It seems that Marriott Platinum members have received the worst part of the deal between United and Marriott. Marriott Platinum only gives you United Premier Silver Status.. while everyone at United apparently gets free Marriott Gold. Here's what I've experienced so far:
1) We know that there is no United lounge access for Marriott Platinum members. (Ironically, I found out about this deal in a Marriott Concierge Lounge, when a United Premier Gold member, who was not even a Marriott Silver, told me about her "free" Marriott Gold upgrade.)
2) Because you're not a "United" Premier Silver but a "Marriott reciprocal" Premier Silver (what?) - be wary of disrespect and even denial of status:
a) At the airport gate (SFO-JFK. T3): While waiting in line for an upgrade, several _non-premier_ standbys were upgraded. There were still upgrades available, but apparently these were not accessible by "Marriott reciprocal" Premier Silver.
b) When calling in, be wary of agents not being aware of this deal: When I flew in early September (SFO-YVR), I called in to United, explained that I was a Marriott Platinum Elite, but they were not aware of the reciprocal agreement, so could not process my request for processing my premier status change. I ended up having to pay the regular change fee.
Personal commentary - I'm realizing that it was a bad investment to put all my eggs in on Marriott status, and it may make more sense for me to go for United.
As an independent consultant, I pay for most of my travel expenses out of pocket. Frequently staying in cities like SFO and NYC, I typically pay around $400 a night base (~$30,000/year) - staying with the Marriott's even when there are better rates around. Marriott Lounge access is about the only part of Platinum status that I use -- during popular conferences, it's the best way to get readymade hot coffee without having to wait in a long line at the Starbucks downstairs. Half the time I never receive my Platinum checkin gift (and it's often forgotten, too), but I've never been able to claim the $100 guarantee. The manager would always talk me out of it -- and there was this one time, they (randomly) sent me nuts at 11 pm as a way to make up for it -- the unexpected disturbance aside, I'm allergic to nuts.
With the same expenditure, I could easily gain a much higher United status, where I'd get to qualify for Marriott Gold "for free." And, I wouldn't be discriminated for being merely a "non-United Marriott reciprocal Premier Silver."
Here is a link to the promo for you to sign up.
It has been discussed for some time how Marriott Reward Elites got the huge slap in the face in this deal. All very interesting reading if you dare! http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/thread/14305
There a couple of ways to get into the UA Club, most popular is buying the yearly membership, next would be to have Star Alliance Gold status, have a UA Credit Card that gives you the yearly membership, buy a day pass and probably a few more. The clubs are getting better, yet you'll find quite a few that are old and tired. Access to the UA Club was never given due to the Premier level like access to the Concierge Lounge.
You mention the upgrades to Non-Premier folks, how do you know they were not Premier and how do you know they were not crew members deadheading? The new pilot contract gives a deadheading pilots the ability to travel out of uniform and get upgrades in certain circumstances. These Non-Premier folks also could have been stand-by from a delayed or cancelled flight and had First Class seats on that flight which would put them in First Class on your flight. Also, if I was to just purchase a ticket that had upgrade seats available I could snag on of them as a Platinum or higher and you'd never know, same would happen if I changed my flight to yours.
Before you put all your eggs in the concept of gaining a much higher status in UA MileagePlus program you should read over the new rules for 2014, as it's not as simple as segments or miles flown there is now a dollar rate that must be met as well.
While I am not a huge fan of UA they have done my wife and I well since the CO merger, but don't like the UA/Marriott concept in the least. It has proven to be useful to some Insider's and hope you'll find similar luck in the future.
Star Alliance gold status alone does not get you into a united club, it does get you into a Star Alliance club.
In Detroit there is a Luftansa Star Alliance club that I am always allowed into. In Chicago O'hare terminal one there are only United Clubs, I am never allowed access and I have a 1K status for numerous years. I refuse to pay $399 per year for access or $50 per visit to the United Club.
I just received in the mail today my United Mileage Plus Premier Silver package. I did the "deal" that everyone is mentioning and was actually excited - however, my "excitement" was quickly dampened by the fact that the enclosed membership cards have and expiration date of January 31,2014!
I called United Mileage Plus and spoke with two different representatives, both of whom confirmed the same information - "your reciprocal membership with United will indeed expire on January 31, 2014"!
Are you kidding me? WOW! What a wonderful program! I get to have Premier Silver membership for a lousy 3 months! WOW!
What a crock of you know what!
