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UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:57 pm

According to USA Today, United will join Delta in requiring minimum spends on UA-issued tickets in addition to reaching mileage threshholds to qualify for Premier status starting in 2014.

The spends are the same as DL's I believe--$2,500 for Premier Silver; $5,000 for Gold; $7,500 for Platinum; and $10,000 for 1K.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayi...o-elite-status-qualifying/2433545/
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:02 pm

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LAXintl
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:38 pm

Excellent   

IMO, loyalty programs should have long been tied to spending, not simply churning miles.
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Tugger
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:47 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
IMO, loyalty programs should have long been tied to spending, not simply churning miles.

And in my opinion it takes out almost all of.... what the fun? the skill? the interesting part of of being a true FF of an airline. It reduces it to that one thing that everything is rated in: $$$.

I think many av fans and fans of airlines and FF's in general take great joy and/or appreciation in being able to "build miles" via looking at routing and work with available deals to achieve FF levels. This move, while understandable from strictly dollars and sense approach takes much of what I mentioned out of the equation. So it is what it is and it makes sense but they will lose people with it. But I they are obviously OK with that as they are also reducing the customer benefit on the redemption side of the FF programs.

I'll miss people doing "mileage runs". Ah well, progress.

Tugg
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GCT64
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:49 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 1):
From the source:
http://www.mileageplusupdates.com/fa....html

Thank you for posting the definitive FAQ, gave me the answer I needed:  

"Does the Premier qualifying dollars (PQD) requirement apply to members who reside outside of the United States?
No. The Premier qualifying dollar (PQD) requirement only applies to members whose primary MileagePlus account address is in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia."

For those in the US, worth noting this caveat:
"Do taxes count as Premier qualifying dollars (PQD)?
No. Government imposed taxes, fees, and charges are not eligible for Premier qualifying dollars (PQD)"
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FlyPIJets
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:52 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 3):
I'll miss people doing "mileage runs". Ah well, progress.

Why would you need to stop mileage runs?

I mean I understand if you weren't spending $$$ with an airline you don't deserve status. But I don't understand why you still wouldn't enjoy racking up miles.
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:58 pm

As far as I am concerned, it is no big deal since I do more than those thresholds anyway.
 
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:58 pm

Quoting FlyPIJets (Reply 5):
But I don't understand why you still wouldn't enjoy racking up miles.

In most cases it'll be far cheaper to just buy miles outright than fly mileage runs, if you don't have high enough status to earn elite bonuses.
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:59 pm

Quoting FlyPIJets (Reply 5):
Why would you need to stop mileage runs?

Mileage runs are done to get status and in general refers to doing a maximized mileage trips for the least money/time to meet the status level you want (finding that on sale trip for $99 say between SAN and LAX that gives you a minimum of 500 miles each way). As things switch to just dollars thresholds that won't be done. FF's (those desiring to be FF's) will need to do "money runs" to spend up the the required amount for status.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 7):
In most cases it'll be far cheaper to just buy miles outright than fly mileage runs, if you don't have high enough status to earn elite bonuses.

 checkmark 
Why waste time and go through hassles at the airport etc when it is easier and less time to simply buy the miles?

Tugg

[Edited 2013-06-18 09:03:09]
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delta2ual
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:15 pm

On the one hand, I am glad to see this. Those people that spend the most should get the perks. The standby lists for upgrades are too long. I wonder if they should just get rid of the mileage requirement all together. This new system is a step in the right direction, but won't this potentially hurt someone who takes a very expensive international trip (meeting the $ threshold) but doesn't quite have the miles?
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AeroWesty
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:50 pm

Quoting delta2ual (Reply 9):
This new system is a step in the right direction, but won't this potentially hurt someone who takes a very expensive international trip (meeting the $ threshold) but doesn't quite have the miles?

It's still a frequent flyer program, not a frequent spender program. It should be based on miles. If they want to add a spending qualification, so be it, that's a separate issue.

Who will get hosed: Those buying tickets which have UA or partner airline segments, but the ticket is plated on another airline's stock. Those won't count towards PQDs.
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redzeppelin
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:58 pm

It was only a matter of time. AA can't be far behind.

Quoting delta2ual (Reply 9):
but won't this potentially hurt someone who takes a very expensive international trip (meeting the $ threshold) but doesn't quite have the miles?

