United Airlines has announced a host of changes for their Mileage Plus program for 2009. Many of the changes involved increased mileage for award travel (other than domestic economy travel).
However, the worst change, IMHO, is that like American Airlines, United is now going to charge $$ (in addition to mileage) for mileage based upgrades from anything other than full fare economy tickets.
To me, a long term, very loyal 1K, million mile flyer, this really sucks. This was the one real benefit (upgrades without $$) that would drive business travelers to want to fly on the same airline. Now our business trips are going to cost as much as $1,000 if we want to upgrade both directions on an international flight.
United, I suggest you reconsider this change or, a bit selfishly, make an exception for your most loyal customers (1Ks/GSs) like you do for most other fees. Otherwise, I suggest that those of you who are flying in 2009 or early 2010 make your upgrade requests prior to July 1, 2009 (the effective date for the upgrade charges).
I also suggest that if this change bothers you, you take the time to let United know so. Recently, negative feedback about moving to pay for meals on international flights cause United to change their minds and maintain their current meal program on such flights. Perhaps we can do the same with upgrade charges.