Friday, November 07, 2008

Paying for upgrades

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.

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Anonymous said...

Conor, I completely agree with you. United is doing a great disservice to their bast customers with these new charges. Miles for upgrades was the biggest and best perk of the program.

United is trying to soften the blow with mostly meaningless gestures. Restoring 500 miles awarded on flights less than 500 miles. Introducing boarding for Premier Execs is the latest, between 1st/Business/GS and zone 1. Like I said, worthless.

If you have an email address that is a good place to complain to United, could you post it? Otherwise I'll moan by snail mail.

United customers *have* to complain.

Ian Bush said...

Conor, Hello from a fellow Western Loudouner!(I live in Round Hill, and used to own the ice cream shop in Purcellville.)

I found your blog when I was looking for more information about United's Global Services program, since I always wondered what the criteria was for such.

As for United, I have just about had it with them. The multiple boarding groups that encourages people to crowd the gate and push people out of the way (I was traveling in 1st on Thanksgiving with my 5 month old son, and as usual, someone assumed that I was not "status"), the nasty service that they provide (because they keep pissing off the union folks) and the general feeling that you get no love from the airline at all.

Admittedly, I am low on the feeding chain for them, because I attain my status (Premier) because of segments, but I give them all my business, and they don't seem to care. I already intend to send them a regular letter by FEDEX to complain about some service that I received on a flight from Chicago the other day, so I will gladly add this latest "update" to their service injustice to my letter.

Thanks for posting good information about GS status, it was an interesting read.