I think that they still want to reward loyalty, and the easiest way to recognize loyalty is by counting flight segments or miles. So I guess the guy who buys a Global First ticket to HKG will be the one who is still doing mileage runs to get status next year, while the rest of us will be couning pennies instead of pounding on gcmap.com to figure out which route is longer. As for the comment about buying miles being cheaper than doing the run, I doubt that the cash spent to buy miles will count toward the spend requirement. And purchased miles don't typically count for qualification either, except during the occasional end-of-year promotion.
 
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:29 pm

Quoting redzeppelin (Reply 11):
As for the comment about buying miles being cheaper than doing the run, I doubt that the cash spent to buy miles will count toward the spend requirement.

You're correct, but part of the deal with mileage runs was earning cheap spendable miles. Now that spend thresholds will be difficult for those flying on cheap tickets to meet, it will make it more difficult to earn miles this way for a low price. The elite bonuses which bring RDM levels down to 2¢ or less won't be part of the equation unless you have other flying or the CC waiver working on your behalf.

Better off to buy miles using the award accelerator or other means if you just want cheap miles to turn into premium class international award tickets.
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777STL
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:36 pm

I don't see this as a bad thing. The spending limits aren't extravagant and if you can't meet those, you have no business being an elite anyway.
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lindberghflyer
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:40 pm

This really ups the ante for AA to do the same. If they don't, they are very likely to end up with the dregs of the ff world-the people who DL and UA shook out of their programs. Having these people, plus having the low-rev AAdvantage elite members (and soon dividend milers) will significantly degrade AAdvantage. When you combine this with changes like the a319 being only 9f, you can see how AAdvantage could become highly undesirable for high revenue frequent fliers (outside of Dallas and Miami at least and excluding people who pay for F ALL the time).
 
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:42 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 10):
Who will get hosed: Those buying tickets which have UA or partner airline segments, but the ticket is plated on another airline's stock. Those won't count towards PQDs.

It looks like if you buy your ticket on United.com and get a 016 ticket you will get your PQD's.

"You will earn Premier qualifying dollars (PQD) on most:
Flights operated by United, United Express, or Copa Airlines
Flights operated by a Star Alliance® or a MileagePlus partner airline and issued on a United ticket (ticket number starting with 016)
Economy Plus purchases"
 
AeroWesty
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:48 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 15):
It looks like if you buy your ticket on United.com and get a 016 ticket you will get your PQD's.

Yes, that's why I pointed out that those likely to get hurt the most will be those who get plated on another airline's stock. Some people, like those who go through corporate travel agents, don't have the luxury of directing their tickets onto 016 stock.
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:58 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 3):
And in my opinion it takes out almost all of.... what the fun? the skill? the interesting part of of being a true FF of an airline. It reduces it to that one thing that everything is rated in: $$$.
Quoting 777STL (Reply 13):
I don't see this as a bad thing. The spending limits aren't extravagant and if you can't meet those, you have no business being an elite anyway.

So, we see there are two sides to every argument.

Now, I have intention, whatsoever, of ceasing mileage junkets -- that is, flying to places I would never travel to otherwise in a million years because the fare-for-mileage balance is just right. Or flying somewhere and back with the same flight crew for the same reason.

So unless they start specifying the buying of tickets from United.com exclusively, I'm still in business.
 
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:00 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 10):
It's still a frequent flyer program, not a frequent spender program.

Its a loyalty program at the end, and not all customers are created equal simply because they rack up infinite number of low value miles.

Its nice to see airlines circling back and refocusing their programs on being able to differentiate better who is who amongst their client base.
Other industries have long figured out its good to equate spending with rewards.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 16):
Some people, like those who go through corporate travel agents, don't have the luxury of directing their tickets onto 016 stock.

Oh common. I hardly expect a US company to have their travel department issue tickets on Air Canada or something. Sure there might be exceptions, but if one travels UA they will ticket on UA.

Anyhow corporate travel is another world, as FF benefits are often part of the deal and not subject to all the normal earning rules anyhow.
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AeroWesty
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:03 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 18):
Sure there might be exceptions, but if one travels UA they will ticket on UA.

We were talking about tickets with mixed carriers. If you fly to Europe on Air Canada and return on United, would you expect to be ticketed on AC or UA stock? I would expect it to be AC.
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:10 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 18):
Its nice to see airlines circling back and refocusing their programs on being able to differentiate better who is who amongst their client base.
Other industries have long figured out its good to equate spending with rewards.

