As you know, as a Delta Platinum Medallion Elite Plus, I have been extremely angered by their changes to a 'how much you pay' program. Well, now United has joined the group:
Others have already done so, which leaves American. I have little doubt they will follow suit unless people who actually do fly a huge amount of miles and pay large amounts of money desert (like I plan to). I am planning to keep my Platinum Elite Plus this year so that it will follow me next year, but then it's off to the best deal I can get. And Amex can also bite the dust next year as far as I am concerned.
When one makes a change, they all follow suit. I had a different work territory this past year which gave me the opportunity to rise up the United chain. I earned gold status in 2013 with close to 60,000 miles. I have flown 30,000 miles in 2014 which would have gotten me to Silver last year, but because the dollars spent was under $2,500 (I came in at $2,373!) I wouldn't qualify on my own. Fortunately, as a Platinum Elite and the partnership Marriott has with United, I can retain my status with United. Unfortunately, there are many others out there that will receive the same benefit. And, who knows if Marriott and United will continue this partnership?
But, nothing stays the same and so much depends on the bottom line and the return to stockholders......
Reading your situation of not making the dollar amount on UA takes me back about 15 years when I first got smart with Continental and OnePass. I had reached Gold status about the middle of September, yet when I figured up my travels for the remainder of the year I'd fall four segments and 2,000 miles short of Platinum. Since back then Platinum status was very very good I wanted to get those extra trip/miles necessary to reach that level. Since CO flew about six times a day between IAH and Ellington Field (south Houston near NASA) and you could fly from there with no additional price as long as you were connecting to another CO flight from IAH I would get a segment each way on the 12 minute flight
So I decided to book my status grabber from EFD-IAH-AUS-IAH-EFD which would give me four segments and put me over the top to Platinum. I stayed in AUS for about an hour and enjoyed a few of jerrycoin's "prescribed meds" before getting on the next flight back to IAH and then EFD an hour later. My total time was a little over six hours which included the 50 minute drive each way across town. All in all it was a day well spent and something I did a few more times over the years when I'd be short a few segments or miles, even though EFD was out of the picture by then AUS and SAT were not.
Since your dollar amount is pretty close something such as this might be worth looking into should your travels get you closer to UA Gold.
I get periodic updates from US Airways regarding the merging of their FF program with AA, which will happen in 2015 (when FF accounts/miles/status will finally merge.) No word yet on whether they will change the earning/qualifying structure. I for one look forward to merging the FF accounts, simply because I don't fly US Airways, but will be happy to see my leftover US miles added to my AA account. But ya, Qantas has already begun down this path (of restructuring their program) as well.
So I don't fly enough with any one airline to earn status (with the exception of Alaska, but with a fleet of primarily all 737's, Q400's and CRJ's, I expect FF status, and bottom status at that, won't mean much - maybe an early shot at row 6 in economy , oh and a free checked bag, so I can finally get some of my kids junk out of my shed ), and mostly do shop around or else just go with my preferred product - nothing to do with loyalty, but rather product preference. (ie. always fly Qantas to Sydney, always fly AA or AS in CONUS or Mexico, always fly AF or LH to Europe (but may now begin to once again consider AA), will be open to multiple airlines for travel to HI, and haven't gotten back on board with Asia yet, so dunno about that. But the point is, while there is no loyalty, I'm still collecting FF miles anyway and strive to keep accounts active (I only fly Qantas once every two years, but need activity every 18 months to keep the miles from floating away, so will plug my QF FF# on a partner flight just to keep it going.) At least at some point there will be enough miles for a freebie (even if it's buy 12, get one free, or maybe soon it will be buy 20, get one free, well shucks, it's something).
I will still keep collecting FF miles next year with Delta but one thing I will change is that if I find a cheaper price to the same destination on expedia, orbitz, travelocity, etc. I will go with that one. I have been very, very loyal to Delta, often paying more to fly them.
As for shopping around, I might sometimes take a look at the online travel agency sites (like Travelocity, etc.) to get an idea of the itineraries and pricings that are out there, but I will never book a flight at one of these sites. I will always pick my flight and then go book at the specific airline website. Too many issues for me with these 3rd party websites (additional change fees, lack of pertinent information, foreign call centers, cannot deal directly with the airlines after the reservation has been made, etc. etc. etc.)
