As many of you know United and Continental Airlines are now merged and they have announced a new and "improved" loyalty program for Mileage Plus frequent fliers.
Here are the new program details: Seems that the top tier elite fliers will gain somewhat, everyone else will get pushed to the back.
Sounds like a decision that will be watched closely by other programs.
It looks like most higher-tier UNITED MileagePlus folks won't see much difference.
But - to the extent that many of us appreciate complimentary upgrades at Marriott properties - the UNITED program does offer an interesting analogy, in terms of transparency, practice, and customer satisfaction.
A while back, United did away with domestic upgrade coupons or credits and began offering "unlimited" complimentary domestic upgrades to its top-tier travelers. Of course, this is wonderful when you get it, and disapppointing when you don't.
But at least you know where you stand. (Has anyone ever been denied an upgrade at a Marriott and been told that, for example, three other Platinums got upgraded to the last three suites because they had more points?) On United:
Food for thought...
I agree with the concept of knowing your chances of an upgrade and following the progression prior to takeoff (so to speak). There definately is an anticipation factor and a competitive nature to it. However, Marriott has made it clear that suite upgrades are not part of the program. Also, the upgrades to a "better" room are sometimes difficult to discern and very likely difficult to quantify, ie "we have 10 upgrades left and 25 upgrade requests". Transparency sounds good, don't know how it could be implemented in this case.
Yes the new United program favors big company frequent fliers. United is now too big. Here are the changes http://www.elitepro-travel.com/2011/09/alas-united-points-expire-for-frequent.html
If you are not in the top programs you board last, whcih makes no sense! So you can be in the last row of the plane and board last. You should be able to board from the back of the plane, so it minimizes delays in getting to the runway. I have written several letters to United on this, and have had no responeses yet. Instead, i fly American Air now. I board right after first class passengers board.