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VC10er
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Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:53 am

The current thread about Lufthansa and devaluing their fliers miles got me thinking about these difficult to earn elite clubs like HON Circle or Global Services on UA or Concierge Key on American. I just named all that I know of, I'm sure Singapore and Emirates and many others have created theirs to further add to the addictive nature of collecting miles and climbing the elite ladder.

I am Global Services on United...a distinction for which you need to be "invited" into. I am also a 2 million mile flier and for that I get a gift of my choice (yet to be seen) Premium Executive (which has a new name) for life and the ability to make my significant other the same tier. As GS, I get my own UA phone number, and superior treatment which often comes in the form of United agents being able to override something that would have otherwise caused me a problem. I applaud them for what they will do for a Global Services, million mile flier.

But if that's what United does...I am darn curious what HON fliers get and what other carriers do...and what are they called? Are there any secret ones? GS was a total secret for the first couple years to create the buzz, and you didn't even know the criteria to get in. It was like trying to get into Studio 54!

Any you can add? Please.
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
CXfirst
Posts: 3022
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:11 am

Well, Singapore's is PPS Club, but IIRC, that isn't invitation, but just very high intake criteria (where the only qualifying flights are payed business class and first class seats).

Qantas has Chairman's Lounge, which is invitation only.

SAS has Pandion, which is invitation only.

BA has Premier, which is invitation only.

There was another short thread about this before: Secret Frequent Flyer Levels (by Farzan Feb 4 2009 in Aviation Polls)

Some are given to high profile flyers (ie BA Premier), while some are for people who fly the most (ie SAS Pandion), and some are a mix.

-CXfirst
 
WestJet747
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:14 pm

Quoting VC10er (Thread starter):
Emirates

EK has a fourth tier called Invitation Only (real original eh?) that is, of course, invite only. They like to keep this one real "secret" so you won't be finding any hint of it on the EK or Skywards websites.

The perks that I'm aware of:

- a personalized IO card (and matching luggage tags), and a VERY expensive wallet in which to hold said card
- a Gold-level card for the Invitee's partner
- a unique phone number to a personal travel manager
- chauffeured service using a Range Rover for departures and arrivals, I believe this is only offered at DXB (please correct me if I'm wrong)
- the IO member's name is always flagged in every facet of the EK system as being the highest of VIPs and therefore can receive preferential treatment from any employee who has a monitor in front of them
- ...there are other perks as well but they're escaping me at the moment

I believe getting invited to this prestigious program is definitely a case-by-case basis as I haven't heard so much as a whisper as to what is required to be accepted. All I have heard is that there are several factors taken into consideration exclusive of miles flown.
Flying refined.
 
VC10er
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:52 pm

Thanks!

One of my clients is the CMO of a giant British global company and they have a contract with BA. I was flying BA with him back to NYC, however a snowstorm grounded everything at LHR and we had to fly the next day- which was a mess with angry mobs of people who were bumped to the next day etc, I bet BA wished they had an extra 2 or 3 747's spare to help get people out, but alas...just pandamonium! My CMO client whipped out a card called "Decision Maker" as both of us were put in First Class on the next flight. Must say, it was fairly awesome. Does anyone know of this "Decision Maker" level?
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
Rufusisgod
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:54 pm

Isn't BA's top level called - Black?
 
Viscount724
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:02 pm

Quoting rufusisgod (Reply 4):
Isn't BA's top level called - Black?

All references I've seen call it "Premier".
 
jetblast
Posts: 950
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:04 pm

Quoting VC10er (Reply 3):
My CMO client whipped out a card called "Decision Maker" as both of us were put in First Class on the next flight. Must say, it was fairly awesome. Does anyone know of this "Decision Maker" level?

Never seen or heard of this. Our top level at BA is Premier, the card itself is black in colour.
Speedbird Concorde One
 
ORDJOE
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:25 pm

It is premiere and the card is black, I think for ua and AA it is either $50k in paid f j or full fare y or 50k in straight profit.
 