I agree with that, but the implementation (like DL's plan) seems to fly in the face of all of the talk about metal-neutral alliances. If I fly to Europe on LH and back on UA, I now really need to ticket both halves of that trip on 016 stock. It didn't used to matter as far as Mileage Plus was concerned.

Shouldn't UA be rewarding spending on flights on which UA gets the revenue (either through operating the flight or through ATI) regardless of the booking/ticketing channel? If I sleep in a $200 room at the Marriott tonight, Marriott doesn't much care if I bought it on marriott.com or called the hotel directly and booked; my rewards points are the same either way. That's not the same in the airline industry.
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LAXintl
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:11 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 19):
We were talking about tickets with mixed carriers. If you fly to Europe on Air Canada and return on United, would you expect to be ticketed on AC or UA stock? I would expect it to be AC.

Suppose anything can happen, but plating has a commission aspect also, so if you have a UA corporate travel account, I would think they would try hard to continue ticketing on UA.

As a company if you are ticketing randomly across many airlines the revenue is not being accrued which can impact being able to meet required contractual revenue thresholds.

Frankly, I don't think this is a issue. A company with UA travel contract will ticket on UA to earn its own benefits, with the employees in return gaining theirs.
And again, I will mention, FF benefits are often part of corporate contract and not always subject to all the normal earning rules anyhow.
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:11 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 18):
Its a loyalty program at the end, and not all customers are created equal simply because they rack up infinite number of low value miles.

But the thing is one of the key, critical elements of loyalty programs is to be future oriented. They should not just focus on those than buy and can afford higher fare buckets now, the idea is to grow your customer, get them hooked and locked into your airline when they are young and poor and just flying their buts of as cheaply as possible (for their jobs, for fun, whatever). So that as they grow in income and ability and care more about comfort an the other perks that an airlines offers, they will stick with that one carrier and give their big money to them.

Yes, you must care for your higher dollar customers. But loyalty programs are supposed to lock in those that are currently "lower value" and create loyalty into the future.

I am not saying what is being done is wrong or anything like that, but that these "cheap seats" people are very important to loyalty programs.

Tugg
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:17 pm

$10000 for the top level seems incredibly low. This can't be much more then the cost of a business class ticket from the US to Asia or Europe plus on flight in the US. Hardly what I would call a top level frequent flyer.
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:23 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 15):
You will earn Premier qualifying dollars (PQD) on most:
....
Economy Plus purchases

I spy a differentiator! The new DL program does not count spending for Economy Comfort seats. Perhaps they'll match? It's a bit easier to pay over $100 for Y+ on a TATL if I know that money will count toward earning status.
 
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:26 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 21):
And again, I will mention, FF benefits are often part of corporate contract and not always subject to all the normal earning rules anyhow.

And again, I will mention that we were talking about a specific subsection of flyers, which I further qualified as to whom I believed it would apply to. As a reminder:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 10):
Who will get hosed: Those buying tickets which have UA or partner airline segments, but the ticket is plated on another airline's stock.

Not everyone has a UA account. I'm perplexed why you're making a mountain out of a molehill on this issue. Some people will be negatively affected by the rule changes. Simple.
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LAXintl
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:26 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 22):
loyalty programs is to be future oriented

Putting a spend requirement is future oriented.

It provides incentive to buy up, not simply seek out deep discount fares, but into higher fare buckets. Combined with some other restrictions or benefits it can encourage people to buy into those higher buckets as they get value back in return now.

Same things go for international travel. For example, if I needed to go to Far East for work, as a elite I could buy an upgradable economy ticket (W class or higher) for $1,800, or just directly get the discount business class ticket for $2,600. Knowing spending counts, I might as well hang onto the miles or upgrade certificate and forget about playing the upgrade lottery and just buy the seat directly.

Quoting cv990coronado (Reply 23):
$10000 for the top level seems incredibly low.

  

One or two full premium tickets and you are at $10k easy
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:28 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 21):
Suppose anything can happen, but plating has a commission aspect also, so if you have a UA corporate travel account, I would think they would try hard to continue ticketing on UA.

As a company if you are ticketing randomly across many airlines the revenue is not being accrued which can impact being able to meet required contractual revenue thresholds.

