I'm curious if others have thoughts on the UNITED announcement (that I received today) indicating that, for 2014, your status would be determined by:
Here are the details: Mileage Plus 2014 - Program Updates
Should we assume that Marriott is also considering a qualification regime based upon nights plus dollars spent?
I see the logic of it, but I expect plenty of customers will complain.
Thoughts, reactions, insights????
I think it was coming, and is expected, for the airlines at least. A couple airlines have done the same for years. Delta announced they would do this earlier this year (if my memory serves me). I find it a great way to thin out the "elites". Though for my spend, there is a chance
I might not make the cut any more.
As for Hotels, is there currently another Hotel chain that requires a spend amount also? (Does Omni or Four Seasons?)
I think hotel chains should do this if the numbers work out for them. I think the frequent business travelers would continue to earn status
even with a spend requirement. System gamers, and light business/leisure travelers would have a tougher time getting status, but
could still be possible.
I've already complained to the new UA as a 1K, but true to form they won't listen nor will they give a rats butt what anyone thinks. It was similar to the program CO had in place a few years ago I just can't recall it now, but same premise. In my mind if I am spending the $$ from my credit card buying the ticket for a family member I should be the one getting the credit on my account not the person who is flying. It's all about spending the $$ in my opinion so I guess I'm a bad seed going against another large corporate entity.
I think there are two drivers to this.
First, the desire to encourage more spending on the more expensive tickets. I don't think EVERY dollar you spend gets counted -- the dollars you spend on certain cheaper classes of service might not count toward elite status. Too many low-priced ticket outlets selling cheap seats and folks getting qualifying segments and miles while UA gets fewer dollars.
Second, complaints from the highest level of travelers on the number of people qualifying for premium privileges. I'm elite on United and am very proactive in my travel plans so my Priority Boarding is automatically granted and I get to use the priority security line. This doesn't mean I show up at the last minute and expect to be able to breeze through. I've heard numerous elite / premium passengers complain very loudly that the "premium security" line was way too crowded. One traveler even went so far as to say "I guess if you have a credit card, you're a premium passenger." Clearly he was looking for a more elite travel experience.
Note the definition of Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQD) from United:
You earn PQD for the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges on qualifying tickets. Certain specialty tickets, including but not limited to unpublished, consolidator, group/tour, and opaque fares do not earn PQD. Just as with Premier qualifying miles (PQM) and Premier qualifying segments (PQS), we will credit the account of the member who travels, not the member who purchases the ticket.
I think United knows people are still going to fly to earn miles for free travel and clearly, judging by the size of the priority boarding groups, plenty of people are willing to pay extra for easier access to overhead bins. Why give it away for free if they can charge for it.
We deal with the incredibly high fares from Houston and don't much find options for anything but expensive tickets, quite often a unrestricted fare to say PHL is only $100 cheaper than a B class or Y class. Buying those as you know gives the upgrade at ticketing and I've even taken a first class fare and found it $150 more round trip. Like you I'm very proactive in travel plans and with Global Entry we breeze through Pre-Check, at airports that don't yet have Pre-Check we use the premier line, but don't show up 45 minutes before departure either.
UA is getting the dollars either by dumping the remaining seats a couple of days out into the ticket outlet joints or if marketing history tells them the seats will sell without the outlet dump then they keep them in their bucket. Take a look at the seating chart on the reservation system for a particular less than a week in the future, then look at the same flight under flight status on the day it is going, you won't find anywhere near the number of open seats unless the destination is a horrid spot on the planet.
Their getting their money alright and not providing us Premier members much for our dollars spent, sound familiar to another travel industry product around here?
All of this is insane. It is no wonder why people get so upset with hotels and airlines - especially airlines. Mileage programs, BY FAR, are airlines most profitable entity of their business - yet, like United, they keep wanting to make everything more complicated and give less benefits. It should be simple - you fly so many miles, you achieve a certain status. If they want to give ADDED benefits for those that spend a lot of money, then that is fine - but those benefits should be way beyond the normal benefits that certain levels give. Airlines like to TAKE AWAY benefits, and then make it MORE difficult to achieve those lower benefits.
Then you have the "honor" of getting in a germ filled plane that has the worse seats possible, where virtually all of the employees hate their jobs, are rude, and are fairly lazy.
It makes you want to travel by RV.
I say RV is the best form of travel these days without a doubt. Maybe we all should have taken more to heart while watching all those Chevy Chase Vacation movies, bring on Cousin Eddie, he did it right!!
As long as loyalty programs seem to attract/retain customers, companies will continue to make modifications to those programs, with MOST of the changes easier to earn a higher status which waters down the overall program. In the case of UA's announcement, I believe this makes the higher tiers more difficult for the average Shmoe to achieve which lessens the dilution of status, and for that, I give kudos to UA.