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Poll: Elite Qualifying Req.  
User currently offlineeinsteinboricua From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2010, 3060 posts, RR: 8
Posted (7 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 877 times:

So, I've noticed that Delta has now enacted the Medallion Qualifying Segments/Miles and Medallion Qualifying Dollars. United also has a similar requirement. American has yet to follow suit.

For those that earn miles (whether by flying or by other means), are you OK with these new requirements?

The pro is the con: you create a rather exclusive club of elites by making it harder to get elite status.

Have you considered switching to/from one of these programs?


"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25143 posts, RR: 46
Reply 1, posted (7 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 843 times:

I have long believed airline programs should be tied to spending much like your grocery store, gas station, most hotels and some car rental programs.
To me there is very much a correlation between spending and your value as a customer for an enterprise, something particularly true for airline industry with its cost inputs to transport you.

As years have gone by airlines have smartly adjusted relaunched programs (B6, WN, etc) which primarily focus on spending, while finally the majors are getting onboard also with the added spending layer.

Ultimately, if one is truly a 'frequent flyer' reaching, these thresholds spend should not be a problem as they are rather conservative. Even top level $10,000 annual spend might be generate by merely a couple of overseas trips.

So my goal would be to whittle down volumes of elite members. In recent years both AA and UA have made statements that I am aware of that elite ranks are swollen. Maybe by making attaining status harder and shedding the ranks will again make status mean something.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinehawaiian717 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3192 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (7 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 778 times:

The other thing MQD/PQD does is direct more spending back to the airline itself, since to meet the spend threshold the itinerary has to be ticketed through DL/UA. So now, if I book a flight on a SkyTeam partner like CI, I can still get MQM/MQS, but not MQD, unless I book it as a DL codeshare rather than directly through CI.

User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19564 posts, RR: 58
Reply 3, posted (7 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 773 times:

Quoting hawaiian717 (Reply 2):
The other thing MQD/PQD does is direct more spending back to the airline itself, since to meet the spend threshold the itinerary has to be ticketed through DL/UA. So now, if I book a flight on a SkyTeam partner like CI, I can still get MQM/MQS, but not MQD, unless I book it as a DL codeshare rather than directly through CI.

And that would drive me crazy as an elite flyer. I thought alliances were supposed to be "seamless." Apparently not.


User currently offlinehawaiian717 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3192 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (7 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 770 times:

All is not well in alliance land. Delta's new partner earning scheme puts SkyTeam partner Korean Air down in group 4, meaning no Medallion credit at all: http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_...-miles-with-partners/airlines.html

User currently offlineyeogeo From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 882 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (7 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 769 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 1):
Ultimately, if one is truly a 'frequent flyer' reaching, these thresholds spend should not be a problem as they are rather conservative. Even top level $10,000 annual spend might be generate by merely a couple of overseas trips. So my goal would be to whittle down volumes of elite members. In recent years both AA and UA have made statements that I am aware of that elite ranks are swollen. Maybe by making attaining status harder and shedding the ranks will again make status mean something.

Thankyou LAX! This is it in a nutshell!

Quoting hawaiian717 (Reply 2):
The other thing MQD/PQD does is direct more spending back to the airline itself, since to meet the spend threshold the itinerary has to be ticketed through DL/UA.
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
that would drive me crazy as an elite flyer. I thought alliances were supposed to be "seamless." Apparently not.

Really? Perhaps inconvenient in some way for some fliers but hardly a surprise, surely.

yeo



Yokoso! to my world
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22917 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (7 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 742 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 1):
Ultimately, if one is truly a 'frequent flyer' reaching, these thresholds spend should not be a problem as they are rather conservative. Even top level $10,000 annual spend might be generate by merely a couple of overseas trips.

  

DL tracked MQDs last year for folks' information. With no effort, I think I hit the silver MQD threshold on my third or fourth trip of the year, when I had perhaps a third of the miles and segments required for silver. The DL program will hurt folks who do a lot of flying on OALs and those who buy a lot of insanely cheap mileage run type tickets. Others should see no effect.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineskiaplg From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2012, 74 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 690 times:

As someone who lives abroad but splits my flying between OneWorld and SkyTeam, I've moved out of Delta's program to Flying Blue, ever since the MQD requirement as I fly Air France as well as China Eastern/Southern and it is the only way to get status in SkyTeam, flying Delta itself only once or twice a year. Now I have zero desire to fly Delta because of their unnecessary attitudes with the SkyTeam partners. I keep my American account, however if they instituted a MQD scheme I would move to Avios, I guess, even though I don't do most of my flying on British Airways.