Frankly, I don't think this is a issue. A company with UA travel contract will ticket on UA to earn its own benefits, with the employees in return gaining theirs.
And again, I will mention, FF benefits are often part of corporate contract and not always subject to all the normal earning rules anyhow.

With my company, a top tier multi-billion dollar corporation, you are required to go with the lowest cost option for travel. In the last two years I have flown 84k miles but been booked on six different carriers: WN, AA, UA, DL, US, AS. I have next to no ability to build real loyalty with any carrier. Once upon a time (about 5 years ago now) we could essentially stick with one carrier relatively easily but new tools and rules have been put in place to force most travelers into the lowest fares for a trip no matter what. Only VP's or higher get to really "break the rules" and book a preferred (as in personally preferred) carrier.

Really annoying if I do say so myself.

Tugg
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mercure1
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:42 pm

I think this is good idea for airlines.

Make programs similar to hotels, or even supermarkets where spending component helps determine benefits/rewards.

I think many airline programs are spending based already in the US. Southwest, Jetblue, Virgin are all like so no?
 
LAXintl
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:47 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 27):

In other words your company does not have major travel loyalty to any airline, it just seeks the cheapest fare on the open market.

So at the end, such moves by DL or UA does not change much for many like you, as you don't even accrue the required miles let alone the dollar value.

But look at it from an airlines point of view. Why should they reward such lack of loyalty? If you/your company instead agreed to give a single airline the bulk of business, then the rewards could follow. It becomes a more win = win.
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SIA747Megatop
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:49 pm

$10,000? Is this in all classes of travel? At Singapore Airlines to gain access to the PPS Club one must spend S$25,000 exclusively in Business, First or Suites cabins. This only gives you access to Business Class check-in and lounge access. In order to enter the top tier (Solitaire) one must be a PPS Club member for 5 years. This will open up the First Class benefits.
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Rdh3e
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:07 pm

Quoting SIA747Megatop (Reply 30):
$10,000? Is this in all classes of travel? At Singapore Airlines to gain access to the PPS Club one must spend S$25,000 exclusively in Business, First or Suites cabins. This only gives you access to Business Class check-in and lounge access. In order to enter the top tier (Solitaire) one must be a PPS Club member for 5 years. This will open up the First Class benefits.

Keep in mind this is to get into the highest level you can "buy" your way into. This doesn't include Global Services, which from my understanding you must spend or control the spend of at least $200,000 and/or be in the top 1% of all spenders at the company, or be a high ranking politician etc. Point is, the highest level at UA is invite-only.
 
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:17 pm

As I said in the thread when DL introduced this, I'm surprised that airlines are choosing to implement a system like this now, and not back in the days of $99 coast-to-coast one way fares.

I know taxes aren't included, and so that knocks a few bucks off the average fare, but given today's higher ticket prices, it seems like it would be pretty difficult to reach 25,000 miles WITHOUT spending $2,500. There may be a few people who manage to hit the miles but still fall short on the spend if you get lucky with super-advance-purchase tickets; however, you'd still have to buy several of them, so why does the airline want to "punish" fairly loyal fliers?

I'm curious as to how much this really weeds out the elite ranks and/or drives additional revenue versus the bad PR it creates...
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Tugger
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:21 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 26):
Putting a spend requirement is future oriented.

It provides incentive to buy up, not simply seek out deep discount fares, but into higher fare buckets. Combined with some other restrictions or benefits it can encourage people to buy into those higher buckets as they get value back in return now.

You are missing the point and that is not how people book. We all well know that people go to the lowest cost option almost all the time when it is their money. Only when you spend someone elses money, as in travel for business, do people seem to pay more willingly (and in my case, no the company will not pay that upgrade fee, the employee would have to).

You want to build loyalty early on, get the passenger to begin to see value to keep flying with the one airline and FF miles do that and then begin to encourage the flyer to perhaps spend a bit more to keep their service level. Bu that really kicks in later as spending power increases.


Quoting LAXintl (Reply 26):
One or two full premium tickets and you are at $10k easy

That only works for those that have the money and they aren't looking at the FF miles as much as the service and value (city, schedule, etc) they are getting for that flight. Loyalty might be a factor for the convenience for someone in a lower fare but for those that buy those upper fares they already get through security faster and have more access to more perks in the airline simply for buying that class of ticket.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 29):

And for that low value frequent business flyer?
In other words your company does not have major travel loyalty to any airline, it just seeks the cheapest fare on the open market.