VC10er
Topic Author
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:44 am

Quoting ORDJOE (Reply 7):
Quoting jetblast (Reply 6):

AA seems close to UAGS.

My clients card was black, but under his name it said "decision maker" perhaps because he was in the C Suite of this 80,000 person company he had decision making power over the contract selection?

I recall thinking "wow, what a great title/name"
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
qf002
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:50 am

QF's Chairman's Lounge is probably among the most valuable -- being able to access enormous private domestic lounges, in the same style as the International First Lounges must be nice... There's also the spontaneous gifts from QF, and the guaranteed empty neighbouring seats on flights that aren't full.
 
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hhslax2
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:59 am

Quoting ORDJOE (Reply 7):
It is premiere and the card is black, I think for ua and AA it is either $50k in paid f j or full fare y or 50k in straight profit.

Last summer, CO's website listed $30k as the amount that would get you to their equivalent of GS.

I'm assuming the ability to use a regional or global upgrade on an award ticket is still a GS perk.
 
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andrefranca
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:06 am

I know TAM created the "Black Fidelidade" in the beginning it was only for invited VIP'S, but I don't think it's the case now.
 
ChazPilot
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:25 am

According to Wikipedia, CX has an exclusive tier above Diamond called "Diamond Plus" which is essentially the same thing as the former except a few extra perks like nominating a companion to automatic Diamond status, longue access, etc. Supposedly offered to the top 1% of Diamond member's each year, not sure if it's a lifetime thing or just for the 12 month period like the rest of the tiers. CX doesn't even make mention of it on their website, so in fact not even sure it's real?
 
jetblast
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:30 am

Quoting VC10er (Reply 8):
My clients card was black, but under his name it said "decision maker" perhaps because he was in the C Suite of this 80,000 person company he had decision making power over the contract selection?

Must be over the levels of the Premier cards I have seen then, none of our cards have annotations that I know of other than the Gold Guest List card. Would be interested to hear who he works for as I know even the CEO of one of Britain's largest companies that I check in on occasion doesn't have it on there!
Speedbird Concorde One
 
bombayhog
Posts: 507
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:17 am

AF has a level called Club 2000 which is, I believe, granted for life based on a certain amount of revenue. It doesn't seem to have any perks in particular. Not even a dedicated phone number. Very bizarre.
 
FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:27 am

DL has a tier above Diamond although I don't think there's an official name for at (not that I heard of). You're still Diamond but you do get extra perks by way of every PNR attached to your name being flagged and your SkyMiles acct has some notes for agent attention. I will honestly say I don't know what these perks are but a SkyClub agent I was chatting with some time back told me a certain exec with some company flies DL when the "jet" isn't available. Unlimites system-wide standby upgrades was one. 1 companion designated DM for any running calendar year, and a few other things I really don't remember.
What gets measured gets done.
 
thegivenone
Posts: 182
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:38 am

Thanks for bringing this up VC10er, I have always been interested in secret mile levels and hearing from the people who enjoy this level.

I have also wondered how these "special" / invitation only / über-tier statuses are recognized between airlines. In the Star Alliance for example, do Lufthansa HONs get recognized with any kind of special status at partner airlines, or just as Gold?
 
fiscal
Posts: 285
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:17 am

Quoting qf002 (Reply 9):
QF's Chairman's Lounge is probably among the most valuable

Some say the disadvantage is having to share with federal politicians  
 
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Stitch
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:46 am

Quoting VC10er (Reply 8):
My clients card was black, but under his name it said "decision maker" perhaps because he was in the C Suite of this 80,000 person company he had decision making power over the contract selection?

When Global Services first rolled out, some of the members were chosen not for their spend on UA metal, but the spend they controlled on UA metal. Could be the same with BA Premier.

I was UGS for a time, as well as HON Circle. The UGS Room in SEA was a nice replacement for the old 1K room. They'd also let me into the IFL if it was in use for UA875 to NRT. Biggest benefit of HON Circle was using the First Class terminals and getting chauffeured to and from the remote stands at FRA (plus the chauffeur would haul my carryon aboard   ).

