7 Replies Latest reply: May 1, 2012 11:02 PM by lone6star RSS

The Mileage Program Shuffle

Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
Currently Being Moderated

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.

  • Re: The Mileage Program Shuffle
    ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    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:

     

    • When a higer-tier traveler books a domestic ticket, the reservation typically says "upgrade pending" for some period of time.
    • Some times, long before the traveler checks in, the reservation "converts" to a first-class seat.
    • If the traveler doesn't get the upgrade in advance, he/she checks in and then watches the electronic board in the boarding area.
    • The e-board lists: (1) the number of remaining first-class seats; (2) the number of folks who have upgrades pending (which almost always exceeds the number of available first-class seats); and (3) the pecking order of those awaiting upgrades.  Then it counts down until the number of first class seats reaches zero (and the sign says: First Class has checked in full.)
    • I applaud this type of transparency - generally - it basically lets the frequent traveler know where he/she stands; it also reminds him/her that others spend EVEN MORE time in steel tubes in the air and have earned "better" benefits.  Missing out on the upgrade is disappointing, but at least it seems fair.
    • Conversely, I sense that - for many high-tier travelers - the uncertainty is anxiety producing.  Do I buy lunch/dinner in the airport, or will I get upgraded and enjoy a free/hot meal?  Should I check my smaller bag and carry on a book or will I have plenty of room to get some productive work done on the plane?
    • Finally - it's amusing to watch the pathologies associated with this regime.  I recently flew back to DC from a huge conference with a number of other speakers.  There was much merriment (and only limited wagering) as to who would get the upgrade (the flight was packed, and none of us made the cut) and who would end up the highest ranked name on the list to not receive the upgrade....

    Food for thought...



    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: The Mileage Program Shuffle
    shoeman1000 Platinum 4 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    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.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: The Mileage Program Shuffle
    elitepro Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    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

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: The Mileage Program Shuffle
    Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Any of you Insiders ever make the "Global Services" level with United or the associated worldwide group?  I once met a Pass Plus member in First Class on a flight from SFO to Hawaii--the crew genuflected several times as he sat there!

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: The Mileage Program Shuffle
    mematdelta Platinum 8 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    If you were with the Continental program, you are not happy with the changes.  I now shop all my travel, looking for anything but United!

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: The Mileage Program Shuffle
      Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      United is my least favorite, and Continental was one of favs--but they have a lock on the Monterey-Denver flights so I swallowed what little pride I had and used points with them.  One good thing United does is allow active duty military to board first!

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: The Mileage Program Shuffle
        lone6star Platinum 3 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        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.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

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