MileagePlus status that you earn in 2013 should be valid until January 31, 2015, but that is MileagePlus and since the rest of the UA/Marriott partnership is a crock of what you intended to write I'd bet this in fact does end in three months. Not sure if our Insider Greats merb or The specified item was not found. can shed any light on this or if it has been answered elsewhere on Insiders. Since I didn't sign up I didn't pay much attention to the rules of the program other than to agree with you, a huge crock of and a slap in the face of Marriott's Elites.
You are correct, the great one merb has already spoken Reply #497 in the monster post http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/thread/14305?start=495&tstart=0
Reciprocal Benefits Program
Reciprocal status has been provided through February 2014 to those eligible members who registered for RewardsPlus. We will re-evaluate the overall partnership each year, but the intent is that as long as you maintain Marriott Rewards Platinum status then you would be eligible for the reciprocal status match with United Mileage Plus. These will be decisions that are made on an annual basis. Stay tuned for additional information in the near future. If a member does not re-achieve status or RewardsPlus is not extended, members would revert back to the appropriate levels as part of the annual renewal process.
It's interesting that United is stating that it is dead, while Marriott is taking a "we'll let you know as soon as we decide" approach.
(now you know why my Hawaiian sandwich prize for merb will be well earn - Flyertalk will probably find out about the Gift Card Bonus before Marriott tells their social media team)
I posted this on the other thread as well. looks like the relationship is extended thru May 31, 2015
An important question for me and possibly others if anyone has done this successfully...If Marriott Rewards points are converted to United Mileage Plus miles, do those miles count toward your EQM tally for the year? It would be really nice to bump up to Platinum or 1K this way, but something tells me that's in the fine print somewhere.
No. United, US Airways, etc make it clear that these miles / points earned do not count towards Preferred Status. The only way I have seen that you can earn extra miles towards status, (besides actually flying), is to enroll in one of the airline's credit cards. Most have a provision that after spending a certain $ amount and paying their annual fee that X amount of miles will count towards preferred status. As always, read the fine print! Hope this helps!
Also, note that if you buy an upgrade at check-in UA will not give you any extra segment or bonus PQM's. They do not make it clear and I have been on the receiving end (paid extra $$ to get first class seats but then was not given any bonus segments on PQM's. When I requested UA I got emails from their "remote support desk" with a standard reply that bonus segments and bonus PQM's are not given if you purchase an upgrade)... this is not mentioned anywhere on the UA site... all I was trying to do is to get close to my premier tier but UA went the pathetic route... very bad customer service...
Thanks for the heads up. I should point out that I checked the terms & conditions of the Chase Visa card that offers 30k bonus miles after spending $1G, and it states that "Bonus miles do not count towards Premier status". Perhaps they wised up to that loophole. Maybe best to start flying American as some on here have suggested...they did send me a FREE offer to fly Platinum for the remainder of 2013 with no strings attached. No other airline has done that in my 8 years of frequent business travel. I have to think I'm not the only one on this board with that offer (?)
As puebla7 points out they do not count toward EQM's for UA. Other than was was posted in the same comment, the only other way to get extra EQM's on UA would be to take the Award Accelerator in one of your current reservations, select the 'Get Extra Miles" green button and then make certain you select the "Premier Accelerator" button that will ope in the next window. It can be pretty pricey yet it does work well to pile up some needed EQM's near the end of the year. I used it once last year on a trip to SEA and it sent me over the top 1K.
While it is well documented through other threads that most Marriott Insiders feel we got the short end of the stick on this deal (and I agree), this deal wasn't that great right out of the gate anyway. As I have mentioned before, United has tons and tons of elites. Silver is almost useless. Do yourself a favor and fly American instead. If you fly enough to reach UA Gold, and your local airport is served by American go with them. You can reach American Platinum with the same miles needed as UA Gold and at the same time you will have much better upgrade success and a more pleasurable flying experience in general. All airlines have their issues but when it comes down to it I hear more and more good things about AA elite status than I do about United. I hear many bad stories from disgruntled UA elites who received terrible service, I simply don't hear anywhere near as many from AA elites.
While I won't argue in the least your UA point, I will insert that we have had very fortunate experiences almost without fail since one of the worst mergers in recent years. And on that note I'll shut up since there are plenty of disgruntled UA passengers, yet I actually believe it is 95% poor management which has caused the 5% of front line employee attitude that has carried over.....and then we go the Marriott deal, oh wasn't that special!!!
I am glad to see you have had pleasant experiences. Business should have happy customers when things are run the way they should be. I agree with your take that it probably is a management culture that trickled down to the front line employees. I am fortunate enough to live near EWR but can also use LGA and JFK when I want to. It really opens up my flight options tremendously and I consider myself lucky. I am not completely loyal to one airline but I have to say AA is looking better and better to me.