Actually we have contracts with every airline I mentioned except WN. But even with that everything is attempted to be competitive to reduce cost. But yes, we don't have any loyalty to any ONE airline as we don't need to, we're big enough to get their attention no matter what. If they don't deal with then they are not "favored" with easy ticketing. WN is this way, they don't do any special deal with us and so you need to get separate permission to use them (which happens often enough as they are either the best option schedule/city-wise or the lowest cost).

Tugg
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Cubsrule
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:33 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 33):
Only when you spend someone elses money, as in travel for business, do people seem to pay more willingly (and in my case, no the company will not pay that upgrade fee, the employee would have to).

That issue is almost entirely fixable if the carrier so chooses. Plenty of companies have "bought" 500 mile AA upgrades by purchasing tickets for their employees, since the 500 mile upgrades are a free benefit for gold and platinum AAdvantage members. Plenty of companies have "bought" upgrades to Economy Comfort on DL or Y+ on UA by virtue of having bought refundable tickets for their employees. I could continue with the list, but you get the idea.
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LAXintl
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:41 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 33):
You are missing the point and that is not how people book. We all well know that people go to the lowest cost option almost all the time when it is their money.

I'm not missing the point at all.

One of the fundamental jobs of a loyalty program is to help push people along for the benefit of the company by providing a carrot(s) to try bend that lowest cost mentality in this case in order to earn whatever benefits. There is a clear dollar price attached now to such perks.

You essentially said the exact same thing in your paragraph below.

Quoting tugger (Reply 33):
You want to build loyalty early on, get the passenger to begin to see value to keep flying with the one airline and FF miles do that and then begin to encourage the flyer to perhaps spend a bit more to keep their service level. Bu that really kicks in later as spending power increases.

The spending requirement is nothing different than what for example the LCCs are doing. As an example look at Frontier with their 3 fare buckets.
Yes you can always go the cheapest fare, but if you want to have a bit more comfort, or benefits, you buy up to a higher fare.

Here with the spending thresholds as employed in other sectors like hotels, the major airlines are finally and rightfully linking spending to benefits.

Quoting tugger (Reply 33):
That only works for those that have the money and they aren't looking at the FF miles as much as the service and value

Then go by 20 tickets at $500.

The point is the thresholds are not very hard to reach. The $2500, $5000, $7500, or $10,000 spends are pretty minor.
If anyone flew 100,000 miles and earned 1K with under $10K spend they must have done it with ridiculous $299 transcons.

Anyhow as DL is doing UA is allowing folks that spend $25,000 annually via their co-branded credit cards to forget the spending thresholds except for 1Ks. So spending ~$2k/month is another very simple option to earn elite level.
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DesertFlyer
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:44 pm

How are people getting Silver for less than $2500? I fly for work and pleasure, and barely hit Silver, but I definitely spend more than $2500 in a given year.
 
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cosyr
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:56 pm

it says on the base fare. What is to stop them from saying $200 for the fare and $200 fuel surcharge, so you only get credit for half, not to mention the ever increasing taxes and govt fees that earn nothing on?

I wonder why they say the credit card waiver of $25000 is only for 2014. Sort of a trial,or do you think it will become perminant? Or are they just trying to soften the blow for the first year so people get used to this new requirement?

I hope they'll allow $25k between all my cards, since I have 3. I'll spend that much, but not on one alone. I suppose it's too much to ask for Pres Plus to just have the requirements waived.

Also, since Y+ purchases count, they should also count club membership and these new annual subscriptions. Just a thought.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:58 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 33):
You are missing the point and that is not how people book.

  

Say if in my example of the split AC/UA ticket above, it's worth $2,000 each way in a lightly discounted Economy class. That's 40% of the way PQD-wise to Star Gold with UA. My workplace is also a multi-billion dollar enterprise as well, and we have a lowest fare rule too.

Our travel agency will return a list of various options to choose from, and we may select a preferred carrier/itinerary within a specific $ value, depending upon domestic or international travel. For example, I may reject the lowest-cost connection at SLC on DL if UA has a connection via DEN that's within a reasonable fare difference, without requesting an override.

If I'm getting credit for the UA flights in my above example, even if not on UA stock, that would give me incentive to choose UA flights when possible on other trips, including trips I pay for. Without it, there'd be less of an incentive to pick United for my next trip to Denver or Des Moines if it isn't going to do as much towards loyalty, since I missed out on the UA flights ticketed on AC stock.

