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MileagePlus Announces Details for Combined Program: All Those Revenue-Based Elite Status Rumors Were Nonsense

“Worry is interest paid in advance on a debt that never comes due…” – David Mamet’s The Spanish Prisoner

Remember all that hoo-hah about United moving to a program where you earn status based on spending? Turns out it’s all nonsense.

United has announced the details of the combined MileagePlus program (details here), and while of course some people will whine about anything, it’s hard to dispute that the changes they’ve made are fair.

I’m not going to just recap everything in that link, but the major details are:

- Program will roll out Q1 or so next year.
- 4 Tiers (Silver, Gold, Platinum, 1K – they are keeping Global Service) requiring 25k/50k/75k/100k qualifying miles or 25/50/75/100 segments.
- Gold get 50% bonus miles (instead of 100%), Platinum get 75% bonus miles (instead of 100% before). Other tiers are unchanged.
- Paid First gets 250% bonus miles
- Chicago-Hawaii; intra-Pacific (except HNL-GUM; NRT-BKK; NRT-SIN) eligible for unlimited upgrades
- Silver only get access to Economy Plus 24 hours in advance and only get 1 checked bag.
- Miles expire with 18 months inactivity
- Lifetime miles will be calculated based on butt-in-seat miles, but they will make a 1-time adjustment to boost United BIS miles to Elite miles to match with how Continental was calculating lifetime miles.
- 1 million lifetime miles gets you Lifetime Gold (generous), 2 million gets platinum, 3 million gets 1K, 4 million Global Services. Million Milers can give spouse the same level of Elite.
- Former Infinite Elites will get Lifetime Platinum status (though no Systemwide Upgrades).
- Platinum and 1K get free access to Global Entry ($100 value)

There’s more detail in there, but it seems that they have create a pretty generous program. On Flyertalk there is moaning about some of the details, especially around Silver’s baggage allowance reduction and access to Economy Plus (Silver pretty much is what you get by having their credit card) and Gold Status (Gold members will earn at least 25,000 fewer miles with that bonus reduction). Get over it. This is still a generous program, and for those of us who loved OnePass, there’s little reason to be disappointed with what they’ve done here.

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  1. Silvers just lost the only good thing about being an elite, but since you told me to ‘get over it’ I feel better already.

    You probably don’t want to kick your readers why they are down.

  2. While they’re down? Silvers lost 1 free checked bag and an earlier shot at Economy Plus seats. Economy Plus is frequently available 24 hours out. Yes, you’ll shave to pay for a second checked bag. If that’s the reason you’ll fly with one airline versus another, then feel free to status match elsewhere.

    Most people will benefit from the above changes. If some flyers don’t, then they’re welcome to status match to Delta and complain about not being able to use SkyMiles.

  3. On United’s website, it states this:

    January 1, 2012, will be the final deposit of Systemwide Upgrades for new (through December 31, 2011) Mileage Plus Million Mile Flyers and Regional Upgrades for current 2011 Mileage Plus Million Mile Flyers.

    This seems to imply that they will no longer be awarding Systemwides or Regionals after 1/1/12. I haven’t been able to get a clarification yet from United. Have you heard anything?

  4. So cutting the mileage bonus in half for Premier Execs (now Premier Gold) is “pretty generous”? We must use different dictionaries.

    • Yes, they cut the mileage bonus on Gold members. For Gold members, that is pretty much the only drawback. Unlimited domestic upgrades (with pretty good availability in many cases) is still there, with Hawaii now thrown in for good measure (except EWR, IAH and DEN). 1 million lifetime miles get you Gold (and your spouse Gold, for life). I know the drop in bonus miles stings (I know because I’m Gold on Continental), but I still think that overall this is the best program out there.

  5. yeah get over it…who are you a member of the new united board who drinks their Kool Aid? This is not a good thing…it sucks! And anybody who thinks it is should have their head examined. This is just another of many take-a-ways over the last couple of years.

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