they want to reward their “most loyal and valued customers.” I can understand making things easier for the big spenders that don’t rack up the miles, but this change seems specifically designed to push people like me out of 1k status. I would think that 15 years of 1k membership would be valuable and demonstrate loyalty, I plan to let United know that I got their message loud and clear, and they can not count on my loyalty in the future.
I also have quite a few international colleagues in Asia that are going to drop United like a hot potato.
Other than your being 6’5″ (I’m 6′), your note captures much of my situation pretty well. I’m also an academic, sitting at 1.9M lifetime miles, have been able to hit 100K miles for the past 6 or 7 years by typically doing a few RTs to Asia/Australia and a few to Europe each year from the West Coast, with lots of cross-country flights to DCA for business and to BDL to see my nonagenarian dad. While I like boarding before Group 1 and getting free food from the cart in coach, the GPUs have been my main motivator. However I’ve often been unable to use them because my upgrades don’t clear, so I end up giving a few away each year to friends. I’ve been living in Vancouver for the past two years and so have been able to avoid the increased dollar requirements–a benefit that’s now going away.
Having said all that, I’m not really complaining about the new system. 1K has been an irrational addiction for me that has caused some existential angst because I’ve run two of the most prominent university sustainability institutes in the U.S., and my obscene carbon footprint (from chasing 1K status) has been a dirty little secret that I rationalized by the “importance” of my climate-related research and policy work. It will be a relief to no longer rack up that carbon debt, relying more on Skype and Zoom meetings.
been a loyal united flyer for years… no longer. This system absolutely destroys anyone who travels a lot internationally or who travels long haul. I think they will lose a lot of long time customers from this move. Although, i bet premier upgrades will be much easier to get.
But if you’re 1K on United, it looks like the best Delta will offer you is Platinum.
Ditto to everything above.
I am a small business owner and cover my own expenses. I don’t fly domestic as often as my travels take me to Asia on average 8 times annually. I have been loyal to UA since 1986. They continue to move the goal posts for requirements knowing they have us locked into their LOYALTY PROGRAM benefits that are earned in the previous year. Enough is enough for me. I cannot hit 54 PQF’s in a year. The new program throws me to the curb and I will now have to put UA into the arena with other carriers searching for price and schedule instead of giving them my blind allegiance for all flights domestic and foreign.
I ask UA, why do you have to 86 the foreign traveler to appease the domestic traveler? Develop a hybrid to keep us all in the game. And can we drop the term “loyalty”? This is a revenue program pure and simple and it caters to the flyer that is on a corporate expense card. Call it what it is and stop insulting us. Spend $24,000 for 1K and only fly four segments? Are you serious now? Small business is going to be hurt by this new program. Thanks for this fine display of Loyalty UA.
The business travelers should have no problem bec their companies will pick up all of the travel costs, but for their regular recreational travelers who pay the entirety of their ticket themselves, we will feel the bite more. Lucky I have Gold status this year and will get one more year of status with United. After that, I will be a free agent and just buying the best priced ticket out there. I will also get rid of my Chase Club Card and switch over to the Sapphire Reserve card. Same annual fee but I won’t be tied to United Airlines.
Love all the comments and glad to hear I am not the only one disappointed in UA’s changes. One can be LOYAL, fly United for every trip they take, and not spend a fortune. Money spent does not show loyalty, but flying the same airline over and over does. United is sure punishing people that do not fly first class, or pay for their own tickets within their budget. United is pushing everyone to higher priced tickets, that doesn’t show loyalty, but rather only customers who may have more money than brains. A variety of fare rates, is their for the consumer, to use, therefore, United is wrong to punish those customers and only reward the high price ticket purchase. Without the low end buyer who buys repeatedly, United will eventually feel the pinch. Southwest Airlines is looking more and more desirable with their 2 bags fly FREE AND NO CHANGE FEES!!!!
My loyalty is gone. I used to be a frequent flyer on many airlines, but now fly primarily for personal use and choose United for their Mileage Plus plan and Chase relationship. I only log 60 – 80 k per year, mostly on long haul Asia routes which gave me gold status, and made travel on United nice. Now I will get zero status and will fly solely on price and schedule. Goodbye United.
Long time Chase United Presidential Plus Card small business owner. Do not fly often (but always on United) but paid for the annual fee as we could buy an upgrade in status based on Flexible Premier Qualifying Miles. Have banked those miles and have enough to buy status upgrade for the next five years…..now gone. By by Chase….by by United. It appears neither of you care about us small biz loyal customers.
QUESTION THAT CHASE CAN NO ANSWER>..
Currently on their website (Chase United Presidential Plus Card)….
Complimentary upgrades on award tickets for Premier members
The primary Cardmember who is also a MileagePlus Premier member traveling on a domestic MileagePlus award ticket will be eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades on eligible United-operated flights (when available).
Will at least this benefit continue under the new 2020 United Qualifying rules…
Did a quick comparison of my 2019 travels.
Old program: 1K – 140k miles
New program: Platinum – 16k PQP and 56 PQF
Had I booked all my flights through a partner airline instead: 1k – 28k PQP and 56 PQP
I don’t live in the US and have a lot of European flights and 5-6 flights a year to the US. In my case retaining 1k will be easier which doesn’t makes sense if you want your customers to spend money with UA.
1) This kills off the unprofitable 1K like me who flies economy plus transcon practically weekly, but since it’s economy, the average ticket is maybe $250. Just making it to 1k this year with the added spend required some creativity.
2) this kills off the unprofitable economy international flier and shunts them to partner airlines.
3) As others have noted, it rewards biz class fliers. Period. Not surprisingly that’s their goal as they’re more profitable.
1) if you’re paying for biz class out of pocket, status doesn’t matter
2) if you’re getting biz class paid for by your business, you’re likely (not all, but likelier) higher income and status doesn’t matter as much for you.
So…it’s hard to see the net result of this as anything other than culling 1k qualifiers for the whales as noted above.
The problem with this logic:
1) as stated, status is less important
2) United’s product is so inferior, if you’re not really loyal (because status is less important), why would you buy tickets on United? Go with partners, go with almost any other carrier. Guys like me flew United because the status made the road warrior BS more bearable, plus they pretty much fly everywhere all the time so the miles helped with vacations. a 50% step up in spend? really? for what? nothing new in service. That alone is galling. It might work if they could promise that when you put in GPUs (or the equivalent) you’d actually know if you got upgraded, but no, they can’t even do that.
I’d suggest you take a closer look at the partner offerings.