The message UA is sending us is that they only consider us elite if we fly UA on UA-issued tickets. Any other UA flying or partner flying is chopped liver. We'll see how that works out for them in the long-term.
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kgaiflyer
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:58 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 18):
I hardly expect a US company to have their travel department issue tickets on Air Canada or something. Sure there might be exceptions, but if one travels UA they will ticket on UA.

It's not the same thing, but I've purchased codeshare tickets -- all flights operated by UA but written on 037 stock. So I know such things are done.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 19):
If you fly to Europe on Air Canada and return on United, would you expect to be ticketed on AC or UA stock? I would expect it to be AC.

Been there done that. The ticket would be written on 014 ticket stock -- not 016 ticket stock.

Funny story. I flew out of YYF in March with BC's Justice Minister and several of his subordinates on an AC Jazz flight. Since I booked AC using my UA FF # and I'm a 1-K, I got to board even ahead of the government of British Columbia.
 
MSPNWA
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:04 pm

It's always humorous watching the legacies backtrack on their FF programs in an attempt to reign in years of excessive benefits that diluted the program. And this looks like another case of sheep following the leader, even if it's into danger. I don't see them as having done their homework here. The changes by DL and now UA affect only a very small percentage of members, but the ones it does affect are the very type that need a loyalty card to fly your airline. Basing it off of both miles and dollars disproportionally affects travelers in highly competitive routes--the very routes loyalty programs are designed for. Take the silver level here for UA. It's not difficult to book 5-6 highly competitive transcons in advance and not make the dollar requirement. So you take your business elsewhere. Sure they're cheap fares, but those cheap fares keep the planes full and the profit flowing. It just doesn't make sense when you break it all down, and frankly that shouldn't be surprising. History has shown that airlines haven't made many smart decisions. Reward loyalty based on miles OR dollars. Not both. Don't add unnecessary complexity that disproportionally rewards certain customers and penalizes others.
 
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kgaiflyer
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:11 pm

Quoting MSPNWA (Reply 40):
Don't add unnecessary complexity that disproportionally rewards certain customers and penalizes others.

Unless you really intend your FF program to be an exclusionary, private club only for those buying the highest-tier fares.
 
gaystudpilot
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:23 pm

The big three US airlines -- AA, DL, and UA -- are chasing after building and maintaining a greater share of high margin, premium passengers (as are a lot of non-US carriers). Therefore elite status should be based on spend with the airline, not mileage. However, I do not believe published dollar thresholds should be used. Instead elite tier qualification should be based on revenue ranking of all customers. For example:

Top 1% - Global Services
Top 5% - Premier 1K
Top 10% - Premier Platinum
Top 15% - Premier Gold
Top 20% - Premier Silver

If your spend with UA falls within the top 5% of all spenders, then you hit Premier 1K.

Obviously at least a few things would have to be worked out... 1) the percentages would have to be modeled out and may fluctuate from year to year; 2) if and how to account for spend on partner/alliance airlines; 3) what to do for customers based outside of the US; and 4) how to account for other program partner miles, e.g., credit card points, that play apart in UA's MileagePlus revenue stream.
 
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Tugger
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:44 pm

Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 41):
Unless you really intend your FF program to be an exclusionary, private club only for those buying the highest-tier fares.

That is what GS and similar programs are for, they should not mix loyalty programs with these "high value customer" programs. And remember a lot of the high value customers started out "low value" and came to favor an airline due to a loyalty program and the benefits involved.

Quoting gaystudpilot (Reply 42):
However, I do not believe published dollar thresholds should be used. Instead elite tier qualification should be based on revenue ranking of all customers.

How does that build loyalty?

Those criteria are simply the benefits that automatically accrue to the top earners/spenders. I can go to any airline and buy F and get most of those perks. GS and the similar programs are about the only perk that accrue based on other elements (typically by invitation based on an internal set of standards).

The idea, the goal of a loyalty program should be to build loyalty toward an airline among a large population of passengers out of which will emerge the critical high value passengers that everyone seems to want. If they don't build loyalty then it will just become another free for all battle based on who offers what for what price. The airlines to not want to do to high value customers what has already occurred at the lower ranks ("Who will give the most for the least" which is what happens when "loyalty" disappears).

