June 10, 2014

United Guts MileagePlus

Today's big travel news was United's absolutely destruction of (formerly the best frequently flier program in the country) their MileagePlus program.  The program will move to a full revenue based program (taking a giant leap from this year's baby step into the revenue based world) starting in 2015.

Instead of earning miles based on the distance flown, MileagePlus members will earn a ratio (pretty much identical to Delta's program) per dollar spent (on their ticket) depending on their level in the program.  Ratios range from 5x for general members up to 11x for Premier 1K members.  United is making some other changes to the program (nothing really earth shattering in terms of value to the consumer) which you can read about on their website.  It is important to note that this change will not impact Premier Qualification which (as of last year) requires miles flow and dollars spent to qualify.

While this was widely expected, it still sucks for most people.  The exception would be business travels spending heavily on United or people flying very short routes.  In some cases, they will benefit form this change.

I have been a pretty big United fanboy for a long time but this change definitely hits hard...loyalty only goes so far.  To that end, I likely won't spend any extra effort (time or money) to qualify for Premier Gold or higher for 2015 and instead leverage my significant mileage stash to fly for free or look for the cheapest fare on another carrier.  When it does make sense to fly United, I will.

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