User currently offlineosubuckeyes From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 703 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 668 times:

I fly usually 5 or 6 cross country trips a year and a few smaller trips to Cali, although those were usually on US. I have been Silver on DL for a 6 years I believe, and got close to Gold a few times. With the MQD it will end up being really close whether I hit silver or not again, but if I don't there is no reason for me to fly DL over any other carrier, and if that is fine with DL that is fine with me. Overall I was probably spending around 2-3k in MQD while rollover MQMs pretty much kept me Silver, and it will be a gamble if I make it again.

I completely understand the reasoning behind MQDs and limiting the pool of elites, but there certainly is something to be said for semi-regular travelers that currently fly DL that would earn lower status or fall out all together. There is less incentive to keep flying DL if you are a mid value customer that will be downgraded/or fall out.


User currently offlineyeogeo From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 882 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (7 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 660 times:

Quoting osubuckeyes (Reply 8):

Not to be too blunt about it, but you are exactly the chaff that DL and other carriers are looking to let drift away. Not only not flying exclusively Delta, but not even flying exclusively w. Skyteam... and then there's your yearly $.
I can see where this is heading.

Quoting osubuckeyes (Reply 8):
there is no reason for me to fly DL over any other carrier, and if that is fine with DL that is fine with me

Its good you have a good attitude about it  

yeo



Yokoso! to my world
User currently offlinegenybustrvlr From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 616 times:

I'm shocked that the spending thresholds are so low.

The 1K threshold on United is $10,000 or about $0.10 per mile. However, United's CASM in 2013 was $0.1439. In theory, a customer could hit 1K while the airline loses quite a bit of money, assuming PQMs were earned on United. Alternatively, an occasional, semi-lucrative customer who primarily flies other *alliance carries could hit 1K with marginal profit to the airline. Hardly seems worth the extra cost and lost revenue associated with providing either of these hypothetical customers with any elite benefits, forget about 1K…

For comparison, I'm a loyal, United flying, 1K, and did a bit of analysis of my own flying. I racked up (a low) 123K miles in 2013 with a spend of a little more than $36K which comes out to just below $0.30 revenue per seat mile. This is a combo of domestic coach and international business, personal and mostly business in each category. I suspect that United probably has Platinum and maybe even Gold members with similar spending patterns but a less aggressive flying schedules than I. However, the loss making passenger and semi-lucrative passenger above will be treated better based upon the structure of the Mileage Plus program.

Very puzzling and it seems like the spending thresholds should be much higher. As the airlines admit, and frequent fliers know, elite ranks need to be thinned out. Simply raising the spending threshold to the baseline break-even point would be an easy and very justifiable start. For United this means about a 50% increase at each level. That sounds like a real good start for booting out zero value elites and increasing the customer experience for those of us who pay the bills.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22917 posts, RR: 20
Reply 11, posted (7 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 584 times:

Quoting genybustrvlr (Reply 10):
Very puzzling and it seems like the spending thresholds should be much higher. As the airlines admit, and frequent fliers know, elite ranks need to be thinned out. Simply raising the spending threshold to the baseline break-even point would be an easy and very justifiable start. For United this means about a 50% increase at each level. That sounds like a real good start for booting out zero value elites and increasing the customer experience for those of us who pay the bills.

I wonder how many low value upper level elites there really are. In college (early 2000s), I was able to earn low level status on various carriers fairly thriftily--stuff like 7 4 segment $200 r/ts on NW (IIRC NW was 25 segments for silver then). It would have been much harder to spend $10,000 on a carrier. My perception is that there are many more low level "low value" elites than high level "low value" elites, but in terms of absolute numbers and in terms of percentages of total elites at a given level. I may be completely wrong about that, though.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25143 posts, RR: 46
Reply 12, posted (7 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 572 times:

Quoting genybustrvlr (Reply 10):
Very puzzling and it seems like the spending thresholds should be much higher.