With the exception of travelocity (which I don't use), I have had very good luck with most of the major sites and always book my hotels through them -- mostly hotels.com since if you spend a lot on hotels it's very lucrative after 10 nights' stay. I only ever used one for a flight when I flew once in the US to Philadelphia from Maine which would have required three different stops on Delta , but that worked out too.
I agree. In 2012 and 13, I used booking.com and a couple of other sites that I found doing searches (Vacation in Paris and Sleep in Venice) for non chain properties (for both hotel rooms and apartments, the latter for a family group of 6) in Europe and though I was initially a bit nervous about it, it turned out to be successful and we were very happy with our stays and location. I would certainly do it again. In my last post, I was referring specifically to airline reservations.
profchiara, I agree. UA's change isn't surprising, as they seem to copy anything and everything DL does...
As for AA, pluto77, I think it's safe to say that AAdvantage and US's FF program will remain largely unchanged until after both airlines fully integrate. Then I suspect they'll turn to a revenue based system.
One airline that seems to be holding out domestically is Hawaiian. I just made the difficult decision to stop accruing AAdvantage miles when I fly with them and will from now on accrue HawaiianMiles whenever I fly with them.
If you're going to fly to Hawaii frequently, this is a good program to have a card in. The benefits aren't outstanding and aren't particularly useful for travel to anywhere but Hawaii and Asia, but with a one-time 50% companion ticket and annual $100 ticket discount, I think it's worth the $89.
I received the UA email yesterday but luckily for me it doesn't mean much as I don't fly enough for it to matter. I did notice however that very short trips at okay fares yield comperable miles. EWR to ORD for example, 717x2 means 1,434 miles flown. Now though a fare of say $250 for a person like me would yield 250 x 5(member only multiplier) = 1,250. I will never pay $1,000 for a flight from EWR to ORD so that will never come into play for me. The part I don't like is say I fly EWR-HNL. That would be roughly 10,000 miles. Under the new plan it would be say $1,000 x 5 so I would be getting half the miles even though I spent $1,000 and flew round trip nearly 10,000 miles. In that example the new way stinks.
Even more disturbing is what the future might hold... http://boardingarea.com/deltapoints/2014/06/13/500000-points-fly-delta-business-class-europe-next/
The article will strike fear into the heart of any FF participant. I hope this won't happen, but I agree with the article... it's just a matter of time. So while the current changes are bad, there's potential for it to get much worst....
That's great to hear pluto77! Though... I heard disturbing news today that the idiots US management is changing AA... they're eliminating more BC seats from the soon-to-be-refitted 777-200s and rumors that they've eliminated certain types of elements from meal service in BC and FC including the place mats and maybe even certain types of glasses. This is awful news and I can only imagine what will happen next. I hope that it is simply a rumor, but only time will tell. The 777-200 BC reduction, unfortunately, isn't a rumor though.
For the new revenue plans based on Delta, they are saying the AVERAGE LOW business class fare to Europe will be 125,000. Hah! It is a bunch of BS as far as I am concerned, since while I have sometimes used more miles, I have also used considerably less, especially when flying Alitalia, even at peak periods. The real downsides of the revenue system are: 1) miles are calculated on a completely different basis, and every single flight I checked that I had taken for two years earned me as much as 1/3 to 1/2 fewer miles; 2) taxes and fees no longer count toward your miles earned. There are more whammies, like I mentioned with the increased int'l change fee of $300 plus (for Delta) the new requirement that your new ticket costs at least or more than your original ticket. I recently found this out when I changed my $306 more ticket to Paris for one to Athens. This caused enormous confusion on Delta's elite lines and took about 20 minutes to resolve (not to my satisfaction). Unlike previous times, the person with whom I was speaking said it was no longer $250, but also that I had to have the equal or greater price. Then she had trouble doing that because my new ticket was so much cheaper. As a result, she had to upgrade the 'class' of travel (those Y,B,M,Z,X,T etc), but with no upgrade to my seat.
Since I have over 400,000 Delta miles now and will gain more after Rome and wherever in October, once the dreaded 2015 Delta year starts, I am going to keep booking FF flights until it gets nearer to the optimal date of booking, then cancel the flight for free (Delta has not yet changed that for high elites) and buy the new fare.
But I am going to take the most trips I can physically do this year in order to get max full miles (including taxes, fees, and miles flown).
But my verdict is that it sucks. Maybe it was meant to punish the mile runners, but it has also punished a whole lot of very FF flyers who can't pay to fly business class but still pay between $1100-1600 a flight to Europe.