April 15, 2012 The UA Million Miler Debacle
Much digital ink has been spilled in the name of UA’s million miler program and the post merger changes. This debate exists because of the merger of UA’s Mileage Plus and CO’s OnePass program. The new program has created a deal of controversy because of the devaluation of benefits provided to the million milers But before we get to the debate lets look at the two programs before the merger and the program after the merger.
UA’s Pre-merger mileage plus million miler program
Members that flew 1 million miles on UA metal receive the following benefits.
Lifetime Premiere Executive status (the 50,000/year elite tier)
and a one time gift of upgrade certificates.
Members that flew 2 million miles on UA metal receive the following benefits.
All 1 million mile benefits plus Lifetime club access
Members that flew 3 (could be 4 I don’t recall but it’s not important) million miles on UA metal receive the following benefits.
All 2 million mile benefits plus lifetime 1K (UA’s 100,000/year elite tier)
Continental’s pre-merger million miler program was as follows:
Members that acquired 1 million elite qualifying miles receive the following benefits.
Lifetime Silver (25,000/year elite tier)
Members that acquired 2 million elite qualifying miles receive the following benefits.
Lifetime Gold (50,000/year elite tier)
Members that acquired 3 million elite qualifying miles receive the following benefits.
Lifetime Platinum (75,000/year elite tier)
The CO million miler has the ability to name a person with a OnePass account at the same address as the million miler, to receive one years worth of equivalent status as the million miler. This means if the 1 million miler is currently platinum, they “gift” platinum status
With that out of the way, lets talk differences:
at 1 million miler, UA gets Premiere executive as opposed to CO Silver. This is important as CO gold and Premiere executive grant international lounge access.
at 2 million miles, UA gets lifetime club access, No level on CO gets that
at all levels UA gets upgrade certs appropriate to the elite level and the one time gifts, No CO level gets that
For CO all elite miles count, this includes credit cards, class of service bonuses, and 500 mi minimum, and partner airlines, UA only actual butt in seat miles.
At all levels there is the partner benefit on CO, it does not exist at any level for UA elites.
The current program adopts the following:
1 million miles is Premier Gold (50k), 2 million premier Plat (75k) 3 million premier 1k (100K) and 4 million (invite only global service). Adds in global service level, removes the CO silver level
No upgrade certs or one time gifts, straight adoption of the CO program
Partner benefit, straight adoption of the CO program
Only butt-in-seat UA miles count, straight adoption of the UA program (there was a one-time adjustment but its not relevant)
For CO flyers, there is the loss of all EQMs counting,
For UA flyers, there is the loss of the upgrade certs, one-time gifts, and lifetime club status.
For CO flyers, there is the gain of moving the lowest tier to the 50k level. (which grants star alliance gold status and all important international lounge access)
For UA flyers, there is the gain of the partner benefit and access to global services.
Where is the controversy? Well CO flyers have largely been absent from the debate online and it has been mostly the UA folk that have been making their displeasure known. The controversy has been the loss of the upgrade certs that are good on North American flights or some that are good Systemwide. The UA million milers feel that the substitution of benefits, the partner benefit for certs is not a fair trade. They have a point, if they do not have a partner, or their partner is elite they do not benefit from the benefit.
you can read about their displeasure here:
They feel this is a breach of trust. The company promised them “lifetime benefits” and the company is removing those benefits. Center to this is the controversy were the elites promised a specific set of benefits or just some benefits generally. Also to complicate matters there is a FAQ screen shot from UA that states UA million milers will continue to receive the same benefits. Though the language on this unclear.
What has been clear is the direct response. Some people state they are moving their business to UA some state they are going to sue. All are unhappy…
Which program is better, you decide.