[Edited 2012-03-18 22:46:44]
 
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hhslax2
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:23 pm

Quoting thegivenone (Reply 16):
I have also wondered how these "special" / invitation only / über-tier statuses are recognized between airlines. In the Star Alliance for example, do Lufthansa HONs get recognized with any kind of special status at partner airlines, or just as Gold?

No. When I was a UA GS, I never saw any special treatment on LH or its group of airlines. UA does have employees at FRA to help take care of its GS members transferring there, though.
 
BMI727
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:21 pm

Quoting thegivenone (Reply 16):
I have also wondered how these "special" / invitation only / über-tier statuses are recognized between airlines. In the Star Alliance for example, do Lufthansa HONs get recognized with any kind of special status at partner airlines, or just as Gold?

I don't think the "secret" levels are recognized between airlines. For what it's worth, I think that for Global Services and likely the others as well it is based on spending only for UA flights, not codeshares.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
packcheer
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:43 pm

True, but if a customer pays/flies/uses one airline that much and the airline is going to go that far for services provided to that cusomer, it would only make sense that they make sure in some way that customer is taken care of if they are on a partner airline.
Things that fly, Girls and Planes...
 
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Stitch
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:15 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 20):
I don't think the "secret" levels are recognized between airlines. For what it's worth, I think that for Global Services and likely the others as well it is based on spending only for UA flights, not codeshares.

UGS is spend only on UA metal. In 2009 I was informed that to maintain my status, I had to fly 50,000 miles a year on a First Class, Business Class or unrestricted Economy Class (Y,B) fare.



Quoting packcheer (Reply 21):
True, but if a customer pays/flies/uses one airline that much and the airline is going to go that far for services provided to that cusomer, it would only make sense that they make sure in some way that customer is taken care of if they are on a partner airline.

That is why they have alliances.  

As a UGS, I was automatically a Star Gold (at the start of the program anyone with less than 100,000 elite qualifying miles was a UGS Premier Executive. I believe a few years later they later made all UGS, regardless of EQMs, a 1K) which gave me benefits on Star Partner airlines.

But these special levels are meant to reward loyalty to the airline. Hence why as a UGS on a UA First Class fare, I could not use the LH First Class terminal in FRA - I had to show my HON Circle card.
 
nyc2theworld
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:58 am

RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:23 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 22):
But these special levels are meant to reward loyalty to the airline. Hence why as a UGS on a UA First Class fare, I could not use the LH First Class terminal in FRA - I had to show my HON Circle card.

You would think with JVs and revenue sharing in place that these types of benefits would be across the board. After all, LH gets some money from someone flying UA to Europe and UA gets some money when someone flies LH to Europe as well.
Always wonderers if this "last and final boarding call" is in fact THE last and final boarding call.
 
sphealey
Posts: 323
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RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:01 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 5):
Quoting rufusisgod (Reply 4):
Isn't BA's top level called - Black?

All references I've seen call it "Premier".

Economist Keith Humphreys has an essay titled "The Pursuit of Unhappiness" in which he concludes that no matter what level club you have been admitted to you will eventually be gnawed by the question “Is there a better club inside the club that is inside the club, and why haven’t they let me in?” - the answer to the first part being 'yes'.

sPh
 
nyc2theworld
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:58 am

RE: Being In The Ultimate Airline Customer Circle

Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:52 am

Quoting sphealey (Reply 24):

Economist Keith Humphreys has an essay titled "The Pursuit of Unhappiness" in which he concludes that no matter what level club you have been admitted to you will eventually be gnawed by the question “Is there a better club inside the club that is inside the club, and why haven’t they let me in?” - the answer to the first part being 'yes'.

sPh

Wasn't there a Fraiser episode based on this?
Always wonderers if this "last and final boarding call" is in fact THE last and final boarding call.

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