Living well north of Houston I am not about to drive across town to use Southwest, AA or DL connects through DFW or ATL without fail, so we are sort of stuck with UA, even though they constantly drive me insane with the management decisions. Take the new MileagePlus Reward travel starting Feb. 1, 2014, for travel to Europe and Asia in Business or Global First, that one really gets my blood boiling even though I knew it was coming.
I totally understand. I would feel the same way. You brought up Southwest. Now personally I have never flown Southwest. I can't say anything good or bad about them since I have never flown them. I remember watching that show "Airline" and I remember one instance where a couple was flying from one city (lets say Tampa) to Chicago and their flight is delayed/cancelled and their only option is to connect in St. Louis and not get to their destination until the next day or stay there and hope to get on another flight that was already oversold or some other awful secenario, it makes me avoid them. I simply don't trust an airline to get me where I am going when as soon as normal operations break down, they have no other options in place since their route map is limited and they do not have agreements with other airlines.
I remember that show, totally foolish what they endured....but hey, they bought their ticket so they knew what they were up against.
Some folks swear by Southwest, I'll just pass them by thank you very much. They don't go where we want to go, the joke used to be if you flew them to LAX, five stops later you might leave Texas!! That's not so much the case any longer, but as mentioned they are across town and I have a few other reasons we avoid them.
I luckly don't fly for work at all. All my travel is for leisure. I have had some really lousy experiences on almost all the airlines at some point in my life (as I am sure you have had also and probably in much greater numbers.) I have had a couple real doozies on United. I finally wised up though and started contacting customer service to complain. I once had three trips in a row in a roughly 5 week span from EWR to ORD that were late on either arrival, departure or both. After that they kept issuing me travel certs for future travel. It sure made me feel better knowing if I was going to be late flying somewhere it was at least on a very cheap ticket since I used a cert!!
Looking back on my/our travels it is difficult to remember really bad experiences that amount to more than one or two. We flew CO exclusively so it was all good for us here and at IAH there really are not too many delayed flights other than for thunderstorms, we do get those!
I used to fly to PHL for many years for work and over those years one would think flying into/out of PHL would be a nightmare. It wasn't except for a 7 hour delay due to storms that kept the arriving plane from departing I think it was CLE to come get us. There was a crew swap so they crew taking us to IAH never went on duty until the plane was almost to PHL that some 7 hours late. We left PHL around 3 A.M. but got home without any trouble.
Only other huge issue was coming back from SEA in the springtime, storms in Houston kept us on the ground in SEA for about 5 hours, then of course there have been diversions to MSY, SAT, CRP and DFW for weather here so I can't really gripe too much. Maybe I should start?
The one really bad UA experience I had was actually in Hawaii (I know youre probably thing that doesn't sound so bad). We were flying "non-stop" from OGG to ORD. They call it non stop but it isn't. You have a stop in Kona before flying to ORD. So we fly from OGG to Kona and let off the passengers from ORD going to Kona. So then we go to leave and all of a sudden there is an issue with the air system on the plane. We sit on the plane on the tarmac for 3 hours and then they finally tell us oh we don't have the part we need and there and that part isn't available anywhere in the islands it has to be flown in from the mainland. So they get everyone off the plane and tell us everyone is going to be put up in a hotel for the night. We had two options for the hotel and both were pretty crappy run down places. Kona airport is literally an outdoor space with a few covered areas with seats and one tiny news kiosk. After spending two hours getting the luggage (which was another nightmare since there was no carousels) and waiting for the shuttle to go to the hotel we finally get there and find out its a dump. The experience cost us basically an entire day and in my opinion we never should have left OGG. I sincerely believe they knew there was an issue before leaving OGG but rather than strand the outbound ORD to Kona passengers on Maui they decided to get them to their destination and strand us on our way back home.
I love both airports, but you could be correct in the thinking they knew of an issue while on the ground at OGG. Since the trip from OGG to KOA was short and low altitude they could get there with no problem yet flying back to ORD they'd be unable to leave with the problem. Ahh good ole' UA, gotta watch some of those itineraries, it may have shown the same flight number and plane, but it was termed "direct" with 1 stop in OGG.
One thing I would suggest is that if anyone has to go through EWR (and stay in NJ) do not stay at the EWR Liberty Marriott (very bad food service and management does not respond to your emails and I am talking about the hotel managers responsible for making sure that customer issues are resolved). Concierge level is a joke and out of stock all the time.
Sure did IAHFLYR check it out at http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/reviews/27258