The levels are fair for now.

If you read in places like flyertalk, many people proudly managed 1K at below $10,000 spend. For example 20 transcons at $300-400 a piece can be as low at $5,000 in revenue when the taxes and fees are backed out.

So the $2,500, $5,000, $7,500 and $10,000 spend thresholds for now are good to see how things work out for a few years.

I suspect both DL and UA ran a look back analysis to see where they would be with their FF pool if the policy had been in previous year and the spend requirement certainly will trap a few folks that manage to chase rock bottom fares or are in this for a game.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3970 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (7 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 554 times:
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I'm all for whatever the airlines can do to eliminate gate leeches fighting and scheming to be onboard the aircraft first and generally making a right annoyance of themselves. If these new spending thresholds go a way towards that goal, fantastic. If they don't, I really don't care. One look at my UA accounts and my travel spend tells me it won't make a difference.

Except for the very top of elite rankings, benefits are harder and harder to come by nowadays since there are more and more members than ever at the highest levels, in parts thanks to web site such as FT helping them maximize their benefits while minimizing their spend. I certainly don't blame them, their behavior is absolutely normal and justified, but since airlines are not going to throw in more seats in First just to increase upgrade opportunities, the next solution is obviously to cull the number of elites so that the remaining ones can actually enjoy the benefits they were promised.

Generally speaking, I think the key is finding a middle ground to reward high revenue customers as well as frequent customers. Does an airline make more money off one passenger flying once on a $5,000 ticket or 10 times on a $500 ticket for the same city pair?

Since an airline's success, as a business, is ultimately measured in terms of revenue, not passengers carried, slanting the rewards scheme to give precedence to revenue over frequency seems justified.

[Edited 2014-01-07 10:56:52]


I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 572 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 537 times:

One of the major impacts for SkyMiles is that while MQMs continue to roll over each year, MQDs will not. I've consistently been flying 40k - 45k miles per year on DL lately, and with rollover miles, it works out to still make Gold about 2 years out of 3. But with MQDs not rolling over it will be interesting to see if that changes. I think that rollover miles are responsible for a lot of the inflation of elites that you hear about at DL (there are a lot PMs that should be Gold, and Golds that should be Silver). But I also think that it has helped them win some customers.

Where it affects me is that I will actually be more willing to fly other airlines now. I've previously stayed loyal to DL late in the year after hitting my status level, because I knew the miles would roll over. But now, I'll be more willing to take a different carrier after hitting the MQD threshold if I know that there's no chance of reaching the next level.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 6):
DL tracked MQDs last year for folks' information. With no effort, I think I hit the silver MQD threshold on my third or fourth trip of the year, when I had perhaps a third of the miles and segments required for silver. The DL program will hurt folks who do a lot of flying on OALs and those who buy a lot of insanely cheap mileage run type tickets. Others should see no effect.

I was glad that they tracked it. I started 2013 with a nice collection of rollover miles, earned about 46k MQMs, and am Gold again for 2014, but I was glad to see that my MQDs in 2013 were enough for Gold. Hopefully it holds up this year.



Coming Up: VIE-CDG-SLC-BZN
User currently offlinegenybustrvlr From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (7 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 499 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):
The levels are fair for now.

If you read in places like flyertalk, many people proudly managed 1K at below $10,000 spend. For example 20 transcons at $300-400 a piece can be as low at $5,000 in revenue when the taxes and fees are backed out.

We'll have to agree to disagree. There is no way an airline makes money off of individuals chasing rock bottom fares and they should not be rewarded with perks. The problem must have been atrocious if the airlines are satisfied with minimums which equate to a loss on a CASM/RASM basis.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 13):
I'm all for whatever the airlines can do to eliminate gate leeches

Wishful thinking! It's usually the group 4 family blocking me from boarding in group 1.

I will say that I find UAs boarding lanes to be helpful. The risk of being last in one's boarding group if turned around for trying to board early is a useful deterrent. I've noticed mixed enforcement but when people are stopped, the gate agents seem to send them to the back of the line for their group, appropriately.


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