While not an official part of the Mileage Plus program, UGS does offer some MP
United Global Services was launched in 2003 as a way to recognize (and cultivate the continued loyalty and largesse of) what United considers to be their absolute best customers. Before the launch of UGS, United had a VIP program, which was station-specific (so you could be a VIP in SFO
, for example, but maybe not in DEN
Like the VIP program, it is invite-only. Like Mileage Plus elite status, you can earn UGS at any time during the year. I don't recall if UGS status ends on an MP
calendar year (February), or if it ends one year from the date status being granted. You may be re-invited to the program, either on a recurring basis or after having been dropped for one or more years.
Based on UA
's own information, it is revenue-based, roughly the top 1% of UA
's elite membership and is rumored to be around 18,000 people in 2005. However, there are people who have been invited who, on the surface, do not meet this revenue criteria. They may be old VIPs who have been added (this happened in 2003, at least, when UGS replaced the VIP program), they might influence a great deal more revenue then they themselves generate (travel director of a Fortune 50 company, for example), and some just fly hundreds of thousands of miles a year, or for some reason or another, UA
feels they are worth inviting into the program. It has been said that UA
Regional Sales managers also have the ability to recommend (if not actually invite) people into the program, which might explain why one person gets in when another does not when they have similar revenue patterns. It has been claimed that the top 100 accounts for the previous year in each Sales Area are invited into the program.
Fare basis also matters to some extent in the calculations. A refundable B Economy Class fare upgraded to Business Class is said to have more weight then a non-refundable Z Business Class fare because it implies the person is more likely to buy an expensive last-minute fare on UA
then choose a cheaper fare on a competitor, and UA
wishes to encourage that behavior.
While we do not know exactly what it takes to be invited, to maintain your status, you must fly at least 50,000 miles on United®, United Express® or Ted in United First® (F, A, and P), United business® (C, D, and Z), or full fare Economy® (Y and B) during your status year.
There is no published criteria, so information is both incomplete and conflicting.
Present and past benefits as stated by UGS members include(d):
- Automatic Mileage Plus Premier Executive status (also known as GP).
- 100% Redeemable (RDM) Mileage Bonus on UA and US flights as well as transatlantic segments flown on LH.
- 120 Hour Upgrade Window when using 500 mile certificates or Y/B fare complimentary upgrade.
- Ability to open award and upgrade First and Business seats when none are available (not a guaranteed benefit - especially now that the ranks have swelled).
- Ability to use the International Arrivals Lounge, regardless of ticketed cabin (normally restricted to revenue and award First and Business passengers).
- Ability to use the First Class check-in counter, regardless of ticketed cabin.
- Access to the International First Class Lounge, regardless of ticketed cabin (this seems to be more station specific and/or you know the IFL staff personally).
- Ability to board first, regardless of assigned Seating Area or ticketed cabin.
- Access to private Customer Service offices at most hub and gateway airports (similar to the old "1K Rooms") to handle ticketing and travel issues (note that they are not intended to be pseudo-lounges like the 1K Rooms were).
- Access to a private, toll-free (domestic and international) reservations number.
- Access to special "UGS Conciereges" at many international gateways and hubs who will escort you to connecting flights/terminals, similar to the old "United First Concierge" program.
In addition to the automatic Premier Executive status, UGS members can also be Premier Executive 1K's (GK
) if they earn 100,000 EQMs or 100 EQS' during a qualifying year. So in addition to their UGS benefits, they also receive the six annual SystemWide Upgrades (SWUs) that 1K status grants. To my knowledge, there is no special code for Million Miler UGS members - they are either GK's (if 1K) or GP
's (if 1P).