Tugg

[Edited 2013-06-18 13:59:31]
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LAXintl
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:58 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 38):
The message UA is sending us is that they only consider us elite if we fly UA on UA-issued tickets. Any other UA flying or partner flying is chopped liver. We'll see how that works out for them in the long-term.

Cutting a ticket under someone elses stock or codeshare can mean as much as a 15% loss in revenue for UA.

Only right to try to encourage all the money stays in house. DL did something similar by reducing FF'er mileage earnings even on some Skyteam members in favor of flying DL instead.

Quoting gaystudpilot (Reply 42):
Top 1% - Global Services
Top 5% - Premier 1K
Top 10% - Premier Platinum
Top 15% - Premier Gold
Top 20% - Premier Silver

Good concept, but it would be too hard for the customer to know where they are and set a target. Under existing levels its pretty easy to focus on flying XXXXmiles and spending XXXX money annually.

The percentage ranking would be too opaque and virtually always moving target for the individual traveller to chase after.
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redzeppelin
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:06 pm

Quoting DesertFlyer (Reply 36):
How are people getting Silver for less than $2500? I fly for work and pleasure, and barely hit Silver, but I definitely spend more than $2500 in a given year.

I can easily see how somebody living in LAX or SFO and frequently flying cheap transcon routes where the VX/B6 competition keeps prices down could miss the spend threshold by a wide margin.

In my case, I live in a relatively remote market (BZN) and work for a company that does a lot of business on the east coast. I fly DL, and every flight requires a connection, sometimes 2. If I'm going to BOS, and make connections over SLC, I earn over 5200 MQMs on the round trip. I get miles fast, but the dollars don't always add up as quickly.

My only real complaint about the spend requirement on DL is that it cheapens the rollover miles, which is one of the best things about the SkyMiles program. In the past, I was still loyal to DL after hitting the silver threshold because I knew that by flying my usual 30-35k miles per year that I would get gold every 3rd year. Now, I'll be more willing to take other carriers from time to time, because spending doesn't roll over. That particular scenario won't matter for UA, as they don't have any rollover program.
 
UALWN
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:07 pm

Quoting DesertFlyer (Reply 36):
How are people getting Silver for less than $2500? I fly for work and pleasure, and barely hit Silver, but I definitely spend more than $2500 in a given year.

Traveling from Europe to the US on discounted Y fares. Next month I'll hit 50K miles for the year with 4 trips to the West Coast from BCN. My total spending will have been just over $4000 (not all of it on 016 tickets), and I'll be a happy Premier Gold for 2014. We'll see how I'll manage next year, although the PQD rule seems to apply only to residents of the US.
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Cubsrule
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:10 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 44):
Cutting a ticket under someone elses stock or codeshare can mean as much as a 15% loss in revenue for UA.

Is that true of ATI-immunized partners as well? If so, it would seem that UA has made a lot of false public statements.
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AeroWesty
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:12 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 44):
Cutting a ticket under someone elses stock or codeshare can mean as much as a 15% loss in revenue for UA.

In a number of your posts over time, you've touted how metal neutral joint ventures work. If I were to fly LH to Europe today, I would receive the identical accrual towards elite status as if I flew on UA, no matter which airline issues the ticket.

But coming 1/1/14, even though UA and LH share expenses and revenue under their JV, I would not receive PQDs towards UA status if I flew LH on an LH ticket, even though UA would receive no more or no less money, according to the many posts here in the past.
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FlyPIJets
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RE: UA Mileage Plus Adds Elite Minimum Spend

Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:12 pm

So if I'm reading the tea leaves correctly...

FF progams are headed towards..

1. Money spent directly with the airline for status

This makes sense. The more you spend directly with an airline, the higher your status. I'm wondering out loud... seems any money spent directly with the airline should count. Think of it as incentivizing the fee-for-service charges that happen now.

Status changes change and/or eliminates fee-for services and mileage redemption

2. Miles accrued for redemption

If you do away with miles altogether, airlines lose the ancillary income from sources that accrue miles. And even if you do achieve a certain status, you'll still have to have miles to redeem for upgrades or award tickets.

Finally - having both will serve to keep a customer - oneway... in the boom years that spend $$$ for status - in bust years - maybe not so much ...travel using miles for services or upgrades. Though I think airlines will always incentivize people towards high (un-used) milage balances. It's game theory - people don't want to spend something they earned.

Status is purchased while miles are earned.

[Edited 2013-06-18 14:18:28]
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